"Embracing your journey" is a phrase I never had considered using or applying to myself for the greater part of the last decade. As with most things I’ve shared, accepting and embodying this phrase is something that has taken me time to arrive at.
What I didn’t realize is that it has been a part of my journey all along in having to go through the lowest points before I could understand how much power acceptance holds.
I felt so unhappy, defeated and that nothing would ever get better. In retrospect, my history had proved to me that things never did get better and my hopes had been crushed over and over again. This is perhaps why I’m so hesitant and overly cautious when making decisions to this very day. This is a part of me that I am still learning to love and see value in. There was that feeling of failure mixed with sadness that was so heartbreaking. Watching my family dynamic and routine change drastically in the midst of life altering events was difficult for my teenage mind to process. It had felt that everything I knew was taken from me, my sense of safety, my home, my traditions and routines, my financial situation, my teenage experiences, my family relationships, and most importantly my dad.
When we experience loss and trauma our body goes into survival mode where we either go into freeze, flight or flight mode. I think I had spent years in each of these survival modes. I’ve had my relationships with each of them as my body has gotten to know each quite well. They became a part of me like a newly grown muscle. Once foreign to me and once painful but eventually was sore and ignited only when things around me became worse- bad news, more changes and more passing's. I’ve learned to appreciate how much my mind and my body have been able to get me through each time. I’ve built layers of resiliency and coping. There is something so empowering about knowing that you have survived your worst days and have come back each time - whether that took you weeks, months or years. That’s something that nobody can take from you or compare to. Through intense unconditional love and life changing loss I’ve been working to get where I am now. My journey has taught me so much about the power of love after loss, the power of perseverance, goal getting, relationships and the communication that is essential and how stress can severely impact you mental health and physical well being.
I’ve always been self reflective since I can remember. Throughout my first few years of grief I always asked myself questions and tried to seek out answers as to why these changes were happening and what was the overall purpose. What did it mean? Life is all about lessons and growth, so what was this trying to teach me? I felt frustrated and angry over and over. There was no explanation good enough that warranted me losing my dad and the suffering that followed. There was no turning back and no matter how hard I tried to resist the changes going on I arrived at a place of acceptance years later. I had refused to acknowledge that my dad had passed. I referred to him in the present tense, speaking as though he hadn’t gone anywhere. I wasn’t ready for him to go and felt passionately and intensely about that. Accepting my path meant that I would allow myself to feel compassion toward myself and emotionally release. That validation of my feelings and thoughts that I had been seeking for so many years. I gave that to myself and in return it had freed me of a lot of worry and guilt. I deserved to be happy, to be successful, to be a part of a community, to have love filled relationships and live without guilt. It is an ongoing process, to live a life embracing your losses and growth but know that it is possible wherever you are in your healing.
C’s Self Help Resource of the Month:
Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations podcast: Oprah and Dwayne Johnson Your Life in Focus
I personally loved listening to it on my drive to work on Spotify. It helped me get into a good mindset at the stat of my day. He opens up about the loss of his father and how that impacted his career and fatherhood. He speaks about mental health and life lessons that have carried him in his journey.