Why We Can’t “Just Let go”

Don't Lose Hope

How often do you hear someone say, “Just let it go”?

As if was easy that easy to “Just let it go”.

You don’t just snap your fingers, or make up your mind. The feelings that you have won’t just quietly lie down. The don’t just frizzle out and, no, they don’t just disappear.

And that’s why this trite phrase tends to annoy me so much.

If you try to block emotions and pretend they aren’t there, you will not solve the problem for the issue’s unaddressed. The feelings are still there – even if they’re underground.

For your feelings are designed to alert you to the fact that something isn’t right: that you’ve been wronged, or you’ve been hurt.

That matters – and it should.

And it is right to feel upset.

What to do About it?

If you can’t “Just let it go

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Trust me on This

Don't Lose Hope

So much of life is a huge unknown.

Where should I live? What career should I follow?

What will life look like if I do this or that?

Should I have a child? Would I be a bad mom?

Should I live on my own?

Should I marry this man?

Should I stay in this marriage? Is it really worth the risk?

Can I trust him again? Can I trust anyone?  

These are all huge unknowns. Time and chance place a role.

And that’s why we are scared.

It’s beyond our control.

But there’s still cause for hope in the deep of the night

When the darkness descends, and you’re starting to sweat.

You’ve gone through things before.

Things that didn’t work out.

Yes, it’s awful. It’s hard.

Yet you made it. You’re still here.

You don’t hold all the cards.

You don’t know what might change.

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Time for a Change

Don't Lose Hope

When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment it’s growing in, not the flower.”

Think about that for a moment.

What do you need to really blossom in life?

To be the best “you” you were made to be?

Who, or what, is stopping you from being your true self?

What is causing you to shrivel, or is hampering your growth?

What has happened in the past – that has left you with deep scars?

What secrets have you buried? Are there wounds that are still bleeding?

Who wants you to stay stuck, or who needs you to stay stuck?

Who wants you to believe that you are average? Not enough?

What environment would help to you to be free to be yourself?

Would help to bring the best out? Help you live a fuller life?

A life where you are happy, where you’re free and…

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Come, Sit Down Beside Me

Don't Lose Hope

Come sit down beside me, I said to myself.

And although it doesn’t make sense,

I held my own hand as a small sign of trust

And together I sat on the fence.

– Michael Leunig

On those days when we feel that we don’t fit in, when we feel so alone, like no-one understands, we can sit beside ourselves.

We can be there for ourselves.

We can offer ourselves comfort

On those heavy, lonely days.

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7 Signs That Tell You They Don’t Value You

Don't Lose Hope

Whether it’s a friend, or your partner or spouse, it’s horrible to feel that they don’t value you. It can really undermine your self-esteem.

But so often we push down all the signs that are there – because it’s very painful to be treated in this way. We don’t want to face the truth that they’re treating us like this when we care about them, and always treat them with respect.

So here are some signs we should pay attention to …

1. They aren’t interested in what you have to say. Perhaps they appear sweet when you are around, but they don’t really care about your opinions. But what they think, and the views of certain others, always seems to matter, and are taken seriously. They also show a glaring lack of empathy when you want to share something that’s important to you.

2. They…

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Your Now is Not your Forever

Don't Lose Hope

You look at your life – and all you see are broken pieces.

Shattered shards and splinters.

Jagged glass that makes you bleed

The impact of what happened keeps on cutting you anew.

You relive all the memories.

All the trauma you’ve been through.

But … this needn’t be your life.

You needn’t feel like this forever.

You won’t always be broken.

Or consumed by endless pain.

The pieces and the shards can create something beautiful.

This life is still your life.

This trauma’s not your destiny.

So gather up the fragments.

Hold them tightly to your heart.

Release them to the future.

And believe you’ll rise again.

Your story’s not yet written.

There are chapters yet untold.

Hold on to hope; believe it.

Claim your life.

You can be free.

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10 Signs you may be Carrying Unresolved Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

Some symptoms of unresolved trauma include:

1. You find it hard to experience joy. You want to feel alive and experience joy, but somehow that feeling continually eludes you

2. You fill up your life with distractions. Whether it’s binge-watching TV, or it’s snacking when you’re stressed … There’s always a way of avoiding painful feelings – for staying in the present feels too scary and hard.

3. You’re afraid of your emotions for they feel out of control. They hit you unexpectedly, and feel so intense. Or, you may find it hard to feel anything at all.

4. It’s impossible to turn your mind off. You’re always on alert. You never reach that place of calm. You’re always vigilant because you know things can go wrong.  

5. You’re afraid to trust anyone at all. You would love to be able to fully trust…

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Sacred Ground or Haunted Territory?

Don't Lose Hope

My past still haunted me … This is trauma: a near constant feeling in my gut that something is wrong, or that something terrible is about to happen, the automatic fear responses in my body telling me to run away, to take cover, to hide myself from danger everywhere. My trauma can still rise up out of mundane encounters. A sudden sight, a particular smell, can transport me back to the past.” – Edith Eva Eger

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that memory is sacred ground. But I would also argue that it’s haunted territory.

Think about it …

What happens if you live through something absolutely awful? A trauma or a horror? Something truly devastating? How are you told to handle it?

The message we pick up from society is: Bury all that stuff. Never, ever talk about it. Push it down inside. Don’t look at it…

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A Mantra for Managing Emotions

Don't Lose Hope

I recently came across a really helpful mantra for managing intense, overwhelming emotions. In its simplest form, the mantra is:

1. Notice

2. Accept

3. Check

4. Stay

1. Notice what you’re feeling when emotions are stirred. Don’t ignore what is happening inside your head and body. Don’t deny, or suppress, or trivialize your feelings. They are wanting your attention. They deserve to be acknowledged. They deserve to be seen. To be taken seriously.

You can do this by giving the emotion a name: “This is sorrow. This is sadness. This is anger. This is shame.”

2. Next, accept it’s your emotion. It’s your own personal reaction. The feeling is still yours, even if it has been triggered by a person, or a place, or an object, or a memory.

Also, remember there are no good or bad emotions. Our emotions simple are. There is nothing wrong…

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Paradise Lost

Don't Lose Hope

Try this.

Picture yourself as happy, carefree child – maybe 6 or 7 years of age.

Where are you? What are you doing? Try to identify what you might be thinking and feeling.

What makes this child so adorable? What makes your heart fill with love for her?

This is the real you.

The you you used to be. Before all those painful, damaging experiences. Before you stopped liking and loving yourself.

This is the you who got lost along the way.

But that you still exists – beneath the layers of the years.

That youis still there – maybe buried, but still there.

Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful to reconnect with her!

If only you could access that child once again.

“This is the beginning of loving yourself. Welcome home.”

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I Want to be Remembered as ….

Don't Lose Hope

When my kids were small, we used to really enjoy making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Tossing them, however, was another matter.

Often, we would have to scrape them off the frying pan. And occasionally we scraped them off the walls and floor. But most of the time, they made it on to our plates, and then we would cover them in chocolate and fruit … and all sorts of other delicious things.

Yes, Shrove Tuesday was a lot of fun.

I was vaguely aware that the day after that was something called Ash Wednesday. But, honestly, Ash Wednesday meant nothing to me.

And it’s only recently that I’ve heard the phrase: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The words associated with Ash Wednesday.

An interesting phrase. One that really made me think.

We tend to live our lives as if we’re never going to…

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Gallery

The Footprints of Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

When you’re processing a trauma, and are in a state of shock, you experience emotions you’ve never felt before. Also, you sometimes act in ways that you almost can’t believe. You are in a scary place where you hardly know yourself.

The following information might help you see and grasp what is actually quite normal when you’re in a state of crisis.

Important facts to be aware of include:

  1. To be violated or betrayed by a person you trust and depend on has much more serious consequences than being harmed by a stranger, or experiencing an impersonal trauma like an earthquake.
  2. Memories of traumatic events are like shards of shattered glass. Our memories of the trauma itself come in pieces, turn up in unexpected places, and pierce and cut us at unexpected times. Our reactions to these triggers are generally intense and overwhelming. In this way, traumatic memories are very…

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Getting What You Deserve

Don't Lose Hope

“Darling, you deserve it all.

Love, and peace, and joy dancing in your eyes.

Heart, deep belly laughter,

and the right to let those tears fall and water the soil.

You deserve freedom, and goodness, and company, and days of bliss and quiet.

You deserve happy, and healed, and content and safe.

So keep going. Go realize into being the life you deserve.”

You deserve it all.

Happiness. Deep happiness. A rich, contented meaningful life.

The right to be authentic and genuine. The right to be who you were meant to be.

Unique you. Beautiful you.

The right to feel your feelings. The right to express your feelings.

The right to be healed. The right to feel safe.

Don’t ever believe you deserve less than this.

This is the life you were meant to live.

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What Now?

Don't Lose Hope

Learning of betrayal is extremely traumatic, and you’re likely to be living in a fog for a while. Below are some guidelines that can help you navigate the weeks and months ahead, when you’re in a state of shock.

1. You might feel pushed to make a decision related to whether or not you should end the relationship. Resist that pressure while you’re in a state of shock. This is not the time to be making crucial life-altering decisions. Your emotions are going to be all over the place. In fact, experts suggest you wait at least 6 months before deciding on a question like this.

2. Give yourself permission to experience all emotions. Many of these will be intense and overwhelming. But it’s important to allow yourself to feel them. Don’t repress them.

3. Don’t allow your partner or spouse to accuse, or put any of the blame on…

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8 Steps for Coping with Feelings of Panic

Don't Lose Hope

1. Try to keep in mind that feelings of panic are simply exaggerated bodily responses. They are an over-reaction to perceived feelings of threat. Your brain is trying to keep you safe.

2. The sensations themselves are neither harmful nor dangerous. Nothing worse is going to happen to you. In time the feelings will start to dissipate.

3. Do your best to stop adding to the feelings of panic by imagining all kinds of scary “what if” scenarios. Instead, try to reign in thoughts of where the panic might lead, and how much worse the situation could become.

4. Consciously work on grounding yourself in the present. Like an outside observer, do your best to notice what is happening in you, and around you. Try to be as detached and curious as possible. Describe what you are observing in simple, concrete terms (both inside your body, and in the environment).

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You Get to Decide

Don't Lose Hope

You are the one who gets to decide.

Yes, we are wounded. We are hurt; we’re betrayed.

Awful things happen.

The sky does fall down.

This isn’t the life we’d expected to have.

It’s not what we wanted; it’s not the life we planned.

No, we don’t get a say in the cards we are dealt.

And we don’t have control over choices others make.

But we still get to choose how we’ll play what we’re dealt.

For we hold the pen. And we write the next line.

The future is yours.

You will make it.

You’ll survive.

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So Much for Self-Help!

Don't Lose Hope

It happened unexpectedly. One moment I was standing in the sea, riding the beautiful turquoise waves. The next moment I was being pulled down and down, caught by the powerful undertow.

Never have I experienced such power.

Never have I experienced such utter helplessness.

Then, as suddenly as it happened, it was over again.

No longer was I swirling, and being tossed by the waves. Now I was bleeding on some rough-hewn rocks, surrounded by people who were offering their help.

I still don’t really know what happened that day, or how I survived that terrifying ordeal. But what Ido know is I owe my life to others who there, and who came to my aid.  

Another thing I know is that self-help couldn’t save me. I was too weak and winded to do anything. I needed other-help at that moment in time. I couldn’t save myself…

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Quote of the Day: For Those who are Struggling

Don't Lose Hope

This is for the ones who are struggling right now.

This is for the ones who have been having a rough day, or week, or year.

The ones who feel like this storm will never end.

Keep on fighting for YOU. Not for your friends, not for your family, but for YOU.

Keep fighting because deep down you hear a tiny voice that you were meant for far more than this sadness and pain you are feeling.

Keep fighting because the person you will be on the other side of all of this is cheering for you so much.

Keep fighting because you will get there.

And it will be worth it.” – Nikki Banas

Don’t give up.

You are stronger than you feel.

Breathe in deeply.

Let your mind and body rest.

Then, when you are grounded, you can stand and fight again.

You can do this.

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I Don’t Deserve to be Loved

Don't Lose Hope

I wonder if you ever struggle with that painful feeling … The feeling that you really don’t deserve to be loved.

And when we’re in that desperate place we often move to self-attack. We turn against ourselves and we recite the countless reasons why we ought to be rejected, disliked or even scorned.

But this self-attack is crazy on so many different levels.

It usually has no bearing in reality.

Also, it serves no useful purpose, and it scars and wounds us deeply as we turn against ourselves with loud, self-shaming accusations.

Why do we do it?

There is a voice inside our head that has been nurtured through the years by negative experiences that left their mark on us. The voices of our parents, or of cruel, unloving people, have gathered evidence that now feels hard to contradict. Words like:

“Nobody likes you.”

“No-one cares about you.”

“Who would…

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Quote of the Day: Your Trauma is Valid

Don't Lose Hope

 

Your trauma is valid.

Even if other people have experienced “worse”.

Even if someone else who went through the same experience doesn’t feel debilitated by it.

Even if it “could have been avoided”.

Even if it happened a long time ago.

Even if no one knows.

Your trauma is real and valid and you deserve a space to talk about it.

It isn’t desperate or pathetic or attention-seeking.

It’s self-care.

It’s inconceivably brave.

And regardless of the magnitude of your struggle, you’re allowed to take care of yourself by processing and unloading some of the pain you carry.

Your pain matters.

Your experience matters.

And your healing matters.”

— Daniell Koepke

Please believe it. Take these words to heart.

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It’s Good to Talk

Don't Lose Hope

Tell your story. Shout it. Write it. Whisper it if you have to. But tell it. Some won’t understand it. Some will outright reject it. But many will thank you for it. And then the most magical thing will happen. One by one, voices will start whispering, “Me, too. ” And your tribe will gather. And you will never feel alone again.”

-L.R. Knost

Can you imagine how good it would be to be able to talk? To be able to share. To have your pain held – like a scared, tender thing?

Can you picture that?

Can you imagine what it would be like to be understood? To feel understood. To know that you are not the only one. To know that others have walked in your shoes, and experienced what you’ve experienced.

Of course, it can never be exactly the same – because everyone’s experience is…

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Coping with Feelings of Panic

Don't Lose Hope

One of the features of betrayal trauma is experiencing overwhelming feelings of panic. This is very normal; you aren’t going crazy.

However, it can be particularly scary when this is new to you, and especially when the feelings hit you unexpectedly. So what can you do to help you cope with the symptoms? The following suggestions have been shown to make a difference:

1. Remind yourself that what you are experiencing right now are actually exaggerated normal stress reactions. You body is sending out a warning sign. That is all.

2. Although they are unpleasant, these bodily sensations aren’t dangerous or harmful. Nothing worse is going to happen.

3. Take control of your thoughts. Don’t let them run away. Don’t allow “what if scenarios” to intensify the feelings of panic. Those thoughts are usually groundless. They’re extreme, and they’re unlikely.

4. Stay focused on the present and what is happening

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The Painful Art of Letting Go

Don't Lose Hope

Fruit drops from the tree when it is ready. Staying too long, or moving too early, misses the mark … The process has its own timing, and it creates changes in your life when those changes need to happen.”

-Gary Zukav

Here are a few thoughts on letting go:

1.Letting go is a process. Yes, it may begin with a decision we make, and often there will be a desire to move on. But that is just the very start of the journey. The road is long and winding, and it’s unpredictable.

2. You can trust the process. You mind knows how to heal and protect itself. Allow it to guide you – though it won’t always make sense. It knows what it is doing; you can trust your intuition.

3. You might feel really bad, and you may struggle to let go. There…

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Do You Suffer From GAD?

Don't Lose Hope

One of the fall-outs from experiencing trauma is living with generalized anxiety disorder. It is a of a sense of dread that colours everything in life, so the person can’t relax and focus on what’s happening now.

Note: The difference between ‘normal’ worrying and generalized anxiety disorder is the worrying associated with GAD is excessive, intrusive, persistent and debilitating.

Signs and Symptoms

The person diagnosed with GAD will typically struggle with the following, on a regular and ongoing basis:

– Constant worrying

– An inescapable feeling of anxiety, and the feeling this is something that is outside their control

– Being constantly troubled by intrusive, anxious thoughts. (Thoughts they can’t switch off)

– Being unable to tolerate uncertainty, and not ever knowing what the future may hold

– A pervasive feeling of apprehension or dread

– Being unable to relax, and to enjoy time alone

– Difficulties with attending…

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Quote of the Day: And that is OK

Don't Lose Hope

“Perhaps most of all, though, you deserve to be okay. You deserve to know that a day in which you can just barely get out of bed because you are sad, or sick, or simply not ready to see the outside is not the end of the world. You deserve to know that moments of weakness do not make you fundamentally weak, only fundamentally human, and that sometimes we’re not going to be effusively happy, and that is okay.” – Chelsea Fagan

And that is OK.

Sometimes we need to be kind to ourselves, and to simply accept where we are today.

Perhaps we wish we were stronger inside

Or more able to process, and heal from, the pain.

Our desire and our hopes … they are in the right place.

But we are where are.

And it is what it is.

Healing takes time.

Recovery takes time.

It’s…

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Supporting Someone Who’s Experienced Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

To support someone who’s experienced trauma …

1. You don’t need to have any answers.

2. You don’t need to have gone through the same thing yourself.

3. You need to be able to listen. Really listen. Through the deep concern expressed in your eyes.

4. Silence is good. Often words don’t help. What really matters is the fact that you are there.

5. Find a way to convey that you absolutely ‘get’ how terrible this is, and how it’s shocked them to the core.

7. Often questions make things worse. If used at all, they should be used sparingly, and with sensitivity.

8. Do not offer your opinions or give advice. Never comment on the person who has caused them so much harm. Keep your focus on the victim, and what they are going through.

9. Keep emphasizing strongly that the person isn’t crazy. Their feelings and reaction –…

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Quote of the Day: It Mattered

Don't Lose Hope

“So often we try to make other people feel better by minimizing their pain, by telling them that it will get better, or that there are worse things in the world.

But that’s not what I actually needed. What I actually needed was for someone to tell me that it hurt because it mattered.

I have found this very useful to think about over the years, and I find that it is a lot easier and more bearable to be sad when you aren’t constantly berating yourself for being sad.”

– John Green

Truth!

It doesn’t help when our pain is minimized.

When we are hurting, it is because it mattered. And the more it hurts, the more it mattered.

Pretending otherwise to make others feel better, just leaves us feeling judged and alone.

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You Know Who You Are

Don't Lose Hope

I want to say thank you to the rare few individuals who walked beside in my darkest, bleakest times.

Who listened. Really listened. Without offering advice

Who told me this was normal, and I really wasn’t crazy.

Who let me rant and rave.

Held the rawness and the pain.

Who didn’t ever judge me.

Understood my brokenness.

Who loved me constantly and – always – unconditionally.

Who held a light up for me when the blackness pulled me in.

You know who you are.

And I truly want to thank you.

Your kindness made a difference.

You have helped me to survive.

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Anxiety, Depression and Thankfulness

Don't Lose Hope

(Make sure you read to the end of the post!)

There’s a lot to be said for being thankful.

1.For a start, we have a lot to be grateful for – Even when we’re suffering, and life is full of pain.

Most of us will have a decent roof over our heads, enough food to eat, some family and friends … And then there’s the beauty that surrounds us in the world. When we start to think about it, the list becomes quite long.

2. Gratitude can also help us to keep things in perspective. When things are really tough, we usually feel quite negative. And feeling negative affects the way we see the world. There’s a dark and dusty filter over everything in life. We have lost all sense of hope. We expect the very worst. This is normal, and it’s natural, when we’re in this situation.

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Quote of the Day: Life Advice

Don't Lose Hope

Life Advice

Always be the best person you can be.

Be kind even when you’re tired. Be understanding even when you’re angry.

Do more than you’re asked, and don’t ask for anything in return. Don’t silently expect anything either.

Listen when someone talks; and really listen too. Stop just thinking of how you’ll reply.

Tell people that you love them, and that you appreciate them. Go out of your way to do things for people.

Be the greatest person you can possibly be and when you mess up, make up for it in the next moment, or minute, or day.

One thing you should never do? Never spend your time trying to prove to anybody that you’re great. Your actions will speak for themselves.

And we only have limited time on this earth, don’t waste it.

If someone doesn’t see your light, don’t worry. Like moths, good people are attracted…

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The Death of Shame

Don't Lose Hope

“Shame dies when stories are told in safe places.” – Ann Voskamp

We all know what it feels like to struggle with shame. Just hearing the word “shame”, can start to conjure up the feelings.

But how to free ourselves from this burden that we bear?

What often helps the most is to share with someone safe, with someone understanding, who truly cares for you.

But how do we decipher who a safe person is? He or she should possess the following attributes:

1. They listen. Really listen. Carefully, and with compassion. They are also non-judgmental in the way they listen to you. You can sense that they are trying to get behind your eyes, and understand the feelings and events from your standpoint.

2. They validate your feelings. They ‘get’ the way you feel, and why you feel the way you do. Also, they tell you…

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Impossible Blackness

Don't Lose Hope

Are you a fan of jigsaw puzzles?

The first time I met my husband’s family, they were working on an unusual jigsaw puzzle. There was no cover picture on the front of the box.

Inside there was a booklet, a synopsis of a murder. And the murderer was revealed when the puzzle was complete.

Although it was intriguing, I disliked that jigsaw puzzle. I’m not too good at puzzles at the best of times. There were hundreds of dark pieces. Midnight blues, dark greens and browns. Too many shades of blackness. It was just impossible!

And yet, when it was finished, everything fell into place. There really was a picture. No, it wasn’t meaningless. And in a strange kind of way, it was a very striking picture.

I never would have thought that scene could look so beautiful.

Life as a Puzzle

This experience reminds me – just a little…

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How can I Recapture a Sense of Hope?

Don't Lose Hope

To be hopeless is to lose all motivation to do what we need to live. It is to be in a deep, dark, well without a rope. And even if it were there, we wouldn’t have the energy to climb it.”

– Dr. Winfried Sedhoff

Having hope matters. It matters a lot. Anyone who’s lost their sense of hope can tell you that.

But hope is something that can fade out of our life when awful things have happened …

Or when we’ve hoped for far too long, and nothing seems to change.

Hope can start to drain away.

If this is your experience, then what steps can you take to start to recapture that lost sense of hope? Here are some suggestions:

1. First, take proper care of your physical needs. You need to have an adequate amount of nutritious food, sleep, rest, gentle exercise – everything…

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Ask Us – Will I Ever be Able to Trust Again?

Don't Lose Hope

In this post we will briefly answer a question that was asked by one of our clients. Here is today’s question:

I am afraid to trust again. My husband was betraying me behind my back for years, and I had absolutely no idea. So, my question is how can I know it’s safe to trust another man.? I’m afraid that I’ll be duped again.”

When we’ve been betrayed, especially if it’s multiple times, or over a long period of time, then it absolutely natural to fear trusting again. It’s also natural to be afraid that you might miss something important – because you were successfully deceived in the past. It’s sad but it’s very understandable. Your fears here are normal, and are actually very healthy.

Let me beginning by saying : What you did in your previous relationship was right.

You were right to trust your ex-husband. We…

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Signs that you’re Starting to Heal from Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

Signs that you’re starting to heal include:

1. You’re not living in denial. You are able to acknowledge that you’ve been through something shocking. Something really devastating. Something that has turned your whole world upside down.

2. You have faced, and are now working through, the negative emotions – all the terrible, disturbing and distressing emotions.

3. At some point in the past you admitted to yourself that this was way too big for you to handle on your own. Hence, you’ve reached out for support from safe, understanding people.

4. You’re aware of the effects that the trauma has had on your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Thus, you’ve been consciously addressing, and caring for, your health.

5. You’ve been putting healthy boundaries around your life. You know that you have limits, and you must protect yourself.

6. You’ve been nurturing, and loving, and caring for yourself. You have…

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Hello Self. I’ve Missed You.

Don't Lose Hope

You are standing in the answer.

It is when you start to lose yourself that you start to look for yourself in other people … other things.

But there is a place and a time in your life that link you to the person you were before all the chaos.

All the pain. All the heartache.

Before you looked in the mirror and judged the reflection looking back at you.

Find this place.

Go back to this place.

Because, in this place, you knew exactly who you were.

You just got a little lost.”

– April Green

But how do you get back to that place again? How do you find yourself again?

Here are four suggestions:

1. Stay with the feelings that took you to that dark place. Let them speak to you. Let them tell you what you’ve lost. Let them tell you what you deserved…

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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Sadder

Don't Lose Hope

Sometimes a loss is most keenly felt by the absence of something else.

An empty chair at a table for two, is a symbol and reminder that we’re now on our own.

A bare third finger when a ring has been removed reminds of commitments that are no longer there.

The silence in the room – no more laughter and loud screams – remind us of the family that use to fill this space.

The closet that looks empty and the carpet that is clean both testify to change, and to lives that have moved on.

When those losses hit with force, we’re reminded of good times and are conscious, once again, of the hole they’ve left behind.

If you’re in that place today, then allow yourself to grieve.

There’s no shame in being sad when you’re struggling with loss.

And that wrenching pain you feel – it reminds you…

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Can Trust be Rebuilt?

Don't Lose Hope

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

What is necessary for trust to be rebuilt after you’ve discovered that your partner has betrayed you?

To be honest, you may never fully trust them again – and it won’t be the same kind of trust as before. However, there is still a place for hope. Often progress can be made. But the following are essential for rebuilding trust:

1. The betrayer must have made a total break with the affair partner, or be actively getting help for a sex addiction (if that is the cause of the betrayal). They should also have someone they’re accountable to, someone they check in regularly with. This must be someone you (the betrayed partner) trust as well.

2. The betrayed partner must believe in their heart that the offending partner is wholeheartedly…

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Measuring Up

Don't Lose Hope

We live in a world full of comparisons.

Does she have a sexier figure than me? Does she look younger, or better for her age? Is she so much smarter? Have a better career? Do people think that she is funnier than me?

I suspect it all begins in the early years of life when we start fighting hard to get our parents’ attention.

But it’s a process that continues for the rest of our life.

And it’s a process that leads to insecurity, as well.

For at any point in time we could cease to measure up – and we could lose the affection of those who matter most.

Like our family, or close friends.

Like our partner, or our spouse.

Yet each of us is different – individual and unique.

And we start to lose ourselves when we make comparisons.

But comparing’s so ingrained, such a feature of…

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A Few Things I’ve Learned From Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

This is the big, scary truth about trauma: there is no such thing as “getting over it.” The five stages of grief model marks universal stages in learning to accept loss, but the reality is in fact much bigger: a major life disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no “back to the old me.” You are different now, full stop.” – Catherine Woodiwiss

Here are a few things I’ve learned about trauma:

1. Trauma upends everything. It undermines your whole reality. Everything is open to question now.

2. Life doesn’t go back to the way it was before – and neither do you.

3. Trauma is disfiguring. At least for a while, it turns you into someone you do not recognize. You lose your spark and sparkle. You withdraw from life. You experience the symptoms of PTSD. You feel you’re going crazy. That you’re losing your…

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10 Things to Remember

Don't Lose Hope

1. Small steps are still progress.

2. Feelings go up as well as down. Tomorrow might be better than today.

3. You need to be honest and real to heal.

4. You don’t have to hold it together all the time.

5. Respecting your limits, and enforcing boundaries, are important forms of self-care.

6. You don’t have to explain yourself to others. You don’t need anyone’s acceptance or approval.

7. Everyone’s journey is different. Don’t measure yourself by someone else.

8. You are so much stronger and braver than you feel.

9. Self-compassion helps develop your emotional resilience. Notice when you’re suffering and be kind to yourself.

10. You owe it to yourself to believe in yourself. You are the one decides your worth.

The only one who get to decide your worth is you. It doesn’t come from your bank account or the number of friends you have…

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It is what it is

Don't Lose Hope

It’s OK if you thought you were over it, but then it hits you all over again.

It’s OK if, sometimes, you still fall apart, even if you thought you were starting to heal.

Trauma is like that.

The shock may start to fade –

But the memories still haunt you.

You’re not completely free.

This doesn’t mean you’re weak.

It’s a battle like no other.

Recovery is messy, and there isn’t a timeline

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Understanding and Treating Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

Trauma reactions are normal reactions to abnormal events.”

There are no right and wrong ways to respond to a trauma; and your symptoms may include the following:

– Shock, numbness, disbelief, or even denial

– Confusion

– Difficulties with focusing, paying attention, concentrating and remembering

– Powerful unpredictable mood swings

– Anger and rage

– Irritability/ having a short fuse

– Intense fear and anxiety

– Panic attacks and anxiety attacks

– Guilt, shame, and (inappropriate) self-blame

– The desire to isolate yourself

– Sadness, sorrow and regret

– Hopelessness/ an inability to see anything good in the future

– Insomnia, nightmares, and broken sleep

– Hypervigilant/ hyperalert/ agitation/ being on edge

– Racing heart

– Difficulty breathing, and regulating breathing

– Tingling in hands and feet

– Pain and muscle tension.

Some of these symptoms point to PTSD, where your nervous system’s stuck in a state of…

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It all Comes Down to Fate. Or Does It?

Don't Lose Hope

Facing a fate we cannot change, we are called to make the best of it by rising above ourselves and growing beyond ourselves.”

― Viktor Frankl

We think that we are free, that we decide our destiny. We think that we’re in charge, that we’re the author of our lives.

To some extent we are.

And to some extent we aren’t.

Viktor Frankl, the psychiatrist who penned the words above, was sent (as a young man) to several concentration camps. I can’t imagine this was in his plan for his life.

And yet that is where Viktor Frankl found himself.

Bringing it Closer to Home

I wonder what you’d wanted, and expected for your life.

I wondered what then happened. What derailed you from that course.

Who ripped up all your plans, the plans you’d carefully designed? The plans your dreams had fashioned. Normal – reasonable – good plans.

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Only the Strong

Don't Lose Hope

Now every time I witness a strong person, I want to know: What darkness did you conquer in your story? Mountains do not rise without earthquakes.”

– What darkness have you experienced that has changed you in significant ways?

– How did it change you?

– What lessons (good and bad) have you learned?

– How has it made you a stronger person?

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Keeping it Manageable

Don't Lose Hope

“You only need to focus on one little step forward.

You don’t need to conquer the entire mountain right now.

You don’t need to have everything figured out today.

The only possible way to climb a mountain is by climbing it one step at a time.

Don’t think about the peak.

Don’t worry about what may come later.

Instead, focus on the one little step in front of you.

The rest will come when it’s time.

For now, it’s just one little step.”

It’s natural to worry, to feel anxious and afraid.

To picture every possible worst-case scenario.

We do it all the time:

When we feel inadequate.

When the outcome really matters.

When we feel we’re powerless.

But you know it doesn’t help.

It really doesn’t help at all.

It really doesn’t make things better – for it doesn’t change a thing.

So try to let it go…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“I am the one who talks to me in my darkest moments. I’m the only one who really knows my deepest fears and pains, and the inner turmoil I have suffered. I’m the one with the power to put myself down or build myself up with my inner self talk. Other people can support, hold, love, encourage, guide and teach me but I am still the most important person who can make the choice to always love and be there for me – and I will.

I’ll be there for me.”

Unknown Author

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