For me “Awakening the Light” means a few things. It means socially bringing light to a subject that many want to leave in the darkness. It means bringing light into our individual lives, spirits and hearts.
When I speak to various audiences, I often start with referencing Harry Potter’s Lord Voldemort. He is the main antagonist of the book series. I ask, “Lord Voldemort is also known as…”
A. He Who Cannot Be Named
B. The Dark Lord
D. All the above
This allows me to segue and ask, “Trauma and Abuse are topics that…”
A. Cannot Be Spoken About
B. Remain in the Dark
C. Lead to Death of spirit in a survivor if not addressed
D. All the above
We must shine light into the darkness! We must talk about trauma and abuse. That takes away its power! Let’s raise awareness around the significant issue of sexual abuse and how many people are hurting from it! Let’s no longer silence or shame the victims!
The latest statistic I have seen is, according to the figures from the Centers for Disease Control, more than 1 in 3 women (over 52 million people) have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. The figure for men is nearly 25 percent. This is horrifying but it also helps us know we are not alone. That is why Survivors to Thrivers exists, to bring hope and encouragement to you, our community, and let you know you are not alone. https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/sexual-violence/index.html
I see things along a continuum or timeline where experiences move forward in stages.
1. We experience abuse and/or trauma which leaves us feeling victimized. The victimization effects our minds, our bodies and our spirits. We are often left with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which can show up when we least expect it.
2. It is critical for the victim to seek a therapist or counselor who can provide a safe space to do the healing work. This means acknowledging and addressing the harm that has been done. There are many different approaches used to help with this process.
3. After looking back and healing the hurt parts of ourselves, we move into being a survivor. We have survived what happened to us. We have moved on in our lives. And yet, we may feel stuck in some ways. We may feel like we are going through the motions, not fully living our lives or even find ourselves repeating unhealthy patterns.
4. It is critical at this junction to look at what is keeping you “stuck”. These are your limiting beliefs. These beliefs were created because of what you experienced. They may have been told to you or they may be something you came up with to explain what happened to you. For me, one is that “I am not worthy”. I believe that as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I didn’t understand why no one came to my aid and I deduced that I must not be worthy of intervention.
5. Once we can identify what those limiting beliefs are, we can begin to claim our truth and re-write that narrative. We can see that we are absolutely worthy and can move into loving our whole selves. We can move into thriving.
No matter where you are along this continuum, you have weathered the storm and there is bright sunlight waiting to come through – there is hope of a brighter tomorrow.
I know the fear of the unknown. The unknown can keep us stuck at various points along the continuum. You may be questioning when timing is right:
1- to leave the situation
2- to recognize where you are stuck in unhealthy patterns (people pleaser, secret keeper, protector of status quo, perfectionist, self-defeatest … all are unhealthy and unhelpful)
3- to do your deeper work of examining limiting beliefs and breaking unhealthy patterns
Let me shine the light of love on you right now: You are worthy! You are whole and beautiful! The core of who you are is nothing but good! If you need to hear this… trauma and abuse are never the victim’s fault!
You deserve to stop taking care of other people and to take care of yourself. In our next blog we will talk about how.
At Survivors to Thrivers, we are always here for you. If you need encouragement and support, don’t hesitate to reach out to us by email (through Contact Us) or social media. We welcome your stories of moving from victim to survivor to thriver. Remember, your trauma is not your fault. You are beautiful, inspiring and have essential, inherent value. Thank you for being a part of this uplifting and empowering community.
Here’s to Thriving and Awakening Your Light!