Tuesday, July 31, 2012

from victim to survivor to thriver

Victim: a person hurt, killed, damaged or destroyed
Survivor: a person who manages to live or exist or keep going despite hardship
Thriver: a person who grows or develops well or vigorously


They say everyone has a story to tell. A part of their lives that will help others, touch others and make a difference. I don't know if my story will do that but in my quiet heart I have hidden a story that longs to be told. It is a simple story of overcoming rejection, seeking validation and of thriving under difficult circumstances. This may be one of the hardest things I have ever written but it is a story busting to be told. My heart gently encourages me to tell it. 

My story wants to be set free, to be recorded and remembered. As I type out the words I start to feel the last strands or chains that were holding me back, snap and disappear as I vigorously grow into the future. This is the story of my journey from moving from victim to survivor to thriver. It is a story that continues to be written as I continue to grow and what is most important to me is that I keep moving forward, I keep feeling and living my life in a way that helps me to progress.

Part 1: Victim.

I have been a victim to several unfortunate experiences in my life. There is no need to share exactly what they are or all of the details of what happened. But, to give you a brief picture, it involved me at a young age being hurt, damaged and violated. Now those three words are powerful words and I do not share them lightly. At the time I received no support and my survival technique was to store away those emotions, those memories and that anger. 

As I grew into my youth I came to see more clearly that I was a victim of unfortunate events. The life of a victim is one of sadness and misery and of no self esteem. You know you have been treated unfairly and you start to blame everything that goes wrong in your life on that one event or those events where you were taken advantage of. I felt helpless, over powered, defeated, crushed, trampled on and left an empty shell of a person. My heart was broken, my trust was taken away and I felt lost and alone.

Even though I felt that way I felt comfortable living the life of a victim. The pain and hurt each day was familiar. It was constant, reliable, always there and almost a friend. But after years of suppressing those emotions and memories, I began to grow tired, weary in my mind. It became too hard to lock them away, to push them back and they started to push to the front of my mind. They wanted to consume my thoughts, to be lived in a real way and acknowledged. I began to have trouble seeing past it, it started to consume me and found myself getting angrier and angrier. I started to fear for my own life, my own actions and knew in my heart that living the life of a victim was not the life for me.

I made a decision that would change my life forever.
I decided to be a survivor.

Part 2: Survivor.

The life of a survivor is one of waking up each day, preparing yourself, arming yourself and going into battle. For me, I went into battle each morning against myself, against my own mind and my own thoughts. Some days I won the battle and some days I lost. During this time I struggled, I fought, I wrestled and I gave myself permission to become raw, to become open and to feel pain like I had never felt before. 

I unlocked my mind, I turned the key, I unleashed the fury and hurt and pain that was stored away for years and allowed it all to flow from my mind, my soul and my heart. It is very hard to describe the sorrow, anguish, the frightening details, the anger, the bitterness, the hatred, the absolute terror that was contained therein. Needless to say that I was not in a very stable state during this time as I had strapped myself in to a roller coaster ride with more lows than highs. Being extremely kind to myself was my main focus to survive this ordeal and I went out of my way to do anything that would allow me to feel happy or make me smile.

Unlocking my heart and mind has been a precious gift that I have given myself. I was so scared to turn that key. I remember physically shaking the moment I made that decision. I feared what was stored away, what I had tried to protect myself from and if I was strong enough to deal with what lay hidden, protected in the dark of my mind. I also remember knowing in my heart that this was the right decision to make and I knew that the only way to progress and to move forward was to do so. 

I can see why some people chose to remain living a victim mentality. In some ways it is easier to live with the sorrow and pain each day. Sure it hurts but fighting against it to get better, to be healthier, to be happy takes effort, hard work and is beyond exhausting. It means standing up each day and deciding to be strong, to face reality and to let yourself really feel the emotions that life throws your way. 

During this time I continued to function with my life. I pushed myself to keep going, to try my best to live a normal life all the while fighting the demons in my own mind. I moved through different stages as I worked through my emotions. I worked on anger issues, I worked through depression, I planned ways to take revenge, I fought to stay alive, I clung to any reason to live, I worked hard to forgive, I sought validation, I sought acceptance and I sought peace of heart and mind. 

Seeking validation for the pain and suffering during my short lifetime took up a great deal of my thoughts. I wanted to push, search and seek for validation to come my way. I wasted precious moments of my life letting myself be consumed and depressed that validation was not to be mine. I really believed that I needed to have that acceptance of truth from others to heal me. What a glorious day it was when I realised that I could move forward with only self validation. I reached a stage where I did not need the acceptance from anyone else to heal myself. I knew the details, I knew the pain and I gave myself validation for those feelings and events. It was a wonderful gift I gave myself to move forward to the next stage of my life.

I then made another decision that would change my life forever.
I decided to be a thriver.

Part 3: Thriver.

I am a little passionate about living life as a thriver. To me a thriver is not someone who is happy all the time, I really don't think that is possible, but more someone who is always working on moving forward and who makes it a priority to grow and develop. You may have noticed I am big on taking time out for yourself and of encouraging other women to take care of themselves. Taking care of myself has taken up so much of my life and is a big personal goal of mine. My ultimate goal through all of this has been to stay mentally sane, to keep it real and to respect and acknowledge how I feel each and every day. I have worked really hard to earn every ounce of self esteem that I possess, every ounce self respect and every ounce of happiness. 

I no longer live a life where I am always seeking the approval, the acceptance and the validation of my  actions or thoughts from others. I get up each day and count my blessings. I plan my life so that I move forward and I fill my life with love and light. I still have days where I feel low and I allow myself to feel that. I know that after feeling depressed and having post natal depression that I am more likely to have bouts of depression in my life and I prepare and plan for how to deal with those moments.

In my quiet heart I no longer have hidden boxes of sorrow and hurt and anger that the eye can't see, I have a heart full of love for my family and for life. I have replaced those boxes of sorrow, hurt and anger with fun family moments, of heart bursting joyful moments that are a treasure to me and with the every day moments of life. My life is still not easy and on some days it can be a battle but I am no longer a victim or a survivor, I am a thriver and a thriver knows how to take a stand for what will bring her happiness and for what she wants in life. A thriver spends her time growing vigorously and that is what I plan to do for the rest of my life.