Love Yourself...Past, Present, and All
"I hope you can see how important it is to allow yourself to heal and to truly love the person you see in the mirror (flaws and all). I have opened the door to my past in order to go from just "surviving" it to fully accepting where I came from and who I am now in Christ."
Surviving the Past
Who wants to talk about their past or bring up uncomfortable stuff? Not me! That is how we all can feel at times. We feel like it's best to just move on and forget about it, except for the good times of course. We aren't supposed to dwell on negative experiences, so why even think about it right? To some extent, we've all had unpleasant things happen to us in the past, some more traumatic than others. These experiences have helped mold us into who we've become as adults and sometimes if we don't heal from the experience appropriately, they can still affect who we are without even realizing it.
I was sitting there, at the beginning of a counseling session ready to talk over some goals and to get some guidance on aspirations of mine. At least that's what my plan was. I told her that I feel we all have a story and I am wanting to see how I can use mine to help others. I explained that she had not heard much about my childhood in prior visits, so I started in on explaining certain things I experienced. She's listening to me talk and afterward says, you are detached. I thought huh? I am detached? At first, I was like wait a minute, how? I am living a great life now. I have survived all of that. I have overcome those things and that is why I am where I am in life. She then asked, do you know what detached means? I said yes, meaning there is no emotion connected to what happened to me. She said yes, and it is very common for people to do that when they have been through trauma or witnessed traumatic situations. She said it is a way to "survive" what happened to you by detaching yourself.
At first, I thought how can this be? I thought I've moved on from my past. After a few moments of silence, she asked how I was feeling in that very moment. I said, well my hands are clammy and I have a knot in my throat, like that feeling you get when you want to cry. She said don't hold it back any longer, let it out. She said that little girl inside of you has a lot of crying to do. That is when it all came out. I realized at that moment, that I had not truly healed from what I experienced in the past, especially as a child. Instead, I had only "survived" it by suppressing memories and detaching myself, so I wouldn't have to deal with it.
The Door to Healing
From this moment on, I was worried that if I opened the door to healing, what is going to happen if I re-live some of those things? Would it cause some anxiety which I had just got a handle on? Would I be able to handle what I was about to endure? I knew that the only way I could get through this healing process was with God. He carried me through all of that and he will carry me through this too. As I prayed, it was very clear that God too was wanting me to heal from my past. As I read scripture on healing, I can see that there can only be good that comes from it. I also learned that this doesn't mean I'm dwelling on my past, but only healing from it, so that I am no longer limiting myself from becoming everything I can be. I started by reading a book my counselor asked me to read, called "Outgrowing the Pain." It was an easy, short read. It really gave me insight into why I struggle with certain behaviors as an adult. Nothing too bad, but just things I should probably address. It was all starting to make sense. Just when I thought I was complete, or when I was done connecting dots, I really wasn't. My counselor made a good point and said, you can only help others, as far as you can help yourself. I was like whoa! I needed to hear that and knew what I needed to do next.
Start the Process
I am now starting to address and heal from past situations that I should have never had to deal with in the first place, but unfortunately, as a child, we can't always help the free will of others. I am really starting to understand and remember the little girl inside of me. The one with all of those dreams and aspirations. The one who was hurting inside at times. The one who loved to sing and write. I now have such a deeper understanding of what it truly means to love myself for who I really am (child and all). As I am addressing some bad experiences, I am also starting to remember great memories and things I loved to do. I can start to show myself more compassion as I realize how my bad experiences affected my decisions and actions as an adult. I can realize that as a young-adult I may have known better, but I was only trying to find acceptance and to feel loved. I am learning that I don't have to be perfect for people to like me nor do I want to be perfect. I am learning to focus more on my strengths instead of my weaknesses. I hope that through this, I will be able to show myself more grace, be more of who God created me to be, and connect with others more. I also want my readers to feel an emotional connection to my writing, so I can really help people through my blog. I am so excited to see how this healing will release more of the good in me, more of the child in me, and the capacity to serve others in a whole new way.
I encourage each of you reading, no matter your age, no matter where you are in your faith, and no matter where you are in life to spend time healing from your past if you have not already. It could be from past relationships, past grief, past childhood situations, any past pain that you've endured. If you are seeing behaviors in yourself that you want to change, feel like you are lost right now, or feel like you need a purpose in your life...start healing. If you are like me, and think you have overcome your past, but are realizing the more you think over it that you may have only "survived it" then you are not alone. You may be realizing that you are suppressing things or dealing with it by just forgetting and trust me... this is a good step in the right direction. Healing will allow you to feel loved and love others (including your spouse and children) even more than you thought you could. For you, if that is doing it with a professional, then I highly recommend finding that person. If that is talking to a friend, a pastor, or a mentor, then reach out to them. Whatever you do, start the process. It will be worth it!
Loving it All
For me, a challenging, yet huge part of this process is learning how to truly love myself. It's more than just saying..."I think I am a good person," or "I think I am good at my job. It is actually believing in the things I am telling myself. It is actually believing positive things others tell me about who I am. It is learning to take a compliment whole-heartedly, while believing its true, accepting it with a complete genuine thank you and eye contact. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never get to an ending point in this growing process until my very last breath, however, a huge part of the growing process is the healing process. Once we do that the right way, we will gain so much more than we ever imagined.
As a Christian, I am trying to really see myself as Christ sees me; loved, worthy, forgiven, valued, gifted, and the list goes on. It is hard some days, but I am most definitely trying to. This healing process for me is only the beginning to an even deeper relationship with my creator, which is His ultimate goal for us. He wants a relationship with us. In the bible, there are countless scriptures on healing, some of them in a different context than the other and they all point back to one thing, God's love for us. God wants to restore us. He wants us to heal so that we can experience His peace, truth, love, and so much more. His healing has brought nothing but good and truth in all of scripture. In Jeremiah 33, he prophesied again, God's plan to restore Israel and the people in it. God still loved them and wanted to see them prosper, even after all they did to betray Him. That is how our God loves us. He loves us even when we don't deserve His love, because no matter what He still wants a relationship with us. We are His family. God points out in Jeremiah 33:6-7 "Yet I will certainly bring health and healing to it and will indeed heal them. I will let them experience the abundance of peace and truth. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and will rebuild them as in former times.
I hope you can see how important it is to allow yourself to heal and to truly love the person you see in the mirror (flaws and all). I have opened the door to my past in order to go from just "surviving" it to fully accepting where I came from and who I am now in Christ
I love what God is doing in me, but I also want to know what God is doing in each of you? Do you love everything you are? Do you see yourself as Christ sees you, or is it a challenge for you? I would love to hear your feedback!