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.
Once we find the bravery to name our pain and begin to shine a light on the darkness of what happened to us, we can begin shift into a Survivor. What does this word mean for you? Does it make you feel brave? Does it speak to your ability to overcome the hardship you faced while you were a victim? Does it give you a sense of pride? A survivor can be someone who persevered, or someone who continues to give effort despite difficulties. There is more action associated with this phase. We are able to establish some control over our narrative, and ultimately, begin to heal. Allowing light of self-respect and dogged determination to enter the situation helps one cultivate hope for a brighter tomorrow. This space allows people to feel like they can breathe a bit easier and formulate more action in creating the next chapters of their story. It can allow an ability to observe some limiting behaviors and toxicity within and around them. This is an important time to practice awareness, gratitude and patience.
The transition from Victim to Survivor is difficult and can be tiring. Survivorship is merely a halfway point to the life we dream for ourselves. There is more healing that needs to be done to get to a place of Thriving and we will discuss this further in next month’s blog. Know you can slip in an out of Victim, Survivor or Thriver mindset easily. There is no shame in this occurrence, it can be as simple as your psyche saying there is an area you need to work on further. We at Survivors to Thrivers are here for you every step of the way. We are a loving community that seeks to uplift you during the hard times and celebrate even the smallest of your victories. Feel free to share your thoughts with us either by email or by posting on our social media channels.