I attended a self development workshop recently and the topic was authenticity. We discuss the what and why of authenticity; how it shows up in your life, why it’s important and why it makes us happy. I shared that I am the happiest I have ever been and why I believe it is because I am finally and completely being my authentic self. I explained that for me that meant embracing my trauma.
I accepted the trauma of my childhood a long time ago. I worked for years to get to a place where I forgave my parents and all of my abusers. I learned to live as a survivor and not a victim. But I hadn’t embraced all of it.
I was still fighting to be someone else, to live a life of someone who did not have PTSD. I tirelessly went to therapy and did all the things I was taught to “get better”. I would go months without any symptoms and then, boom! Just like that, I was back in a depression or having panic attacks. I was always so disappointed when I “relapsed”. I spent so many summers crossing my fingers that the coming fall and winter, my worse time of the year, would be different. I prayed as hard as I could for me just to get through one winter without a psychotic break or dark depression. It never came.
It happened for me this year because last year, I embraced my trauma. It was different than accepting my trauma. It was finally embracing that I couldn’t live as a person who hadn’t been tormented as a child. And that it wasn’t a bad thing that I couldn’t.
It was when I realized that I am the same person who was repeatedly harmed all those years ago, that I started really feeling the empathy for that little girl, for myself. That’s when I let go of the idea of undoing trauma. I could never make it so that it never happened, so I hugged the shit out of it.
The truth is I will never be someone who was not abused. I will never be someone who doesn’t get sad from what happened to her. I will never be someone who doesn’t live with mental illness. Being my authentic self is embracing that and not giving a damn what anyone thinks.
Embracing that is what makes me kind to myself. It helps me take care of myself to meet my own needs. It’s why I can write about things that I deal with. I am fully and wholly embracing who I am and what happened to me is a part of that. Being my authentic self means not caring if people know what happened to me. I no longer try to mask my pain. I don’t use it as a crutch; I use it as strength. But the point is… I use it. And why wouldn’t I? It’s there and it always will be, so why not use it for something good.
I also no longer explain myself when that pain shows. I don’t care if anyone knows about everything that happened to me because I know and I am the one taking care of myself to cope with it.
This has freed me to put myself first and always be there for me! It also frees my loved one from the pressure and worry of trying to make sure I am ok. Because I have fully embraced my trauma, I and only I, am responsible for my happiness. I put that above all else, and wouldn’t you know it… it worked.