Personality is one of the biggest paradoxes in humanity. Typically, it gets explained in absolute terms. Someone is a happy person, another is angry, she is larger than life, while he is nervous. It often leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you constantly hear people say or tell yourself that you are stupid or selfish, the label gains power and soon it is the primary lens you view yourself. At times you might feel frustrated by people’s over generalizations of you and correct them. Hearing your partner ask “Why are you angry all of the time?” could lead you to rebut “I’m not angry all of the time, but I am frustrated by not feeling like I’m living up to expectations.” If we could look at personality as more nuanced then we could have discussions that could lead to collective healing and understanding.
Thankfully, in the early 1990s a psychological school of thought arose called Internal Family Systems. This approach looks at one’s personality like a mosaic. Much like how a mosaic is a picture created by small pieces of glass, tile, stone or even pictures to create one large artwork., so too is the masterpiece that is our personality. We are quick to see the large image, but with patience one can see the beauty and the purpose with the placement of each smaller item.
Internal Family Systems states each person is comprised of number of distinct subpersonalities.When triggered each subpersonality affects how we process and interact with the world around us.A great example is the Pixar movie Inside Out, written as a love letter by a parent trying to understand the inner world of their tween daughter.The movie’s main character Riley has her personality and experience of the world driven by the five subpersonalities: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust.There were even a few moments in the movie when we saw the inner world of the mother and father, and how those subpersonalities impacted their relationship!
“I feel like I have hit a plateau in my life and I can’t reach that next level of living.”
This is a common statement for many survivors of sexual abuse and other traumatic experiences. Does this resonate with you? If so, you might be in need of creating that bridge from Survivor to Thriver. Survivor-Mindset entails a focus on understanding your experience, discovering what matters to you and healing. Thriver-Mindset is the courage to accept the trauma and finding a place where one can coexist with both the darkness and enlightenment you gained from the experience.
A thriver realizes they aren’t the same person they were before the trauma. Instead they have become a stronger and more inspirational individual who can steadfastly traverse a shifting environment guided by peace and light. It can feel easier said than done. Start small and speak kindly to yourself.
It only takes a moment for something treasured to break. Once it’s broken the item will never be the same again. You possess a special gift, choice. You get to choose what to do with this broken item. Do you throw it away and replace it, or do you attempt to piece it back together? If you opt to reassemble the object, do you showcase, use, or hide it? This is similar to people who face trauma like sexual abuse. We have made the choice to continuing existing, but are we really able to live in our new skin? How do you interact with this new you? Are you showcasing your strength, interacting with the world with various masks on, or are you trying to keep in the background still feeling broken?
One term associated with the transition from Survivor to Thriver is Resiliency. Merriam-Webster defines resiliency as the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress. This speaks to the ability to adjust after trauma. Continuing the transformation from Victim to Survivor to Thriver one is able to reclaim direction and strength.
Earlier in the month we discussed the journey from victim to survivor. This is a period to shift from a place of passive protection from pain into a place of forward movement and healing. During this transition, one reclaims their voice and establishes their new phase of life. This is the time to practice active discovery within yourself.
Earlier, we asked what you thought of when you heard the terms Victim and Survivor. Did you feel sparked to journal your thoughts? If so, begin by lighting a candle and inviting the divine to surround you during the work. Next, retrieve your journal and take a few minutes to reflect upon what you wrote, or you may choose to begin writing down insights. At Survivors to Thrivers we promote freedom of religion and spiritual, so walk in your truth and know its ok to adjust language to better fit your spiritual path. For example, if you are humanist or agnostic, you may choose to light the candle to symbolize peace, hope and the process of allowing light to shine through the darkness.
Words have power. They help influence how we present ourselves to the outside world, and likewise external terms can profoundly influence our relationship with ourselves. For the next two series of blogs, we will explore a few labels applied to people who experienced sexual assault and how these terms impact our psyche. In order to fully reclaim our voice and power we must realize how the terms surrounding these transitions color our perceptions and contribute to potential limiting beliefs. To truly appreciate the light, sometimes we must better understand the dark. Be brave and openminded as you go on this journey with us.
What do you think about when you hear the word Victim? Does it conjure up thoughts of shame, pain, weakness, and helplessness? When we are a victim, thoughts and actions are happening to us. We are in a place of enduring. Merriam-Webster defines endure as “to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding.” This is a passive state where victims are guarding themselves and outlast the pain. Yet, it is important to notice, the victim is not to be blamed for being in this poor situation. This is the time we must be the kindest to ourselves and allow for self-soothing.
Welcome to Going Forward: Survivors to Thrivers, a community built to empower individuals who have experienced sexual abuse. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, many have wondered what comes next. We have broken our silence and worked to heal our wounds both visible and deeply personal. Are you feeling caught between worlds of light and dark, grinding your gears to get to that next plane of living? Join our community of people striving to live fully realized lives as Thrivers.
Earlier in the month you got to know us. Now we would like to meet you. Best part, you can do this exercise in a comfortable space without having to leave your tech bubble. You are going to take a subliminal trip to introduce yourself to Tambry and in the process possible gain some new insights or reframing about yourself. We ask that you approach this exercise with an open heart and a spirit that is both curious and loving.
Welcome to Going Forward: Survivors to Thrivers, a community built to empower individuals who have experienced sexual abuse. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, many have wondered what comes next. We have broken our silence and worked to heal our wounds both visible and deeply personal. With this intense work to heal the hurt, people shift from a place of victimhood to survivor. So that’s it! We’re done, never to face the specter of our trauma again, Right?! Well… not always. Some lucky individuals are able to reclaim their life and move on. Yet many others enter a place of feeling stuck. Caught between worlds of light and dark, grinding one’s gears to get to that next plane of living. Most people are somewhere between these two scenarios. Ready to better understand and adjust our limiting beliefs, but need a solid support system to help facilitate a shift into healthier and empowered patterns.
This is where Going Forward: Survivors to Thrivers comes in. The women behind this movement have all been where you might be now. We discovered a rich power within us, which wasn’t always able to manifest as we hoped. We went through the therapy and work to heal. We started to discover voices we feared might have been lost forever. We took strides to shift our lives into greater purpose, but something still was missing.
We were existing, but were we really living? How could we go beyond the fight of survivorship, to a place where we could realize our untapped potential and Thrive? The answer we discovered was a blend of community and holistic wellness. We found commonality in our stories and innermost concerns. We discovered that when we found a balance between the darkness of our hurts, while creating space for healing light, we could create hope for a truly vibrant tomorrow. This allowed us to be vivacious and fulfilled individuals; we could dance in the light and truly Go Forward.