Sunday, February 16, 2014

Grieve and Move On! Your Life Depends On It!


All of us have experienced bad things in our lives...childhood trauma, loss of a loved one, sexual abuse, abandonment. For some, the word "bad" isn't bad enough to describe the horrors that life has thrown your way. Let me help some of you and say this, it was NOT your fault! I needed to say that so you can get the validation you need. How long have you been holding on to the hurt? 5 years? 20 years? 50 years? No matter how long it's been, it's time for you to grieve and move on!

I know someone is probably saying to yourself, "why should I grieve...no one died" but the truth is apart of you did die!  In my years of working with hurting people, I have come to realize that recovering from a traumatic experience is very similiar to the grieving process. While in grad school, I learned about Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and the 5 Stages of Grief she developed from her years of research on grief and loss.

  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Denial
  • Bargaining
  • Acceptance

Do you find yourself in any of these stages? Dr. Kubler-Ross suggests that the grieving [or hurting] person goes through these stages with the ultimate goal of acceptance. However, she also suggests that there is no specific order for the stages, which means someone can go from denial to anger and back to denial. People grieve differently and for different lengths of time. I believe trauma is a type of loss and we must properly grieve in order to move forward. While counseling victims of sexual abuse & sexual assault, they would often tell me that they feel like a part of them died after the incident. My goal as their counselor was not to get them to be who they were but to accept the fact that they have been forever changed by their experience. Only then could they embrace the person, the survivor, they have become.

You will never be who you were before that car accident that left you paralyzed or the rape in college that you never told anyone about. Although the vehicle of change was painful, the change itself was a gift. Am I suggesting that it was good that you were hurt? No! But what I am saying is that the way you perceive the experience and how you grow from it makes all the difference. The difference between the lady who was sexually abused and ended up addicted to crack cocaine as a way to cope & Oprah Winfrey (also a sexual abuse survivor) is the way they processed their pain. You have to realize that you are no longer powerless. You have the God-given power to grieve and move on or stay in the rut of self-pity. It's your choice!

In John 5, Jesus encounters a man at the pool of Bethesda who had been hurting for a very long time (38 years to be exact). Jesus doesn't have a long coversation with the man about his condition rather he asks him one question, "Do you want to get well?" Jesus could've touched the man and healed him without saying a word but he wanted the man to play an active role in his own healing. So, I ask you the same question,"Do YOU want to be healed?" It's at the moment that make a conscious decision to stop being a victim to your pain that your healing process will start. The only thing that can stand in the way of your healing is YOU :)

Be blessed!

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