Important Tips to Remember on Your Healing Journey
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Trauma manifests itself in many forms. It can be physical, emotional, or even cognitive. It is the body and mind’s response to a traumatic event or situation. Many of us are experiencing or have experienced some form of trauma before.
But how does one carry on? How does one pick up their baggage and continue life as normal?
While it is different for everybody, the healing process does not have to entirely thwart your self-worth and path. It is part of the path. Here are things to remember while embarking on your healing journey:
You might hear this a lot, but taking one step at a time is important. It can be easy to feel defeated when you “fail” to make one giant step toward healing. This does not have to be the case.
When you struggle with trauma, even the little things can appear daunting. Reminding yourself of this is key to making little, daily decisions to love yourself.
For example, I find that when I go for a morning run, I feel amazing for the rest of the day. It releases endorphins and leaves me motivated to complete tasks and make more good decisions for myself.
Other things you can do are text a friend you trust and feel safe with or bake a recipe that a loved one made when you were a child. When you start small, it can impact the rest of your day and help you slowly work toward the bigger things.
Feel the Feelings
Oftentimes, it may feel easier to avoid the overwhelming emotions trauma causes. We might find crutches that distract us from healing and growing. We might avoid the situation altogether and suppress those emotions.
When you allow yourself to feel negative emotions, it also allows you to process them. Also, remember that feelings are valid, but sometimes our actions are not always valid. It’s important to express our emotions and find ways to channel them healthily.
There are also workbooks and self-help trauma books that can support you through this. Using these can help you hash out your experience in a structured, guided way. That is, along with feeling your emotions in what way works best for you.
So, if you feel like sobbing about what happened, it’s okay. Let yourself sit with it. Soothe yourself, acknowledge, and identify your emotion if it’s possible. You are already making progress by doing so!
Healing Isn’t Linear
Healing is a series of events, up and down, left and right. You may have heard this phrase before, and it holds truth. Even if we successfully overcome traumatic experiences, we can be hard on ourselves if things don’t go “right.” We might put high expectations on ourselves to reach certain milestones or completely be over something that happened.
Keep in mind that there are going to be forks in the road. There are going to be twists, turns, and setbacks.
Life doesn’t hold a predictable plot like a movie does. Life is full of bumpy roads and unknown paths. Sometimes we struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel when things do not go as expected, especially when it is something traumatizing.
Holding compassion and understanding for yourself is one of the most important things to do during this challenging time! So, if you recently made a mistake or something did not go as planned, be easy on yourself. Remind yourself that it’s part of the process. You are already living it.
Build Your Support System
In times of healing, seeking support from loved ones is crucial. It cannot be stressed enough that surrounding yourself with a human connection can aid you. Trauma can be very isolating, and it might not be easy to spend time with others at first. But creating a space for positive people in your life can greatly impact your journey.
Loneliness can creep in during the trauma-healing process, so as you experience it, be sure to cultivate your relationships. That means initiating plans, joining support groups, and asking for help.
This can create the opportunity to rebuild vulnerability in your relationships and strengthen your connections! Simply reaching out to a friend and expressing that you need someone to talk to can not only help you speak about your experience but also build that connection with them.
Support can be found in many places- seeking it is the first step. There is also the option to attend therapy if you need professional support.
Forgiveness. A very complicated, curvy experience many of us must face. While it is not easy, forgiving yourself is another concept to grasp while healing. Whether or not there was another party to forgive in your specific situation, you must also forgive yourself.
The situation you are healing from may unearth some harmful emotions toward yourself and cause you to blame yourself. But speak to yourself in a loving, nurturing way; as you would if you were a child. Consider imagining yourself as a child, crying and in need of comfort. Picture yourself now, holding that child in your arms and soothing them. Tell them that everything is going to be okay.
Our inner critic likes to poke and pick at the mistakes we may have made in the past and snap at allowing those things to happen to us. Or, not making the “perfect” decision at the time and how we could have done things differently.
Instead of being harsh with yourself, be gentle. Understand that you did the best you could with what you had and what you knew. Hold yourself with mercy and reassure yourself that you deserve forgiveness, too.
As you undergo this daunting yet rewarding experience, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is part of your story and your growth. We are rooting for you!
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