You are the heroine of your own story.
No matter what circumstances, no matter what has happened to you, the end of the story — the way that you or I work with what we’ve been handed in life is what matters.
One of my clients, struggling in the moment, wondered aloud if focusing on trauma was just keeping her stuck, unable to move forward. Her wondering really struck me — I’ve certainly felt that way over the years and wanted desperately to just. be. over. it. I’ve taken the road of, “If I ignore the pain, the anger, and the anxiety and just focus on the positive and my strengths — it will just go away.”
The avoidance strategy doesn’t work.
It is so very human to want to avoid pain, to avoid feeling, to avoid facing the demons that lurk in the unexplored darkness of our body psyche. We fear that we will be swallowed whole, that pain will consume us, that we will never emerge from what might feel like a bottomless pit.
When we employ the avoidance strategy, the energy of incomplete trauma, hurt, anger and grief doesn’t go anywhere — it’s in our body psyches, wreaking havoc. How so? It is exhausting to compartmentalize and hold our suffering in the body — often, this can show up as physical illness or compulsive ways of numbing (to keep the pain at bay) through food, substances, or activities that seem to soothe, but often harm us further. It can arrive as chronic anxiety and racing thoughts. Insomnia. Compulsive overwork and/or busyness.
My experience is that avoidance doesn’t feel like wholeness. It doesn’t feel like vitality and aliveness. It doesn’t feel like we are truly expressing or living the fullness of who we are. It’s restless, like a hungry ghost. The truth is that you, and I, we are much more than the trauma and hurts that we have experienced. At the same time, the energy and emotion of trauma and toxic stress that goes unaddressed is part of us, part of our narrative: it is energy that we need to integrate in order to be the heroine and write the ending of our story.
It’s a labor of love, our healing.
We have to be willing to trust the process and ourselves. We have to be willing to believe that if we stay with ourselves and with the hurt, if we let ourselves feel the grief, the anger and the pain that it won’t consume us and in fact will strengthen us and give us back more of what was ours to begin with: our light, our energy, our vitality and our clarity.
Because it will.
You are so much more than the trauma or hurt that lives in your body. Be courageous. Be willing to turn and face the patterns, the old wounds, and the discomfort directly — to feel it, to own it, and to integrate it. It’s not about staying stuck in the suffering. Labor in love to reclaim more of your light, your energy, your vitality, and your clarity.