I am a part of this small business program in Calgary and I am loving it. There are days that it feels like a lot because it is taking 2 days of my week up but the feedback that I am getting from the small groups that we work with has been amazing.
Today we talked about our Story of Self and our Golden Circle. The Story of Self is pretty self-explanatory. It gives my personal story of why I decided to start my business. If this concept of the Golden Circle is new to you, I understand. It was completely new to me. It is basically a way to layout to explain what it is that you do.
So today we broke out into groups of three and read our story of self and our golden circle to each other. We then gave feedback to each other to know if they align and if they match up.
The feedback that the women gave me was incredible and this is why I am writing this blog post. As I was talking, I was explaining how there are three different phases of healing. Now, these phases have multiple layers in each one but I wanted to cover what I meant by this.
These women told me that they could easily see my why in what I do but the process of doing it was a bit fuzzy. If it is fuzzy for them, that means that it is more than likely fuzzy for you.
MY PASSION FOR HEALING
If you get me talking about blogging and sharing your story, I will light right up. I could talk about it all day. I know what it is like to feel like every day you wake up broken, with no end in sight. It is a lonely way to live your life.
As trauma survivors, we know that we are not alone BUT it always feels like we are alone, isolated in how we feel. It felt as if there was no way to escape the loneliness, the isolation, the fear of being seen as a victim.
We walk around playing small so that we don’t draw attention to ourselves. We put our own feelings and wants on hold because we don’t feel worthy enough to go after them in the first place. We wake up every single day, hoping that it will be different, feel different to be in the skin that we are in and when it isn’t, we isolate those pieces of us that are crying out for help.
Even with an amazing husband, beautiful children, supportive friends and family, those feelings of always letting them down, always hiding, always feeling like they never saw the real me was exhausting.
IT WAS SO EXHAUSTING!!
Exhausting pretending that I was happy.
Exhausting thinking that I was going to always feel like this.
Exhausting believing that I just wasn’t worthy of true happiness.
But every day I still woke up and put that fake smile on because that was better than dealing with the mess and the turmoil that was going on inside. UNTIL I just couldn’t handle it anymore.
I believe that there comes a time when, as a survivor, the pain becomes too overwhelming and we need to make a choice. A choice to either share our story and begin to heal or to keep holding our story in and feel ourselves fade away even more.
GOING FROM VICTIM TO SURVIVOR TO WARRIOR
The three phases that I want to talk about today are victim, survivor, and warrior.
I lived in survivor mode for so many years. 11 years to be exact. If you have followed me for a while, you know that is the amount of time that it took me to share my story. I believed that I needed to keep this secret. The shame of people thinking less of me kept me from telling anyone except my husband.
This phase meant that I couldn’t heal. I couldn’t move forward in life. I was stuck where I was stuck because I wasn’t acknowledging what had happened to me. I was a victim and there was no other way around it.
Being a victim was safe for me. It allowed me to stay protected. It allowed me to keep my secret where no one could judge me for it. It allowed me to hide the dirty piece of me.
Being a victim was also unsafe for me. It meant that I couldn’t live out my true purpose. It meant that I allowed him to have control over my life for years after the event. It meant that I wasn’t giving 100% to my husband or my family. It meant that I wasn’t in control.
We join this phase with no choice of our own. We don’t choose to become a victim. We are thrown into it with no way to know how to get out of it. We wander around this phase feeling like we are in a daze. As if time is standing still but somehow the world is still moving on around us.
This phase can control us.
This phase can manipulate us.
This phase can break us.
How do we get out of the victim phase?
We admit what happened to us. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to shout it to the rooftops for the world to know. It means that we give ourselves space to acknowledge the event. Whether that means journaling it, blogging about it, telling a close friend, telling a counsellor. It doesn’t matter the means in how you admit it, what matters is that you put it front and center.
The moment that you decide to look that pain straight in the face, you are no longer a victim. You are on the beginning path to becoming a survivor.
Survivor for me felt empowering, it felt like I had started to take back control of my life again. I was nowhere near being healed (I don’t think we ever heal 100%) but I had begun to believe that my life was worth more.
I was no longer in the victim mentality which meant that it was time to throw out what I had been surviving on the past 11 years. I needed to rediscover who I was. I needed to be able to reinvent and become a woman that I could look at in the mirror every single day and know that she had survived.
This meant falling in love with my reflection. This meant falling in love with the broken pieces. This meant knowing that I was never going to be the same as I was before the sexual assault.
It meant that I was going to be okay!
The survivor phase is messy. It is within this stage that we begin to explore our emotions. We begin to dig deep and question ourselves, our motives, our hatred for who we are. We begin to do the work that we had been putting off in the victim stage.
It still took time. Time to believe that I wasn’t a victim. Time to believe that I was worthy of love (even my husband’s). Time to believe that I was stronger than I believed myself to be.
Every day I felt a little stronger. I felt as if the victim in me was slowly becoming this superhero. She wore my clothes. She looked like me but she acted differently. She held her body in different ways. She began to look at herself in a new way.
There were days in this stage that were hard. Days when I just wanted to give up but I knew that it wasn’t possible. That being a survivor meant that I was changing the world. I was changing the outcome for myself, my family and those who read my blog. I was changing the world for my followers, for the women who had yet to meet me. It makes way for every woman to become a warrior.
How do we get out of the survivor stage?
Every day we show up for ourselves. We decide that our healing is our priority. We take the time to do self-care. We take the time to do the emotional work. We take the time to write everything out. We decide that being more than a survivor is what we are meant to do.
We learn that looking into the emotions is what is going to help us through them. There is no covering them up. There is no putting on a fake smile. It is hard work. It is dedication. It is time to take your power back.
You even find someone who can support you in this. You find yourself a cheerleader, a confidant, a friend. If you need someone like that in your corner, reach out to me. I will ALWAYS be your confidant and your cheerleader.
ON BECOMING A WARRIOR
I consider myself in this phase right now. As I said earlier, I don’t believe that the healing journey ever ends. There is no destination that I will arrive at and know that I am done. Healing doesn’t work like that. Life doesn’t work like that.
The warrior level is all about being confident in your story. It means that it no longer holds you back. You don’t use it as a reason to stop living. You use it as a reason to start living.
You feel powerful.
You feel complete.
You love all of your pieces.
You have done the work in the survivor phase to get you here. You can still have triggers and you can still have days when life gets the best of you but in this phase, you have plans in place to better handle all of the harder moments that come up.
You no longer get knocked down for days or weeks, you know what it takes to get through the triggers and through the emotions.
I believe that in this phase that there comes a time when you are ready to heal on an even deeper level. Not all women in the warrior phase will do this and that is okay but I find that once women hit this phase, they are ready to change the world and make an even bigger impact.
Whether that means starting a business around their story or being more open with their past, they begin to take their healing and their message and share it. They know that their traumatic event changed their life but that there can be a positive change that comes from it. They become who they needed when they were in the survivor phase.
AND THAT IS A BEAUTIFUL TRANSITION!
There is no one phase that is more difficult than the other. They all come with their challenges. They all come with their fears and moments when you will want to just give up. You didn’t choose to be a victim BUT it is up to you to move through these phases and change your life.
Are you ready to learn how to do that? The Blog to Heal program starts in September. It is a 12-month program that is a combination of 1:1 coaching and group coaching. I will teach you ways to help you heal within your own story while learning how to blog. You DO NOT need to publish your blog at any time but you will get the benefits of writing through it no matter what.
I can’t wait to work with you and help you start to heal yourself. You, beautiful, are stronger than you realize and I am here to walk the path with you.