Healing Struggles

During my healing process, I feel as though I’ve struggled with several things. The struggle began with the external. For a long time, I would cry or panic whenever someone touched me or when I was expected to touch someone else. It was very detrimental to both my friendships and relationships.

For example, feeling safe and comfortable with hugging people, touching people and being intimate in my relationships felt practically impossible. But that took a good deal of learning to establish and recognize my personal boundaries (and let people know when they needed to back off from those boundaries!) as well.

I also found a lot of help with that through the yoga studio I practice at most frequently. They emphasize partner work during their classes. Being in a safe and secure setting and being touched in ways that are not sexually charged and are really just for healing and yoga and stretching on a consistent basis really helped me to feel more comfortable with my body. With what was going on inside and around my body. And with learning when to say no, and when to say yes, to safe and loving touch.

Learning to trust myself has been another enormous struggle. At first I thought the problem was learning to trust other people. But then I realized that in order to trust other people, we have to trust ourselves first. After all, if we can’t even trust ourselves, then who else CAN we trust?! Again, I felt like yoga was a huge help here. If I could master a new pose and trust my body to support me, and trust myself to make the right decisions for my body and health, then I could trust myself in other areas of my life as well. Travel also cultivated this sense of adaptivity and trust in myself. When we move outside of our day to day circumstances and see what we are truly capable of, we can literally astonish ourselves.

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Because everyone should watch this

I watched this Ted Talks just now and I think the speaker makes some wonderful points. I broke into tears in the middle of this video. In order to end gender violence, we need to change our ideas about some things. As bystanders, we need to speak up every moment we see or hear sexist, racist, or bigoted comments. We can’t just stand up for people in the event of abuse, the development of abusers starts long before that. As a culture, we need to change our attitudes. After all,

“In the end what hurts the most is not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more true statement. What broke me most throughout my struggles with abuse and violence was not the actual abuse itself. It was watching as so many friends turned their backs on me and walked away. Whether they called me crazy or played my story off as me being overdramatic, I felt shattered by their complete disbelief in me and my experience. After my abusive ex, I lost nearly every “friend” I had. Every male friend anyways. I even felt betrayed by my best friend, who continued to hang out with my abuser afterwards. Even she thought that I exaggerated. That I stretched the truth. I sometimes feel like I will never recover from that.

But I can say this much. I never would have spent so many nights completely alone and without company if my story were not true. I could’ve just denied it. Could’ve just assimilated back into my party crowd of friends like nothing ever happened and pretended like everything was okay. Many people do just that.

But my story is true, and I will never deny that again.

I never would have watched as all my so-called friends walked away from me if my story were not true. I would not have spent four straight months of crying every day if my story were not true. I would not have spent months in counseling, years blogging, undergone treatment through yoga therapy, changed my phone number, moved away, cut off all ties with certain people and traveled for months at a time in pursuit of some shred of hope and happiness if my story were not true.

This is not just a woman’s issue, it’s everybody’s issue. Help break the silence:

http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue.html

Be Kind to Yourself

Recently in the blog, I’ve been exploring the idea of forgiveness.  Of forgiving yourself, and of forgiving the people who’ve hurt you.  Here’s something to keep in mind as you struggle with the issue of self-judgment:

“My beloved child

Break your heart no longer.

Each time you judge yourself you break your own heart.

You stop feeding on the love which is the wellspring of your vitality…

Let go.

And breathe – into the the goodness that you are.”

Post that above your bathroom mirror, so that every time you see yourself, you’ll view yourself with kindness.