14 Apr Feeling Proud
If you talk to the average person about proud moments in their lives, chances are they could probably list a few. Part of being human you would have thought, the opportunity to excel at something and be acknowledged for it. The general belief being that everyone must have felt proud at some point in their lives, it would have been most unlikely to have been otherwise. Wouldn’t it?
What if I was to tell you, that for survivors, feeling proud was almost impossible.
We tended to feel just the opposite because we were holding quite a load you see and didn’t have capacity or energy to make room for less – than trauma induced responses. You know the ones, Fight, Flight, Freeze or Fawn. Every Survivors got one or more of these, built into their psyche. The backpack of shame, guilt, and anxiety we carried around, permeated every aspect of our being, ensuring we were unable to absorb any credit or praise due us.
This does not mean to say we weren’t trying to attain or achieve, like all our friends and classmates, it just means our systems couldn’t cope and so rejected it. A little like an allergic reaction to something, with the difference being this went on to impact every part of our being.
It was difficult for us to feel positive about ourselves, and believe in its sustainability or longevity, because life had shown us the opposite was true.
We tended to exist in a myriad of ways: For some of us; fear ruled us, which meant we didn’t want to stand out or be noticed for anything. We spent our days in our heads, dissociated and isolated, often being accused of daydreaming.
Yet others among us may have shown bravado or been bigger than the situation, trying to cover the emptiness inside. Our behaviour would usually ensure we were in more trouble and got abused emotionally and physically as a result. Just more abuse piled on top of the abuse we were already suffering.
Some of us may have stayed quiet and small, just to get through the day and even worse, the night. We hid in the tiniest of doorways or under beds feeling terrorised that our heartbeats and breathing were so loud, we would be discovered at any moment. We hung onto the erroneous belief that the smaller and quieter we were, the less we would be noticed. That was never the case and in some cases made us even more targeted.
Universally though, until we could deeply resonate with the truth of ourselves, including the broke and damaged parts, pride could not feature in any our lives let alone befriend us.
We needed to be able to look in the mirror, into our own eyes and like what we saw. As survivors we struggled to make the leap, as doing that meant we had to face the truth, and the truth had become weaponised against us.
We were Survivors and our tank was running on empty.
Fleetingly at first, and then more gradually, we sensed the possibility of facing into ourselves, of seeing the potential that was always there. We knew it would take time, we knew it was up to us, and we had a deep awareness that once done, we couldn’t go back.
That magical moment when, we could finally make eye contact, face into the beauty that we always were, and hold our heads up with pride.
That moment was amazing.
Perhaps we were even able to utter the words, ‘I am proud of who I am’.