They say time heals all wounds. While I do believe this is true (for the most part) I just don't believe that we have to wait any length of time to find joy after tragedy, happiness after trauma. I wish someone told me this years ago when was going through a major transition in my life.
Oh, there are pain purists out there who would disagree, who would say that in order to get over your pain, you have to fully process it first (you do!), and that can take time (not always). And some would caution us not to diminish our pain, because what you resist persists...
And then there is also this idea that we need to "just get over it" to move on. My dad would tell me this all the time when I'd try to talk to him about our storied past. He didn't understand why I couldn't let go of the haunting memories. "But we went to Disneyland. I provided a nice life for you. You had more than most children do..." he'd urge. Personally, I think his insistence on me letting go was his defense against the discomfort of looking at his failings as a father. This response would piss me off each time. It felt dismissive to be told this, and I didn't realize in those moments that my persistence was angled at getting his validation once and for all. The story of my life, me fighting to be heard, seen and witnessed.
He passed away in 2012, and since, I've had a lot of time to think about this. It is as if we place more emphasis on being "right" than being happy. In a way, he was right. Letting go was one of the most healing things I have done. But it's not the memories I let go of. It was letting go of the need to be vindicated. Here is where I am coming from.
Some of the worst experiences can be catalysts for growth, yet many of us don't see it that way. Instead, we choose to wallow in victimhood, stuck in a disempowering story, seeking validation by telling it to anyone and everyone who will listen. What little sympathy received is like an addictive drug -- you want more and more, and the next hit is never enough. When we are stuck in this narrative, life always happens to you, not for you.
I am cautious in sharing this because there is a danger in suppressing one's pain without ever having processed it. But what I AM suggesting is to process the pain in a different way, a more empowered way. I think that society teaches that trauma must be vindicated in a very specific way. Many people believe they must carry a grudge. Or they tell you that you must forgive (you don't have to forgive! But that is another post entirely!) Or they tell you that in choosing to see the meaning, you are gas-lighting yourself.
I know that I can't change my story -- what has happened has happened. But what I can do is choose to see it in a different way. Instead of wallowing in the drama of victimhood, I can choose to tell a tale of victory!
I believe it is our divine responsibility as adults to find purpose in our pain. Being stuck in the victim story is disempowering. It causes us to shrink from life. But, when you are able to carve out some space and revisit long buried memories, (as through the process of diary practice or memoir writing, for instance) you can change the narrative and see things in a whole different way. If you believe everything happens for a reason and you search for the meaning in your circumstances, then life expands.
So, what narrative are you using? The drama of victimhood? Or the Epic Tale of Victory?
My name is Dawn Champine and I am the Creatrix of The Goddess Diaries. I am very passionate about helping women remember their REAL GODDESS selves.