Good morning and Happy St. Patricks Day to all you lads and lasses out there celebrating your Celtic heritage as I am! I have corned beef, carrots, and potatoes slow cooking in the crockpot and my hubby will be adding traditional homemade Irish Soda Bread when he gets home. I can't wait!
What are you all doing today to celebrate the holiday? it's also Friday - FINALLY! So what pot of gold are you searching for this weekend to fill your life with abundant joy and purpose?
I will be promoting my new book, Fragments of Hope. If anyone hasn't snagged a preorder copy yet, you can do it on Amazon today!
It's a memoir of Loss, Survival, and Recovery through the eyes and heart of the main character - Hope Austin - as she hits rock bottom after not one heartbreaking loss, but two.
In this powerful story of rediscovering the woman she once was, Hope struggles with addiction, depression, and hopelessness as she comes face to face with each stage of grief.
Finding the strength to rewrite her story of tragedy through profoundly moving and deeply intimate chapters of finding grace, a second chance at love, and a purpose born from her journey through grief, she discovers that forgiveness was her turning page.
Now I know I might be biased because I wrote that line, lol, but it ended up being the most profoundly powerful sentence of the book.
Forgiveness was her turning page.
The topic of forgiveness is probably one of the hardest subjects and the most subjective material I could talk about. And I have refrained from bringing it up much because, honestly? I'm not there yet either.
There is not one person on this planet that hasn't needed to forgive or be forgiven, is there? We are human, and we screw up - often. And most of the time, depending on the hurt or the situation, we work our way through it, sometimes begrudgingly, but eventually, we understand that the unforgiveness clouds our vision and keeps us from being happy and tied to anger and resentment, so, we make the choice to not forget the transgression, but to forgive and move past it. And it's not always for the person who hurt us - a lot of times, it's for our own piece of mind.
Forgiving doesn't mean you have to expose yourself to the pain or the abuser ever again, and relationships might be lost, and family ties might be severed, but that's okay. It's okay to put up boundaries and say you did it once, shame on you. But I'm walking away to protect myself from it ever happening again. That is where you begin to take your power back.
But we don't always have the choice to walk away, do we?
What happens when that trauma was in the past? What if you were a child who experienced a painful trauma? It isn't like at five or six years old, you could just walk away and never look back. And sometimes those traumas didn't happen just once. They were repeated because there was no one there willing to stand up for us and protect us from it happening over and over again.
So what happens then? In my case, I learned at a very early age to feel that I was not enough.
Now I just finished my Trauma and Recovery Practitioner training this week, and that stepping stone was a huge milestone in becoming the woman I have always longed to be. The one that will help others through their trauma and shine a light in their darkness as they recover too.
It also brought up painful memories and traumas that I obviously have not healed from as much as I thought I had.
Now, this doesn't mean that I can't help others while I'm still healing. In fact, it probably gives me more clarity and awareness of your feelings and doubts and fears and the obstacles and roadblocks you are facing as you are maybe admitting that you need help to make it through all of this too.
I teach my message of hope through storytelling so that it makes it a little easier to know that you are not alone. And I share my trauma so you can better understand and heal from yours.
Wherever you are in your journey through healing your trauma, I will meet you right where you are. You are not 'less than' because of what happened to you, and you are more than enough for those who love you and celebrate the person you are today.
I'd like to share a little more today about what I learned in my Trauma Recovery training about not being enough because it opened my eyes to a new perspective, and I think it will help you on your journey too.
So what are some of the ways that we tell ourselves we are not enough?
Here are a few that come to mind for me -
I'm not smart enough.
I'm not creative enough.
I'm not rich enough.
I'm not good enough.
One of the things that instruction showed me was to question where these thoughts came from.
I want to take you on a journey to discover the answers to this question.
But first, I want to provide a space where you know that you are safe and free to let your mind slip back into the past for just a moment without any repercussions. Know that I'm right here and that nothing can harm you as you give permission to recall those thoughts and ideas that will lead you only to understanding and acting as a catalyst to change.
I want you to close your eyes and imagine you are standing in the middle of an open road. The sun is shining, and you can feel the warmth on your skin from the sun. I want you to follow the open road that lies in front of you.
Let's take a few steps forward and begin to walk slowly down that road, letting it lead you to the image of a place that brings you peace. Guiding you to a space that fills your mind with comfort. A place where you feel safe.
This is your anchor. This is your safe space. You can return to this moment in time anytime you need to if emotions arise or thoughts that threaten become too much. You are in control of your destiny. And nothing can hurt you in this space.
Now I want you to take a moment to clear your mind and think about when you were younger. Perhaps you were a child. Maybe in elementary school. Maybe older still.
Let's use the first example of not being smart enough.
I want to lead you with a few questions to ask that might provide more insight into where this feeling of not being smart enough came from.
Where did you learn that you weren't smart enough?
What age are you picturing yourself the first time you felt not smart enough?
What is your earliest memory of this feeling?
Who told you that you weren't smart enough? Whose voice is it that you can recall right now telling you that you are not capable, not smart enough?
Are there any traumas associated with feeling like you aren't smart enough?
See we've written that voice, that memory, that trauma into our storyline somehow, but it didn't come from within us. It originated from someone else.
Perhaps it wasn't intentional on the part of the other person, but we took it to heart and it became a shadow that covers our own voice, doesn't it?
Is it your belief that you're not smart enough? Or did it come from someone else?
Now you can move through each of the examples above and ask yourselves the same questions. And I want you to get out your journal and write the answers that come to you. Write about the emotions that each revelation evokes, because I think this is an important first step to realizing that we are not responsible for taking on those misguided thoughts and stories and traumas that others have wounded us or lied to us about.
I believe that this step is where we find our truth.
Now I want to talk a little more about the phrase - I'm not good enough - because I think this is the most important one of all.
So saying to yourself 'I'm not good enough' also feeds into 'I'm not worthy.'
This thought then begins to affect every relationship we have moving forward. You don't feel worthy of success. Worthy of making your life everything you want it to be. Worthy of a purpose. And most especially, you don't feel worthy of love.
In order to break through this destructive pattern of lies, we need to visualize again where this false version of ourselves came from.
What is your earliest memory of this feeling?
Who told you that you were not enough?
Was it someone who controlled you and told you that you would never be enough? That no one else could possibly want you?
Who showed you that you were not enough?
Perhaps it was an absent parent or an abusive parent that put their own needs and addictions first and you were neglected or abandoned by them.
Are there any traumas associated with this thought that is bringing up an intense, painful response from you in this very moment as your mind is reliving it as if it's happening in real-time?
Remember that you are safe. You are in your safe space unable to be hurt or touched. Take a deep breath. You are in control this time. You have the wisdom to shift how you react to this memory and you have the power to use this insight as an opportunity to learn and grow and break the cycle of this trauma.
It's so important, no matter how painful it might be to face these truths as the answers are revealed, to unpack these questions and answer them as honestly as you can. It is the only way out of the darkness to find ourselves standing in the light of wholeness.
The same instruction from my Trauma & Recovery training reminded us of the old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
She rephrased it to fit perfectly and I wanted to share it with you -
She says, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will fucking kill me."
Sometimes it feels like it doesn't it?
Physical wounds you can heal from, but those deep-seated emotional, mortally wounding words can destroy you from the inside out if you let them.
They will re-arise and trigger you when your mind remembers and you don't feel like enough - just like you felt the very first time they were ever said.
They fed you lies and told you it was your fault. You don't deserve good things. You don't deserve love. You are not, you are not, you are not...
But I want to remind you that those words - those lies - They come from people in your past, not here, not now.
So now that we know where the old stories of trauma originated and whose voices were behind those lies we were told, where do we go from here?
Learning techniques to understand and empower yourself to change doesn't make the pain disappear, but it will no longer be your driving force of the deeply wounded scars of your existence now.
It's taken years and decades of pain to take hold this deeply into your trauma and it will take time and an honest, mindful eye to be aware and to grow, putting your focus into the now and releasing the hold over the energy it once had power over.
Now I want you to envision that road from earlier. The road that led you to your safe place.
Let's suppose that we are standing now in front of two paths. The proverbial fork in the road with two choices before us.
One of those choices leads to the path you've been down before. The one that keeps you stuck, terrified to face your truth, and tethered to a past so horrific you never thought you'd make it out of alive.
If you choose this path again, you will certainly continue to spiral into depression and anxiety, and panic that swallows you whole.
But those emotions and feelings don't have to take precedence over your life any longer.
You're here. You did make it out of the dark. And you are powerful enough and wise enough because of the lessons you've learned now to choose differently this time.
To choose the road less traveled. The only road that leads to changing your life and rewriting your story to heal.
So I'm asking you today to make a choice for yourself. To stand up and admit to yourself out loud that you are enough. You always have been my friend. And it's time we start believing it.
Will you choose empowerment and change or will you remain in suffering and denial through victimhood?
There will be obstacles that get in your way and try to derail you, even on this new path. And there will still be critics and judgments from others and whispers of the past that remind you and trigger you. But you can make changes every day towards the vision of your new self. The person I know that you are transforming into right now because you've taken this first step to change.
You've been through the hard stuff before, right? So you already know you can do it again.
And as you're dealing with and unearthing the pain to heal, it will get real. It will feel so, so hard again, and we might question if it's worth it to keep going.
I mean, it was easier when we just hid in the dark for a while where we were safe, right? In the moment, that statement was true.
But it no longer serves us now. It's time to face reality and speak the truth, no matter how hard, or how painful that may be.
I want to remind you of something also. I understand, believe me, I do, that this will not be an easy road to walk down. I am scared at times that I will fall. That I will make yet another wrong choice and find myself right back where I started. We are smarter than that this time. We are stronger than that now. But it doesn't mean we don't still have doubts or fears or questions that tempt us to stay stuck.
In all honestly, I question sometimes how the hell did I get here? How did this become part of my story? Because it was meant to, that's why.
No matter how difficult it is to understand sometimes, I've been hearing so many people saying it was NEVER your fault for what happened to you. It is ALWAYS the broken person who caused the trauma that is responsible for this mess that has become your tragic storyline.
What IS our responsibility is to own our truth. Seek answers and ways to cope and deal with the effects of that trauma, and start penning new lines, start walking new paths that push us towards healing and wholeness.
And I'm here to tell you that despite how you feel at this very moment, it is possible.
I love you. I believe in you. And I'm here to help. I want to remind you of something I said earlier as we're moving through this process of healing - get yourself a journal and write your thoughts down when maybe you can't say them aloud. Hold them close to your heart and know that within that moment it is your safe space and no one can take your voice or silence your words any longer. This is the space I'm in. I feel invisible sometimes as the pain is resurfacing. I feel as if I'm the only one going through this and feel so alone like no one else could possibly understand my pain. But it's simply not true.
And this lie is what's kept me from revealing or admitting my truth for so many years. I'm terrified of what others that caused the pain and the trauma (some that are still in my life) will think or will say. But I simply cannot allow them to hold power over my voice any longer and I'm tired of hiding behind the words that I was not allowed to say to protect themselves. Where were they when I needed to be protected? They were nowhere to be found. So why would I think it would be different now? I'm realizing that no one is coming to save me. No one is going to fix this. And unless I speak it out loud, no one even knows I'm suffering or stuck in this space trying to figure it out on my own. It's time to step up for ourselves and give ourselves permission to speak our truth. To admit the things that have happened without shame or fear of not being seen or heard in that space. You don't need anyone else to believe you or to know the details of your story (except maybe your therapist, lol) in order to speak the truth and unearth the unspeakable and sometimes hidden traumas of your past. For me, some of these things that are being revealed or unearthed are happening unexpectedly and out of the blue. I think it's because I've never given myself permission to feel it all. I was always told that it doesn't do any good to dwell on the past and we should just move on. Or we shouldn't talk about certain things that happened because it might upset that person or make them look bad. Well, excuse the fuck out of me! That very statement is the answer to why I have never felt enough. Why I have never felt like what I went through matters to anyone but me. And why my voice has been silenced and I've never been able to speak my truth. And I am so sick of hiding and not being allowed to share ALL of me with the people I love and that really matter - the ones that I kept those parts of myself hidden from that never had anything to do with my trauma and deserve so much more from me. I listened to Mel Robbins talk on her podcast this week about betrayal and one of the things she mentioned is that it seems that just when you are ready to level up. Just when you are ready to change and move into your true authentic self, the Universe finds a way to bring anything hidden or undealt with from your past and move it into the RIGHT NOW which forces you to finally face that truth to move. I thought it funny that she basically said sometimes, you may need a shovel to deal with all the shit that is unearthed through this process. I texted my husband this profound realization and he says "Probably true. So, start by helping yourself!" My response was "Can I borrow a shovel?"
And at that moment he understood the weight of those words.
The heaviness I carry in admitting that I can't do this on my own and that I need help and support in unpacking my baggage and sorting through the things I need to leave behind and the things I want to take with me as lessons in my new life once I untether and cut the ties from my past.
And thankfully, he provides me with that space to unleash those demons no matter how painful they are to face and I know he will be there to pick up the pieces with unconditional love and support in my healing journey. I think that he is literally the only person in my entire life that has loved me without conditions and met me where I am in spite of my messiness. For that, I am eternally grateful.
And I also think it's why I can look to the future and believe that I don't know HOW I'm going to get through all of this, but I know that eventually, I will be whole.
So if you don't have someone in your life that has ever allowed you the freedom to live or love without conditions being placed on you, I am allowing you, giving you permission to believe in that same hope.
The key point here is that you will have to come to the realization within yourself that you don't need me to say it though. You can, and must give YOURSELF permission because you are worth it. And you, too, will get through to the other side and become whole once again.
Once you've learned the lessons, and your reason for the experience, then that season is over and you are free to live as you were destined to live free from the past and changed in ways you never expected you still could.
I want to close by reading you a quote I recently wrote that helps me on my own journey.
You are the author of your own life story.
A journey that never truly ends.
How will the final chapter unfold?
That depends on the truth you have penned.
The road to changing your life and rewriting the story of who you want to become without being tethered to a past that no longer has any purpose in your life now will teach you the lessons and then give you the strength to move on.
Loving yourself despite your trauma and learning to forgive yourself is the path to that freedom.
Now is the time to make the choice - which path on the road will you choose?
Your next move after that is to take one step forward, then jump. And I'll be beside you every step of the way.
You have permission now to believe that you are enough - even when your trauma once told you differently.
You don't need to believe those lies on this new path. They have no place in your life anymore.
It's time to Seek Your Truth.
It's time to Find Your Voice.
Forgiveness is your turning page.
Until next time,
I am unconditionally yours,
All my love,