A meaningful memory popped up on my Facebook timeline today. I find that we’re so busy thinking about what we need to do, what we haven’t done, and what we could do better. Yet, when we take the time to reflect on where we were a month, a year, 5 years ago, we often realize how much we’ve done, how resilient we are, and more importantly, who we’ve become because of what we’ve been through along the way.
When this “memory” showed up on my timeline, it was a great time to reflect on a personal journey of trauma to transformation, and coming out of it with the inspiration for what I’m blessed to say, has helped thousands of others do the same.
Life is filled with so many opportunities to see how resilient we are. These things don’t happen because we’re unlucky or we’re destined to live a painful story as victims of what’s happened to us. Things simply happen, and it’s what we do with these things that matters most. Yes, we can have our story, but becoming the hero or heroine of our story is a much better story.
It’s through “opportunities” in the form of negative experiences, toxic relationships and painful exchanges that we can let that define us, or we can find the strength to slowly and steadily rise above. I love that saying by Eleanor Roosevelt: “A woman is like a tea bag — you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
Well, my tea bag self has been in hot water a few times in the form of loss of loved ones, disease that nearly ended my life, and heartbreaking, soul crushing betrayal. Each experience had it’s own unique healing protocol, and each one left me with insights and strength gained from moving through them.
How would I define the healing process? Messy, uncomfortable, kind of like “ugly cry”. Definitely not graceful or pretty, yet there’s something so beautiful about the process of self-discovery, especially when you can look at it from the other side and see from a healed space how strong, resilient and powerful you’ve become because of it.
After my painful betrayal, I was desperate to understand how the mind works, why people do these things, and how I can heal. I realized that boundaries were being crossed and I never took my needs seriously. Something had to change and that was me. So, at 50, with 4 kids, 6 dogs and a business, I enrolled in a PhD program. I honestly had no clue how I’d manage it, pay for it or find the time to go through it but since “nothing changes if nothing changes” that betrayal was the catalyst for my life changing more than I’d ever realize.
Talk about the unknown-have you ever done something without having any idea what would show up? Where you felt so guided to do something, say something, try something without having any idea why? Yep, that’s exactly what happened and the pull was so strong that I just decided to go with it.
So here’s what my Facebook memory reminded me of, and I invite you to consider what memories you can think about to remind you of what you’ve been through too.
1-My 79 year old fellow graduate friend who got his PhD along with me letting me know that I can never use the excuse “you’re too old” to do something ever again
2-Family to celebrate this milestone with
3-Getting “hooded” as part of the PhD ceremony
4-The minute after giving the commencement speech for my class and knowing that the words I just spoke would serve as the inspiration behind my book Trust Again: Overcoming Betrayal and Regaining Health, Confidence and Happiness
5-My study chair who said: “Debi, I believe you’ve discovered a process here” and the 5 stages from Betrayal to Breakthrough were birthed
Life is so interesting and doing something good with something bad-allowing your biggest crisis to reveal your greatest gift, is trauma well served ? .
What experience did you have that led to a new decision or life path? I’d love to know, comment and share!
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute