When Valentine’s Day is Less Than Happy

valentine's day

Saint Valentine is a legend. I mean, consider the fact he was buried in 270 A.D. The story of Saint Valentine reads like a hero’s story. There are three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. In one legend, Saint Valentine was a priest who, after Emperor Claudius II declared single men were better soldiers than married ones, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine disagreed with this injustice and continued to marry young lovers in secret. When the secret was out, he was put to death. There was another Saint Valentine who was a bishop. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II. There’s also another story that Valentine helped Christians escape the harsh Roman prisons. Once imprisoned himself, he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter who had visited him. Before his death, the legend is that he wrote her a letter and signed “From your Valentine.” Regardless of which of the three Saint Valentine stories or legends you believe, it doesn’t change that he became one of the most popular saints in England and France. And doesn’t change that, centuries later, the romanticism of any one of their heroism sparks the hearts of many today.

Isn’t it romantic, though, to have someone passionately fight for the injustice of others? Isn’t it romantic how all of these Saints were self-sacrificing and ultimately gave their lives for the sake of others? That’s a special kind of love. I suppose you could say it’s the love of humankind.

What has been lost on Valentine’s Day since that time? It’s become so commercialized since that time, and, to be honest, I kind of love those Valentine stories more than the love interest stories we see depicted in society today.

We all love a good hero’s journey story. There is drama, hardship, or challenge, and then the comeback storyline. The main character triumphs over their own challenges and inspires others. I love stories like these and have heard them repeatedly when conversing with guests for my podcast.

What do stories like these have to do with Valentine’s Day? People in these stories became their own heroes. They had enough love for themselves to create the changes they needed to make. What do you think happens when people turn the love to others toward themselves? And, I’m not talking ego-type love or vanity. I’m talking, life has beaten you down, you’ve had enough, and you want to become the best version of yourself, so you take action to do that. You love yourself enough to invest time, money, and resources into yourself. This is radical self-love to me.

So, this Valentine’s Day, like me, you’re not living in Roman times and aren’t facing possible beheading for being self-sacrificing for the love of humankind. But, you may be in a healthy, loving relationship. And, maybe you have the time, money, resources, or ability to give back to humankind in other ways. We have the ability to bring about what Saint Valentine (pick any of the three) made Valentine’s Day out to be – a day to be of service in the name of the love of humankind.

If you find yourself down in the dumps this Valentine’s Day, consider how good it would feel to do something to give back to humankind in a way only you can. Fill your own heart with the love you may be missing from someone else by giving to others or giving that love to yourself. You can declare this Valentine’s Day as a “Self-Love Day.” By the way, this month, I have a theme for my newsletter, and it’s all about self-love. So far, I’ve talked about the power of our breath and challenging ourselves. Curious what those topics have to do with self-love? Sign up here and, I’ll include the links to the previous editions in this coming week’s newsletter, which will be all about boundaries. 😉

What will you do this Valentine’s Day? Make it about the love of humankind or radical self-love? I’m all for both, and there’s no right or wrong. Depending on our circumstances and experiences (for example, this is your first Valentine’s Day without your spouse who died), a small act of self-love may be all you can muster. And, that’s okay. You don’t need anyone’s permission to spend this Valentine’s Day how you please. Know you’re not alone, though, and perhaps someone you know who may also be alone could use some company, too? And, I would bet Saint Valentine would smile upon you for extending your hand to another hurting heart this Valentine’s Day. ❤

much love from victoria

 

 

 

P.S. Did you know? If you’ve experienced divorce or estrangement and are ready to work through that relationship, the grief recovery method isn’t just for grievers grieving someone who has died. In fact, we are often emotionally incomplete with those who are living. If you’re ready to move beyond that relationship, get in touch at [email protected]

Surviving to Thriving

surviving to thriving

Surviving to Thriving – is this a phrase you can get behind for 2021?

I recently was interviewed for an online event that’s taking place in March that’s bringing all sorts of presenters on the topic of suicide and grief and loss. I talked about how I have seen the transition of traditional in-person support groups moving to the online space.

The online grief community is a wonderful space to be in when you’re grieving, not to feel isolated and alone. However, the caution I want to bring to the table is when “surviving” becomes a badge of honor that goes from being shiny and new to tattered and worn?

I’ve begun to notice how this pattern of “survivor-hood” keeps individuals stuck in their grief. For example, the term “Suicide Survivor” has become a popular phrase. Whether you lost a loved one to suicide or attempted yourself, giving yourself that label eventually does more harm than good.

And here’s why…

We all embrace some identity for ourselves. I am a wife, mother, entrepreneur, podcaster, and writer. By telling anyone these five things about myself, certain assumptions can be made – social profiling, if you will. These are all also labels I identify as. So, in conversations with a group of women you may meet for the first time, as a mother, if someone else mentions their a mom, you will usually mention the same. It’s an identity that you use (and take on and live into) in relating to others.

When it comes to grief, I can say I’m a griever. I identify myself as a griever – a lifelong one at that. There are assumptions one can make about that phrase, too. Shouldn’t I be over it already? The “lifelong” bit speaks to how I identify as a child-griever, too.

All the identities we wear…to relate, understand and make sense of this experience we call life.

But, when do these identities do us a disservice? When do identities do more harm than good?

I’ll tell you…

When they’re keeping you stuck, and you’re not evolving the identity.

What Evolving Looks Like

Evolving looks like new knowledge and tools that you’re implementing to create positive, lasting changes in your life.

Evolving can look like baby steps one day to a lived out, all in commitment the next. For example, maybe you commit to exercising 3 days per week for a month, and the next month you add one more day per week. It’s starting out taking small steps towards positive change and incrementally adding to it.

This applies to healing as well. Maybe you decide to start meditating one day per week for 5 minutes. Once you master that, you add in more days at 5 minutes and then follow up with more time.

Healing takes time; this we all know to be true. We can have an epiphany moment that shifts everything into a new perspective instantly, but we can’t see the label from inside the jar. We must experience life beyond our comfort zone to evolve. And, this holds true when it comes to healing. We also can’t see a situation for what it is when we’re stuck in the weeds. So, surrounding ourselves with others who are also stuck in the weeds doesn’t do much for our growth.

Tying this back to support groups, I’m not poo-pooing them in the least. In fact, I think they serve a wonderful purpose, particularly when they’re action-focused. And, that’s the difference. What good does it do anyone to show up week after week, often not with the same people, to hear stories of others’ deep grief and sharing our own, with no hope that you’ll ever get out of the state of being? This is not thriving; this is surviving.

And, I don’t know about you or your loved one, but my father died at 44. He didn’t get the chance at a full life. His potential and life experience were both cut short. I’m quickly approaching 44 myself. When I turned 40, I knew that something in my life needed to change radically, or I would find myself heading down the same path of dis-ease as my father.

My father had a lot of grief in his life. He was a Vietnam Vet and was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in the midst of raising young children. Add this grief to all the years of loss experience before it and, I’m not surprised he died young – all but one of his siblings has passed, and all died younger than 70. He grew up like many of us do, learning the opposite of what to do with grief; it’s the generational learning I often speak about. We resort to what we know and have been taught. If you haven’t read my blog post about the six myths of grief, that’s a great place to start.

Anyway, my question for you is, as you reflect on the grief you’ve experienced in your life and that’s stacked up over the years, do you feel as though you are surviving, or can you honestly say you are thriving in your life? Because if you’re not thriving, something is keeping you stuck. It very well could be the company you keep and the support in which you surround yourself.

We don’t get where we want to be in this life by holding on to what is incomplete from the past or sticking with people who are stuck in their past. We can pull people along with us, too, but they have to want to find healing. This is has been one of the biggest challenges for me as a certified grief recovery specialist. I watch people every day, online, ruminate on what can’t be changed. Is there a natural ebb and flow and twisty-turvy experience to grief? Absolutely! It’s definitely not a linear, point A. to point B. experience; not in the least. However, and I can only speak from my own experience, after 30 years of grieving, that boulder on my shoulders only got bigger over time – until I took action.

Time only passes. It’s the action we take in time that matters. 

Do yourself a favor, do a check of the Facebook groups you’re in or the online grief accounts you follow that don’t give bring you a sense of hope. If you leave the conversations feeling worse about your life, grief, or situation, that’s your heart speaking to you. I have heard some of the most horrendous stories from grievers on my podcast. But every last one of those souls never lost hope and found a way to get to the other side of the depths of their pain. However long that takes you is your journey, too, so as not to confuse you because there is no timeline for grief. Again, it’s the action you take that matters. Even baby steps matter and compound over time, too.

If I had a magic wand, I would wave it over all of the grievers I know and meet. It would be the magic wand of openness and curiosity.

Until we are open to the possibility of healing, healing can’t find its way to us. And, unless we’re curious, we’re never going to open the door to what could help us heal.

Are you tired of feeling how you feel? Reach out. I’m only an email away. And, now on my website, you can schedule a 90-minute Heart With Ears session to experience a space to be seen, heard, and if you’re ready, a path forward. 

I love you, and you can do hard things.

much love, victoria

 

 

Why It’s Important to Feel Your Feelings

feel feelings

Grief comes in like a freight train and with it a rollercoaster of feelings that are impossible to ignore. Whether someone close to you has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, a beloved friend or family member has died, a relationship has ended, or chronic disease has entered the picture (or any of the 40+ losses), grief manifests in many similar ways no matter the cause of grief.

Grief opens us up like a gaping wound. It’s important we validate the grief and feelings we’re experiencing from those wounds. 

It can be rather easy to close yourself off from others while you’re on the rollercoaster. It’s tempting to do everything in your power to avoid and ignore what is feeling unsettled within you. However, allowing it to fester is reflected in continually disregarding that which is trying to get your attention. Repressing your grief will eventually manifest in physical symptoms or external behaviors.

In grief recovery, we use a tea kettle for an analogy. Like a tea kettle, grief experience after grief experience causes energy to build within us. This buildup of blocked energy is what we refer to in Reiki as byoki. Over time, this built-up blocked energy either causes us to implode or explode – or both. When the steam builds up in the tea kettle, it whistles. Once released, like our emotional energy blockages, the pressure is gone. When the energy is allowed to flow or put another way when feelings are felt and processed, the pressure (or stress, anger, resentment, dis-ease) is alleviated or even removed (if you did the inner grief work). 

Why It’s Important to Feel Your Feelings

  • Acknowledgment: By acknowledging how we’re feeling, we can’t deny those feelings. Thereby, we’re given an opportunity to either stuff or honor them with time and space. This is a choice we make.
  • Openness: By sitting with our feelings, we are actively opening up our hearts and releasing the emotional energy they carry.
  • Freedom: Embracing and fully experiencing our feelings provides a sense of freedom when we get to the other side.
  • Overall Health & Wellbeing: It doesn’t feel good to experience our feelings fully. However, it sure beats using a bandaid like drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, fantasy, social media use, or anything else where the goal is to distract yourself from your feelings by using these things to feel better at the moment. Because what you’re often left with is more grief due to shame, guilt, feelings of unworthiness, etc.

Grief is a shock to the system on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. If you want to feel fulfillment in your life, though, eventually, you have to lean into the pain so you can move forward without it dictating and filtering into every area of your life. It’s not weak to allow yourself to feel the despair and vulnerability, any more than seeking help is weak.

Recovery from grief doesn’t mean you forget the love you have for someone. If it was a less than a positive relationship, it’s not about condoning any behavior you feel was an offense against you either. Recovery in either instance isn’t about forgetting either.

Recovery Is:

 being able to enjoy fond memories without having them cause painful feelings of regret and remorse. 

understanding your potential and no longer allowing past experiences to dictate your future. 

claiming your circumstances instead of your circumstances claiming you and your happiness.

acquiring the skills we should have been taught in childhood. 

one day realizing that your ability to talk about the loss you’ve experienced is normal and healthy.

When we lose someone close, it’s common to incorporate rituals and routines for the loss into our lives. This helps us to make sense of what we’re experiencing. Some people also create shrines and memorials in memorial of a loved one. Rituals, shrines, and routines, memorials are ways many grievers use to cope. The way that we feel when we grieve is physically, emotionally, and spiritually painful, and the need to remember that loss is a normal and natural part of our lives. However, these things can also entrap us and keep us leashed to the event’s past. 

We desire to find purpose and meaning in everything – it’s human nature. I am no different, despite the training, tools, and education I’ve received about grief. And, I’ve thought about how I’d cope with the loss of one of my children. The honest answer is – I have no way to know unless it happens to me. And so, we can pass judgment on how others are coping with their loss, but in truth, every single relationship is unique. I don’t know whether I would leave their room as-is, or if it would feel too painful, I’d want to change it completely. That’s a form of enshrinement. And, it’s a space that could bring great comfort or it could be a reminder of great sorrow and all of the unmet hopes, dreams, and expectations or anything we wish would be different, better, or more.

The effects of loss infiltrate into every aspect of our lives, often without connecting what’s happening to the grief and loss itself. We can move in tandem with our grief; meeting ourselves where we’re at in the process of time passing. Forcing yourself to move forward doesn’t help you. And yet, we also need to consider, as grievers (and I’ve been a griever since 1987), that there has to come a time when enough is enough. When the craziness we feel within ourselves is a disservice and a hindrance to our overall health and wellbeing. 

Grief is as natural as happiness and love. 

One Final Thought

I think, spiritually, if we believe our loved ones are always around us, there is no specific room, shrine, or memorial spot needed. We can feel close to our loved ones always and forevermore, no matter where we are. This is the aspect of grief, I believe, that has the potential to offer so much healing to grievers, but isn’t often talked about. I’m definitely going to share what I’ve been learning about this topic as of late. If you want a head start, check out the Netflix DocuSeries: Surviving Death.

Sending you all the love today, friend.

much love, victoria

 

 

 

P.S. Did you find this post helpful? Please share it with a griever you love or care about. Sharing is caring. 💛

Get Mentally Strong This Year

get mentally strong

For some people, mental strength comes easily, while others have to fight hard to feel well each day. Whichever kind of person you are, there is no denying that changing the way you live your life, and incorporating healthy habits, can improve your mental health significantly.

With that in mind, here are a few things you can do right now to build mental strength and start feeling better than you have before:

Meditate

Yes, it’s become a bit of a buzzword in the world of wellness and mental health in recent years, but that’s because it works. Meditation gives you space from your thoughts, teaches you to live more at the moment, and helps you come to terms with past traumas. If you can practice meditation for just 20 minutes each day (build-up to this if you need to), you will begin to notice a big difference in how well you feel and how able you are to cope with difficult situations. I like to think of meditation as a “popping of the cork,” where the mind is the cork. It’s a disconnection of our minds from our hamster-wheel thoughts that allows us to venture into our subconscious (higher selves). And, you don’t have to sit cross-legged while chanting “Ommmmm…” to meditate. There are also walking meditations you can do where you focus on your breath. Meditation really brings awareness to the moment, which is so easily disregarded in our western, hustling culture.

Seek help

There is nothing weak about seeking help when you’re feeling unable to cope with your mental condition. From using an anxiety counseling service to seeing a psychiatrist who can work with your brain chemistry to get you back on an even keel or even having Reiki healing to get back in touch with yourself, doing what you need to do, and seeking help from the professionals who can help you with this is a smart move. It’s also a move you should make whenever you’re struggling – it shouldn’t be a one-time thing. If grief weighs you down, I offer a service specific to grief that isn’t going to take two years of talk therapy. In grief recovery, get to the root of many of the issues that plague your life, not realizing that grief is quite possibly the cause. Not to mention, it’s an evidence-based, proven structured program for moving beyond grief. 

Challenge yourself

You can never be truly mentally strong if you stay in your comfort zone. To be the best person you can be, you need to challenge yourself regularly. Don’t underestimate yourself and try activities that you may think are beyond you. Do your best to master them, and even if you don’t fully succeed, you will have built a mental toughness and a level of resilience that will help you get through tougher times in the future. I wholeheartedly feel that had I not ventured out of my comfort zone more than ten years ago to start my own business, I would not have the business I do today. Challenging yourself also requires an openness to possibility, failure, and growth. We grow through challenges and experience – no doubt about it!

Practice gratitude

By being grateful for what you have, you teach yourself to be more positive, which will stand you in good stead when times are hard. To practice gratitude, end the day by writing down five things (big or small) that you were grateful for, making you happy that day. Pretty soon, your brain will start looking for the good in every situation, and you will start to feel happier than you ever thought possible. Give it a try; it really does work.

One thing I started doing is, when I lie down at night to go to sleep, I bless the day I had and will have the next day. I go through my day and give thanks for the blessings that occurred that day. I give my gratitude for any connections I’ve made, how well a situation played out, a heartwarming moment, etc. Also, knowing what I have to do the next day, I play it out in my mind how I would like it to go. And, if things didn’t go exactly as I hoped, I play it out in my mind how I wish it would’ve gone and then bless the people and the situation. This has been the easiest gratitude practice I’ve found that works for me. Steal away if it resonates with you!

Keep practicing

Being mentally strong and healthy is a lifelong effort; it isn’t something you can work at for a while and then give up when you get bored or distracted or whatever. If you want to be truly happy, grateful, and mentally well, you need to put the work in day after day, even if you don’t feel like it. By practicing the above, and other techniques you find useful regularly, you will struggle less through life.

I’ve said it before, but it begs to be repeated: “Grief is cumulative and, it’s cumulatively negative. But, so is healing.” Every effort you put forward in your whole body wellness comes back in dividends and compounds over time. Every time (or financial) investment into your healing is an investment in yourself. And, you’re more than worth it.

much love, victoria

 

 

The Evolutionary Process of Healing Trauma and Grief

healing trauma and grief

In the twenty podcast guest interviews I’ve done thus far, the common thread between all conversations is how healing of trauma and grief has been an evolutionary experience. I can say the same as I reflect on my own.

The person we are/were at the time of loss or trauma isn’t the same person that walks away from that experience. Trauma and grief change a person.

Trauma is what happens; grief is what’s left.

There is no hierarchy of experience, either. And this is where, in the land of grievers, isolation is common. Let’s say you were molested as a child. As an adult, you share that with someone for the first time. How would you feel if the other person then started to share how they were sexually assaulted as an adult by multiple people? In a sense, raising the anty of the experience. Then, if there’s another person who is let in on the conversation, comes in and shares how their mother was sexually assaulted and that assault resulted in a pregnancy. Again, raising the anty of traumatic experience. Suddenly, something you felt safe sharing becomes a conversation about other people. This is invalidating, and subconsciously you feel, “Well, I guess what happened to me wasn’t so bad. I need to suck it up; it could’ve been worse.” You likely also didn’t feel heard either.

The above is just an example of how an innocent conversation that, although well-intentioned in hopes of being relatable, may instead leave a griever feeling like there’s no one safe to share with and that their experience isn’t “bad enough.”

Do you see why grievers, possibly like you, resort to isolation? Society does this because, as I mentioned, we don’t know what to do with information that makes us uncomfortable, so we reach for the first thing that feels relatable. We also resort to information that we know. And, often, what we’re told about grief since childhood is incorrect. Not only is it incorrect, but it’s also likely hurtful and harmful. Like many of us growing up, the messages we receive about grief fall into one, many, or all of the six myths of grief.

The Six Myths of Grief

I’ve spoken about these myths many times throughout blog posts and in podcast episodes. You can learn about them on the podcast here:

Or, if you’d rather read a run-down list, they are:

  • Don’t Feel Bad
  • Replace the Loss
  • Grieve Alone
  • Be Strong
  • Keep Busy
  • Time Heals All Wounds

Because of the generational learning that falls into these myths, it can take a griever many months, years, or decades to understand what is happening in conversations like these. This is a perfect example of why The Grief Recovery Method is so much more than a method for processing emotions that are incomplete within the context of relationships with anyone living or deceased. It is an educational, evidence-proven method for moving beyond grief and loss. 

Are You an Outward or Inward Emotional Processor?

It took me decades to dump the duffle bag of information I accumulated over the years about how to be with my grief. In other words, how to sit with and process my grief. The messages I received were all of the myths – every last one of them. It’s what I saw the people around me doing. So, even if certain words or phrases weren’t spoken, the adults’ actions around me spoke volumes. Think about the people you surround yourself with and how they cope with their grief. Are they quick to replace their losses with people, food, sex, gambling, alcohol, etc.? Do they isolate themselves and have gone from being outgoing and charismatic to quiet with an ever-present level of low-grade anger? Do grievers around you never stop, constantly going from one thing to the next, never pausing to reflect on the day, their thoughts, feelings, or pouring themselves into a cause or mission that has taken an unhealthy turn where they’re not sleeping or taking care of themselves? Have you been told not to feel bad that there is plenty of other fish in the sea or the words “At least…” followed by a well-meaning but hurtful statement? I could go on and on and on…this is the stuff we’re all taught because the generations before us were taught the very same thing and so on.

Over the past three decades of being with my grief and through the work that I’ve done, walking with others through theirs, I have come to the belief that there are two types of people: outward and inward emotional processors. Outward processing, people need to talk about what they’re thinking and feeling – it’s how they process emotion and gain insight. They’re the person who will get you on the phone for hours at a time – to talk about their problems. They are often the ones coming to you (if you’re an inward processor, particularly) for insight rather than being the listening partner. Not saying outward processing types can’t be good listeners. I feel (in my experience) that if I’m sharing with an outward processor, they’re likely more apt to share their thoughts and feelings rather than being able only to listen. In this instance, boundaries will come in handy. Inward processors (like myself) need time alone to be with their thoughts and feelings and tend to seek creative outlets to process emotions such as writing, painting, photography, music, etc.. I’ve resorted to all of those for my inward processing. I started to journal when I was around age eleven, I believe, and continue to do so. Music also helps me process as I tend to be drawn to music that reflects my emotions. I believe the ability to listen is one of my gifts. Ironically, I did get “N’s” for “needs improvement” under the category “Listen’s to and Follows Directions” on my elementary report cards. But, what do you expect from a child who lost a parent and who had been sexually abused, right? My mind was one of my greatest escapes as a kid.

Age brings the benefit of experience and wisdom. We all know this. Gosh, if only I knew at 21 what I know now! My life wouldn’t have been a trainwreck! But, as my podcast guest, Victoria Shaw, pointed out to me in her Dec. 22nd, 2020 episode – no part of the human experience is ever wasted. And that’s true when it comes to grief experiences. There will be lessons you receive – like it or not. People will fall away and come into your life – like it or not. And, the only guarantee when it comes to grief is that it will change over time. You will never be without the sadness of losing someone close to you because love doesn’t go away for someone. However, it is possible to feel complete with whatever was left undone or unsaid within the relationship through grief recovery. It is possible to think of the person and not become a ball of mess. It is possible to hear the person’s name and feel a sense of peace rather than be taken back to the circumstances of the loss and how it occurred. All of these and more are possible through grief recovery.

Common Phrases I Hear from Grievers

I have heard many grievers say, “What works for you may not work for me.” And, if that’s where you’re at as you read this, to that, I say this: it won’t work for you if you’re not ready to face all the feelings. And, if you’ve never experienced it, how would you know? It comes back to the old saying, “don’t knock it ’til you tried it!”

Another thing grievers will say is, “I don’t need to dig up the past to heal.” To that, I beg to differ. The past follows us like our shadow. And, it shows up as our shadow selves; how we respond to others, what we do with our lives, the fulfillment and contentment we feel, and how we feel about and treat ourselves.

Some Final Thoughts

Grief steals more than you probably realize from your present day. If you don’t feel like you’re living life to your fullest potential, reflect on the losses and grief you’ve experienced in your life.

Regardless of how you find your way to healing, understand it will change over time. The healing of trauma and grief is an evolutionary process. And I want to encourage you to be open to possibilities and a variety of healing modalities (like Grief Recovery and Reiki). Being open to possibility is also having hope that life can be different, better or more. We can feel grief, which is defined as anything we wish would be different, better, or more. But, we can also experience joy the same way – a feeling that is different, better, and more than we ever imagined.

much love, victoria

 

 

 

P.S. Thank you for reading. If this resonates with you and you think of someone who may also enjoy this, please follow through on that nudge and share it with them. You were nudged for a reason! 😉🥰

 

 

If You Had a Choice

If you had a choice

If you had a choice between blissful or miserable, which would you choose?

I imagine you thought to yourself, “That’s a silly question!’ It’s a no-brainer – blissful!” Who would choose to be miserable?

Whatever you’re feeling deprived of – it’s the highest goal to attain it—feeling deprived of feelings of bliss? It will be your highest goal to attain bliss.

When deep in grief or otherwise, we often do what is necessary to move toward pleasure and away from pain.

Reaching for something to feel better, you may resort to alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping, television, fiction/fantasy books, surfing the internet/Facebook/social media, etc.

The Shame Game

You may feel better briefly, but what you’re most likely left with are feelings of shame. And shame makes us feel anything but blissful.

According to Merriam-Webster, shame is:

a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety
               bthe susceptibility to such emotion
2a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute
3asomething that brings censure or reproach alsosomething to be regretted
              ba cause of feeling shame

I need to write a blog post all about shame. It causes a lot of grief in our lives. Where there is shame, there is grief. Likewise, where there is grief, there is also shame. They go hand-in-hand. In my book, I have a chapter dedicated to shame titled The Shame Game.

Because shame and grief are so tightly interwoven, the patterns of behavior one may resort to (running toward pleasure) to avoid pain create more shame, becoming a cyclic pattern of behavior.

Grief makes you feel like you don’t have a choice when caught in this vicious cycle.

But, you do. Our minds are a powerful force to be reckoned with and are undoubtedly taken for granted when it comes to transforming our lives. We often don’t feel like we have a choice in our lives because we get stuck in the vicious cycle. We want to feel better. We don’t know how to break free and don’t know what to do first.

The first step in breaking cycles is to understand you have a choice and then decide to do something about it. I know many situations leave individuals where they are because of fear. I know that a person in a domestic violence situation is often groomed by their abuser. I understand that individuals or families living in poverty haven’t been given the tools and access to make their way out of poverty. Even in these situations, fear is often the stronghold on the mind. And, fear can be a beast of a feeling. Fear can paralyze you.

However, even in the most fearful situations, there have been true accounts of people surviving (even thriving) following terrible situations and circumstances. I’ve heard many of them on my podcast. There is an episode coming up in Feb/March that is incredibly terrifying, and yet, this woman clawed her way out of fear and obtained her Ph.D. The hero’s journey is something common to copywriters and those who write stories/scripts. Through my podcast, I hear stories like this on the regular. They are triumphant and inspiring stories of people, just like you and me, who, against all odds, realized they had a choice and decided. They held on to hope.

Sometimes, your circumstances or situation allows the fear to take hold, but if you hold on to hope, you’ve got something worth holding. Hope is a beacon. Hope is the light of a lighthouse you see in the distance when you’re in a small boat on a big ocean. If you want to feel some hope, take a listen to my podcast, Grieving Voices.

If you’ve made it out of the vicious cycle but feel as though your life isn’t heading in the direction you desire, or emotionally, the past still has a grip on your present, I encourage you to consider working with me.

I am sending you heaps of love + light! Thank you for reading and sharing with someone you know or love.

much love, victoria

 

Receive The Unleashed Letters

Discover more about yourself & your hurting heart.

Each Wednesday, you'll receive insight and nudges for personal growth to support you in healing from all kinds of grief. 

You're in! Thank you so much for subscribing!