It’s Worth Hanging On!

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

This quote by the tennis player Arthur Ashe appears frequently on social media. It’s the kind of quote you might expect to see there.

It’s the kind of quote I’ve posted myself when life has been happy, or at least humdrum.

It’s the kind of quote that can give you a lift, and inspire you to try, and to go for your dreams.

But it’s not the right quote if you’re curled up in a ball, and you’re dealing with a trauma, and you think you’re going to die.

No! That’s not the kind of quote that you want to hear right now.

Then, one day you decide that your life must go on.

You are made of stronger stuff.

You are going to survive.

Yes, the pain’s unbearable, and you don’t know what to do. Yes, the options all look bad. None of this was in the script.

So, you rip up the old script and you start where you are.

But your self-esteem is shattered. You have lost your confidence. It is hard to open up, and to take a risk, trust.

Work and hobbies? What are those? They don’t interest you at all. And because you never sleep, you have zero energy.

Still, you make a vague attempt to retain a normal life. You take the kids to school and you drag yourself to work.

Yes, you try to act the part – even though you’re in a mess.

And you find you have reserves.  You can manage minor tasks.

Step by step you’re managing. You are using what you have.

And we might as well be real. You don’t “just get over this.” No, you’re going to be in pain, and be bleeding, for some years.

You can wear a plaster cast. Get some stitches for the wounds. Change the soiled bandages. Buy some ointment. Take some pills.

Even so, it will take time. You can’t rush this process up.

But you’re caring for yourself.

You are doing what you can.

And those small acts of self-love help to change you bit by bit.

Till, one day, you catch a glimpse of the self you thought you’d lost.

Wow! You can’t believe it’s true. You had missed that self so much.

It was worth the tears and work. There was truth in that old quote:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

27 thoughts on “It’s Worth Hanging On!

  1. You make a great point here, as usual😍. Arthur Ashe was right: start where you are. But this is hard to do if you don’t remember WHO you are. A person living in the after-math of trauma also finds it difficult to use what they have. It feels like there’s nothing left. So you do what you can, and curl up into a ball. But this is no long-term solution. That’s why I love your site so much! You focus on the long run of healing from betrayal trauma, or any type of trauma, for that matter. People who are in are in emotional “body casts” must take baby steps.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for your kind words, and the encouragement David. Yes, we need to focus on the longrun. Recovery from trauma is very slow, and certainly isn’t in a straight line. It HAS TO BE baby steps … but, over time, those baby steps make a difference 🙂 Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how you unpack the seemingly simple advice. Not so simple when fully traumatised and bleeding. But it is truth. Just takes work and time to be able to break it into tiny bites.


  3. It is so worth hanging on…especially when all seems lost on those insomniac middle of the night don’t know how I’m going to make it out alive without you Lord holding me…I am hanging on for dear life. For life is dear. 💚

    Hope you are having a blessed Thanksgiving weekend! I am thankful for you and your inspiring posts. They mean so much to so many.
    Nina 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re right, the words sound much easier than taking action. What helps most is believing there is a God who loves you, and understands you’re wounded and doesn’t expect you to heal yourself. A God who understands pain and doesn’t throw a lightning bolt if you lash out at Him in frustration. He helps you heal by sending people to support you, not lecturing but just being there to yell at or to say nothing as you vent. And praying for you when you don’t have the words to pray for yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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