Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

So, if you are too tired to speak, sit next to me because I, too, am fluent in silence.” – R. Arnold

Sometimes there are no words that help. No words that can change the situation. No words that can ease our burden. But we still need someone to sit with us, so we don’t have to bear the weight of it alone.

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Emotional Safety in Relationships

Don't Lose Hope

As I began to love myself, my relationship with everyone changed.”    

Emotional safety is key to creating trusting, healthy, meaningful relationships. Some things to bear in mind as you think about this topic include:

1.To relax and trust in a relationship you need to feel both physically and emotionally safe. Even if we don’t we’re physically, at risk we may not feel emotionally safe with our partner.

2. Emotional safety is communicated by subtle non-verbal cues. For example, we can be triggered (so we start to feel unsafe) by things like tone of voice, a blank face, an uninterested look, a dismissive look, or by our partner turning away when we start to talk to them.

3. Words in themselves do not generally communicate safety, security, unconditional acceptance, and a feeling that we’re wanted and loved. Also, when our intuition doesn’t match the words we’re hearing we discount…

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An Interview with Pattie – The Role of Kindness in Healing

Don't Lose Hope

Pattie experienced betrayal trauma when she learned that her husband of 35 years had actually been unfaithful for most of their marriage. Below, she shares about the role kindness played in helping her to slowly start to heal.

“What has helped me over time is noticing the small kindnesses of others, and trying to absorb some of that kindness and love.

When you experience betrayal trauma, it causes you totally shut down inside. You don’t trust anyone. You can’t feel at all. It’s like nothing can penetrate the wall around your heart. You can’t open up and let anybody in. You also don’t want to let anybody in.

But as time passed, that began to change. I started to notice some small kindnesses. It might be something as insignificant as a friendly sales assistant who took time to be extra nice to me. Or the barista at Starbucks who always…

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Symptoms of a Wounded Heart

Don't Lose Hope

Symptom of a wounded heart include:

1. Every day is a struggle to believe in yourself. You feel completely worthless and inadequate. You are always criticizing and attacking yourself, and are constantly clothed in a cloak of shame.

2. You find it hard to accept yourself, and can’t believe others can accept you either. You interpret everything you say and do in a disparaging and negative light.

3. You can’t see your strengths, and your good qualities, and are constantly battling painful negative feelings.

3. You feel driven to be perfect – so you try and you try – but there’s never a time when feel “it’s good enough”. Instead, you judge yourself harshly; never give yourself a break; and you’re always deeply disappointed in yourself. Also, you always feel guilty – and believed that you have failed.

4. You find it almost impossible to trust other people, and are…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“Mental health problems don’t define who you are. They are something you experience. You walk in the rain, and you feel the rain, but you are not the rain.” – Matt Haig

This is an important truth to grasp.

You may struggle with mental illness. You may be displaying the effects of trauma.

But none of these are you.

Don’t confuse your experience with the person you are inside.

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Dare I take the Risk? Is it Wise to Take the Risk?

Don't Lose Hope

“Maybe the most beautiful act in all the world is to open our hearts even as they are broken. To nurture our tenderness even though it is easy to turn bitter. To remain gentle and supple, although everything in you goes hard. To keep your soul open and facing the sky, even though you cannot yet see the light of the sun.”

– S.C. Lourie

Here’s what I would say about this quote:

1. On the subject of “having an open heart”: There’s a protection in being wary of being hurt again. Why would you risk being wounded or destroyed? We put up walls because not everyone is safe, and we’ve learned it is crucial that we take care of ourselves. That is wisdom, and it shows self-respect. Not everyone is worthy of our trust.

And at first, we might just find that we can’t open heart. It…

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7 Skills for Coping with Loss

Don't Lose Hope

There are losses that rearrange the world. Deaths that change the way you see everything. Grief that tears everything down. Pain that transports you to an entirely different universe, even while everyone else thinks nothing has changed.” – Megan Devine

Steven Hayes, the founder of ACT (Action and Commitment Therapy) has outlined 7 skills for coping with loss. Skills that, ultimately, enable you to thrive, despite experiencing heartache and pain. This is based on the findings of 1,000+ studies, which were conducted over 35 years. They include:

1. Acknowledge that the loss has occurred, and that it has seriously affected your life.

2. Embrace all the emotions that the loss creates in you. This means feeling the feelings instead of trying to push them down, or trying to control them, or attempting to self-medicate with something like food, alcohol, busyness or work.

3. Accept all your thoughts, feelings and…

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Don’t Believe the Lies

Don't Lose Hope

Society communicates some powerful beliefs which we tend to accept, and then judge ourselves by.

And yet these are destructive, and self-limiting, lies.

They include:

1. I am what I have: Stuff is only stuff. It is never more than that. And we all have different reasons for acquiring stuff, and also different attitudes towards that stuff.

For example, some people find they’re born into a wealthy privileged home; whilst other families struggle just to fight off poverty.

Also … wealth matters to some people so they want to own large homes, to buy expensive cars, and have the latest games and toys. Others aren’t motivated by those things at all.

2. I am what I’ve done: None of us is perfect. We all have some regrets. But what matters themost is what we learn from our mistakes.

It’s who you are today that is your…

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The Loneliness of Betrayal

Don't Lose Hope

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

The most common comments I hear from those who learn that their spouse has a sex addiction are:

“I feel so alone. There’s no-one I can’t tell. There is no-one else I know who’s gone through something like this. I feel so isolated and alone.”

And they’re absolutely right. It isn’t really talked about. There’s so much condemnation, blame and shame attached to it that you daren’t take a risk, and disclose what you have learned.

Basically …

– You know there would be talk. You’d be criticized and judged. They’d say it was your fault. And they’d highlight all your flaws – and even add some more so they can reinforce their case. Perhaps not to your face – but, at least, behind closed doors.

– Or, they’d…

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On Emotional Healing …

Don't Lose Hope

The very same brain centers that interpret and feel physical pain also become activated during experiences of emotional rejection. In brain scans, they light up in response to social ostracism, just as they would when triggered by physically harmful stimuli. When people speak of feeling hurt or of having emotional pain, they are not being abstract or poetic, but scientifically quite precise.” – Gabor Mate

Emotional anguish is observable and real. The pain that we feel is registered in the brain. So we need to take that pain seriously. And don’t be surprised if a wound that’s very deep always seems to throb, and takes a long time to heal. For that is exactly what we would expect.

A surgical wound can set you back for weeks or months. You have to take it easy so that healing can occur. There are things that you can’t do –…

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Will this Never End?

Don't Lose Hope

Do you ever wonder if you’ll ever recover? Do you ever despair of the roller-coaster ride? If you do, then you’re normal. It is what we all go through when we’re reeling from a shock, or we’ve been traumatized. Welcome to the club. We have travelled this road too.

What should you expect when you’re trying to recover?

  • Triggers happen all the time, and they happen unexpectedly.
  • You’ll have flashbacks, broken sleep and anxiety attacks.
  • You will lose your motivation and your zest for life.
  • You will cry and feel depressed a lot of the time.
  • You will feel you’ve lost your smile and your sense of humour.
  • You might feel like you are starting to be yourself again – and then you have a meltdown and you’re back at ground zero.
  • You’ll have powerful thoughts and feelings that will shock and frighten you.
  • You will feel ashamed of your…

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How to be There for a Traumatized Friend

Don't Lose Hope

In a previous post we talked about some of the statements and comments that can be destructive to the healing process. Below, we talk about some things that can help when you want to support a traumatized friend.

1. When the person starts to talk about the traumatic experience, be aware of the fact that they might actually be reliving the past (even if it happened months or years ago). That means they might be experiencing some of the same symptoms and reactions as they experienced at the time. This is known as rubber-banding back to the past.

2. It is likely that their thinking and awareness will have become incredibly focused; they may not even be aware of their current surroundings. All they can feel is the shock and numbness. There may be adrenalin rushing through the person’s body. They may tune out from time to time and not…

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Things you Shouldn’t say to a Trauma Survivor

Don't Lose Hope

Many people cannot cope with another person’s pain. They do not want to know, and they cannot stand to hear. As a consequence of this, they will try to shut you down, and often they will do this by spouting platitudes. Pointless, empty words that can make you feel alone.

Examples include the following:

“Just let it go.”

“Are you over it yet?”

“Try to focus on the positives.”

“It’s going to be OK …”

“You still have so much to be thankful for.”

“At least you can be grateful that …”

“Fake it till you make.”

“I know how you feel.”

“Let me tell you what happened to me …”

“At least it’s not bad as what happened to X.”

“One day you’ll look back, and be grateful that it happened.”

“It will all work out for the best in the end.”

These cruel and thoughtless comments weave a…

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Addiction and Boundaries

Don't Lose Hope

“You can be a good person with a kind heart, and still say ‘no’.”

There are many, many addicts who break free of their addiction. They do the work required, and turn their back upon their past.

Other addicts try and fail; perhaps they feel ambivalent. Perhaps they aren’t sure they really want to make that change.

This is so distressing and for the partner or spouse.

So, what should you do? How do you help yourself – and them – when you don’t know if your partner is committed to real change?

All that you can do – and it’s the healthy thing to do – is to work hard on establishing some healthy boundaries.

But what do we mean by “having healthy boundaries”?

1. This is more about controlling our own life and own world. It’s not about controlling our partner’s life and world. This is…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“Strong women aren’t born. They’re forged in the fires they’ve had to walk through. And they’ve shown the world they are warriors.”

This is you.

A strong courageous woman who has been forced to deal with stuff she never wanted to deal with,

and never should have had to deal with.

And you’ve discovered in the fire a strength of will, and inner strength, you never knew you had until you had to stand and fight.

And what a revelation that has been!

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On Grief

Don't Lose Hope

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” ― Jamie Anderson

Grief is just love with no place to go.

Because that individual’s not around anymore.

They can’t hear your words.

They can’t respond to your words.

You can’t express your love in any way that’s meaningful.

All that love that is inside you, in its pure intensity …

All the feelings that you have, and want to open up and share …

None of that is possible

There’s only silence now.

There’s no-one there to listen.

There’s only emptiness.

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Understanding Betrayal Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

Jennifer Freyd was one of the first people to formally identify betrayal trauma. She defined it in the following way:

“Betrayal trauma occurs when the people or institutions on which a person depends for survival significantly violate that person’ s trust or well-being: Childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated by a caregiver are examples of betrayal trauma.”

The effects of this are severe and long-lasting. In fact, the associated symptoms are similar to those associated with PTSD. They include:

– Repeatedly experiencing intrusive thoughts and memories related to the traumatic event. These memories and thoughts can occur spontaneously, as well being triggered by environmental cues.

– Experiencing intense and prolonged distress when the person is exposed to any stimulus that reminds them of the traumatic event (or which resembles the traumatic experience).

– Being unable to fall, or to stay, asleep. Having recurring dreams where content or feelings…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

More long walks. More good books. More music. More sunsets. More holding hands. More cuddles. More road trips. More honouring your heart. More being nice to yourself. More laughter. More fun in the moment. More beach. More forest. More memories. More of what brings peace to your life. More of what brings inspiration. More of what makes you feel loved and not alone. Focus on that today.”   

– butterfliesandpebbles

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The Characteristics of Good Mental Health

Don't Lose Hope

What does it mean to function well in life? What does it mean to have good mental health? It means we exhibit the following traits:

  1. Feeling good about ourselves; accepting that we have both strengths and weaknesses. Understanding that change takes time, and being patient with ourselves.
  2. Being able to effectively manage our emotions so we’re not controlled or overwhelmed by them (Feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, rage, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, and so on).
  3. Being able to form and enjoy stable, healthy, boundaried and meaningful relationships.
  4. Feeling at ease in the company of others.
  5. Not taking life too seriously; being able to laugh at ourselves.
  6. Respecting ourself, our values, beliefs, attitudes, choices and decisions. Also, respecting others and their right to think, choose, decide and act for themselves.
  7. Being able to accept, and to cope with, disappointment. This includes being able to adapt and compromise when this is healthy and…

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Finding the Right Kind of Counsellor to Help you Cope with Betrayal Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

“A partner affected by intimate betrayal experiences a level of pain that is indescribable. The hurt is so profound and complex, partners often wonder if it will ever get better.” –  Shira Olsen

You’re likely in crisis if you’ve learned that your spouse is addicted to sex or pornography. It’s not the kind of news you expect to hear!

And you know that you need help … but you don’t know where to turn. You want to find a counsellor … but who will understand?

When you’re in a state of shock you need a crisis counsellor who knows what it is like to be completely traumatized; not someone who will offer you generic counselling.

The Kind of Counsellor to Avoid at this Time

In the initial weeks and months, you should avoid a counsellor:

– Who wants to look at how you might have contributed to, or played a…

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It’s the Little Things that Matter

Don't Lose Hope

Remember, today, that it’s the little things that matter.

It’s saying thank you to the sales assistant.

It’s taking the time to listen to your child.

It’s paying an unexpected compliment.

It’s checking in on a hurting friend.

It’s making the decision to do the right thing, even when you’re tired and you really can’t be bothered.

It’s choosing to be thankful when you’re feeling negative.

It’s doing one small thing which shows you’re going to love yourself.

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Understanding Relapse

Don't Lose Hope

Relapse is commonplace when someone’s fighting an addiction; it’s something many deal with on their journey to success. Yet, Psychology Today[1] records that more give up addictions than those who stay addicted, or who constantly relapse. This should give us hope, and help stave off discouragement.

Also, relapsing is a process that’s predictable and patterned; and recognizing this can help us read the warning signs. That is, we often make decisions which can seem inconsequential … and yet they slowly move us towards a full relapse

Think of the relapse chain as a chain of decisions – made over a period of days, weeks, months, or even years- that together add up to a backsliding in one’s recovery. This makes it hard to say exactly where any one relapse begins.[2]

What are the Steps that Lead to Relapse?

The following links make up the relapse chain:

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How to Tap into Your Inner Strength in the Aftermath of Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

Below are some common definitions of trauma.

Trauma is any experience of threat, disconnection, isolation, or immobilization that results in physical/ emotional injuries that dysregulate the optimal functioning of one’s body, emotions, brain, spirit or health.” – Mastin Kipp

“Trauma by definition is unbearable and intolerable. (Traumatized people) become so upset when they think about what they have experienced that they try to puh it out of their minds, trying to act as if nothing happened, and move on. It takes tremendous energy to keep functioning while carrying the memory of terror, and the shame of utter weakness and vulnerability.” – Bessel Van Der Kolk

“Being traumatized means continuing to organize your life as if the trauma was still going on – unchanged and immutable – as every new encounter or past event is contaminated by the past.” – Bessel Van Der Kolk

This is a difficult way…

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Why We don’t Talk about our Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

“Own everything that has happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamont

There are so many reasons why we keep it to ourselves. Why we choose not to talk about the things that we’ve been through. These include self-protection, feeling it is pointless, and because of messages we’ve picked up from our family.

Let’s break this down further ….

1. Self-Protection

Because it isn’t a safe thing to do.

Because we’re afraid of being judged, shamed, or attacked further.

Because we haven’t got the emotional reserves to deal with being judged, shamed, or attacked further.

Because we haven’t got the energy, or mental head space, to carefully explain our side of the story (and, if necessary, ‘argue our case’).

Because we don’t think people will believe us (or even want to believe us)

Because…

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What? You too?

Don't Lose Hope

“It’s important that we share our experiences with other people. Your story will heal you, and your story will heal somebody else. When you tell your story you free yourself, and you give other people permission to acknowledge their story as well.” – Iyanla Vanzant

We need to be able to talk about what happened. We need to have our story witnessed and held by someone who empathises with our shock and pain.

Who gets just awful and life-changing it has been.

But we also feel supported, encouraged and helped by hearing someone else share their story with us. The story of their trauma, and how they have survived.

But why does that make such a difference to us?

It matters because trauma is so isolating. It can feel too big – too awful – to talk about and share.

We feel contaminated, and overwhelmed with shame. So, we…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“Triggers can happen when you least expect them. When you think all the emotional wounds are healed something can happen that reminds you there is still a scar.” – Alexandra May

You can do a lot of work to recover from a trauma. You can make a lot of progress on your journey to be free.

And yet there will be times when, suddenly, you’ll find you’re triggered. And that can be upsetting, and so discouraging.

But don’t let this derail you for the truth is: it is normal.

It happens to us all – for progress isn’t a straight line.

It means the wound is deep, and this has changed your life completely.

But, still, there has been healing.

Keep on going; you are strong.

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” – Alexander Den Heijer

How do feel about your ability to grow, and bloom, in your current environment?

What would enable you to find your best self?

What would enable you to be your best self?

How would you be living – how would your life be different – if you had the freedom to be that individual?

Is there anything specific you need to change?

What one small change could you make in the next month – to get you moving in the right direction?

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What Will You Do with Your One Precious Life?

Don't Lose Hope

“At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair should be messy, and your eyes sparkling.” -Shanti

We never know how much time we have left. That’s why it’s important to live everyday. And to fill everyday with something meaningful.

To create a life that is kind and beautiful. To invest in people … and to follow our dreams …

And to make sure we have captivating dreams!

For too often we wake up – and we’re stuck in a deep rut. We do “the same old, same old” and we shrivel up inside. We give up on adventure and we let our world grow small. We find we’re just existing. There’s no passion anymore.

But to really feel alive we must get out there and explore. We need to build new memories, and to live with open eyes. We need to find that courage to…

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Prompts for Trauma Recovery Journaling

Don't Lose Hope

“Trauma creates change you didn’t choose. Healing is about actively creating change you consciously choose.”

Trauma survivors often find it helps to keep a journal as a recovery tool. This is a safe place where they can start to work through their memories, feelings, thoughts, hopes and fears.

The important thing with journals is to simply write. Don’t revise the content or censor anything.

Below are some prompts you can use for this.

1. Briefly summarize your day.

2. Zoom in on the positive things. The things that you are grateful for. Areas of growth, and encouragement. The things that went well (and which, perhaps, took you by surprise).

3. What were some of the key challenges? Challenges you handled well; and challenges that were difficult to handle and cope with. How did you respond and react in each of these situations?

4. What is one thing…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“So do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out. And decide.” – Meredith Grey

A lot of life comes down to decisions.

Decisions we make actively and consciously; or decisions we make passively. By default. By leaving things as they are.

Either because we are too afraid to make a change, or because it costs us too much to make a change.

But not making that decision costs us as well. Maybe not today, but in the long run.

So how do you really want to live your life? What kind of person do you really want to be?

Perhaps it is time to take the bull by the horns and make that decision which could change everything.

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Is it Worth Rebuilding the Relationship?

Don't Lose Hope

“Ultimately, the worst kind of pain does not come from your enemies, but from those you trust and love.”  

When you have learned that your partner has betrayed you, you are at a crossroads in the relationship. You will need to decide if you want to walk away, or if you want rebuild the relationship.

This is a choice that only you can make.

Questions to consider include the following:

1. How much do you trust your partner or spouse? Discovering your partner as led a double life is going to undermine your relationship with them. And if you don’t think you’ll be able to trust them not to lie, or to deceive you in the future, then you’ll always be afraid. You’ll be anxious all the time – and that’s not a way to live.

Ask yourself: Are they remorseful? Do you think it’s genuine?

2. Do…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“She had this way of always finding the good, despite all she had seen. And that is what I loved the most – the pure magic of her undying hope.” – Becca Lee

It’s easy to be cynical when life has knocked you down.

To board up your heart to protect yourself from harm.

But don’t let life people do this to you.  

Stay gentle, kind and soft.

And never lose your sense of hope.

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Be You

Don't Lose Hope

“When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with.” – Anais Nin

Don’t live like this. Always be real. Always be yourself.

Who you are is beautiful.

And the world needs the real, authentic you.

Don’t change and alter to fit into a mould. Don’t change and alter to suit other people.

You will die inside if you can’t be who you are.

Don’t hide your truth. Don’t do this to yourself.

If you feel you need to change to be accepted, to belong, then you need to move on. It is time to change your tribe.

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Strategies for When you can’t Face the Day

Don't Lose Hope

No matter how many people surround you, depression is a lonely, solitary place filled with funhouse mirrors. Your world is twisted and distorted, pain reflected back from every direction.” – Unknown

There are times when life feels unbearable, and it’s hard to find the will to go on. The door has slammed shut, and the key’s been thrown away. You’re in a prison cell and there’s no way of escape.

At least, that is how it feels right now.

So what can you do when you feel like this?

1. First, acknowledge how you feel. Be aware of your emotions and your state of mind. Don’t try to ignore, bury or repress the pain. You need to respect it. You need to honour it. Denial doesn’t help. In fact, it only makes things worse.

2. Don’t try to rid your mind of negative and painful thoughts. Being mindful

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You Beautiful Thing!

Don't Lose Hope

“She is a beautiful piece of broken pottery put back together by her own hands. A critical world judges her cracks while missing the beauty of how she made herself whole again.”

-J.M. Storm

It’s easy to judge when we don’t know the full story, or when putting others down meets a need in our own life. The need to be feel better than, to feel superior to.

Beware of these kinds of underlying motives. Beware of allowing the crass judgments of others to affect how you see, and feel about, yourself.

Remember how you’ve suffered, and how hard it has been. Remember the long nightmare of hopelessness and grief.

Then remember how you faced it, and worked through all the and the pain.

You worked hard day and night as you rebuilt your broken life.

Because you wouldn’t let this be the end of the road.

Because…

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Quote of the Day: For all the Silent Sufferers …

Don't Lose Hope

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” – Laurell K. Hamilton

This is a difficult burden to bear.

To carry wounds that no-one sees or knows about.

To walk through life as a silent sufferer.

To feel you are one step removed from life.

It is so isolating. It’s a heavy load to bear.

And if this describes you, then I really feel for you.

For there are wounds that are too sacred to risk sharing with others

And the loneliness compounds all the sadness and the pain.

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Finding Hope – Some Practical Steps

Don't Lose Hope

“Hope is being able to see that there is light, despite all the darkness.”

It can be hard to find hope when we’re battling despair. But there are some strategies that can help with hopelessness, and the feeling that “it’s pointless – because nothing’s going to change.” They include:

1. Try joining the dots: Think of how you would like your life to look like (This should be something you can actually picture. Something that’s different from how things are today – but which you believe is achievable). Chances are you will need to break that picture down into smaller goals, things you can work on one by one. Now put these steps and goals in order. Which would it make sense to work on first? What would you work on after that? Try to picture how you will feel after reaching the first goal, and the next…

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How to Heal from Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

Trauma shatters our most basic assumptions about ourselves, other people and the world: ‘Life is good; I can trust other people; my partner cares about me; I do not need to fear.’ These are replaced by thoughts and feelings like: ‘There is no-one who is safe; it is stupid to trust others; I need to take care of myself for the world is dangerous.”

Healing from trauma is a long, laborious process. It takes much longer than we want it to take. And if you’re on this journey, then I hope the points below will be a help and comfort as you navigate your way.

1. Accept all your emotions. Emotions simply are. Do not judge them as being right or wrong.

2. Expect to experience intense emotions. Expect to experience turbulent emotions. Expect to experience unwanted emotions.

3. Expect everything in life to feel chaotic. And even…

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Believe it. Live it.

Don't Lose Hope

“I’m learning to love myself. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

How do we get to the place in life where we have to work on loving ourselves? This was never the way it was meant to be.

And whatever has happened, whatever has been said, it doesn’t detract from your value and worth.

It will never detract from your value and worth.

If you had a different family … if you had some different friends … Can you picture how differently you’d feel about yourself?

You are worthy of being loved. You are beautiful inside.

Don’t listen to the lies. Don’t let them rule your life.

It is time to start afresh. Make a new pact with yourself.

Make that choice to respect you. See yourself through healthy eyes.

See the good that’s in your heart. The potential that is there.

This is who you really are

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Owning Your Story so it Doesn’t Own You

Don't Lose Hope

“Owning our story, and loving ourselves through the process, is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” – Brene Brown

Aliesha fell in love with an amazing guy she met one summer on holiday. Everything about him seemed phenomenal. He (Gavin) had graduated with a PhD from one of the top universities. He had his own business – and a very profitable business at that. He was also a diver, a ski instructor, and loved to cook her fabulous meals.

Aliesha and Gavin dated for 6 months then Aliesha moved from Ohio to California to live with Gavin. For the first couple of months, everything was fine. But after that, things started to change. Gavin’s jealousy reared its ugly head. He was moody, controlling, and had angry outbursts. When he became abusive, Aliesha knew she had to leave.

It took a lot of work to process what had happened…

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Why is it so hard to forgive?

Don't Lose Hope

“Everyone says forgiveness is a good idea until they have something to forgive.” – C.S. Lewis

Forgiveness is a difficult, and somewhat touchy, topic. It’s something we are told that we ought to offer others. But ask anyone, and you’re likely to hear that forgiveness is a struggle if you’ve been hurt and betrayed. And perhaps its not surprising that this should be the case.

Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter.

1. Feeling that it’s hard to forgive and start again (even if, in your mind, you really want to forgive) is a primal, instinctive, self-protective response. The reason’s not surprising: if we let the barriers down and open up our heart, then our trust could be betrayed. So our brain seeks to protect us from further injury.

2. We fear that forgiveness – or too quick, or forced, forgiveness – could have the effect of…

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It’s Good to Talk? Maybe; Maybe Not

Don't Lose Hope

“Do not tell everyone your story. You will only end up feeling more rejected.” – Henri Nouwen

When something really awful or traumatic happens to us, there’s a need to talk, and to share it with another. There are a number of reasons why this is the case.

1. Partly it’s because when we talk things through, it helps us come to terms with how awful it all is.

It is true: “It really happened. And it happened to me. And I can’t believe that this happened to me.”

So, it’s part of working through all the horror and the shock, and coming to terms with this new reality. An awful and unwanted reality.

2. It can also help us to feel much less alone.

Living with a truth which is hard to integrate is extremely distressing; it can feel unbearable. Hence, we want another…

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How can we Makes our Lives more Meaningful?

Don't Lose Hope

How can we make our lives more meaningful?

In the paper, Pursue Meaning Instead of Happiness[1], authors Smith and Aaker say a meaningful life contains 3 crucial ingredients. These are purpose, comprehension and mattering (significance). In summary:

PURPOSE is choosing, and then working to attain, the kinds of life goals which are significant to you.

COMPREHENSION is making sense of what’s happened to you. It is weaving together all the good and the bad to form a coherent narrative.

MATTERING (SIGNIFICANCE) is knowing that you matter, that others value you, and believing that your life has significance.

But how do we go about achieving these? What kinds of things should we focus on? Below are some suggestions that might help with this.

1. It’s important to find some kind ofpurpose in your life. And our purpose can alter across the lifespan. For example, perhaps you…

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Just Let It Go?

Don't Lose Hope

I think the advice to “just let go” is some of the most useless advice out there.

For if it was that easy, we would all “just let it go”.

But “just let it go” is an impossibility.

For pain that goes down deep cannot simply be erased.

The wounds don’t heal themselves. It’s going to take a lot of work.

So we stay with the process.

And we let ourselves feel.

We let the waves build, and then crash on the shore.

We go through this cycle again and again … until all the poison has been cleansed and washed away

For that is the only way to finally be free

Letting go will take time.

It doesn’t happen easily.

The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.” – Steve Maraboli

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You Know You Are Starting To Heal From Trauma When ….

Don't Lose Hope

You know you are starting to heal from trauma when ….

1.You recognize that you’ve gone through something really difficult, and experienced something that is truly awful.

2. You can talk about your trauma. You see it for what it is. You more fully recognize what it has done to you.

3. You feel less ashamed of being traumatized. You can separate “yourself” from what another did to you, or from what happened to you.

4. You are more adept at anticipating and recognizing your personal triggers.

5. You have a repertoire of strategies for dealing with triggers … proven strategies that work for you.

6. You are learning how to navigate and handle the emotions being traumatized evokes in you.

7. You feel more in control of yourself, and your emotional reactions.

8. You know the importance of setting boundaries … and you will enforce these boundaries when…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

To all the people who are kind to me, thank you for the sunshine you bring into my life.” – Briggite Nichole

Kindness changes us.

We all have struggles

We all have regrets

We all fight battles that are really hard to fight

But a word of kindness –

It can change everything.

It can pierce through the darkness

It can help us hope again.

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