Sunday, July 06, 2008

Claiming Our Power

We survivors are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as victims. And we were. But....what if....we have more power NOW than we ever realized?

No, I'm not crazy! Really! I swear it! Mind you, had anyone said that to me ten years ago, I'd have run the other way—sure they were making fun of me or crazy or totally out of touch with my reality. And yet, today, I really believe it's true.

What do I mean and how can it possibly be true for all of us?

1) We have the power to choose how we think about situations in our lives.
We can choose to look for the good we can bring out of every situation in which we find ourselves. We do not have to just think about what's bad about the situation. And in looking at the good we can bring out of it, we empower ourselves to move forward.

2) We have the power to choose how we will respond—or to choose not to do so.
We can consciously choose whether we will fight or talk or take quiet action. We do not have to keep playing out old patterns or react to life. We can choose to be pro-active.

3) We have the power to decide we will believe—about ourselves and the world around us.
We took in messages, growing up and because of the abuse that probably do not serve us very well any longer. We can choose to challenge any that hold us back from becoming who we want to be and having the kind of life we want to have. We do not have to hold onto the shame and guilt. We can place it where it belongs—with our abusers.

4) We have the power to choose how we see ourselves.
We can choose to see ourselves as strong, capable, competent, wonderful, joyful human beings.

What if all of that is true? What if we really do have that kind of power? Then we go from being victims to being thrivers.

That can be a scary thought if being a victim has had any kind of emotional or real world payoff for us. And yet, if we choose to see ourselves as powerful, capable human beings then possibilities open up for us. We are likely to draw into our lives emotionally healthier people than before. People who can love and support us and see us as the wonderful human beings we really are.

If it's too hard to see these things as true NOW for you, try it as a What If game. What IF I had the power to choose....? What if I could be strong and capable and able to choose my reality?

I know that as I go to stay with my (down syndrome) son this week I will keep asking myself: What if it all works out wonderfully well? What if I am able to let go and say good-bye to a house that once held so many hopes and dreams for me? What if I am able to be strong enough to truly wish happiness for my ex-husband and all that is happening for him now? What if I am wise enough to know the right things to say and do with my son so that his transition to group housing does go smoothly? What if I am fully aware of how much stronger and wiser I am than I ever knew when I was still married?

Every survivor's blog I visit, no matter how much pain is on the page or how evident the feelings of helplessness sometimes, I also see incredible strength and resilience and a beautiful spirit. It's time for all of us to claim that wonderful truth—that no matter what anyone has ever told us about ourselves, we are joyful, beautiful, courageous and wonderful spirits here in this world and we are profoundly fortunate to have the internet so that we can connect with each other.

Wishing for each of you a true sense of your very real power—this week and always. Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),


Tamara said...

On my really good days I sometimes understand that because of the abuse I became stronger and more determined to survive. That in a (sad) way it was a positive in my life. It has made me look really hard at myself and know myself on a deeper level than most of my friends know themselves. And, yes, sometimes I can claim my power. When I reach a point where I don't crash hard after a good day and the good days outnumber the bad then I will truly be joyful.

Thanks for a great post.


gypsy-heart said...

April I think this may be my most favorite post of yours!

I so agree it is all about choices! We have the power to define ourselves!! :)

I have felt your energy evolve here..'tis a good energy I feel!

Peace of heart to you!

Kahless said...

Choice, yes we have it always. Well said. Doesnt mean it is not painful though!

I guess how do we know we make the right choice?

jumpinginpuddles said...

we are learning about choices and deciding to have a choice is a choice

keepers said...

great post and we agree 110%, each of us should be reclaiming our power as we move further on our healing path to recovery and thriving. There are so many things for us to reclaim along the way and each time we do it makes us a bit stronger and more resilient.

peace and blessings


April_optimist said...

Tamara, It will happen. It takes time. I still remember when I couldn't imagine ever being able to be happy--and now I am.

Gypsy Heart, Thank you.

Kahless, I think maybe it doesn't matter whether or not we always make the "right" choice. I think it's important that we begin to choose and learn through trial and error just like everyone else.

Jumping in Puddles, YES!!! And choosing not to make a choice, to just let life happen, is also a choice--even if we don't always see it that way. Good for you!

Keepers, Thank you.

Tempy said...

That was really powerful!

April_optimist said...

Tempy, Thank you.

Everyone, I really do intend to get over to read your blogs--but it will probably have to wait until I get back home.

Clueless said...

I really needed to read that second to the last paragraph about reading other blogs...I really needed that. I haven't been reading so much as I either haven't had the energy or have not been in a good place myself. But, tonight I strolled around and am glad I landed her. I'd like to go to sleep with those thoughts. Thank are an amazing woman!!!

April_optimist said...

Clueless, Never forget that YOU are an amazing person as well!