Saturday, January 14, 2006

More Alike Than Different

There is one thing I’d like to make clear. I am a survivor of abuse writing for other survivors of abuse—particularly sexual abuse. At the same time, it’s important to know that what I write about applies to lots of people, not just survivors.

Everyone, at times, feels afraid or unsure or inadequate. Everyone, at times, feels as if they should be wiser or better looking or more self-assured or more organized or less afraid. We are, in the end, more like one another—survivors AND non-survivors—than we are different. And whatever the impact of the abuse, we do not have to stay afraid or traumatized forever. We can grow into confident, happy, healthy individuals.

I believe that I am not only emotionally healthier than I was ten years ago; I believe that I am physically healthier as well. Trying not to feel, trying not to face one’s fears takes a tremendous amount of energy. We may find ourselves tired or often sick because our energy goes into just getting through the day and there are no resources left over for our bodies to fend off illness. As we heal, as we let go of our fears and face them, as we take action to change our lives, we free up energy to keep us physically healthier. If we go from seeing ourselves as damaged goods to seeing ourselves as whole and healthy individuals, it may impact us physically in ways scientists don’t fully understand.

What I am trying to say is that no matter how things may look in your life right now, there is always HOPE. Over the coming days and months and years, I hope to share with you some of the things that have made a difference in my life and the lives of others. I hope to share with you the ways I climbed out of darkness and into a life that is far better than I once would have thought possible.

So, everyone—survivors and non-survivors alike—welcome! Now, I would suggest that you--survivors and non-survivors alike--make a list of your favorite things. If it is safe for you to do so, make a physical list. If not, hold it clearly in your mind. What makes you smile? What do you love?

Next, make a list of your strengths and your successes. Change begins with the belief that it is possible and that we can do it. Your strengths and your past successes are part of creating that belief. No matter who you are, you bring strengths and success to the table. Know what they are so that you can begin o believe in yourself and your ability to create the life you want to have.

Until next time, safe and gentle (((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))).

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