The key thing is that we are all different. I always find it useful to remember what a friend told me about arguments. How she had noticed that people arguing always take the best point they have and compare it to the worst point of the other person they are arguing with. To some extent, we are like this as well. We take the worst of what we feel like inside ourselves and compare it to the best of how others seem to be on the outside! This is a great way to make ourselves feel bad and as if we are a failure! We all have some areas of strength, even if we don’t value them as much as we could.
The next point is that much of how we feel is built up around what meaning we place on the situation triggering our upset. The more positive a meaning we can place on a situation, the more likely we are to cope better with it. This is a really difficult thing to do if we have been abused and suffer emotional trauma as a result. I wouldn’t wish the experience of being abused on my worst enemy. But, some people have drawn some positive out of the horrible experience by focussing on having a strong sense of justice and fairness, being resolved to be more compassionate themselves or in t=becoming involved in a community project to keep the neighbourhood safe. One person helped out stray animals at the local SPCA and found she had a lot of love to pour out for neglected and damaged animals. There are lots of possibilities when you think of it. But most important of all, whatever way you are able to work to be a better person despite the wrongs done to you, the more likely you are to speed up the rate of your own healing. This is why it is so important, also to try and stop ourselves from always being drawn into the negative because our own trust has been damaged by our experiences. Sometimes, we cant even begin to try and improve the meaning we place on events. In this situation, getting counselling for ourself is even more important. This can help us start the process of stopping the past from robbing us of our future.
Some of the ways we react and respond after we have suffered a traumatic experience can be seen as what one wise woman called “A normal response to an abnormal experience.” What she meant is that after we have felt ourselves violated and used by another person, it is not a sign of weakness, but rather a normal response to experience anxiety or depression and to find ourselves triggered by situations that remind us of our abuse. Just as virtually every person who has suffered abuse can be kind and understanding towards another person who has been abused, it is just as important to be kind and understanding to ourselves. It doesn’t help if we end up being our own worst critics. So maybe this week. Think of some ways you can be more understanding to yourself, of how you can enjoy some of the experiences the week brings and find something, however, small to celebrate in our own strength in coping with horrible experiences.