Overcoming Trauma in Recovery
In my experience as a recovery coach with an emphasis in trauma-informed care, I have witnessed many who live under the confines of an invisible glass ceiling. This glass ceiling is their perceived upper limit for happiness. It is their threshold for what is possible, and it limits them from taking action to create a better life. My hope is that anyone who limits what is possible for themselves, can find the place inside that is no longer willing to settle for mediocracy. Generally speaking, resigning to suffering comes from the belief that it cannot get better. This is not true, and I am here to help you get started on the path of possibility.
If someone has experienced great emotional, mental, or physical suffering throughout his or her life, the present moment may seem okay when in fact it is not. The tolerance level for pain of any kind substantially increases with a history of trauma, resulting in a skewed baseline for measurement. Simply put, this person may endure more suffering than what he or she should have to, because “it’s not that bad.” After all, if the past was horrible and the present is functional, why would someone think there is a problem?
For example, I have worked with women who have been through such turmoil in their lives that they feel anxiety and depression pale in comparison. They will tell me they are “pretty good,” even though they are going through significant emotional pain. They are sad, angry and hopeless, but it doesn’t register that “I am not okay” would be the appropriate response. To them, if they are not completely debilitated, they see their experience as tolerable. In these circumstances, I find myself taking the stance of you deserve more than what is tolerable. In fact, you deserve to be happy.
Shifting Your Views to Pursue Happiness
An internal shift needs to take place for someone to believe that a better life is possible. This change of perspective is what hope perches itself on, and from here true momentum can begin. We all know what it is like to have a deep desire for something, but not believe it is within reach. This place is incredibly painful, and in both my personal and professional experience, it is our own self that blocks us. We must find a way out of the limiting beliefs so that we actually have a chance at succeeding.
So how does one go about making this paradigm shift? Most of us know that we cannot just think our way out of our beliefs, which is why I am a huge advocate for getting help. We don’t always need to have the answers ourselves. We are on this planet together for a reason, and finding someone we trust to assist us is self-love in action.
There are therapists, coaches, mentors, and groups that can foster a sense of possibility inside of our bones. What matters is that we find the person or institution that helps us truly believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And in a world where marketing and promises are abundant, I fully support you in listening to what feels right rather than what someone tells you is right.
In service to getting you started however, I have come up with a few journaling questions for your consideration:
- If I knew for a fact that what I wanted to experience on an emotional level was possible, what would I wish for myself?
- If I had all the resources I needed to make this possible, what would my next step be?
- What is my biggest fear and can I be absolutely certain that this is what would happen?
- What is the best that could happen?
Once you have completed these journaling prompts, if you are brave enough, I invite you to share them with one person you trust. Choose the person that you know wants to see you succeed. The person who seems to love you whether you are shining or stuck in bed. It is through voicing our desires, that they become one step closer to manifesting.
Everybody Deserves a Chance at Happiness
Another thing to consider is whether or not you believe you deserve to be happy. If you think it’s not possible for you, this likely will block you from taking action. The goal is to honor the truth of our experience, while not letting it stop us from creating something better. In the self-help world there is a lot of talk on positive thinking, which is extremely powerful but it is not enough. There also needs to be room to look honestly at ourselves. It is through acknowledging our blocks that we have the opportunity to remove them. The most powerful place you can start is by taking a look within from a place of honesty.
My hope is that you can find a way to take baby steps toward your freedom and happiness. No matter what we have been through or what we have done, living a life of suffering doesn’t help anyone. The more we can inspire ourselves and others to take action toward a healthy emotional life, the more the world becomes a better place. Our choices impact others, and through that impact we are doing our part to contribute to the whole. Let us all continue to find the place within, that reminds us that we are worthy of joy and happiness.