I’ve had my share of unexpected “stuff” happen in my life. I’ve been the recipient of unexpected trauma, heartbreak, violence, embarrassment, humiliation, failure, injury, dark times, and more. Everyone on the planet has random forms and varying degrees of trauma to deal with and work through at some point in their life.
Despite these things that have happened to me, I’ve made a conscious choice to CHOOSE to be empowered from them.
You see, we can absolutely CHOOSE how to act or react to any life situation. We can choose to take positive steps after a trauma or an unexpected event, or we can take negative steps to stay stuck in it. Sometimes we don’t even realize which choice we are making. Remember, friends… we all have free will and choices to make in life.
When stuff happens to us in life, we take it all in… and BIG emotions, positive or negative, are created as a result. Those emotions shape our perceptions and our mindset, or what and how we think about our world and everything around us.
Emotions are POWERFUL! They can be a blessing or a beast. Emotions can and do eventually settle into our physical tissues, and when negative emotions are left unresolved or they are not worked through, they can potentially lead to illness or imbalance in our physical body down the road or later in life.
How we react to things is often influenced by others.. parents, teachers, friends, BFFs, coaches, siblings, healthcare professionals, the media, etc. Our mindset and our attitude is largely shaped and formed as we grow up. Our mindset is then reinforced by the people around us. Parents especially shape and condition our general attitude or mindset, and ultimately, how we perceive ourselves and who we are in the world.
Think about it. If you are surrounded by people saying “OMGosh, poor you” all the time, you could see how one would take on the role of victim. But if you’re surrounded by people saying “OMGosh what a terrible situation, but WOW! you are so strong!”, you can see how the mindset might shift to being empowered.
There are choices we can make… We can choose to be EMPOWERED after an event, or we can choose to be a VICTIM. And energy follows thought. What sort of thoughts do you choose on a consistent basis?
When I was in my early 20’s, I was attacked by a dog. I’d just had surgery and was advised by my doctor to go out walking to help myself heal. My first day out walking, a dog came charging after me. I couldn’t run or get away, as I was still recovering. I was sore, I had limited range of motion, and I still had stitches. This was terrifying at the time, and it left me feeling completely helpless. In that moment, I WAS helpless! Thankfully, a hero of a man heard the commotion outside of his house and came out to help me.
Why am I telling you this? Well, for years after that event, I developed a huge, irrational fear of dogs.. and that fear became crippling. This fear and victim mindset escalated quickly. I talked about it all the time to anyone who would listen. Every time I rehashed this event verbally or mentally, it left me feeling like a victim. This event consumed me and kept me in the victim loop and removed any power I had. Eventually, just the sound of a neighbors wind chimes, a sound that I perceived to be dog tags, would send me into an intense anxiety episode. My fear became compounded exponentially over time to the point that it started severely limiting my life and daily activities. It was then I realized I had become a victim, and I had a choice to make.
I could have stayed stuck in the fear, and lived my life like that.. a victim. The victim of an event that was outside of myself. I could have held on to that victim role forever. But instead, I chose to empower myself. I decided I no longer wanted to be afraid. I wanted my power back. I wanted my life back. Yes, this was absolutely a choice.
I found a therapist who worked with me in a positive, empowering way to get past the fear. She helped me to see that not all dogs will attack. She helped me to understand that my surgery rendered me to feel helpless in that moment on that day, but that I was now strong. She gave me homework to do between sessions to help me actively take my power back.
This therapy was not easy. It was scary at first. But it was worth it! My therapist listened to me, and gave me constructive exercises to do to participate in my own well being. She even brought in a dog for me to work with, to become familiar with dog behavior, and I learned to be comfortable with a dog close by, and know I am safe. I conquered that fear of dogs. I EMPOWERED myself, despite the fear. I chose to NOT be a victim.
What’s the difference between a mindset of EMPOWERMENT vs. the mindset of a VICTIM?
If you’re empowered, you realize that the “event” or “thing” is not part of you, it’s outside of you. It’s something that happened, but now it’s over. You may get sympathy or attention because of it initially, but a healthy person can move away from it. You regain your own power and develop positive and healthy coping mechanisms to work through it. You create an inner strength with self care, which perpetuates a positive self perception. You are not defined by the event, or the thing that happened. It’s in the past, and you learn and grow from it, and move on.
You may not know HOW to get past the event in the beginning, but since energy follows thought, you CHOOSE to make the effort to get past it. If you can’t get past the event by yourself, you seek help and take active steps and participate in helping yourself. The point of this is… you take active steps to help yourself. You take back your power. And you surround yourself with loving people who will lift you up in this EMPOWERED mindset.
If you’re a victim, you tend to hold on to the “event” or the “thing”. You tend to rehash the thing over and over, and you talk about it constantly. You get attention and sympathy from it, but it becomes an unhealthy form of attention. This attention keeps you stuck in a loop and removes your power. Eventually, being stuck in the loop creates unhealthy coping mechanisms. Maybe it’s a negative self perception, maybe its a loss of inner strength, maybe it’s even self harm.
Being a victim gives “the event” or “the thing” all of your power, and you start to feel helpless or that it’s impossible to get past it. Some people actually embrace this feeling of helplessness. And you might even be surrounded by people who reinforce this mindset for you, whether they mean to or not. It’s a circle that becomes hard to break over time, unless you choose to break it. And I can tell you from experience, YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY BREAK THIS CYCLE.
So again… if energy follows thought.. what would you like to be in life? Empowered? or a Victim?
Personally, I much prefer standing in my own power. Maybe one day I’ll write a book on some of the scary, messed up stuff that has happened to me in this life. Most people wouldn’t have a clue I’ve had some serious, major trauma happen to me. I don’t really discuss those events much. I don’t hold on to those events like I own them, because they are outside of me. I certainly learned some lessons from them, but I chose to move on. Only my handful of people closest to me know my stuff, and have helped me through the rough bits when I needed support.
Please DO seek professional help if you are the victim of an event that leaves you feeling powerless. Find a great therapist who will not only help you talk about what happened, but also give you active and constructive homework to assist you in getting past any trauma. Find yourself a really good one who won’t just let you rant about it without a solution, or keep you stuck in the loop of being a victim. Find a therapist who makes you do the work, even if it’s scary at first, or uncomfortable. You have to actually do the work, people. But trust me, its totally worth it.
In addition to mental healthcare, consider adding complementary care such as massage, energy work, or crystal healing to your goal of empowerment. These therapies can complement any psychotherapy work to help relax and calm the mind, body, and spirit. Energy work and crystal healing both work on the subtle energy layers of the body, where unresolved emotions tend to hang around. These treatments happen to be deeply relaxing and rejuvenating, which is uber-helpful when you are stressed out or feeling out of control. Schedule yourself a healing session and allow those emotions to be released on an energetic level, too.
So, friends, think about it… and I mean REALLY THINK ABOUT IT. Are you Empowered? or a Victim? What choices are you making?
Love, Cam xoxo
PS – Do you have a story about your own personal empowerment? Have you done work on those subtle emotional layers of the body after a traumatic event? Get in touch, I’d love to hear your story!
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