…. THROUGH it, to THRIVE. This is not just a catchy little blog title; it is THE TRUTH. What do you have in your life right now that YOU are moving through? A new work situation? A stressful health concern? Interaction with a difficult person? The end of a (toxic) relationship? While the focus here will mostly be surrounding the end of toxic relationships and the people we’ve been involved with, and HOW to truly move through the healing process, it is likely there will be bits and pieces that are applicable to ANY situation that causes us difficulty. For the most part, it comes down to at the very foundation of everything, understanding WE hold more power than is often recognized. So many of us unknowingly give up our power to situations, other people, events, our pasts…. and there are very deeply ingrained reasons for this of course. Yet, when we are able to fully embrace the internal strengthening power within ourselves, we are able to navigate this life without so much baggage (oh, that word!) weighing us down and coloring our choices. Sometimes we live through, and move into thriving just one, single, simple moment at a time.
” When we realize WE have the ultimate control over our thoughts and emotions which drive behavior instead of ‘what is being done to us’, WE can take charge, move through, make BETTER choices, and adopt new, healthier patterns of thought, choice, and behavior. This is REQUIRED to move through the healing process, into THRIVING.” – L.A. Gilliam
I know this is easier said than done, just like most things in life that are challenging. Let me ask you this: How much TIME are you spending ruminating on what was done ‘to you’? How much time, energy, and emotion are you spending on replaying words, scenarios, events…. from the past? Oh yes, we might – especially in the beginning of this healing process – replay words and events over and over and over. This is PART of the healing process, very normal, to be expected, and can be freeing in a way, as we allow ourselves rightful emotions and OUTRAGE at our experiences. When we feel that ANGER, when we feel that deep disappointment, we are allowing ourselves the dignity and HONOR of our very selves and the difficult (if not horrible, or horrifying) events we have experienced. We have a supreme right to these feelings of course, and feel them, we must. To a point.
As you navigate the often messy, often twisting and winding healing path, it will really pay to eventually be able to ANALYZE and consider just how much time, energy, and emotion you are dedicating to what was done and/or said. As mentioned above, especially in the early stages of healing, we may spend hours each day (or so it seems) replaying our recent experiences. That pain is acute, often bringing us to our knees in emotional turmoil we don’t believe will ever end, but it does NOT have power over you. Honor that pain, feel it, and then make some decisions.
- Allow yourself the time to fully FEEL the anger, the hurt, the disappointment, the fear, the ___________ (whatever emotion may come up for you). Buried emotions and feelings ONLY resurface if we do not take the time to genuinely FEEL. Recognize that your feelings are important, they have VALUE (just as you do!), but they do NOT have power over you.
- Recognize (and even write down, journal, list) the events and words done and said to you. Allow the REALITY and truth of what was said and done to LIVE authentically. Do not sugar coat anything done or said. Do NOT explain it away, or make excuses. Many of us have done way too much of that, for way too long.
- As you allow the feelings to come, allow them also TO GO. We simply cannot stay in a perpetual state of highly charged emotions (positive OR negative). We must eventually LEARN how to moderate very strong feelings and emotions. The time frame for this will be different for everyone, however pay CLOSE attention to how much time you are spending with your negative emotions.
- Accept that FEELINGS ARE NOT FACTS. Do not LIVE in your feelings for too long, but understand they are a result of the FACTS borne from the relationship / situation in which you were involved. You can see these feelings, wave to them and say, “I see you there. I will honor you. I will accept you. I will also know in my heart, YOU have no power over me. The only power you have, is power I GIVE YOU.” Feel those emotions, but understand, feelings are NOT facts. These are very two very distinct things, and during times of deeply acute emotional pain, the line of distinction blurs. Over time, the line will solidify, and it will take work on your part to strengthen this line.
- Begin a self care regime: A. Take time daily to walk in the natural environment (as weather permits), even if you have to drive to a park, or nature trail. Do this as often as possible; daily is best. B. Share your experiences with supportive friends and family, but do NOT expect them to be able to fully understand the depth of your experience. The only way someone can fully know what we’ve been through is to have been through it themselves. Often, well meaning friends and family ‘just don’t get it’ and may become frustrated at their inability to truly support us. Use wise discernment when choosing whom with to share. C. Write. Journal. Make lists. Get those feelings OUT of your head and heart. Writing, drawing, and creative outlets can be a FANTASTIC way to RELEASE pain. D. Start dreaming again, and goal setting. What dreams have you pushed to the side? What activities or hobbies have you always wanted to try? What clubs or organizations have you thought about joining? NOW is the time. Bring yourself back to a time when the world seemed SO OPEN to wonderful possibilities. No, you are not the same person, YET, the world is open and willing and a beautiful, willing place to welcome you, your dreams, and goals. E. Volunteer. Somewhere. Anywhere. Love animals? Check out local shelter / rescue volunteer opportunities. Have a giving heart for those less fortunate? Research local shelters, retirement homes, rehabilitation centers, and see what might be to your liking. GIVING to others, particularly those less fortunate, BRINGS JOY. Pure, intrinsic, GENUINE joy. F. Practice GRATITUDE daily. “What?”, you say. “Can’t you see I’m barely making it through the day?”, you say. Indeed. I CAN SEE. This too, I know. I know what THIS feels like. I also know what it brings to our lives to appreciate as MUCH as possible, as OFTEN as possible. Make this a daily practice, perhaps along with journaling. If you can appreciate a pretty sky, the rain that waters our earth, the way that first cup of coffee or tea (or whatever you choose) tastes in the morning, the feel and even comfort our beds and pillows bring at the end of a long day, a beautiful and moving piece of music, a car that starts every single time we turn the key, the bird we spy sitting on our feeder…. JUST ANYTHING (!!!) – you must trust me that if you can do this – your life will improve significantly. What we focus on GROWS; focus on gratitude.
So, finally, I ask you…. where are YOU, on this journey? What are YOU moving through right this moment? How much of your time, energy, emotion, and effort are you giving ‘it’? How much of your time, energy, emotion, and effort are you giving YOURSELF? Ahhhhh, the crux of it all…. Where, and to whom, are you placing your most valuable resources, yourself? Might be time to make some adjustments, friends. And this is perfectly okay. We live through, and move into thriving, sometimes just one, single, simple moment at a time. Best, L.A.