The further I move along my own healing journey, the more I learn what separates those who survive from the ones that thrive. I think it is time to let you in on my secret 😉
To live a good life it is not enough to remove what is wrong with it.
– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
When I started to become aware of the toxicity and abuse in my family, it did not take me long to decide on cutting all contact with my parents. Although removing that negativity from my life made a huge difference, it did not bring me the feeling of liberation that I had expected to feel. My life got a lot better, but not instantly AMAZING. It is not until some years later, that I feel my life has really shifted into gear. I am not just trying to keep things together, I am truly loving my life!
There is a really big push in society, to see ‘moving on’ and recovering quickly from trauma, abuse… as a sign of strength, courage. It isn’t strength or courage to ‘move on’ until it has all been processed and grieved fully. That takes considerable time. Moving on quickly, is suppression, avoidance and not dealing with it all fully. It takes wisdom to understand this. – Lilly Hope Lucario
So let me share with you the learning that helped me move from surviving to thriving!
Take Your Time!!!
I have added a few exclamation points, because seriously that is the most important thing. Recovering takes time. People may move along the healing path at different speeds, but they all need time. So make sure you are traveling at your own speed, and do not compare yourself to others. Stop thinking that “you should be moving on quicker”, that is one thought that will make your journey halt.
The Good, the Bad, and the Sticky
One thing that you need to realize, is that ignoring your memories will not get you anywhere. You may want to shut it all away, but the trouble of those vaults in your soul is that they will open up again one day. And on that day it will hit you all at once. Without having really dealt with your past, it will always be around to haunt you. So you are better off dealing with things head on.
Don’t feel you have to address every memory, flea and allergy at once though. Look at things that you feel you are ready for. As you start healing you will feel your strength gather to deal with more complex memories. Moreover, you are building a skills set to deal and heal.
Not a Solo Mission
Remember that quote at the start? To live a good life it is not enough to remove what is wrong with it. Well, when you removed the toxic person from your life, you left a hole. You need to fill that hole with new people. Making healthy, loving and healing connections is what thriving is all about. So surround yourself with people that can help you move along your path, and add new meaning to your life. Fellow-travelers, a counselor or coach, a loving partner, your children, your dog… anyone that adds positivity to your life has a place. They also all have a role to play.
Your dog is there for cuddles, your children are there to keep you grounded in the moment, your counselor is there only for a short time, and your community of peers is here to listen to you rant, vent, celebrate your victories, and give you feedback and validation.
Be kind to yourself and remember that to survive is not a destination, it is simply a part of the journey to thrive.