You grieved. You processed. You followed all the self-help books. You may have even taken a course, or linked in with some big names in the happiness game.
You spent all your diet industry money on the happiness industry, in hopes that you could kill two birds with one stone. You followed Oprah, bought all her books, saw all her stuff and you even discovered ~ Dr. Brene Brown, and other mega-level celebrity academics ~ Now what?
Pull yourself out of the drama of other people who linger in it.
Exist the way our little flying buddies do ~ follow your instincts. Before you healed, you weren’t able to ’cause the world f*cked with you, but now? You’re back and tapped in to your gut (your emotional intelligence).
You must stand in the strength of your own knowledge that you deserve more than whatever it was that broke you.
Remember, I’m writing this for every student, every client and every survivor of trauma that I’ve ever met. And then some.
Trauma survivors are a special breed of human ~ stronger, wiser, funnier, emotionally smarter and more observant. It’s actually really cool to have a conversation with a survivor. It’s also terrifying for someone who’s never experienced it. Power on.
Over the course of thirty five years, I’ve seen more predators and sexual abusers than anyone should ~ but it’s out there. They are out there.
The dark side of happiness is that survivors will not be gitty without also being gritty. Some might.
Humans ARE a sliding scale of experiences. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to cookie cutter you.
I’ve also met some powerfully insightful, down to earth wonder women who were unapologetic and unafraid of the judgement of others.
There are more survivors of abuse of all kinds than you can imagine.
Most people don’t like to think about it, but then, there are some people who have to think about it because they don’t have a choice.
Survivors don’t want to stay stuck in the trauma of what happened to them. They want to go live their lives without the world telling them how they are supposed to be.
There is another side of trauma ~ the healed side. But that side will never look like the same as those who’ve never actually been through something.
PTSD changes people forever. That doesn’t mean it breaks them forever.
You know the crinkled paper theory, right? Take a plain piece of paper, crumble it into a ball, now smooth it out again. It will never look like it did before crushing it. It’s still a wonder of modern technology ~ so simple, yet, so effortlessly complex.
The key? We heal ~ then live differently than before. The most important part? It will look differently for everyone.
Some go full on neon over the top happy out loud because that’s what’s called to them, while others withdraw into themselves as a quieter sort of contentedness.
Both are scary. Both are valid and normal. Both are beautiful.
Me? I’m cranky. I fought that tooth and nail. Until I allowed myself to be myself. Now? I’m totally fine with it. I gave myself permission to be whom I am without trying to force happy down my own throat. Other people’s version of it anyway.
The thing is ~ society is putting a lot of pressure on people to be “loud” with our happiness and joy.
We have to be smiling like we just won the lottery in every picture. **Some manipulators are doing this intentionally to PROVE they our upbeat and happy when in truth, they are conning others ~ it’s a play.**
This is exactly why survivors will be more guarded. They will be more cautious when they meet new people.
They will also be master’s of the game in that they were forced to learn what not to wear in a relationship (at work or at home).
They will be aware of the BS a lot quicker than those who haven’t been there.
But here you are ~ fully ready to join the world again, but there’s that little voice in the back of your head saying, “be careful” ~
Cautious and curious while also more aware of others than most.
Trauma changes how you feel the world.
That doesn’t mean it ends it for you ~ it means a new beginning.
The success is in the details of that. Those self help books? Some give the details while others, broad strokes of imagination.
Here’s a bit from a self help book I wrote a while ago called Indellible Women:
- Write down your dream life
- Write down your every day life.
- Find the discrepencies ~ alter as necessary.
- Detail the stuff that’s still clinging to you (nightmares? toxic people cyber stalking you? you have to see the monster in court?)
- Then, write out solutions that will help you not let that stuff bother you anymore.
- Then exposure therapy to the fear. Expose yourself until you are numb to it or indifferent, which is better.
- Replace the routines that keep you grounded to the wrong things like picking up a new hobby or trying out something you always wanted to do.
- This one’s the tricky one ~ ignore as many advice givers as possible ~ find your own voice and your own POV. One of the hardest transitions for someone who lived in an abusive situation is being comfortable and safe in your own environment. Being alone is really important.
- Pick out times throughout your day when you can focus 100% on yourself. Date yourself. Be by yourself. This is particularly hard for single parents.
- Single parents get burnt out fast ~ then are forced to stay that way ~ while dealing with their new life, the old life tries to cling to you ~ cut the ties … this is hard, but necessary. Cut the ties with everything that doesn’t feel good in your heart.
Rejoining the world as a new leveled up version of yourself means learning new internal patterns and external action on those thought patterns.
Nike said it best ~ Just Do It. Take the leap. Happy or not. Just go for it.
Okay ~ late entry, but getting it in there under the wire.
In peace and patience with yourself,
(c) @happinessnoir @inkhoneypub @K.ArenHenryMiller