I have a friend …

I know, lucky me. I have a friend. The ellipsis suggests that there is more to this sentence though for those giggling 😜.

I have a friend who is on a rigorous healing journey. Who is confronting her demons and holding her ground. And, who is absolutely shit scared, every day, of what this could lead to.

When we embark on a healing journey, we first spend time holding the truth within ourselves. We go over our narratives so many times that we can finally feel ‘comfortable’ within them. We start to own our narrative in more than just a debilitating way.

We almost start to feel safe that this is who we are now, and we start to use the labels: survivor, victim, me too. We also brand the trauma: sexual abuse, physical abuse, dysfunction. The labels start to define us. They hold us tightly, but in a way that makes us feel, I don’t know, connected, maybe, secure, even.

This part of the journey can last many, many years. Some people become ‘stuck’ in this part of the healing and they, in essence, hide behind these labels. The labels and the trauma become safe. They, in turn, become the labels. This isn’t healthy.

The next part of the healing journey takes place when we start to share our narrative. We talk to other people, we write, or we create, in some way, to share our narrative. The courage it requires to share is significant. It’s like stepping out into the humidity after a big storm; the fear smothers you until you acclimate.

Sharing comes at a cost. You fear that you won’t be believed, that people will judge you, invalidate your experience (and you), and look at you differently. Sharing makes you very vulnerable, scarier for someone who already feels invalidated.

Rarely, depending on who you choose to share with, will any of these things happen. More often than not, people will support you, commend you on your bravery, and ultimately, start to share their narrative.

This phase of healing helps you to develop strength. It is usually at this point that you start to think outside of yourself. You start saying things like, I want to help others, I want to make a difference, and I need to get my story out there because this needs to stop. Most of us start changing our little parts of the world here. We share and by doing so, we empower and inspire others to share. We start to impact the broader social narrative (this is where #metoo gained real traction, just as a current example).

Some people then move beyond their own circle. They start blogging, writing books, making movies, giving speeches, designing workshops, to get their narrative out there to impact even more people. I think, it is at this point, that the trauma stops defining you. It is a subtle change. But, importantly, I think the healing starts to define you at this point, for most people.

Again, this is terrifying. Even more terrifying than first sharing your trauma with close friends and/or family.

It is here when you start to worry about the impact sharing your narrative will have on those in your narrative. We worry that relationships will change, and be lost. We worry that the pain of others will be exacerbated unwittingly as a result of sharing our narrative. We worry that we will be shunned by those we love.

It is at this point that we weigh up the value of what we are doing, for the world, the community, and ultimately, ourselves. And then, if we proceed, we try to do it sensitively.

Owning our own voice is so important in the healing journey. Owning our voice and our truth.

We are raised to believe that truth is a singular concept. Something is true, or it isn’t. Defining truth, this is ‘true’; however, when it comes to our stories, my truth could be different to someone else’s truth because of perception.

If, in a situation, someone’s action impacted me more than others around me, I might remember the action more than the other things happening at that time, and others may not remember the action at all. This impacts my narrative.

My truth can be different to someone else’s. Both are still valid in the context of a life. Because healing needs to occur from where we are, not from where someone else is.

Someone can say, That isn’t true. It might not be for them. For the person sharing it though, it is. And, as a result, they need to rebalance (heal) it. Standing in our truth is frightening. We all want to belong. By standing up, we risk losing our sense of belonging.

It is important to remember, at this point, that whilst some will turn away from us, the universe always ensures balance, so others will come.

My truth is just that, it is my truth. As I move through my life, striving for harmony and happiness and all things beautiful, I need to do what empowers me to achieve these things. I need to be sensitive to the truths of others without compromising my own truth.

My truth is as valid as your truth. Even when they are different. Healing ourselves, heals others.

Let’s share our stories, rebalance our perceptions, and attain happiness.

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