“This is for the ones who are struggling right now. This is for the ones who have been having a rough day, or week, or year. The ones who feel like this storm will never end. Keep fighting for YOU. Not for your friends, not for your family, but for YOU.
Keep fighting because deep down you hold a tiny voice that you were meant for far more than this sadness and pain you are feeling.
Keep fighting because the person you will be on the other side of all of this is cheering for you so much.
Keep fighting because you will get there.
And it will be worth it.”
– Nikki Banas
I want you to know it will be worth it.
I want you to know that YOU are worth it.
Keep on believing as an act of self-love.
Keep on fighting as an act of self-care.
You will turn a corner and you’ll find your life haschanged.
We tend to think of criticism when we hear the word judgment. And we associate judgment with being attacked, compared negatively to somebody else, or even being compared to some lofty, ideal standard.
You have been judged. I have been judged.
It’s demotivating and debilitating.
It diminishes the self, and we feel inadequate.
But have you ever thought that approval could be harmful? It’s a form of judgment too, though a much more subtle one.
When we approve of someone else (their looks, their personality, the way they cope with hardship, their wealth, or their successes) we are sitting in judgment over them, and us, as well.
This constant stressful striving – for approval’s very fragile. It leads to editing and fixing so we’re deemed acceptable.
Yet, it’s often very fickle, transitory and subjective. It also can be lost in the twinkling of an eye.
It can be swiftly withdrawn, and even turn to criticism.
Why Does Approval Mean So Much to Us?
If we hunger for approval it tells us something crucial: that we aren’t fully comfortable with who we are right now. We feel we need to change ourselves. Adapt to others’ expectations. Try our best to be someone that others like and value.
Perhaps we don’t like how we look. We feel ashamed of what we’ve done. We feel worthless or inadequate because we’ve been mistreated.
Yet, all of us have flaws. And all of us have made mistakes. And all of us suffered, and been injured in some way.
The greatest gift you give yourself is being there for yourself – always.
It’s accepting who you – a human being who has flaws.
It is embracing all our parts – for all of us are on a journey.
And that’s what makes us whole.
It’s what will truly set us free.
“Be brave enough to take off the masks you wear out there and get to know who you are underneath. Be vulnerable enough to accept your flaws and know that they are what make you human; they are what make you real. Be confident enough to accept and cherish your strengths. Don’t minimize them or hide them They are your beautiful gifts to share with the world. Be brave enough to say, you know what, all of this is who I am. I make so many mistakes. I can be forgetful. I can be messy. But … I am doing my best with what I’ve got. And I am so proud of that. I am so proud of me. And I am proud of who I am becoming.”
There’s a grave in Dozenhem military cemetery where the inscription on the headstone reads:
“G. Blacker. Somerset light Infantry. 9th August 1917. Age 39”.
This man existed, and he mattered.
This man was a member of our family. He died for his country in World War 1. And like the others who are buried there in France, he was a living, breathing person. He had hopes, great plans, and dreams.
He was not some nameless soldier.
He had laboured in his farm.
He had had a wife and family.
He was difficult at times.
All these details are important; they are not irrelevant. They describe a unique person. Things that made him who he was.
All our lives are filled with details. Small things. idiosyncrasies.
And like him, you alsomatter. And you have a history.
Different things that happened to you. Fulfilled hopes, and tender wounds.
You’re a carrier of memories. Good ones. Bad one. Neutral ones.
Some are heartaches. Some are traumas. Things you might want to forget.
Each a stone, or coloured pebble, or a shard in life’s mosaic.
And your impact’s seen and captured in the lives of those you’ve touched. Words, and smiles, and affirmations, thoughtful gestures, kindnesses.
Evidence that your life matters. There are imprints everywhere.
You are not some nameless person.
Your life is significant.
“You might think that you don’t matter in this world, but because of you someone has a favourite mug to drink their tea out of each morning that you bought them. Someone hears a song on the radio and it reminds them of you. Someone has read a book you recommended to them and gotten lost in its pages. Someone’s remembered a joke you told them and smiled to themselves on the bus.
Never think you don’t have an impact. Your fingerprints can’t be wiped away from the little marks of kindness that you’ve left behind.”
“There is no turning back to yesterday, or to last month, or to last year. No matter how much you wish you could go back and live there again, or how much you wish you could change what happened, you just can’t go back. You have to keep moving forward, my beautiful friend.You have to summon all of your inner strength … and focus on who you want to be now. Who you want to be tomorrow. Itmight take everything you have to let go of yesterday, but once you do, you can start finding peace.” – Nikki Banas
How do you feel about letting go?
Are you ready to let go?
Are you able to let go?
Can you face the truth that you can’t change the past?
That what happened has happened, and can’t be undone?
I know you can do it.
I know that it’s hard.
But I know that you’re fierce, and I know that you’re strong.
1. If you have experienced betrayal trauma, please be very patient and gentle with yourself. You need to practice self-compassion and good self-care. And you may need to withdraw from normal life for a while. Remember, it’s OK not to be OK.
2. Your PTSD symptoms and triggered reactions are symptoms of unhealed emotional memories. They do not mean that you’re crazy or you’re losing your mind. In fact, they’re normal responses to experiencing a trauma. Almost every betrayed woman experiences these symptoms. Your body and your mind are taking care of you. They are trying to protect you from being harmed again.
3. This does not – and should never – define who you are. Repeat that statement again to yourself.
4. What your spouse or partner did has nothing to do with how lovable, attractive and desirable you are. It has nothing to do with you at all. Repeat that last sentence again to yourself.
5. Although it feels like you’ve been hit or run over by a truck, and at times it’s very hard to make it through the day or night, believe you will recover. Don’t let this destroy your life.
6. You need to tell your story. All that pain needs to be witnessed. Don’t allow what has happened to become a festering a secret. However, be wise in your choice of confidant or counsellor as not everyone is going to understand or care. And not everyone is going to be there for you.
7. It takes time to heal. It is a long and painful process. There are no short-cuts. You need to feel all the emotions, and to grieve for all the losses (and there are so many losses).
8. The day will come when you feel more likewho you were. That relaxed and carefree woman who had all those hopes and dreams. Yes, it’s true that this experience will leave some marks and scars. But one day you’ll reconnect with your true authentic self. That beautiful core self. The real woman who is you.
“Trauma overwhelms listeners as much as speakers … and talking about painful events doesn’t necessarily establish community – often quite the contrary. Families and organizations may reject members who air their dirty laundry; friends and family can lose patience with people who get stuck in their grief or hurt. This is one reason why trauma victims often withdraw and why their stories become rote narratives, edited in a form least likely to provoke rejection.”
Is this, perhaps, something you relate to as well?
Chelsea had always been a very private person. She was open, warm and friendly in most social situations. But no-one really knew what was happening in her life. To outward appearances, it looked like things were fine.
Then, out of the blue, Chelsea’s world was blown apart – when she learned that her husband had a hidden secret life. Dating apps, pornography, webcams, and so on.
Who do you talk to when you learn something like that?
If truth be told …. It wasn’t easy. But occasionally she tried. She’d introduce the subject in a vague, non-threatening way, and try to share a little of what things had been like.
But on the whole, it was disastrous. It only made things worse. Her close friends shut her down. It made them feel uncomfortable. They didn’t want to hear this. No, they didn’t want to know.
Apart from one young mother she had met at the school gate. Her husband had walked out on her, and left her with two kids. They weren’t really close, but they would always wave and chat. Sometimes they’d grab a coffee. Half an hour. No more than that. And it was comforting to know that someone understood.
She didn’t have to say much. Words can be superfluous. But kindness is a language that communicates so much.
The lies and the betrayal had left Chelsea traumatized. Her life had changed forever. It was ordinary no more. The grief was overwhelming. Way too much to bear alone. She often felt so desperate. How she’d love to be consoled.
Most people cannot handle pain. It feels too threatening. It leaves them feeling vulnerable. They have to look away.
This mother knew what it was like.
That lifeline was enough.
It helped Chelsea to heal. It got her through the toughest times.
The validation she received helped her to face the day.
This woman was a gift. Her presence transformed Chelsea’s life.
“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.”
When we have experienced rejection or betrayal it changes the way we see, and feel about, ourselves. We can pick up the message that there’s something wrong with us. That we’re less than other people. That we’re seriously flawed.
But all of these are lies, and we need to love ourselves.
So how do we learn to love ourselves?
1. Our mindset affects the way we see ourselves, how we interact with others, and how we live our lives. It affects our expectations around how others will treat us, and whether that’s appropriate, and what we should accept. This is an area we often need to challenge, and especially if we suffer from low self-esteem.
Some questions to ask yourself here include: Do I expect others to treat the same as/ better than/ or worse than they treat others? Why is that the case? What do I deserve when it comes to being loved? What will I put up with, and why?
2. Pay attention to how you treat yourself.
For example, do you tend to be self-critical and harsh towards yourself? Are you good at noticing and taking care of your physical, mental and emotional needs? How do you do that? How well do you do that? Do you make time to do the things you want and like to do? If not, why not?
3. We need to show self-understanding and develop self-compassion.
It can be helpful to take the time to write down our life story, and trace how our experiences have shaped who we’ve become.
4. We need to give ourselves permission to design our own life, and to say what we want, and then to go after that.
Of course, our plans can be destroyed by the people in our lives, and it’s hard to recover when we’ve been traumatized. But our life still our own. We still have some agency. And we still get a say in what’s going to happen next.
5. Perhaps you’ve heard it said thar each of us is the average of the five people we spend the most time with. With this in mind, think about who you spend your time with. Are these people who like, love and value you? Are they people who can see your potential, and who encourage you to live your best life? If not, it might be time to make some changes here and surround yourself with people who will love and treat you well.