I take healing very seriously. It’s something I do for a living – I’m a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a Healing Touch/ Reiki practitioner. I have invested a lot of time, energy and money in healing because consciously and unconsciously I was also healing myself.
I learned early on that kids who suffer a lot of childhood trauma will go on to have health issues. I had asthma, Crohn’s disease and lived in a state of constant anxiety (I was pretty much afraid of everything). Don’t even get me started on abandonment or attachment issues I check every box.
The thing with trauma is I was a victim. I was a victim of my mother’s neglect and my father’s violence. These early experiences left a massive footprint in my psyche. It became the framework through which I would go on to experience the world.
Why? Because I projected my damage forward expecting it to happen again. I couldn’t trust my mother, so I behaved as though people were not trustworthy. My future decisions were based on my past experiences.
My trauma hammered my self-esteem. I carried a lot of shame. I felt less than my friends. Like a car that had been in several bad accidents that’s how I saw myself – someone damaged. Someone needy. Someone who had to earn love.
I also needed validation and needed it badly! How you felt about me was way more important than how I felt about me. One negative comment and I was down for a week. A bad family holiday in Hawaii lead me on an 18 month healing crisis only to realize I hadn’t behaved badly – they had.
The amazing thing about healing is if you are conscious about it you will heal. Healing for me is really a change in perception. How I saw myself. How I saw other’s behaviour and changing how I viewed experiences and events.
Here are some of my takeaways on healing from trauma:
- My healing has a beginning and an end. I didn’t want to spend my life trapped in a cycle of victim – hurt – Now when I feel that sharp stab of emotional pain, I get curious.
- ‘What’s this about?’ I ask myself. Then I will get quiet and meditate, write and allow the knot to unravel itself.
- ‘What’s my part in this?’ is always a good starting point. ‘Am I playing the victim? Or am I standing in my power’?
- The decisions I’m making now are for my future – what do I truly want? How do I want to feel? If I feel positive and it makes me excited, I proceed forward.
- I do not need to give an excuse for why I need something. That disempowers me because I am now pleading my case or looking for validation. I don’t have to explain my feelings, I just state what I need. Period. Full Stop. If I have to explain, it’s because I feel no one is in my corner. I am now in my corner.
- Validation – looking externally for something internally. External validation will never satisfy my internal needs. I must satisfy my internal needs. That’s self-love. Speaking my truth. Taking care of my needs. Honouring my truth. Knowing what it is that really makes me happy. The qualifier now is – if I feel joy – the answer is yes. If I feel fear or dread, shame or resentment the answer is a hard no!
- I don’t view my past with shame anymore. I’m not ashamed of my eating disorder, my divorce, or my spending habits. I’m just not. I’ve stopped looking at others for direction. To compare is to despair.
- I’ve stopped thinking that I need to be thinner, more athletic, more outgoing or host book club. If I fall on my sword – so what. I get up and try again.
- Spirit – I have a deeply spiritual practice. Yes, I go to church, but I also talk to my spirit guides. I ask for help. I ask for help when I’m healing patients, I ask for help for parking spaces and I ask for help when I am struggling with relationships. I walk lock step with spirit. That’s what intuition is for me. It’s really checking in to find the path forward.
- The human experience is hard, it’s shocking, it’s disappointing at times and it’s certainly not fair. But I love it. I love the messiness of life. Those moments when I conquer my fear and move into something new. When I have emotional breakthroughs or help patients with theirs. When my head is down and I am pushing forward only to look up and realize I’ve arrived.
Theodore Roosevelt had it right when he gave this famous speech Citizenship in a Republic later renamed The Man in the Arena and made famous again by Brene Brown in Daring Greatly:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”