Letting Go of the Past: Recovering From Emotional Trauma

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I am not quite ready to date.  Although I would like a partner, I still have work to do on myself- and part of that work involves healing from emotional trauma.

Trauma is something I haven’t written about before, but I feel it’s necessary.  Whether it’s emotional or physical trauma, both result in self doubt, fear, insecurity, and unhealthy behaviors.

I wouldn’t want to take out my old pain on someone new.

While living in New York City I was involved in a potpourri of unhealthy relationships- relationships that got serious, relationships that were flings, and relationships that dragged on despite never being anything real at all.  Every experience taught me a lesson, yet I’ve still held onto the memories and the pain.

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I dated someone who came out of the closet to me.  I dated someone who later died from alcoholism.  I also dated someone who turned out to be someone entirely different from what I made him out to be in my head.  They’ve inspired stories for me to write about, lessons to learn, and have made me realize what I am looking for- and what I deserve.

I know I am stronger from each experience, but in addition to these relationships, I also have trauma from my drinking days, from childhood, and from teenage bullying.

Caring for your mental health and healing your inner child is crucial, and that is the next step in my journey.  I know I still have work to do, and I am finally ready to acknowledge both my part in the experiences and well as forgive the people who hurt me.

Life is a complicated thing, but as spiritual beings living a human experience, I know everything happens for a reason.  It’s up to us to choose how to view it.

I’m Not Ignoring You, I’m Just Living In The Moment

Each minute of every day, we have communication right there in our pocket (or in my case, a Henri Bendel handbag).

From texts to calls, our phones never cease to ring, beep, or buzz.  We receive social media alerts, Tweets, and comments.  Since it’s so easy to get a hold of one another, people sometimes forget that we all have our own lives, obligations, and self care to attend to.  It’s not necessary to respond to everything we receive right away.

In this day and age, it’s crucial to take the time to go “off the grid” to focus on what’s right there in front of you.  Whether it’s spending face time with friends and family, reading a book, or enjoying time in nature, it’s so important to put down the phone and be in the moment.  Embracing what is right in front of you is what life is all about.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why it took you a few hours to respond, nor do you need to feel obligated to check your Facebook feed every hour.  It’s important to remember that life is happening around us every minute, and although the virtual world can be fun (and important for staying in touch with our loved ones), being mindful and in the moment is the greatest gift of all.

So, put down your iPhone and do something that takes you back to your childlike joy.

Your mental health will thank you.

Step Into The Daylight and Let It Go

My love was as cruel as the cities I lived in

Everyone looked worse in the light

There are so many lines that I’ve crossed, unforgiven

I’ll tell you truth, but never, “Goodbye”

It’s strange how you can think about someone every day for half a decade, and then one morning… it stops.

He stops appearing in your dreams and haunting you in your nightmares.

You stop daydreaming about him being someone he is not, never was, and never will be.

Your nights are peaceful and your days are full of light.

You come to realize you deserve much more; more than he was ever willing to give.

You finally love right where you are, who you have become, and the future ahead of you. No longer dwelling on the past, you’re open to whatever is in store tomorrow.

On this particular morning, I’ve let go of the darkness and am ready to step into the daylight.

Giving Yourself Grace

It’s interesting to see old friends and bump into people who have known you for decades.  These are people who have known me through my innocence, the good, and the bad- and they love me nevertheless.

From the shy girl growing up in Traverse City to the hard-partying 20-something, I am no longer hiding in a big city, unable to face my past.

I’m not ashamed of who I am or what I’ve done- I’m proud I have overcome challenges and have made it out alive, healing, and happy.

Despite the grit, I have to remember to give myself grace.

After all, I am my own worst critic.

Living in New York City and Boston gave me the experience of meeting new people, recreating myself, but most of all, learning to love myself and all of my flaws.  Yes, I have made mistakes, but I’m not that woman today.

I no longer have to run and hide, I can be exactly who I am and unapologetically myself.  I am a woman with a wide variety of experiences, pain, passion, and purpose- and I will use my past to build strength in my future.

As I continue to write this new chapter, I will give myself grace- no matter what the voices in my head may try and tell me.

I will remember it doesn’t matter what others think- the only thing that counts is that I love the person I am today.