Transitioning from Victim to Survivor
In an effort to empower and inspire the reader, it is important to leave behind the reason I was a victim to begin with. It’s hard to move forward when you’re constantly trapped in the past. During my therapy, which I actually entered because of depression and mild anxiety, I found the 5 Cardinal Rules of Life. Those rules (and my thoughts in italics/blue) are:
1. Make peace with your past so it won’t disturb your present.
For too many years I was trapped in a vicious cycle, whether it was blame, shame or emotional eating. Every single time I thought I had it under control, it snuck up on me like a quiet bear, mauling the peace I thought I had created. I finally had to choose to be off of this cycle, and by choosing, I meant I had to make a conscious effort to leave the struggle and control behind and step out into the unknown. Some have that knack of being able to do it alone, for me, my trips to a therapist helped me with this.
2. What other people think of you is none of your business.
One of my biggest hurdles was becoming comfortable in my own skin as I release the weight I have gained. I know what the media deems acceptable as far as size and shape goes, but as women and men of all shapes and sizes break into the media mainstream, that is all changing. When chubby people look at a skinny person and say to themselves “someone feed them”, isn’t that being just as judgmental as someone looking at a chubby person and saying, “Someone should stop feeding them?” Yes. It is.
You know exactly who you are, and if you don’t, you will figure it out, but until then, don’t worry about what other people think. Today I put on an outfit I was sure no one would like, but I love it and I have been wanting to wear this ensemble for weeks. Today I finally got the nerve, because I was only worried about what I thought about it. It’s not even 10am, and I have already received several compliments. So again, you are in control of you, if you love what you are wearing, your hairstyle, your looks, whatever, then own it and rock the crap out of it!
3. Time heals almost everything. Give it time.
Good old time. There is truth in that first sentence. Not everything will heal, BUT you don’t have to let it run your life either. In the last three and a half years I have lost my mama, one of my soul-sisters, a coworker/friend, a dear friend and mentor and a new friend I was just getting to know through my cousin. All had bright spirits that like a candle in a breeze, just blew out. Their deaths hurt, and they will always hurt, but like with everything else in life, in time you learn to handle it, and hopefully in a graceful way.
Let people console you, let people help heal your wounds. We’re given family and friends to lean on, just as you allow them to lean on you. It’s okay. One of my issues is reaching out for help, or an ear, or a hug. Yesterday after I received news of my dear mentor’s passing, I was reminded by friends that leaning on one another is a two way street. Time will heal, but you have to let it. It won’t erase the past, but it will give you the moments you need to wrap your head around the situation or event, and then it will help you move forward towards greater feelings and better life events.
4. No one is in charge of your happiness, except for you.
Words and Actions can hurt. People that hurt you with their words and/or actions can be hurtful, and it is natural for one to be bothered, hurt, or scarred by these things, but in the end, your happiness is up to you. Do you choose to hold on to the bad, or will you accept that moment for what it was? Let the person who hurt you know, and let them know there will be consequences if their actions don’t change.
There is enough negativity in the world, you don’t need it in your own personal space. I choose happiness and positivity, because it helps me control my depression, so my good days outnumber my bad days. It isn’t always easy, but the struggle is worth the outcome. Find your happy place and go there when you need to take a break and a big deep breath/exhalation. It’s hard to hear those words, “you are in charge of your happiness”, just as it is hard for me to write them, because I know that struggle. People can be responsible for putting a dent in your happiness, but you have the choice to fix that.
5. Don’t compare your life to others and don’t judge them, you have no idea what their journey is all about.
We all have our own journeys and comparing where we are, or are not, with someone else isn’t going to help your life. Comparing ourselves with others just puts more pressure on us to be someone else, instead of embracing our authentic selves and living the life we want, not what someone else wants. Love yourself, love this moment, and embrace you and your life. <3
For me going from victim to survivor involved these steps. There were a lot of journal entries, tears, anger and sadness. There was anxiety when I first finished therapy because I felt stuck. I was on my own now. There were no more weekly visits, no more working through my issues with a professional. I chose to “graduate” from therapy, because I knew I was better, but I hadn’t planned on the transition from weekly to bi-weekly visits to being on my own. That is what inspired this blog, and some of the choices in my life I am pursuing now. My life purpose if you will. It is a path I had never thought of, but it felt right when the words came out of my mouth. Writer (that’s a given), photographer (my other passion), and my purpose, gathering the tools to help people go from surviving to thriving.
Next blog: Learning to go from Surviving to thriving.