Survivors have learned how to protect themselves. Some of those ways may serve them well but other ways may not. I think about the very powerful wall I constructed to protect myself. For me the wall was built with stones called: self-reliance, competency, perfection, distrust, and distance. These “worked for me” in the sense that I was able to be “successful” and appear highly functioning. No one would guess the pain, fear, uncertainty, isolation and loneliness that existed behind that wall.
Being vulnerable means beginning to first look and see the wall you have built up and then to dismantle it. You may wonder: “Why did you tear down something that was so sturdy and had seemingly worked for you for so long?” The answer is: because it kept out the things that mattered the most to me. It kept out the life-giving things that we humans are created to enjoy: things like connection, kindness, understanding, love and peace.
Let me give you a specific example of what I was missing out on with my very thick wall. I had been part of a women’s group who sought to deepen our relationship with God. We have a saying we share around our circle each time we meet: “I am a beloved child of God . . . like you.” When I would say these words to someone else, I would emphasize the last part and not own my belovedness. Two things were going on here.
· First, feelings of unworthiness prevented me from accepting that I could be a beloved child of God. I absolutely believed that my friends were beloved but could not accept that about myself. One dear friend wanted to repeat it to me until I believed it. Sadly, when that wall is built up, it takes a long while to come down and I am the one who has to do the dismantling.
· Second, I was focused on giving versus receiving. I was so ingrained in the pattern of being there for others, I had difficulty asking for and receiving help or support. I sought to be self-sufficient but ended up alone in my head with my mind monsters. I needed to be open to new things and make time for individuals who loved me so I could be filled up with that nurturing love and support I desired. To see giving and receiving as a natural flow or even an unbroken circle that nurtures goodness in our lives is an important growth area for me.
Does the wall sound familiar? Have you created a thick layer of protection that may keep some undesirable things out but also keeps goodness from coming in? Begin to reflect on those stones in the wall, what would you name them?
Our openness to take a look at that wall and begin to wonder about its value is a step in growth. It is a sign of courage to move into a new way of living. Can you begin to give yourself the gift of growth this season? Can you receive the invitation to explore that wall that keeps some of the very things your heart desires out of reach? On December 15th, we will explore those stones that make up your wall and identify those things they may be keeping from you.
At Survivors to Thrivers, we are committed to encouraging and supporting you as you seek to embrace your healing and growth. We would love to hear how you experience your wall and what growth would look like for you. Please know we are here to cheer you on– every step of the way!
“I encourage every survivor to continue to do their healing work, own their truth, find supporters and claim their “Going-Forward Story” of light and hope.” ~ Tambry Harris
Quote from Awakening the Light: A Survivors to Thrivers Going-Forward Story available through our book tab or by clicking here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KK8YFDM