I am strong! I am fierce! I am powerful!

For most of my life, this is how I felt. It was important to me to feel strong, because it was the opposite of feeling weak. It was important to me to stand in my fierceness, because it was the opposite of feeling sad or disappointed. It was important to me to stand in my own power, because it was the opposite of feeling powerless.

I refused to acknowledge traumatic events, because to acknowledge trauma felt like a show of weakness. I didn’t want anyone to know that things bothered me. Instead, I made light of things and pressed on. As I’ve mentioned, I was the “master of distraction”. Why Distraction is Simply Not Sustainable.

I didn’t do myself any great service, understanding now that trauma is the root of nearly all problems…..health and wellness, money and success, relationships. So, what exactly is it? Trauma is any emotionally painful or distressing experience that surpasses and overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope in that moment.

We hear the word and immediately think war, abuse, or other violence. Those events can certainly be traumatic, but so can many more. Witnessing a car accident, a safety drill at school, being shamed by a friend, relative, or teacher, being dumped by a first love (or your 32nd love!), losing a pet, being robbed, a bike accident, turbulence on a plane, or getting lost in unfamiliar surroundings are a few.

Trauma isn’t defined by the nature of the event. Remember, it’s an experience that surpasses and overwhelms one’s ability to cope. Individuals have different thresholds for different types of experiences. This is why turbulence on a plane can terrify some, be neutral to others, and can be kind of fun for those thrill-seekers.

Interestingly, trauma is often the cause of our limiting or false core beliefs. We are accidentally left at home as a young child, and develop an “I am invisible” or “I don’t matter” identity. As a child, we are shamed by an adult and fall into “I’m not good enough”. We are robbed and take on “I’m not safe” as our belief system.

Trauma can also shape what we find traumatic. The loss of a loved one is much more traumatic to someone with an “I’m alone” identity, than to someone who feels very loved and supported in life. A minor car accident is more traumatic for those who feel “I’m not safe.”

Our limiting beliefs then create our reality. They say reality is 20% facts and 80% perception. Someone who feels people are dishonest and out to scam others has a very different life experience than someone who feels the world is full of kind, compassionate people.

“The first step in freeing us from the hold of trauma is acknowledging it and naming it.”

Release the Symptoms. Free Yourself.

It is through acknowledging and naming trauma that we release it, freeing ourselves from our limiting beliefs. It is through acknowledging and naming trauma that I actually find my power and strength.

What have you experienced that has been traumatic? What present-day pattern was created as a result?

Originally published at melissakaltmd.com on May 16, 2017.

Originally published at medium.com