Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sharing Our Stories And Healing From Incest - Does It Get Easier?

I am going to start this blog post with a quote from one of my favorite authors/guest speakers today in the world of healing resources.

"When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else."
                           ----Iyanla Vanzant

A special online friend of mine, Debra Estep, shared this quote with me a few days ago with the words:

"Patricia ... To you, the one who stands out there sharing bringing 'healing' to others"

Debra's words brought such joy to my heart, as well as tears to my eyes, when I read them. Debra has been one of my supporters almost from the very beginning of my blog. She and I were introduced to each other through our mutual friend Slade Roberson who inspired me to start a blog in the first place. I appreciate the support of these two friends who have watched me struggle and grow comfortable here with sharing my story and reaching out to other survivors. Their encouragement is always appreciated. I love you both, my friends.

Someone asked me recently, "Does it get easier?"

Sharing our stories gets easier as you do it. Healing in itself gets easier with work and with time. And that said, each time a new issue comes up for me, I still feel some of the old pain but not with the intensity of in the beginning. An issue doesn't take the months to get through that it once did. Today an issue is usually worked through in a short amount of time. The new issue may take hours or even a few days to a week depending upon how much time and effort I put into working through it. The feelings around the issue and the issue itself don't take up my entire life like it did when I was just starting to heal.

Healing isn't about taking short cuts. I don't know of any easy ways to get rid of the pain. You have to go through the feelings, many of which were stuffed inside and numbed by this addiction or that one. Healing is the most painful thing you will probably ever do but you will find sunshine and a good life on the other side. Be patient and kind with yourself. Stop resisting your own pain. Quit resisting your own healing. You don't have to beat yourself up for not moving as fast as those inner voices say you have to. You can quiet those voices. Like your abusers, they are lying to you.

As you go through your day, look for the little things that you can be grateful for - the little wonders that pass through your day, the moments of silence when you can feel the presence of God in your life, the awesomeness of nature and how it helps to center you in the middle of some of the chaos that working on healing creates. Find the gift of a new awareness that you gained today as you let go of the lies. You will always find the gift at the end of the lesson if you take the time to look for them. Did you find a new piece of yourself today to add to the puzzle that is you? You won't see it if you move forward with your eyes closed. Be open to whatever experience comes your way today. You may see yourself as broken and you can always be mended. Mended is always stronger than the original.

In my experience, you have to go through the feelings in order to heal and that hurts most of the time. You have to feel the grief for all of the losses of the abused child that you were. You have the strength to get through it, just one day at a time. My anger was the first feeling that I became aware of. As I looked closer at the anger and rage, I found that they were both often just cover-ups for more hurt. The sadness that has been such a part of my being since I was a little girl was because of all of the hurt and the grief that she carried inside. As I learned to feel and learned to love myself, I was able to work through and then let go of much of that hurt and grief. The sadness lifted and joy returned. I say returned because children are naturally full of joy when they are born. If you don't believe me, just watch a baby laugh. See if you can touch that joy inside of yourself. It may be hidden beneath the hurt and sadness of the abuse. The joy is still there waiting for you to reach in and pull it out. Find something in your day to make you laugh. Think of something that you really like to do and do it.

Taking breaks from healing are absolutely necessary. The work of healing is hard. You can feel really overwhelmed at times. You can lose sight of the good things in your life. Start a hobby that you really like doing. Your inner child will love the opportunity to play. She/He will reward you with the joy that will come bubbling up unexpectedly when what you are doing connects with that well of creativity inside of you.

Sometimes you need to just sit and watch a child play. Watch a movie that you know will make you laugh and sometimes a movie that will make you cry, if that is what your heart needs at the moment. Tears are healing too. Go out for coffee with a friend. Take your pet for a walk. Get out in nature.

Then once you feel better, go back to the hard, but rewarding, work of healing you. Because you took a break, you will be better able to handle tomorrow and whatever issues the day brings to you. You are worth it. Some day, you won't hurt as much. You will get through today. One day at a time. Instead of looking at how much work you have left, look back at how far you have come. Be proud of yourself. Reward yourself for the small accomplishments you make. Take a moment to enjoy the sunshine in your life. The world isn't only clouds but you know what? Some of the most beautiful days I have ever seen were just full of clouds. Look at how the sun plays and creates such beauty out of the clouds. Clouds are much more interesting than just a clear, blue sky. So is your life.

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