Today is one of my "favoritest" days of all. 4th of July!! Ever since I can remember, this holiday has been a special one for me.
I grew up in a small town called Bartlesville - at least it felt like a very small town when I was a kid. Right across the street from my house was Sooner Park. One of the best things about Sooner Park (aside from the barely safe curly slide), was the huge hill that during the winters served as a place to go at break neck speed down on a sled and during the summer was the staging ground for the local fireworks show.
This meant that every July 4th, friends and family gathered in my front yard for the best seat in the house. The food food was amazing (down home fried chicken, potato salad, watermelon, pies of every type). The fireworks and sparklers and those strange ones that looked like a worm when you lit them kept all of us kids busy until the main show started.
I remember sitting amongst my aunts and uncles as they told stories (no doubt this rubbed off on me) and also talked about their struggles.
The memory of this time fills me today with a warmth, it is a comfort -- and yet, I'm also struck by another memory.
When I was 20-something, I had been out on a few dates with this girl when she asked me about my childhood. I remember saying, "There's nothing good to say about that - next topic."
See, at that time in my life, I was so consumed by the unhealed trauma that my focus and attention was singularly on all that had been bad, hurtful, disappointing, hard, scary...
So much so that I couldn't even access these 4th of July memories.
This is something that I have seen myself do and most of my clients do -- fall into this "tunnel vision" perspective of ourselves, our lives, our experiences, and others.
One of the most wonderful surprise benefits of healing trauma is that we are able to reconnect with our full life experience -- and the bad becomes interwoven with the good rather than being always on the main stage.
My hope for you today is that, regardless of where you are in your healing journey, that you can find a moment today to consider the full picture of your life journey. Not as a way to dismiss the trauma that you are healing. Not as a way to pretend that things really weren't that bad. But simply as a way to connect to yourself and your life as a whole.
Happy Independence from Tunnel Vision Day,
Watchthis video to learn what Sean Stephenson has to say about overcoming anxiety.
Read this article to learn how you can hit your brain's reset button.
What is one favorite memory from your childhood? Spend some time journaling about this membry.
BOOK OF THE MONTH
Freak: The True Story of an Insecurity Addict by Rebecca O'Donnell
"From its first caustic, blackly hilarious quote to its unbelievable ending, Freak examines a roller coaster ride of a life and never lets up. It tells the true story of Rebecca O'Donnell, an atypical hero who found joy and laughter in the darkest of circumstances. Unlike so many spunky survivors of damaged pasts, Rebecca belonged to those far more common gray areas of depression and insecurity, hidden behind a mask she showed the world."
Are you ready to finally look in the mirror and like what you see?
For survivors of abuse, shame can be one of the most pervasive feelings we carry well after the abuse has ended. As a result of trauma, we come to believe that we are at fault or to blame for what has happened.
This then transforms into a deeply rooted way of being that impacts our sense of self. For example, we might come to believe that we are unlovable because we were abused. We might come to believe that there is inherently something bad or wrong about who we are. In other words, all of our judgments about "self" are derogatory or negative.
Boy have I been there! And I can't wait to share with you what helped me put an end to the constant self-blame and judgment.