The Hardest Part of the Journey
For a long time, I thought the hardest part about trauma recovery was allowing the expression of past emotions. I fought and defended against them for most of my adult life in an attempt to avoid the inevitable. But once I allowed the emotions in, little by little, I saw the improvement in my physical health and well-being. I saw the occasional glimpses of peace and knew I was doing the right thing. It was painful to feel the emotions, but I have finally come to realize, it won’t kill me. (And no, that is not just a phrase. I really thought it would kill me.)
But another part of recovery seems to be taking its place at the top of the hierarchy of apparent impossibility. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier or simpler. It is just as hard as the first time. Maybe it is my stubborn nature. Maybe it is my comfort with staying in my head. But changing my mind has been quite a struggle.
My belief systems have always been pretty solid. Honestly, when I was growing up, there was a ton of evidence supporting them. Nobody is trustworthy. The universe will not support me. I am not worthy of love or anything else for that matter. All these beliefs were supported in my daily life. So when I became an adult, there was no reason to question them. I was keenly aware of the continuing evidence to support my beliefs. And anything that countered my beliefs was explained away.
When I met a loving, trustworthy person, I convinced myself they were faking it. I was sure they had an ulterior motive behind all that love. They must be getting something for it. When something positive happened, I didn’t consider the possibility that I was supported. I just assumed it was my own efforts that made it happen. If someone walked in to my life who wanted to love me for me, I dismissed them as crazy or stupid because nobody would ever want to do that.
It Won’t Happen Without My Help
And so my beliefs remained unchanged … until 9 years ago. When I started my recovery journey, I had no idea what I was in for, but I knew I could not continue my approach to life. The effort to change my mind has been nothing short of moving mountains. I have spent many hours negotiating with my higher self. Do I really have to put forth so much effort? Do I really have to change my beliefs? Can’t I just process the trauma and find peace? That sounds like enough, doesn’t it?
But in reality, the trauma cannot completely process with the old beliefs in place. So I have to do the work. I have to change my mind. And that starts with a simple, yet seemingly impossible task. I have to crack open the door to a new perspective. I have to consider the possibility that things in the world might be different than what I think. And this realization is world-crashing. This realization can shatter a sense of self in a moment. But without it, the shift cannot be completed.
So I hold open the possibility that I might be wrong, or at least exaggerating. I begrudgingly begin the process of actively looking for what I have been explaining away for years. I search for evidence that proves a different truth. And at first, it is horrible. At first, I don’t want to see it. And then, I see it. And then, I see it again. And after I see it a hundred times, I start to accept it as a possibility. And after I see it another hundred times, I consider that it might be more true than my old truth. And at some point in this process, it becomes my new truth.
This is difficult. And it only happens with a conscious and willful effort on my part. I have hoped it would come another way, but it never does. So I spend time with this concept. And I notice when I see something as an indisputable fact. And I crack that door open. I allow the possibility that it might not be the one truth. And my mind changes. And so does my life.
If you are looking to change your mind, I offer one-on-one survivor guidance sessions to help you build awareness in your life.