There isn't a name, phrase, or title that more accurately represents the process of embarking on one of the most vulnerable things someone can do than Courageous Journeys.
Willingness to risk the vulnerability that resides in acknowledging past abuse and the struggles it creates is the pure embodiment of courage.
When I decided to begin a practice to help survivors of abuse heal I knew it needed a name that truly meant something. Not only to me, but more importantly, to the survivors who struggled their entire lives with hopelessness, unworthiness, isolation, and the myriad other issues related to experiencing childhood abuse. It needed to represent the reality and significance of what the process means and the inner strength required to take the risk.
From my very first private client who risked asking someone at the gym if she knew of a therapist to the scared young woman in South Africa who never told anyone of her abuse until she sent me an email, and everyone in between, as well as the millions of you out there who continue to hope for a life without pain & struggle, you are the face of courage, strength, and resilience.
Hope is often elusive. It can easily hide behind shame, self-doubt, disappointment, and fear. Resilience keeps you living your life, but it is hope that drives you to believe in the possibility of something different. Your healing journey is born through hope. It may not always be visible, but it is there.
As a way of coping with a life of disappointment, you may choose to give up on hoping for a life free of struggle. The unconscious, self-protective thinking goes something like this…if I don't allow myself to hope, I will not be disappointed.
This allows us to feel that we have some level of control over experiencing disappointment. Of course, this is not the reality. It only keeps us from allowing ourselves to dream, to imagine what could be possible for our lives.
I personally know this one very well. As a survivor of abuse and neglect, I wouldn't acknowledge, even to myself, my deep desire to heal or my dreams of a life beyond abuse.
People will often deny their courage. Instead, identifying their struggles and mistakes as examples of how little courage they possess. They have a belief if they were truly courageous they wouldn't have been effected by the abuse; they would have "gotten over it" by now, they would choose better relationships, they wouldn't have whatever diagnosis they've been given.
It is not possible to survive a childhood of abuse without courage. It is not possible to share your story, ask for help, or begin healing without courage. The very fact you are reading this means you are courageous enough to acknowledge the pain and struggle.
Many people, instead, choose to live in denial. Living in denial does not make you a bad or weak person. Denial can serve a very helpful purpose. During the abuse it can literally help you survive. However, it also keeps you from healing.
You cannot heal what you deny has been wounded. (tweet it)
If you are a survivor of childhood abuse or neglect, you are not alone. I've (almost) always known the statistics of people abused. 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys before they reach the age of 18. However it wasn't until creating my website and YouTube channel and hearing from people all over the world, that I fully understood the depth and breadth of childhood abuse. That no matter where we live or what our individual experience was, we all long for the same thing. To heal. To know we are not alone.
Healing is possible. You deserve to have a life beyond pain and struggle. I know it’s almost an automatic response to identify a rebuttal to the previous statements. Why healing isn’t possible for you or all the reasons you don’t deserve to heal. However, just because it’s an automatic response doesn’t mean it’s true.
You can learn to let go of the beliefs you’ve been holding on to, that have been holding you back, allowing you to believe in your worthiness and see yourself as the rest of the world sees you…Strong, Courageous, Beautiful, and Capable.
I'd love to hear about your experience with your own Courageous Journey. What does healing mean to you?