Here are 10 suggestions of things you can do to assist you in your healing process.
1. Give yourself Permission
Give yourself permission to make your own choices. Tell yourself “I can…” or “I don’t have to…” Give yourself permission to make either choice “O.K.” What is most important is to choose what works for you in the moment. You can also give yourself permission to change your mind at a later time.
2. Include other Possibilities
Allow opposite or contradictory thoughts and feelings to coexist. For example; you can remember and not remember your abuse… you can feel happy and sad at the same time… you can feel sexual and not feel like being sexual at the same time. By allowing contradictory thoughts and feelings to coexist you will reduce your anxiety about having to be one way or the other.
3. Acknowledge your Strengths and Attributes
Make a detailed list of all your strengths and attributes. Ask trusted family members and/or friends to tell you what they see as your strengths and attributes. Add them to your list. Keep your list handy and read it as often as you can. If you do not totally believe these strengths and attributes, remember to give yourself permission to have opposing thoughts and feelings about your strengths and attributes.
4. Validate Your Experience
Your experience is just that… your experience. Your abuse was something that happened to you. You are not bad, sick, crazy or damaged goods. By validating your experience you add another possibility to your thoughts and feelings. You may have opposing thoughts and feelings about your experience which you can give yourself permission to include.
5. Fuel Hope
Whether your hope for change and healing is a spark or a flame, find the fuel you need to make it grow. Find the way that works best for you to connect to the core part of you… your essence. For example; nature, spirituality, religion, music, yoga or anything else in between that feeds your soul. Give yourself permission to explore the activity of your choice that will add fuel to your fire of hope.
6. Engage the Here and Now
Triggers are something that involves one or more of our senses to create an emotional and physical response. Sometimes when triggers happen the reaction can be overwhelming. To reduce the intensity of the reaction pay attention to what is happening around you in that moment; notice where your body connects to the chair you are sitting in and how it supports you or notice all you can notice about your breath or rub your hands on your arms or legs with the pressure that is most comfortable or what ever works for you to bring your senses into this very moment.
Making conscious aware choices for what is in your best interest will help you gain your personal power back. Although the reaction to your triggers seemingly happens beyond your control, you can make a conscious aware choice as to what you do with your reaction. You can choose to stay present in the moment while engaging in whatever self-soothing skill works for you. You did not have power over the reaction to your trigger but you do have power over what you do and what you tell yourself about the reaction to your trigger.
8. Safe Place
Create a safe place in your minds eye. Imagine a place that would be your perfect safe place i.e. at the beach… in a meadow… on a mountain top… in a favorite house or room. Create a place that is the ideal place for you and engage all your senses as you create it. See all the different shapes and colours… hear all the sounds… smell all the smells… feel the perfect temperature and/or breeze… feel all the different textures… notice your emotion as you engage all your senses in your safe place. Practice going to your safe place as often as you can when you are comfortable. That way, when you get triggered or have an intense emotional reaction you will be able to go to your safe place much easier to self-nurture and calm.
9. Breathe in Colour
When you are experiencing uncomfortable emotions, sense into where you notice them in your body and then imagine what colour you would attribute to them. Then imagine what colour you would attribute to the comfortable emotion you would like to feel. As you exhale, imagine the colour or the uncomfortable emotion leaving your body with the exhalation. As you inhale, imagine the colour of the comfortable emotion going into your body and replacing the area where the uncomfortable emotion was exhaled from. Continue inhaling and exhaling your colours slowly and deliberately until the comfortable colour is more than the uncomfortable one… until you feel the comfortable emotion more than the uncomfortable one.
Many times clients have thought that acceptance means giving up. However, the opposite is true. Acceptance means allowing the way things are in this moment to be the way they are. If you give all aspects of yourself acceptance, you will experience a calming effect. That calmness will allow you the awareness and energy to make the choices that are in your best interest… it will allow you to engage in more self-nurturing activities… it will innately promote self-healing.
The above ten suggestions are meant as a guide. As with trying on new clothes it is important that you find the style and fit that works for you. Some of these suggestions you may connect with, some you may need to modify and some may not work at all.
There are many self-help books as well as suggestions from different professional people. Although they provide valuable information, tips and skills it may not be enough for you to experience the quality of life you desire.
To assist you in your healing process and be able to live a life that is happy, joyous and free, contact me for your free 10 minute consultation to see how we can best work together.