Monday, December 26, 2011

I found a new mirror....

Photo Credit
Our "self" "image" begins from our earliest life experiences, whether we have full recall of those experiences or not.

This is the view we have of ourselves that is "mirrored" back to us and these early experiences shaped our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us.

It is the foundation for how we see ourselves today and is the largest influence on our ability to see ourselves as the creator of our lives - or the perpetual victim of life.

To begin to see myself through a different "mirror" I had to first remove myself from the "mirrors" that told me I was less than, defective, wrong, bad, shameful....

And put myself in front of some mirrors that would reinforce that I was awesome, amazing, articulate, powerful and could create the life I wanted for myself.

The first new mirror?

Me. 

Choosing to live beyond the pain and damage of the past began with creating a new "self" image to mirror back to myself. 

Then surrounding myself with those who could support the "self" I believed I was...

rather than those who decided who they thought I should be. 

Q: What are the thoughts that run through your mind? For me? It was "stupid" (among other things but for simplicity we''ll use this one).

How did I change that part of how I saw myself - my "self image" about my brilliance? 

Every time it came up in my mind....

I said - often out loud....

F*** off "dad".

Then -  I looked myself in the mirror and told myself that since chaos....

was the beginning of "brilliance"...

then I was a fricking rock star. :-))

Let your  light shine - and kick those thoughts to the curb.

How long does this take?

As long as it takes.

The secret?

Was to never

ever

give up.

To keep going, to get back up when I fell...

and each time I did this 

the lies I was told from the beginning about how "stupid" I was...

lost their power 

and in turn...

I found mine. :) 


Yes - you are enough...

You are amazing...

And you really do have what it takes to be all you can be.


Always in total and complete awe of your brilliance!

Susan:)

Creating big change begins with creating small degrees of consistent change over time…

This is a journey not an event. 


Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!

 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Peace on Earth, Goodwill To All


When we as individuals are able to shift from holding the anger and hate of those who were the cause of our wounds is when we will begin to live in a world where there is truly peace on earth and goodwill toward all.

We will begin to heal the world as we learn to heal ourselves. 

Somewhere along the way I began to understand that there is a difference between holding those responsible for the way they have hurt me and continuing to blame them for the distress I experience today.

What happened is the past and there was a day I had a thunderbolt...

lightening

bells and

whistles moment....

where I realized that by hanging onto my anger instead of going through the pain

the sadness

the disbelief

the grief

the tears

of what I'd survived...

I was still giving my today 

to the those who took my yesterdays.

By continuing to perpetuate the anger

the blaming

the hatred

of those from my past

I was still giving them

my todays.

By continuing to tell the story about what happened to me....

I was avoiding the story about how what happened to me....

affected me.

It was in learning to recognize that in holding onto my justified anger about what happened to me in the past that I became stuck in it. 

It was in learning to experience my anger 

that I found freedom from it.

And this was the beginning of my learning to live in compassion 

for both them

and me.

Keep in mind that forgiving does not mean extending the same credit or opportunity to those who hurt me without remorse. 

But - this is where I set myself free from carrying the burden of the past that I carried...

day after day.

Year after year.

And this was the place where I began to understand that as we begin to become the change we want to see in the world 

that the world will begin to change.

Healing ourselves 

is how the world will heal. 

Namaste.

Happy holidays

May today we each understand that forgiveness is a gift that we give ourselves and is...

the beginning of peace on earth and goodwill to all. 

Always in compassion for your pain - and admiration of your courage.

Susan

Related....

Fighting Forgiveness Is a post about how I made forgiveness make sense in regards to some really senseless experiences.

A Walk in Compassion  This is a poem I wrote as I realized the power of compassion for myself and that in choosing to let go of the past - I was creating my future.

Making Peace with My Past A post about how I shifted from denying my past affected me to understanding what it took to heal from it.

Accepting Peace This was part of how I came to understand that in order to heal the world - I had to learn to heal myself. There are several links to other posts about the how behind my journey.


Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!

   

Monday, December 19, 2011

This Is Where Well-Being Begins

November 24 2011
Creating a State of Well Being
Its only a  thought and a thought can be changed. ~ Louise Hay

When I first heard things like this I thought "How ridiculous". Healing from trauma is NOT that simple."

And...

Its not....

But it is.

Its not about spending the rest of my life thinking I can't have the life I want because of the past I had.

Its not about avoiding the past...

Forgetting it....

Or dwelling on it.

Learning that we have power over our state of wellness is where well-being begins.


Did you get that?

Learning that we have power over our state of wellness...


Is where well-being


begins. 

Its about learning how to make the past make sense in our today and that begins with learning to recognize when my today was about my past.

eh, you say?

Yes.

The journey is not about resolving every incident of my past but about learning to resolve it as it comes up in my today.

Whether my past shows up in flashbacks, ruminations, resentments...

about the past - or the future that will never be BECAUSE of my past...

The change comes not from hanging my hat on that hook...

But in seeing that this is a hook...

And that following it today is giving my now to my past and my future to yesterday.

Learning that I could choose which thoughts to follow...

or not

was key to learning to live beyond the pain...

to learning that I could live free of it

every day.

The past happened.

Rumination is about wishing the past was different. 

Its reliving the pain over

and over

and over.

Resentments are about living the emotion of those experiences

over

and over

and over.

Learning to live beyond that meant learning to live today

instead of chronically wishing for a different tomorrow

based on a past that I can't change.

Learning to let go of that?

Meant finally learning to resolve it for myself by going through the pain of what happened to me

the anger

the sadness

the grief

the tears

the wishing and wanting and whining about what someone else did to cause me to be the mess I was today...

To that place where I accept that I cannot change the past

But I no longer have to sacrifice my today

or my tomorrow

to it.

Learning to choose the thoughts I would follow - or to choose to not follow - began with learning that I could choose.


Learning to choose the thoughts I would follow....


or to choose to NOT follow....


began with learning that I could choose. 

Heres a link to a site (that I have no affiliation with) where you can learn a simple exercise to put your mind on notice that you are taking over.  Practice: 100 Breaths Meditation http://ow.ly/7Wlyr


This 


is the 


"hard work".


The "work" that no one can do for us. 


So - grab your leg warmers and your yoga pants....

Its time to work out:)

You really do have all you need to do your dreams!

No longer a victim, much more than a survivor and living wayyyyyy beyond "survival"!

Yup! Thats how I see you!

Now go do your magnificence and then let me know how your doing it in the comments below:)


Always right there with you! 


Susan

Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Trusting Me



“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” 
― Maya Angelou. 

I started to write a longer, wordy post about this quote and - in the end it came down to this for me:

stop trying to make relationships work - that aren't working. 

In other words, be true to yourself by believing what you see and experience over what others tell you is real. 

When a "friend" keeps making excuses...

uh..umph....excuse me, I mean

reasons

why they 

missed your date

didn't call you back

weren't there when they said they would be there...

Or we keep experiencing the same kind of crazy that comes when we are trying to get our emotional needs met in relationships where emotions are not allowed.

Or find ourselves wondering - why does this keep happening to me?

See where I"m going with this one?

Many of us who are SRBT's* or otherwise family dysfunction or craziness often feel responsible to 

work things out...

even when it is clearly not working out.

We take on responsibility for making everyone happy, keeping the peace...

not

 "rocking the boat"....

often at the very high price of our own sanity as what we experience as hurtful - or even abusive - is denied or in some way minimized.

Its easy for us to believe something is "wrong" with US because SRBT's* have often been conditioned in family dysfunction or abuse to believe they are the magical, all powerful

GOD

who is in charge of keeping everyone happy

even if it means for us to be 

miserable.

So today...

try on the idea of

"Be true to yourself"

just once.

Take it for a test drive and see how good it feels to walk away from those situations and relationships that 

just

aren't

working. 

It was when I stopped believing that when things weren't working was because I wasn't working hard enough...

that I had to figure out how to be

good enough

that I finally understood that I 

very simply

was

enough. 

You are a rockstar...

don't believe 'em when they try to tell you otherwise - k?

Who's "they"?

Anyone who says you are anything BUT 

a Rock Star:)

Here's to ringin' those bells and rockin those boats!

Susan:)

ps....letting go of the hope for things to "work out" is the hardest part....honest:) Once I got past this I understood that it was this hope that held me back from my real hope for a better future.  

*SRBT's = Survivors of Really Bad Things (are amazing!)

Please consider liking and sharing:)

Always always in gratitude!  


Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your (own) Truth!

 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's not about finally being "perfect"

Photo Credit


The journey is not about finally being perfect but about knowing how to be ok in an imperfect world.

You can do this.

Always in amazement of your awesomeness:)

Susan

Monday, December 5, 2011

Beyond Survival


Coco Beach Oct 30 2011

In "survival" mode I was constantly on guard. 

My body was tense and often achey. 

My mind was racing - analyzing every word others spoke, trying to gage their feelings, predict their next action. 

The world was not that "benevolent" place I was told it was. I'd not experienced much kindness or compassion. Asking for "help" always ended badly as I became puppet to yet one more person who believed if I would just "do what I was told" - then for sure my life and I would be "better". Yet - this just perpetrated that feeling of helplessness and powerlessness that pervaded my life and being. 

It was in learning to listen to my own body, recognize when I was "triggered" and that I could choose how to respond that I found the power that I'd held all along - but not been taught to access when I sought "help" all those years ago - that finally set me free. 

Was it easy? No. 

Was it worth the effort, the struggle, the pain that comes with all growth?

Absolutely.

What is a "best life"?
Its the life I choose and
create for myself
 each day.
You are enough.

You have what it takes.

It is never


ever

too late

to create our

best life.

In awe of your amazing courage,

Susan:)





Monday, November 28, 2011

Stop Whining...


Photo Credit


As a survivor of long term family dysfunction and abuse I learned to live in chronic negativity.

Complaining became the normal mode of communication of my feelings because - to state my own feelings, thoughts, dreams, desires....out loud was not allowed and often resulted in more blaming, shaming and abuse.

Instead of learning to seeing myself as the creator of my life I fell into a an apathetic place of passivity where life happened around me and to me .

It took time and effort to basically "re-program" this negative mindset but it began with learning to recognize this is where I was at and...

that this behavior was normal considering my life experiences. 

Acknowledging that this was a normal response to being victimized over and over allowed me to see this as something I could change instead of something that was "wrong" with me. 


This in turn allowed me to begin to recognize that I was often feeling powerless, desiring someone to fix whatever I was complaining about yet - feeling ambivelant about others "helping" me...when I'd not directly asked for help.

Yet - when others attempt to offer solutions....

I would often passively make excuses about why I couldn't take their advice or engage in some other avoidance behavior that would get me off the hook and distract the conversation but - helpers don't often "get the message" because I wan't providing a clear and direct statement that might have said "thank you but no thank you"...

and they would instead engage in offering a solution to whatever excuse or reason I'd presented.

Which often felt very

awkward

to say the least.

This was not only confusing to me - but to those around me who were subjected to my chronic complaining and whining about...

this

that

him

her

and whatever else was going on in my life at any given moment.

As I traveled this path, being mindfully aware of my thoughts and feelings I came to understand that I was trying to communicate how I was feeling in the only way I knew how but others would interpret that as "whining" - which it was. 

It was my childlike way of trying to get my needs met and...

it was a normal response for me considering my life experiences but...

it was not serving me well at all


and was often the source of much conflict and drama in my relationships and life in general.

I began to empower myself to live beyond this place of passivity and perpetual victimhood when I began to recognize this behavior in myself and in those around me. 

Then I was able to also begin to find my voice and my personal power to shape and create my better life.

With knowing how to recognize the behaviors in myself that were not so helpful and acknowledge that they were not "character defects" or some mysterious "disease" or "disorder"...

I finally began to see myself as...


complete 


whole...


and capable 


to create my 


best life


instead of being a perpetual victim 


of life. 

Here's to you and your own inner wisdom.

You (definitely!)

are more than

enough:)

In chronic, obsessive and completely irritating...

hope. :)

Love,

Susan:)

If you enjoyed this post...

please consider liking, sharing and subscribing:)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Had to Get Real About the Holidays That Were Not Often Happy and Some Tips to Deal When You'd Rather Not


Making New Traditions:)

For years I'd tried to figure out how to survive the holidays with my dysfunctional family. In the end I realized that it wasn't about surviving but learning how to live beyond it by creating a new tradition - for myself. 
Holidays are one of those things that I did for years even though they were never not often anything to celebrate. My body would tell me it was that time of year again as my muscles tensed, I would start to shut down and be unable to function. I'd start feeling irritable, lashing out at those around me. Many days I'd not be able to get out of bed as the days on the calendar slipped from summer to fall and finally halloween marked the beginning of the worst time of year for me.
I slipped further and further down as I knew what was waiting for me at our "family" get togethers. Finally I made a choice for myself to not go.
It was hard. But for me the only option as my family refused to respect my new boundaries and continued to shame me, make me the brunt of their jokes and cruelty. They would often tell me that I deserved to feel bad because I was such a worthless person and had not met their expectations, that I was the cause of their anger at me and if I was just somehow "different" - then they wouldn't be mad and would love me.
I was constantly reminded that I was not "enough" and could never be "enough" to win their acceptance and love. I was often reminded throughout the year that I was not good enough for them to want a relationship with me. That I should be grateful they even spoke to me at all.  
So for me - as over the years I noticed this same pattern in my life and my dread for what the world touted as a happy time - I decided to create some new traditions for myself.  I started declining invitations to these family get togethers.
I didn't explain myself to them because that gave them power to again question my decisions and tell me something was wrong with me for not wanting to spend the holidays with them. And in the end they did that anyway - but I no longer felt the obligation to apologize and try to fix it.
This year will be my second year of my new Thanksgiving tradition where I volunteer at a local charity.
And I don't want to leave you with the impression that making this decision for myself came easily - or quickly.
It in fact came at a very high price as I realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do to be good enough.
That my family would never love me just because I was me.
That they would never celebrate my accomplishments; that I could never share my joy or my sadness with them and know that I would be heard or cared for in this way.
That there would be no Hallmark card moments, no sense of belonging, no laughter, eggnog or picturesque moments around the table or joyful trimming of the Christmas tree the day after.
Making this decision took time as I moved myself from the magical thinking of childhood to the harsh reality of my life with my family. This was moving from where I could somehow make it better if I was "better" - or just different -to the reality that while my family may not recognize their behavior as abusive – they are still responsible for their behavior. I had to realize there is nothing I could have ever done in my lifetime that would ever justify this kind of ongoing abuse and there is nothing I can do to make them stop it.
I had to grieve the family I never had...
The family I had always hoped to have and mostly...
I had to let go of the idea that there was anything I could have done or could do in the future to make it any different.
Realty sucks - but not nearly as bad as the reality of what I had lived for a lifetime believing I "had" to spend the holidays with a family that that served me up as the main course. 
So this wasn't an easy thing to do. I still feel angry at the way my family treated me. I still sometimes wonder if I couldn't have somehow worked it out with them. I still feel sad over the realization that there was nothing I could do to "work it out" and that to be a part of their lives meant I had to sacrifice myself, my sense of well being and self worth. 
You are not alone. It is not your fault; you are doing nothing wrong and whatever way YOU decide to handle your dysfunctional family, to go or stay away - its ok. 
Heres to making new traditions be it serving others, taking a vacation to a new place, hanging with new friends...:)
In admiration of your courage to keep going when it gets so damned tough.
Susan

Related reading:

How do I love thee... This post is about learning to respect ours and others boundaries - seeing them as the defining line to a valid sense of "self" and healthy, interdependent relationships.

I am now "enough" Learning to see myself as all I needed to be "ok".

This is how we do it....the "hard work" The title speaks for itself:) Its not rocket science either:) Hard work yes. But not rocket science.

Whoops! I did it again!  This post speaks to how I used creativity to connect with myself and heal my own wounds.

Express yourself!  This is another version of my post above (Whoops!) that I did as a guest at Heal My PTSD.

How do we get "there" when here sucks so bad?

By putting one foot in front of the other.

There is ALWAYS a solution:) 


 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The thing I've noticed...


Photo Credit


There seemed to be two main issues that I faced in the journey. 

One is an unconscious sense of powerlessness that is often where I felt incapable to resolve my own life issues all the while feeling responsible for resolving or "helping" others to resolve their life issues. 

And - often I felt as though no matter what I did I was doing it wrong and this feeling of "wrongness" was often validated by those who were unconsciously working out their own issues by trying to "help" me work out my own. 

The key for me to learn to live beyond this complex dynamic was to first learn to see it in myself and in those around me - without judgement. 

This freed me to begin to see that I wasn't so "wrong", was not responsible for others and had complete power to create the "me" and the life I wanted for myself.

Yes...its true....

You really are enough:)

In hope love and joy,

Susan