Transitioning from victim to hero.
When I was in cosmetology school the owner, Larry Curtis used to say, “If your life sucks, you suck.” At first, I thought that was one of the rudest things to say, as the years have passed, I come back to these words and they ring more and more true.
When I was in my darkest of times of battling addiction, insecure in my career, and heart broken by my romantic relationship ending I thought my life sucked. I was being the victim, “Oh poor me, look at my hard life, I’m broken and shattered, poor me.” Everything I touched crumbled apart, nothing was going in my favor, I was alone and no one could relate to me. After feeling this way for a few months and wallowing in my self-pity, self-victimhood, and insecurity I realized, my life doesn’t suck, I suck! If I wanted to change my life, how I felt, and how I was dealing with my circumstances it had to be me, no one else was going to do it.
Often times we get caught in these patterns of self-destructive behavior, usually it is after difficult situations life presents us with. When life throws us a curve ball we need to process and feel the experience, but there is a difference from experiencing the experience and becoming a victim of the experience.
One of my teachers, Rebecka Cooper explains this in a beautiful, digestible manner. She has this analogy on our drama, stories, or in a lack of better terms our shit. Going back to my example, my shit was the insecurity around my career, my ending relationship, and addiction. Cooper says we need to accept our shit and sit with it, acknowledge it, and feel whatever comes up. We need to experience whatever emotions are tied into our shit. Once we have gone through the acceptance and emotional experience related to our shit, we then need to let it go. In her metaphor she says, “Our shit becomes the fertilizer for our life. We use it to nurture us and grow from it so we can become beautiful flowers.”
If we refuse to let our shit become our fertilizer for our growth then we are left holding it, holding our smelly, stinky, mess. When we hold on it, it prevents us to grow. We hold onto our problems, stories, mess, dramas, etc and when our hands are full of shit we have no room to hold on to anything else.
In order to heal and grow we need to let go of our past. Striving towards the ability to be present and hold on to things that allow us to continue to heal and grow, like love, compassion, community, and new experiences.
This process will look different for everyone, depending on the circumstances around our specific experience or trauma. For some they may spend a day screaming, crying, eat a pint of ice cream, and then they can move on. Others may have a longer process; they may need to sit with the emotions for a long period of time. That’s okay and healthy! Everyone will have their own process, but once you feel you are ready to move on, move on. Do not allow others to tell you when you need to let go. Let go when you are honestly ready, then use your shit as fertilizer and use it to help you grow into the beautiful person you are.
You maybe asking yourself, "But how do I know when I’m ready to move on?"
Check in with yourself, my therapist taught me this little trick. Check in with your head, heart, and gut. Here’s how it works:
Sit in you comfortable seated position, it can be on the floor, in a chair, wherever allows you to center yourself. Once you are comfortable take some deep breaths and center yourself, when centering yourself you are simply taking time to feel safe and grounded in yourself.
Starting with your head, ask yourself, “What does my head need? “The head represents our logical side, so ask your head what it needs. Sit with that question for a bit. If nothing comes up that’s fine, if something comes up write it down.
Next move to your heart, hold your hands over your heart and ask, “What does my heart need?” The heart represents our emotional side, our feelings. If anything comes up write it down, if nothing arises that is fine as well. Your heart may need nothing from you at the moment.
Lastly, place your hands on your gut and ask, “What does my gut need?” Our gut represents our intuition or our ‘gut instinct’. If your gut is telling you something write it down, if it says nothing that is perfectly fine.
Whatever you wrote down take a moment to visit it and acknowledge what your body is telling you. Once we recognize what our body needs, then we can take action to give our body what it needs. Going back to my example earlier, when I was at my lowest of lows I checked in with my head, heart, and gut regularly, because with such difficult things I was experiencing I couldn’t fix it in a day, but everyday my body and mind needed something different to heal.
Listen to your body, it knows what it needs. Using this tool allowed me (and so many others) to pull out of the victimhood and self-harm talk, it takes some time, but this tool is incredibly helpful.
Once you pull yourself out of the victimhood of your circumstances you transition into being the hero of your story. You have survived your circumstances, grew from them, and you can now share your story of how you were a victim but rised above it to become the hero of your story. You took your shit and used it as manure to grow into the beautiful being that you are. You should be proud of that.
If you would like to learn more about healing from small traumas and learn other methods about pulling yourself out of victimhood I recommend reading this post by Psychology Today. If you are feeling suicidal by your circumstances please call the Suicide Hotline right now 1-800-273-8255
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