Each one of us have a story to tell and often, we need to find internal strength and personal courage, before we are ready to share our story. By sharing our life experiences and personal journeys, we have the power to impact lives and inspire courage. It is important not to underestimate the importance of our own lives and the experiences which have moulded us into the people we have become.
How do we find the courage to talk about the things which are most painful in our lives? How do we grow and inspire others to accept their situation or circumstances, forgive and love themselves and others? How do we turn pain into purpose?
My story is one of acceptance and forgiveness but ultimately it is a story about love and courage. I have a purpose to impact those who can’t speak for themselves and to inspire those who have not found the courage to speak up. My purpose is to love.
No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again. – Buddha
Pain is a normal part of being human and we have all experienced pain in our lives. Some of us have experienced pain more often than others, some of us more intensely than others and some of us for longer periods of time. We all deal with pain in many different ways and how we deal with our pain, will either strengthen us emotionally or break us down.
My most painful life experience is my childhood sexual abuse and having to live with the effects of the abuse for many years into adulthood. What is your most painful experience? How do we grow from these experiences and how do we deal with and overcome the effects of these experiences on our lives?
After living with the “secret” of my abuse for about thirty-six years, my life changed significantly just over two years ago. Something happened which turned my pain into purpose, giving me the strength and courage to take action and embark on a journey of self-awareness for the next two years. It was in that moment, when I held my granddaughter in my arms for the very first time, that I knew with no uncertainty that I had to find the courage to speak up. I made a decision in that moment, that I would not be quiet and let her and every other child down. That’s when my healing started.
What I have discovered during the last two years, is that pain has the ability to grow us and give us purpose, if we are willing to embrace it and make a decision to heal. It is not an easy journey, it takes time and courage. I have found my voice and now I am ready to speak about my life.
Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace. – Dalai Lama
My personal healing process happened through stages of self-awareness. I have learned from this process and can now apply what I have gained, in other areas of my life and when facing other difficulties.
Acknowledgement of what has happened to me as a child was the first step. I have lived with the effects of the abuse for such a long time that I have started to accept it as part of life. I pretended that it did not happen and tried to live a normal life with no intention to ever tell anyone about it. When I went through the process of intentionally remembering and reliving the instances and details of my abuse, it was more painful than when it actually happened to me as a child. I was an adult now and I could fully understand and acknowledge the horror of my childhood experience. I was now able to admit to myself that I was sexually abused as a child. I was no longer in denial.
Acceptance came next on my road to recovery. I had to accept that something had happened in my life which transformed me and which had an impact on my life. I also had to accept that there was nothing I could do to undo what had happened. Yes it happened but it doesn’t define who I am. I made a decision to stop resisting, accept what has happened and choose to find peace within myself.
Forgiveness was the most difficult part of my journey. I am generally a very forgiving person but forgiving my perpetrator was not easy at all. It was not something I wanted to do or consider at all. I wanted revenge and I wanted him to suffer just as much as I have. I felt as if I was suffocating and at some point I just had to get away from everything. I booked a trip and took a week out to spend alone. It was during this time that I found the courage to forgive myself, him and everyone else. Forgiving my perpetrator didn’t mean that I condoned his actions, it just meant that he no longer had a hold on me and my life. It meant that I was free.
Self-love was the by-product of forgiveness. I have been working on loving myself more, for many years but this was the first time that I truly began to believe that I actually loved the person in the mirror. I became more aware of what I wanted for my life, what I deserved and what I would allow in my life. My own wellbeing and happiness became my priority. I’m still working on this every day, some days are better than others but as long as I focus on practicing awareness, I will always find my way back.
Love for others came naturally and effortlessly once I started practicing a higher level of self-awareness and self-love. I did not need external approval so much, I could love without always having to agree and I found it easier to say no without feeling guilty. I now understand that as much as my love should be unconditional, I should have clear boundaries and conditions for every relationship, with every person in my life. This comes with its own challenges and resistance from others which may result in conflict. Love should be nothing other than love, so I have learned to deal with a situation without it affecting my love for the person or people involved. Sometimes its better to love someone from a distance.
Internal Peace is what I’m ultimately striving for. I’m working on this and I’m getting there slowly but surely. There are times when I feel completely at peace with myself and then there are times when my life is in turmoil and my emotions are on a roller coaster ride. I guess that’s life and part of the process.
Do you have a story of your own to tell? Are you looking to find your voice and the courage to speak out, make an impact and inspire others?
I want to encourage you to speak to someone, acknowledge your pain and turn it into something positive, accept what you can’t change, forgive, learn to love yourself more, love unconditionally but set clear boundaries and conditions for your relationships and seek internal peace.
Please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.