Affirmations are those positive thoughts and words that are said internally and out loud over and over until you believe them and see the truth of them.
Simpler said than done, but saying affirmations do help make one feel better.
If you go back to negative thinking very quickly, it’s because of the long-standing criticism you have of yourself. It’s OK. You can redirect your thinking at any time.
If you find resistance when you are saying positive affirmations then that is where you have an issue to look at.
Practicing affirmations is the key to making them work. It takes at least a month of speaking kind words, compassionate words, uplifting words to yourself.
Here are two of my favorite affirmations.
I believe in myself.
I approve of myself.
And you can also research the subject on-line. Louise Hay was a pioneer in positive affirmations and her audiobooks are free online.
Our minds are not always in tune with our powerful grounded self. Being in touch with our grounded self is difficult to maintain in the best of circumstances. Our grounded self is where we feel strong, centered and strong.
Our minds are busy thinking, chatting, bringing up the past and worrying about the future, describing fears in great detail and at times sending us down the rabbit hole of despair and keeping trauma experiences invisible, untouchable, un-feel-able.
Our subconscious runs the show in trauma recovery. If we are mostly distracted it’s a signal that our subconscious is not feeling safe enough to express its concerns about the trauma you experienced.
And that is OK. Eventually, the more you learn to be grounded the more your subconscious will reveal information about the unhealed trauma material.
When this happens witness without judgement and thank your subconscious for revealing its secrets to you. Tell your subconscious how proud you are of it protecting you for so long and it can release this heavy burden, you are both safe now.
There are two things that we have complete control over. Our thoughts and actions. That is pretty much it.
Things that go on outside of us are uncontrollable. We may have a chance to use our own actions to influence the event. That is still controlling our actions. We can take an action that will influence our own lives or someone else’s in a positive way.
We can’t stop our thoughts, that is the purpose of our mind is to think but we can stop useless thoughts by practicing redirecting our thoughts. For example, if someone is talking bad about you or someone else you can choose to stop those negative thoughts that put you down the rabbit hole of despair and change the subject to something positive.
Take note: This kind of mindfulness is not easy, when you start and you can expect your mind to resist change. This is good because resistance will show you where you need look at your own issues. Be kind to yourself as you make these positive changes, if you become distracted, redirect when you can. You are worth the effort.
I like ghost stories on TV and in books. They are kind of scary and kind of silly.
I don’t like flashbacks of shadowy ghost stories and past violations and the need to look over my shoulder.
Even those days are long gone there is a part of me that still holds those ghost stories, They are actually the traumatized part of me that have not been updated to the present safe moments.
In trauma there are many subtle, under my consciousness beliefs that manage to slip into my daily behavior. Even though I am quite aware of this behavior I don’t always see these trauma beliefs being acted out until it’s too late.
To get past my personal ghost stories I write a lot to get those hidden ghost stories out into the open. From there I can examine the belief and set the past free and update my beliefs to a more modern and current conclusion.
Afterwards I feel refreshed, grounded and content.
I love words. Words can be so very healing.
There were many times I could not identify what I was feeling so I would go to the dictionary online or in a real book and start looking up what the feeling might be.
The result was surprising. The words that stood out to me made sense to what I was feeling. I would look up the synonyms for those words and eventually come up with identifying the feeling.
Here is an example:
betray-expose, treacherously reveal as in secrets, be disloyal to.
Synonym-abandon, deceive, forsake, double cross.
You get the idea.
So the next time you have one of those unidentifiable feelings, go to the dictionary, with curiosity and no judgement, start looking up some words to help you get clarity on how you are feelings.
The healing magic happens when you can identify those feelings lying just under your consciousness. Our minds are so busy with other chatter it is hard to be in touch with how you feel.
Feelings need to be exposed to heal. It can be scary but only for a little while.
Give this a try, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Trauma recovery is my favorite subject. Mostly because I have experienced it for many years. Here are some characteristics of victims of dysfunctional upbringing. This includes dealing with alcoholics and the mentally ill.
Janet G. Woititz, PhD wrote the book for Adult Children of Alcoholics in 1983 and in her book she lists the following.
- Guess at what normal behavior is
- Have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end
- Lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth
- Judge themselves without mercy
- Have difficulty having fun
- Take themselves very seriously
- Have difficulty with intimate relationships
- Overreact to changes over which they have no control
- Constantly seek approval and affirmation
- Feel that they’re different from other people
- Are super responsible or super irresponsible
- Are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved
- Are impulsive—They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsively leads to confusion, self-loathing, and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.
Of course, if you’re a child of an alcoholic, etc., that doesn’t mean that everything on this list will apply to you. But it’s likely that at least some of it will.
Quoting from Adult Children of Alcoholics book:
The solution is:
The solution is to become your own loving parent.
This involves finding the right meetings, therapist, safe place to re-learn how to become the person you are meant to be. Find a way to unburden the unexpressed grief you hold, see your family dysfunction for what it was, and keep the focus on the here and now. None of it was your fault but it is your work to heal.
It is not easy to do this work, just start where you are and take as much time as you need. You are worth it.
In a word – persistence. However, recovery from trauma is not a linear process, there are ups and downs, erroneous paths, false information, shady gurus, promises of instant recovery.
There are many recovery styles. Take you pick, affirmations, videos, reading books about other people’s journey, therapy, music, writing, art, exercise. You can add to the list. And not all with resonate with you. And that is OK.
This is where persistence comes in.
Do whatever it takes to restore your sense of safety and empowerment, clear headedness, and life’s path.
It may take a while but you are worth the effort and I guarantee that you will be happy with the results.
Improving your life is a spiritual practice because it requires mindfulness.
What is mindfulness? Focusing one’s attention on the present moment.
This is what being spiritual means, being mindful of your own actions and adjusting your actions on the road to improvement.
Simple enough but not easy to do. Keep trying, spiritual things take a while.