There are two reactions to the pains of life – let it beat you or let it grow you.
Either way, it will change you.
I have always thought I opted to let it me grow. But in reality, I let a lot of it beat me. Writing my book “I Don’t Hate Me Anymore” showed me that. The hardest part of allowing your pain to grow you though is allowing yourself to feel the pain as it happens. Allowing to help you grow does not include ignoring what has happened or how you feel about it. Which is the path I took thinking it was how you moved on through it.
The lesson I’m learning? Feelings aren’t scary, just real, and they need to be out, not caged.
From about the time I was sexually assaulted by my cousin, I have buried my emotions. For ten years I harboured that secret and never once let it show I was hurting. I’d cry myself to sleep at night…..quietly.
When I was being bullied at school, I wouldn’t allow them to see how angry I was, or that what they were saying hurt me so much I wanted to cry. Each time I was teased, or abused, had my belongings stolen or thrown in the bin, threatened to be beat up on the way home, all those feelings weren’t allowed to show themselves. This habit, aka coping mechanism, didn’t discriminate on emotions. There was no way on this planet that I would allow myself to even show, or admit, that I found someone attractive. Especially to my enemies!
I remember telling someone once you couldn’t tell by looking at me that I had a killer migraine, or was in pain from anything. With the knowledge I have now about that behaviour, it was not the good thing I thought it was. During my abusive relationships, I found it difficult to speak up for myself. My coping mechanism from childhood wasn’t working anymore. In fact, it kept me trapped.
I was a prisoner to my fear of feeling.
As an adult, and through years gone by, I found out the pit I was pushing all these feelings down into wasn’t the bottomless abyss I thought it was. I couldn’t carry out this technique for ever. It eventually had to come out.
And it did.
And when it did, I wasn’t prepared for the extremity of it all.
My childhood survival technique was an automatic reaction. It was hard to resist just shutting it all down so I could escape the terribly overwhelming intensity of the grief and hurt. Sometimes, I just wanted to rip my heart out of my chest so I could stop feeling these emotions. It was like I had skipped the part of childhood where you’re taught how to cope with your feelings and identify them, and was having to learn it now as a grown up.
It was really hard.
No wonder kids chuck tantrums!
It was during all of this emotion therapy I learnt I hadn’t really been allowing my pain to grow me like I thought I had been all these years. Reality told me I had unconsciously let it tear me apart. I say unconscious because I wasn’t aware of anything being wrong with what I was doing at the time. Now I know it is not a healthy practice.
Hindsight is great for only one thing……moving forward. It should never be used to beat yourself up.
So, that’s what I did. I took that hindsight and forged a plan to become stronger from it.
This time I really was turning my pains into growing me.
My strength, my courage, my determination, my passion, my excitement, my love, my enjoyment, my bravery, my assertiveness, my beauty and my very core have been constantly growing ever since.
When they say we are sometimes our own worst enemy, they’re not kidding.
The reason we can’t see the things in front of us is because we have our nose pressed against the issue. I know I did. Others could see what was happening to me, but I couldn’t. I lived in denial for a long time. When I finally started to lift myself up off the floor and started to look at the bigger picture of my life, both past and present, that’s when I was able to truly tackle everything. It took me to be very honest with myself, but it was worth it.
And continues to be worth it.
This isn’t something which has just gone away simply because I have acknowledged it and have received treatment. There are still times the old coping mechanisms try to forge themselves back into my life. However, because I am aware, I can deal with the fear when it arises and kick it out the door before it can get a hold of me and take me back down a track I don’t want to ever tread again.
Complacency is something I won’t allow myself to fall into. It’s a false sense of security and the equivalent to lying to myself. That’s when I am most likely to miss the signs. I finally like who I am and where I’m at. Nothing is going to threaten it. Not even myself.
Much of my journey to healing has been detailed in my book “I Don’t Hate Me Anymore” along with the exercises I’ve carried out, and continue to review to this day. If you are wanting to find your freedom to be you, to loving yourself healthily and to live a happier existence with less abuse, just like I have and am doing, then please ask me about my book. It’s exactly what you are looking for.