Moving Past Fear and Into Your Own Power
by Cailin O'Hara, MAcOM, LAc, Dipl OM
"Feel the fear and do it anyway."
If you have followed along this far, you have read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series that shed light on how I work with anxiety, grief and healing past trauma. This final article will give you some guidance on how you can overcome these feelings and experiences.
How do you heal what an experience has done to you?
You certainly aren't who you were before it happened.
Who are you now?
What do you do with the fear, the pain and the grief?
The only way through it is through it.
It would be a relief if something could just take away how terrible you feel after a traumatic experience, but life doesn't work that way. And I would argue that going through the healing process can be one of the best and most empowering things you'll ever do for yourself.
Going Through It...
Find someone that you enjoy talking to because if you don't have a good connection, it's a waste of your time. You won't feel safe and comfortable opening up to someone you don't particularly like. A counselor who is a good fit for you can make your journey "through it" a much easier and enlightening one.
If you're experiencing difficult emotions or haunting memories, it can be very overwhelming. Generally people disconnect (often unintentionally) from themselves, their bodies, their environments and/or their relationships as a way to cope with these overwhelming feelings. You may get stuck in a flight-or-fight response, feeling perpetually on edge that something horrible is about to happen. You may also experience flashbacks that cause you to lose touch with where you are and what's happening around you.
Wash the dishes :)
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment by Babette Rothschild
Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul by Deepak Chopra
Minding the Body, Mending the Mind by Joan Borysenko
The Places that Scare You by Pema Chodron
Developing a deep sense of compassion for yourself will take practice, but I promise you it is mandatory if you truly want to heal. Compassion means you learn how to soothe yourself. It means you're kind to yourself above all else. It means you don't make life worse for yourself by telling yourself negative things, stressing yourself out or putting yourself in unhealthy situations.
Resting when you're tired
Soothing yourself with a bath when you're overwhelmed
Cancelling plans you aren't interested in
Listening to your needs
Most of us have this awful tendency to downplay our needs and our worth. If you have past trauma, this may be your tendency most of the time. You need you, above all else, in order to heal. So step up, be your own hero, and take the best damn care of yourself that you can. You will be amazed at how comforting it will feel when you finally treat yourself with the respect and love that you always deserve.
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Cailin O'Hara, MAcOM, LAc, Dipl OM, is nationally board certified in Chinese medicine, Chinese herbology and acupuncture. She is based in Phoenix, AZ.
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