As previously mentioned, I recently sought the help and guidance of a therapist. I originally went with the desire to learn how to cope with a recent tragedy that occurred in our family. I knew my backstory played a lot into the inability to properly process, but I also knew I wasn’t ready to pick that up yet. Starting out with my childhood was something I was not ready to do, nor really had the time to do since there were more pressing issues at hand.
Past trauma. I’ve had a lot, and it goes deep. As far back as I can remember there really has never been much calmness. My time in prison intensified past trauma as well as created more. The mere thought of discussing it sends shivers down my spine.
My first appointment was more about describing what got me there. Abandonment, childhood, divorce, prison, and then the recent bombshell in our home. You know, all the normal stuff, lol
I’m sure she was a little startled, but really I didn’t care at this point. (And to her credit, she kept full composure)
She asked me how I had been coping.
Hmmm, “survival mode,” I said.
Natural born survivor. That’s me.
But I want to transform that survival into a warrior. I no longer want to just make it through the storm. I know there’s a better way out there and I am ready to learn it.
Her first suggestion was to “act as if…”
Act as if you are a forgiven mom. Act as if you are already a warrior, act as if you have forgiven yourself.
Forgiven self…what does a forgiven self person even act like I wonder. I was not familiar with such behavior.
And so it began. I sought the skills I needed to obtain to be forgiven. The first one turned out to be the only one. Self-Compassion.
Being kind TO ME. Being my own BFF. Talking to myself like I would talk to a friend. Embracing my pain, comforting my fears, and allowing myself to make mistakes.
I began listening to podcasts on the subject and I began practicing the skills that they suggested.
Reminding myself that it is human to feel the way I was feeling. Relaxing more. Acknowledging that it is hard and to feel compassion for myself. Asking myself what I could do to help myself through this hard time; all the things I would do for a friend. Even putting my hands over my heart when I was experiencing a time I would usually scold myself. (Most times just recognizing I was beating myself up was a huge accomplishment)
I have learned that shame is my enemy. And the antidote to this shame is self-compassion.
These skills and this sort of mindset is not easy for me. It takes a continues conscious effort. But the thing that makes it work is my commitment; my promise to myself. My deep desire to win this war within myself.
I also recognize that I am not any good to others if I don’t take care of me. And helping others is my passion. Going back in prisons, inspiring the left behind, and sharing hope gives me purpose. It feeds my soul. But I also know I need help. I can’t give away what I don’t have. I’ve been able to make a difference, and inspire others by sharing my own experiences. Now it’s time to take it to the next level, with an end result having even more to offer.
So my bags are packed and the gas tank is full, let’s take a ride down this new road!