There are two parts to this short post. The first, 5 things I would go back and tell myself as child is a good practice to get into. I recommend trying it if you do not already do this. In my coaching programs, I guide clients in connecting with that inner child and giving them what they needed. While that work goes deeper, journaling it is a great place to start!
5 things I would go (and have gone) back to tell myself as a child.
1. You are whole just as you are. You are a mind, body and soul working in harmony to feel all emotions, endless love and joy. You do not need to “find yourself”. You are already right here. You do not need to find someone else to complete you. You are complete. You do not need to strive for perfection. There is no perfection. There is only wholeness and you already are.
2. You belong in the right spaces for YOU. You do not need to try and fit yourself into some archetype or false version of yourself to “belong”. If you do not feel fully safe or able to be YOU, that space does not have to be yours. You can find your people. You will find the spaces where you feel most alive, where you are wholly and completely yourself, fully expressed in every way, safe and loved.
3. You can be whatever you want to be. You do not have to fit in a box. You are unique and that uniqueness is loved and accepted. You will uncover what your passions are and you will follow those passions and create a beautiful and successful life doing what you love. You do not have to listen to what others feel you “SHOULD” do. You can follow your own heart. What is good for others may not be good for YOU.
4. You deserve LOVE. Unconditional Love. You are worthy of love. You ARE LOVE. You are worthy of loving yourself. It is okay to waver from this at times but you can remember to bring yourself back to love. It is not wrong to love yourself, to put yourself first.
5. Other people’s pain is not your pain. You may be hurt by other’s words or actions. That is not justified and you are valid to feel whatever arises when that happens. Remember that it is about them and not YOU. YOU are not at fault. YOU are not deserving of that pain.
On the topic of saying things to your inner child, I wanted to also highlight some things you may have heard as a child that may have had an impact on you to this day. Not every phrase said to a child will form a strong imprint but many do.
3 Phrases that can be harmful, that many of us heard as children.
1. What do you think you’re special?” We are all special. We are all unique and that is the beauty of us. Implying to a child that they are not special can make them believe they have to be just like every other person, rejecting their true self, their uniqueness. Pushing our true selves away has an impact on how we show up in the world and how we feel in our own skin.
2. “Children should be seen and not heard.” I remember hearing this a lot from many different people. People may argue that this teaches kids respect and to not be “in adult conversations”. What this phrase does teach is that children don’t deserve to have a voice, that their thoughts and opinions do not matter. This sticks with them as they grow and they may be unable to use their voice to speak up for themselves and their needs, to speak up for others in need, to express themselves even (and many times, especially) to those closest. It also shows up when a child or adult is/has experienced abuse or other harmful behaviors or actions. They may not speak up or tell anyone. (Of course, there is more to not speaking up here as well but it’s a piece.)
Children actually have wonderful thoughts and opinions that we can learn from and we should encourage that.
3. “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” If you heard this phrase, you probably heard it a lot and still do to this day. It makes us believe that money is scarce. It creates a lack mindset. It separates us from the truth, that money is infinite and always available. We have been made to believe that it is finite. We have been made to believe that there is not enough for everyone. But, when we step back and think about that, we see it is not the truth. If it were, no one would be super rich. This phrase leads to struggling financially, to not seeing that we can have as much abundance as we want and need. It can lead to living in a place of “not enough” or “just enough”.
Some journal prompts:
What would you go back and tell your younger self? Have you said these things to your inner child? What comes up and how does it feel to do so?
Do any of these phrases sound familiar? Are there others that you feel impacted you? How?
I'd love to hear from you in my group. I will be doing a series to share more phrases like this and the impact they can have.
Join us at The Soul Healing Sisterhood.
8 years. It’s crazy to think about all that has happened in 8 years. We certainly never thought we’d have the type of year we’ve had.
8 years ago today, I woke up, crying and afraid from a nightmare. I haven’t shared this much because I felt weird about it. While I believe we know things are coming, that we have strong intuition that can alert us, I was still in a place of being worried what others would think of that belief. I woke up, not able to remember anything from that nightmare. But, I felt this deep grief. I wrote it off to being worried about my cousin who was in the hospital but we had actually gotten good news the day before and were looking to hear about more good news that day.
As I opened social media, this was the first thing I saw. This quote.
“When life gives you 100 reasons to cry, show life you have 1000 reasons to smile.”
This quote would stick with me.
I had trouble shaking the grief that morning. I went about my day, a visit to my cousin’s sons, a visit to the hospital where my cousin laid in an induced coma, then to my favorite coffee shop to meet a friend. We were heading to watch the marathon. It was her first time and I was excited to show her this fun experience.
I’ll never forget the moments that felt like hours, the people, the words yelled by those around us including, “Don’t worry, it’s just an electrical explosion” (to which, I literally mouthed, “no. it’s not.”). I’ll never forget what I felt or saw in those moments and going forward. I will never forget the ringing in my ears, being unable to call anyone, our escape running across the city, the moment I finally ran into a restaurant my family was at having lunch and so much more, much of which I will never share because graphic details are not needed.
There is SO MUCH to my story that I can’t go through it all here. (I do have a longer blog that I kept through those years. I’ll link it at the bottom.) I experienced a complete numbness (and leg shaking) for about 5 days before intense and debilitating anxiety attacks began. I would experience a roller coaster for the next year and 8 months, bouncing between anxiety/hypervigilance/frustration and numbness/deep depression. The survivor’s guilt. The panic attacks were frequent, my leg bounced like a jackhammer constantly, literally daily. Everyone started identifying me with this even coming up with little nicknames. You can read a little about that and my determination to not let this become my whole story, here in my last blog post.
I experienced a lot of guilt and frustration over the years. I felt like I had no right to be struggling while others lost lives and had physical injuries. Two veterans helped me by being my friends and justifying my struggle, reminding me that what I experienced was nothing anyone is prepared for or could be prepared to deal with. Still, I found myself carry that. The strongest thing that reduced it was when a friend and amputee from that day told me that she sometimes feels it’s harder for those with invisible injuries because people can’t see or understand the pain. She told me, with her hand on mine, that what I felt was justified. I immediately started crying and realized I was still holding onto that feeling and needed to hear it from her.
It's the people. It's not just the team of support I surrounded myself with from therapists to healers but also the community and the love of the family we built.
You can say, this experience is where I found my voice, strengthened my faith, learned how powerful I am and gained so much perspective on what’s important, who was true and so so many other things. I woke up to so much that I didn't even know was there.
I found myself unable to have small talk and have to share what I was feeling on any particular day (because, hello, roller coaster) with every person I saw/talked to. So, I decided I had to just put it out there, on social media and then, turned into a blog. It was easier to just write it all than have a bunch of conversations. It was RAW. I shared it ALL. And something I did for myself and to share a voice for others who had the “invisible injuries” turned out to have an impact I hadn’t anticipated. People were finding solace in my words. Others were finding that they understood better how to help their loved ones though trauma (both this particular one and others.) It was worth putting ALL of myself and my pain out there.
I had never had my voice before like this. I always said things were okay if they weren't. I never spoke up for myself or others. I never felt I could. This changed it all.
I knew I could move on from this in time, if I put my faith in that. I knew I could learn and grow from this experience. The pain I felt, the pain others felt and the loss of life had to turn into purpose. I refused to believe that I couldn’t fully heal from this experience. I refused to believe that this would forever impact me in the way it was at that time. (It WILL always be with me but in different ways.) My faith wavered. I hit the lowest of lows in that first year. But, I always came back to faith. I knew that I could do this with a team of support and hitting it from every angle possible: therapy, group support, connection, spiritual and energy healing (this is what I attribute most of my healing to). When I look back, I think attending every event and support group actually stalled things a bit. They had a good purpose but looking back I see how they heled me back, but that’s for another time.
Trauma makes us feel powerless. In some cases, that is true to a certain extent. It wouldn’t be right to continue with my own story of power if I didn’t make clear that in instances of racism and the trauma it inflicts (or in instances where people are still experiencing their trauma like abuse), there is loss of power. I hope and will continue to do my part to fight for that trauma to cease so that the healing process can finally begin. For this, in my story and that of other traumas, I’m talking inner power in healing from trauma that is no longer actually happening. A one time event or a series of events that already happened and are no longer happening except in the after-effects can be healed. It may not be fully healed right away and/or make take quite some time but it can get easier and easier over time as you unpack and feel the power and inside of you. I reminded myself and was reminded by my support team, of this power.
I had already been spending years unpacking how we all experience trauma, how it presents and how it’s handed down (or not). But, this experience made me look even deeper in myself and in trauma as a whole. It led me to where I am now personally and professionally.
It also cemented for me that negative actions, behaviors and beliefs are rooted in some type of trauma and experience. I made it my hobby and then my life’s work to understand this and to help people heal.
As in times of struggle for anyone, we learn who our people are, who fully supports us, who can’t (due to their own traumas). We start to put into perspective what matters, how holding on to the past, how fear of taking changes, how staying in places that don’t help us grow and be happy isn’t worth it.
I had said to her before, “I feel like I lost a piece of my soul.” And then earlier in 2015, we did a “soul retrieval” and I felt just a bit more whole again. I also had someone tell me how they felt I had something trying to work it’s way out and my shaking made that obvious. I was surprised by this person saying it and it’s exactly what I had felt.
On this December day, in the midst of this session, I began to have what felt like a panic attack. My entire body got hot, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I had a moment when I thought, “should I say something?” And then “No. This is supposed to happen.” So, I let it. I began to shake and I fell over and passed out. When I woke, moments later, I felt lighter than I had maybe ever. She told me that she kept working and that she felt an intense energy/entity leave my body as it went calm after convulsing. It was as I’d always felt, something was in me. I personally see it as me absorbing a lot of energies of fear/anger/grief on that day. I tend to absorb. That all, together, in my body for a year and 8 months, was now one energy. I was finally free of it.
The proof was there. I was in multiple situations over the next week that would usually cause my leg to shake uncontrollably and other physical anxiety symptoms. In these situations I was still. Completely calm and still. And I felt it inside. What had felt heavy every day, like a weight literally on my chest and heart, was clear and open. Once that energetic piece and the physical symptoms healed, I continued the spiritual and inner work on this and all other traumas and old wounds I continue to uncover.
I have made incredible friends, have seen so much humanity and love, and found light in the dark.
Now, to use that VOICE to speak and act on injustice, that FAITH to continue my own soul healing and helping others on theirs, that POWER to know that we all have more power inside of us than we’ve been allowed to realize and using it for good, that PERSPECTIVE to continue helping me see what’s most important.
You may not always feel like you have the power within you to overcome but I want to be here, to remind you that you do.
Immediately, a voice inside of me said “NO. That isn’t my story.” My soul was speaking to me. It was forceful and I could hear it clear as day. I was literally at the tail end of my first major panic attack. I felt like I was DYING. I couldn't breathe, I was crying a cry I can't fully describe, as if everything was just pouring out of me, my entire body had been convulsing and my head felt like it may explode.
You see, I had been through a major trauma, a bombing. It was the largest traumatic event I'd experienced. The person speaking to me was someone with PTSD, so maybe that means she knew more than me on this subject? Maybe when she says I will have these severe attacks for life, she's right?
Everything inside of me said NO. That may be the story she (maybe unconsciously) was going to hold on to, but it was not going to be mine and I made decisions at that time that shaped where I am today.
I know how hard anxiety is. I had debilitating attacks for quite some time. I decided to not use medication. I wanted to feel and experience all of. I wanted to learn every sensation, so I could feel it coming, identify the triggers immediately and stop it before it could take hold. This method worked for ME. I did work with a psychologist who specialized in trauma/violence who also used mind/body connection techniques.
I combined therapy with many different energy healing modalities along with the process of allowing myself to feel my anxiety fully in the moments when it arose. I didn't push it away when it came. It was really fucking hard, but this combination of things worked for me . Medication may be the right option for some, but do not let anyone tell you that you must live with it forever. There are ways to go THROUGH it and PAST it. Of course, every individual and experience is different but I invite you to explore many healing modalities before assuming that you will always struggle.
The idea that you will always struggle is a false narrative and there is research to back it up. There is a program whose purpose is to help veterans with PTSD called the Headstrong Project. I remember reading an interview with their clinical director years ago where he made this point clear. When talking about PTSD and anxiety, he said, “It’s not weakness. It’s science. And it can be solved.”
Anxiety is unresolved trauma. Anxiety is an energy, and energies can be shifted.
For more than 1.5 years after the bombing, my leg would shake all the time, just like a jackhammer. I remember one particular day, sitting in my favorite coffee shop, shaking as usual.
The owner, an uncle figure to me, walked out of the back and said,
“I was thinking I could tape your legs to the chair and then your leg would stop shaking. But then, I figure your arms would shake and then I’d have to tape those too. Then your head may shake so it may be too much to tape your head down. But you know what I was thinking?”
“What?” I asked.
“That there’s something in there that is just trying to work it’s way out of you. So, you sit there and shake as much as you need. It will make it’s way out.”
“That’s exactly what I feel.” We smiled at each other as he went on his way.
I will tell you, I feel down to my every cell that this particular conversation nailed it. I knew it was an energy needing to be released.
I had absorbed a LOT of tough energy in that few minutes when the bombing happened and I continued to pick up more as I went along. I had a lot to release and that would take time.
During an energy healing session, I had what was similar to one of my panic attacks. I even passed out. When I woke, I felt a peace I hadn't felt in 20 months. I felt lighter, literally. I felt an overwhelming sense of calm. Over the coming weeks, this was tested. I was in situations where my leg would violently shake and I sat there with nothing. Others noticed and commented on it. I had become known as the “shaker” and here I was, completely still.
I went to a holiday party at a packed bar and I mean PACKED, where you could barely make your way through. I had barely been able to be in a busy place before this, running out feeling like I couldn't breathe every time tried. But, here in this bar, I stood in the center, people basically touching me on all sides, loud music and I was still and felt no anxiety at all.
Now, does this mean that I've never had anxiety again? NO. Of course, we can be triggered at times. But, I've never again had panic attacks like I did at that time. When I do have any feelings of anxiety, it's rare and mild.
I am honored to be able to share with you, the tools I have learned for this and other things that hold you back.