When you look beneath the surface to see what those disruptions are really trying to teach you – including the painful experiences and life’s struggles – you become aware of a new way of being and that’s when you begin truly living.
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Life can be messy. Life can be hard.
As a child, I was taught to respect authority and trust that truth and “answers” existed outside myself. I found it difficult to reconcile this advice with my own feelings of inner knowing.
Those authorities and others insisted that if I couldn’t explain how or why I knew something, then my “knowing” didn’t count and was not to be trusted.
My childhood home was left-brain oriented, competitive and testosterone-driven. A family of five brothers made that an inevitability. Logic, reason, and intellect reigned supreme in our household while feelings and intuition were looked down upon.
From an early age, I found myself drawn to adult conversation, trying to make sense of their interactions. Turns out, it wasn’t just my family that praised logic and minimized emotion. Saying one thing but meaning another was common.
As I grew, I struggled to understand why others felt comfortable and weren’t disturbed by such an apparent schism.
I promised myself, this wouldn’t be how I would live my life. It felt out of alignment and dishonest. More than anything, it appeared incredibly unfulfilling to be incongruent or to portray a false self.
But as time went on, I found myself walking the same familiar path followed by so many others. I, too, began to override my own feelings and inner knowing. In my early twenties, I had a stark… reminder? of the consequences of denying my inner wisdom.
When someone asks for help, a “good person” shouldn’t turn them away. That was the story I told myself. And that story, combined with the refusal to listen to my own inner wisdom had dire consequences.
The attack itself felt unbearable.
But it also left behind a traumatic imprint. As I wrestled with my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), I found myself experiencing a period of suicidal depression. It was during that time that I began to understand the full impact of what I now call “Post Traumatic Story Disorder.”
My new understanding of PTSD showed me the distorted way in which we interpret, manufacture meaning, and re-create our deepest wounds. The event itself is traumatic. The story we tell ourselves afterward, and how we interpret and assign meaning to that story can reinforce the trauma.
On one particular “dark night of the soul,” as I was struggling with despair and suicidal thoughts, I felt broken and angry. I was filled with fear and pain. My traumatic story had taken over my thoughts.
Suicide not only seemed the best option; it felt like the only option.