Feeling is Healing
I recently heard a podcast from Brene Brown with guest speaker Dr. Edith Eger (Unlocking Us, on Spotify). I cannot even begin to tell you how those 45 minutes changed my perspective. Dr. Eger is an Auschwitz survivor, who speaks about trauma, anger, resilience, and the power of choosing how we see ourselves. I've listened three times to get all the little nuggets of wisdom out of the podcast that I could. I'm also going to start "The Choice" by Dr. Eger tonight. Here are a few of my takeaways, but listen to the podcast to hear Dr. Eger in her own, beautiful words.
Before I begin, I want to define trauma. Trauma is not just physical. Trauma is any stressful event that causes emotional shock. A person may experience trauma as a response to any event they find physically or emotionally threatening or harmful.
"Give yourself permission to feel in order to heal."
Whoa. Let that sink in for a minute. Oftentimes, we move so quickly throughout life that we don't take time to feel what has transpired. If we aren't feeling the emotions, then they get buried in our minds, scratching away at us and keeping us in our own prison.
For trauma, and I am speaking from experience, it is vitally important to think and feel through the situation in order to heal. I used to push the trauma of my car crash to the back burner, and in fact I would pretend it never happened. I believed that if I wasn't thinking about the crash or talking about it, it would be more beneficial for my future. It wasn't until I started talking to a therapist, and ultimately taking my experience public, that I began to truly heal.
"Change the victim mentality."
Dr. Eger says that the victim mentality is thinking "why me" instead of "what now." the "why me" needs to come during the feeling process. Get the feeling of anger and resentment out, feel what you need to in order to move on. Yes, you have been through a trauma, however, life is going to continue to move on. After a trauma, you will never be the same. Ever. But you can choose to come out stronger, or you can choose to continue playing the victim.
"Go through the anger, but don't camp there."
Dr. Eger explains that when you are angry at someone, they don't suffer. You are the one who suffers. Holding on to resentment means you are still a prisoner to whoever, or whatever, you are angry at. It is not about forgiveness, because no one has the true power to forgive - that is only in God's power. It is about processing through the anger, processing the trauma, and realizing that living through the shadows and going back into the light will make you a stronger, more resilient person.
I would love to take every quote I wrote down and dissect it. However, I think these three are the biggest ones that made me really stop and think. I am about to sit down and read Dr. Eger's book ("The Choice" as I mentioned above, and I also have "The Gift.") and relish in her words of truth. I hope you can take some time to listen to the podcast or read her books.