|Do you ever feel as if you’re not good enough?
Do you feel as if you don’t have enough?
Do you often compare yourselves to others and judge yourself (or them) harshly as a result?
Do you berate yourself in your own head because you have these thoughts, but you feel as if you shouldn’t think or feel these things?
Do you want to know why these thoughts incessantly loop through your head?
BECAUSE YOU ARE HUMAN
In the 7th century AD, yogi’s identified 3 main thoughts (and related feelings) that are endemic to all humans:I am not enough, which leads to feelings of shame and unworthiness. This is felt in the heart center and leads us to disconnect from Self and others.I am separate from others. This is felt in the head space, and it leads us to compare ourselves to others, leading to feelings of anger and bitterness.I don’t have enough. This is felt in the pelvis and leads us to shut down or work too much, leading to feelings of anxiety.When I learned this information (from Dr. Betsy Rippentrop’s ReMIND course), I felt such a sense of relief. Oh my God. There is nothing WRONG with me. I’m just human. I’m having human thoughts. I’m having a human experience. Just like everyone else. I can stop feeling bad about feeling bad. Ahhhhh.
There is another super impactful piece of knowledge that was a catalyst for developing self-compassion – learning about the ACE study. The ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study is “one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being.” (The Enlightened Marriage by Jed Diamond, PhD). The study found a strong link between childhood trauma and disease:
The CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study) uncovered a stunning link between childhood trauma and the chronic diseases people develop as adults, as well as social and emotional problems. This includes heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes and many autoimmune diseases, as well as depression, violence, being a victim of violence, and suicide. (https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/)
What is really interesting is the “traumas” that they researched are things that many of us have gone through – things that are just a part of life in this point and time in the world: Getting slapped/spanked, parents getting divorced/separated, having an alcoholic parent, having a member of the family be depressed, etc.. You can see the full list of ACEs here: https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/.
For me, learning this information and getting my ACEs score helped me develop more kindness towards myself. I had never really considered myself as having undergone “Capital T Trauma” like severe abuse or a car accident or being orphaned, but when I learned this information I realized, “Oh Yeah. Little Heather did have to deal with some heavy stuff that she wasn’t ready for. She was just doing the best she could.”
I think it’s important for people to realize how these seemingly minor/commonplace things that we just write off as “part of being a kid” can have a big impact on our bodies, our minds, and our overall wellbeing. Once we have awareness of that, we can start to recognize the effects of trauma in our lives, give ourselves some grace, and then start figuring out what we need to do to heal the trauma.
Many experts, (Dr. Peter Levine and Scott Barry Kaufman PhD to name two) note that processing trauma can be a huge catalyst for growth and self-actualization – a concept called “Post-Traumatic Growth.” In Kaufman’s new workbook, “Choose Growth – A Workbook for Transcending Trauma, Fear, and Self-Doubt” he shares this quote from C.S. Lewis:
“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”
I love the promise of that quote!
If any of this resonates with you, and you want to start to process trauma, I invite you to explore one or several avenues out there to help heal trauma – mental health therapy, trauma-informed bodywork, journaling, talking to a trust friend who will just LISTEN and give you space. I have tried ALL of these methods; I’ve worked with a few different therapists, I’m working with a Somatic Experiencing Transformational Coach (and I’m in training to become a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner), I’m working through the Choose Growth workbook, I’m practicing listening to my body.
What I’ve found is that unwinding the effects of trauma takes time and patience, along with a big dose of self-acceptance, non-judgement, and curiosity. But subtly and surely, you will start to notice less constriction and more space, less fear and more curiosity, less rushing and more lingering. And more belief that you are on your way to an “extraordinary destiny”!
As I mentioned last week, I went to cranial sacral therapy (CST) training this week. If you’re a client of mine, you’ve likely experienced my cranial work, but this CST work is different. It involves a MUCH lighter touch. It’s a method of just sitting with the body, allowing two nervous systems to communicate, providing a listening presence and enabling the body to unwind what and when it wants. It can be a gentle way to start to process some of the trauma recorded in the body. If you are interested in doing a CST session, you can use the code “CRANIAL” for $15 off a session in October. Just book a Bodywork Session here.
If you have any questions or comments on any of this, don’t hesitate to reach out. I also offer free 15-minute consults if you want to chat about working together.
Space to be Human Lab
– Curious about Cranial? Get $15 off for the month of October (use code CRANIAL) when you book your session for the month of October.
– Remember that Meditation Medley class I was offering? Well, if you would like to check out a few different types of meditation (a tool that can also be helpful for processing trauma), as well as get some tips for developing your own practice, check out the recordings here.
If you would like to sign up to get it sent to you directly, please click here.