“What’s harder? Accepting that you are happy and blessed or resonating with your trauma?”
This is a question that found its way into my notes at some point in 2021.
All of a sudden there was light at the end of the tunnel – after a dark period of loss and despair (Let’s call it “the year 2020”). I had a new job in sight and a relationship I was in (and still am) turned out to be a safe haven for…my chaos, my love and my growth….
Unwittingly I had arrived in a place where I am ‘allowed’ to flourish – in all shapes and colors.
“Yesterday it rained and today the sun is shining. One has to deal with that.”
This quote is written on the website of a coaching “agency” I had the chance to work with last year. I had the chance to get support by an art therapist within the framework of a ‘coaching & consultation for creatives and people who work in the media industry’.
The quote describes accurately the situation that I had found myself in last year. Even though things got significantly better, the self-doubt was lurking and fight-flight-freeze often the only response to stressful experiences.
The thing is: We humans tend to resonate with trauma and with worry more than we resonate with happiness.
It is incredibly hard to resonate with happiness if we have re-created and cultivated trauma-responses in our lives early on.
For example: If we are programmed to disregard our own needs or goals in order to protect or impress a parent and/or to harmonize the relationship dynamics within our family, most likely we will carry out self-destructive behaviours in our adult life. We might neglect our personal goals or our health.
Until we learn to prioritize ourselves…
How Far Did I Get With Displaying The Same Behaviours?
We all have developed mechanisms that help us to be accepted within our tribe, but there is a possibility that we have buried parts of ourselves and a whole lot of potential beyond these survival tactics.
There are Psychologists like Gabor Maté or Neuroscientist Bessel van der Kolk who devoted their work to understanding the dynamics of trauma. And how we can train our brains to move “through” the trauma.
I’m taking a short-cut here: What trauma research has shown is that trauma affects our brain physically and as a result it changes our behaviour.
The great thing about that: We are able to transform our coping-mechanisms to some degree – thanks to neuroplasticity.
And I experienced it first hand – basically by starting this blog (which still astonishes me!!!).
At some point I asked myself:
How far did I get with displaying the same behaviours over and over again?
Not that far – so why not try something else? The opposite, for example!
And this brings me to the first insight that helped me to change my relationship with self-sabotage:
1. Belief What Other People Are Telling You About Yourself
About two years ago I was in a state where I had no choice anymore. I had to ask for help.
The global crisis was incredibly aligned with my personal crisis: I reached rock bottom when the pandemic forced me to “go home”. Apart from travel life my whole idea about romantic love got smashed and my mom got cancer. I had no idea what to do next.
I knew one thing: I couldn’t trust myself, because I had been misleading myself very far off from my core… I did not know where I begin and where I end – boundaries still appeared to be a foreign concept to me.
How did this happen? Apparently I was constantly re-traumatizing myself! The more I learnt about trauma-responses, the subconscious and the biochemical processes in my body, the more I understood in which way I had created my own reality:
How do we create reality? We filter, segment and value the information that we receive – partly subconsciously.
I thought negatively about myself, because I never really learnt to prioritize my own needs. I always functioned as some sort of “emotional buffer”. Within my family and in friendships often times I found myself in the role of a rescuer – or mediator (best case scenario).
So, what did this do to my thinking? I filtered mainly the negative information out of every situation and every conversation that proved my self-image to be right. Subconsciously I programmed myself into thinking: “I am not worthy.”
This way my lack of self-confidence became a self-fulfilling prophecy… UNTIL: I had to ask for help, because I felt mentally and physically unprepared to deal with the changes that presented themselves in my life.
Slowly I opened up to coaches and therapists. I talked to my friends and other people who helped me to recover my own resources:
- my determination towards growth
- my willingnesss to learn
- my resilience
- my “spiritual tools” like yoga and meditation
- my love for nature
- and last but not least: My ability to relate to others and my compassion for all beings (connection to the planet).
Finally I experienced a sense of self-worth.
It dawned on me: What if I trusted? What if I’d believe in the positive things people are seeing in me or telling me about myself? (Much, much earlier in my journey I had started to cultivate a diary of compliments, which helped me to collect positive things about myself. Maybe I should start this again.)
2. Make a Different Choice – NOW
I had nothing to lose.
Looking back this sensation gave me a never felt freedom amidst a personal crisis. A freedom that gave me an opportunity to choose a different direction and at the end a whole other way of being!
Today, I made the choice:
“I’m going to press the publishing button – no matter what.”
This is what I owe myself – a commitment to my own writing journey, my own growth (even if it hurts).
And this is also what I did in the darkest moments of my life: I made the choice to think positive. To trust into the universe.
Sometimes we need to make a different choice – just for the sake of it!
Just for the sake of “trying something new”. As simple as that.
In my experience this is the way to go in order to live a different life.
Sometimes any action is better than no action – in order to get out of deep discomfort, the writer’s-block or in order to change anything in life…
It can be the tiniest step, but it will be a step in a new direction – towards a new life!
3. Appreciate Your Gifts
Retrospectively my willingness to open up to possibility led me onto the path of becoming a professional coach! (I will share more about that “right on time”.;) How? I had asked for feedback. I received feedback that helped me to start valueing my abilities. And now I am starting to implement the changes into my life.
All of a sudden my brain created the following questions: What if I had something to share? What if other people could benefit from my life experience? What if I’d drop the self-sabotage-agenda?