Paying it forward is never far from my minds while working on SwanWaters, it is really at the heart of what we all do here.
Yesterday, a fellow survivor missed a telephone call we had arranged (I am not mentioning this to name and shame btw). Today she got back to me and explained she had been stuck in a conversation. When she had gone to see her gardener, she had ended up in a conversation with his wife. She turned out to be a survivor, and my friend was the first fellow survivor she came across. She ended up listening to 5 hours of this woman’s recollections and realizations about her abusive childhood. In short, 5 hours of healing.
“You remember what it was like when you first met other survivors” she explained.
Oh, Boy! Do I Remember!
Connecting to fellow survivors is so important on our healing journey. The realization of what was going on was only one part for me. Having the validation of others really helped me understand that there was nothing inherently wrong with me. The problems I was experiencing were the result of the toxicity of my family. Typing away at my thoughts and reading the responses of true understanding and support helped me plow through emotions and make lasting connections. Connections that lead me here, talking to you all on SwanWaters.
Sometimes, all you need is for someone to say:
I know what you are going through
It has been a while since those early days, and I have come a long way. I don’t need to talk about my youth all the time. When we started the site I understood that there are many survivors out there who are in need of the validation and support I craved once upon a time. For me, that was enough reason to keep going.
Since then I have learned a very important lesson: helping others increases my own healing. By explaining my insights, I solidified and expanded my own learning.
Paying it forward does not make me feel stuck in the past. It helps me to keep driving forward.