Here’s something I know for sure: We all are all healing from something.
Healing from small disappointments, deep traumas, loss, heartache, sickness, injury.
Healing our bodies, our hearts, our guts, our brains, our souls.
This work of healing, this mending the broken bits ourselves, this is perhaps our most important job. The one that stands between us and the life we want. The job that is impossible to complete, but deeply necessary. The one that helps us serve as examples of resilience to our children.
When we do the work to heal ourselves, the work of creating new habits and patterns and practices that help us live healthier and happier, we remember that we are the custodians of our bodies and minds.
After years of doing the hard work of healing myself and listening to others talk about their journeys, here’s something else I know for sure:
To heal from trauma you need to do two things: trust yourself and find your tribe.
LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF
Here’s the rub: The path to health and happiness and wellness that you’re looking for? You’re not going to find it in the latest diet or health guru. In fact, you’re not going to find it anywhere in the outside world because the only path you need to follow is the one that’s already inside of you.
Trusting yourself as your own best guide is a radical act. It means you accept that you are enough. That you don’t need to learn more things, become a better person, or earn the right to trust your gut. I means that you acknowledge that you alone are uniquely qualified to write your story.
Of course finding your true voice, that piece of you that lives deep in your gut away from outside influence — it’s so simple and so darn hard.
I’m still learning how to listen to myself. It requires mindfulness, and it’s a daily practice. I’ve found that deep breaths, quiet time, and paying close attention help. When it comes to figuring out what food to eat to make me feel my best, and when it comes to sorting through old habits of self-sabotage to make way for clear-headed confidence, what works best for me is cultivating a practice of paying close attention to how my body is feeling and how my mind is acting throughout the day. By doing this, I notice patterns. And then I can make small changes to head in different directions.
Try these two things today:
- Jot down how you feel within 20-minutes of each meal/snack. You don’t need to write a journal entry. Just note the time, what you ate and how you feel (energized, tired, full, still hungry, fidgety, calm). Don’t make any changes. Don’t judge yourself. Just notice.
- When you start to feel anxious, stressed, snippy, irritable, annoyed, take a pause. Notice how you’re feeling and take a minute to jot it down. Write down two things in that moment: how you’re feeling and what you need.
Do this for a couple of days and you’ll start to get some insight into what’s really going on inside of you. Do it often and you’ll start to rely on turning inward for guidance. This is you trusting your gut.
FIND YOUR TRIBE
Trusting your gut may be required for healing, but that doesn’t mean you can do it alone.
We are social creatures and we do our best when we are part of a group.
The trick is finding the right group.
You’ll know your tribe when you find them. They have been there, they get it, they don’t need lengthy explanations, they bring understanding instead of pity, they can speak volumes with the simple phrase, “me, too.”
They are made up of family and friends and co-workers, and they have your back.
The idea of community and finding a tribe resonates so much to me because I remember what it was like to not have it. I remember being a young adult, struggling to bear the weight of my traumatic childhood, confused about how to become the person I knew I could be. I remember feeling alone and isolated, and worse, like I was the only person in the world who felt that way. Once I started to open up and find other people who felt the same way, who had similar struggles, who wanted the same kind of life, the world began to open up. That’s when my healing began.
We all have to find our way home to ourselves, and we can’t do it alone.
Here’s to healing, and here’s to do it together.