Courage to heal.

Are you a victim of your past? Do you ever find yourself reliving the pain and unable to move on? Has your trauma become your security blanket? Then you need the courage to heal.

At some point in their life everyone will go through an emotional ordeal or physical trial. For many, recovery is difficult but achievable with appropriate support. In time there is nothing left other than a harmless memory or experience.

On the other hand, the damage of a life changing event or situation can create a victim mentality that unless challenged will keep you trapped in the past. The longer you remain attached to the pain the harder it is to break free. Your emotional state, whatever it is – anger, bitterness, jealousy, grief becomes your normality. Eventually it can become your refuge, because familiarity is safe.

Yet you don’t have to live as a victim. The transition to survivor and living your life as the person you were meant to be is possible. But you do need to have the willingness to heal. And you need courage.

Courage to take responsibility for your life again. Courage to take the risk of letting go. Courage to explore your inner-self.

Most of all you need courage to face the fear. The fear that if you mess with the wound that somehow it will be made worse and it will never heal. Or that your worst fears about yourself will be confirmed and you will never be whole again.

You may believe that you haven’t the strength or the bravery to overcome a situation that has overwhelmed you for so long. You do.

After years of suffering depression and being gripped by alcoholism, I had a complete physical and psychological break-down. Admission to a psychiatric ward heralded for me ultimate despair. At the time, I felt like the tears would never stop falling and my nightmare existence would continue for the rest of my life.

Yet a nurse came up to me and made the most extraordinary comment – “I’ll be excited to see where you are in five years time.” She knew of my past and how I had attempted suicide, but there she was talking of the future. Her reply when I pointed out how ridiculous that sounded was a big smile and a matter of fact, “After everything you’ve been through, you’re still here.” She then listed some of the things she saw in me. Courage wasn’t one of them, but resourcefulness and determination were.

“Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.” ~ Richard Bach

I realised that courage wasn’t an action, but an attitude. It meant accepting my circumstances and asking for help. It was overcoming my weaknesses. It was having a willingness to change and be changed.

The courage to heal came when I embraced all these things, so that little by little I could come to terms with the pain of my past. It no longer held me hostage. Recovery and sobriety helped me to appreciate what life had taught me. And the very things I used to fear became the source of my strength.

I wish I could’ve have told the nurse how right she was. Five years on from that incident my life had turned around completely. I was sober, sane and happily married with two beautiful daughters. Her words had been a gift. The gift of courage.

If you are struggling to find your inner strength I would like to extend this gift to you also. Take what you know and use it as your stepping stone to change. Watch it transform into the courage to heal and set yourself free.

_________________________________________________________________________

Top image thanks to the wonderful                                                                                   Lindy Gaskill http://www.etsy.com/listing/115192157/5×7-she-wanted-the-rainbow-so-she-put-up

57 thoughts on “Courage to heal.

  1. Wow Carolyn you have had an incredible journey. “Courage to take the risk of letting go” really stood out to me reading this, sometimes that can be what we are most afraid of, that if we let go of our pain we won’t have anything left, but as you are a testament to beneath the pain is always something bigger waiting to be birthed.

    • I am so sorry that you are in such pain Azura. So good to know that reading my words have helped in some way on your journey to recovery, which I know that you have the courage to make. I have visited your site and I can see how sensitive and caring you are, but also that you have inner strength. You do have the courage to heal. Do it for yourself first and everyone else around you will automatically feel the benefit too.
      Take your journey a step at a time, be kind to yourself, don’t focus on what has been in the past but look to what the future will bring. Your happiness awaits you. xo

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  4. THank you for your well-written and heartfelt encouragement. Also thanks for introducing me to Lindy! I will def be borrowing some of her images (with credit of course) – I love them.

  5. What an incredible healer that nurse was!! I wish you could go back and tell her, show her that her instincts were right. And I love the Richard Bach quote – it’s my inspiration for the day. Thank you, Carolyn! 🙂

  6. I was inspired by your story about the nurse’s comments — it’s great talking with people who have done healing work for a while and know the transformation it can bring about.

  7. Thanks for this! Yes victim thinking can become very easy and comfortable – we don’t have to do much if we are thinking that way. Sometimes something has to ‘happen’ in order to move us to that place of action. Thank you so much for your insights!

  8. It really does take courage to heal and you have captured the sentiment perfectly, this post is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing more of you with the rest of us, you are a gift Carolyn. It takes courage to forgive, courage to let go, and courage to move forward, all of which comes from the strength you find within You. X

  9. Great topic, Carolyn, and so right on…the courage to heal rather holding on to the victim identity. After my son died I found the following quote which comforted me and propelled me to seek the growth potential as I moved through the pain: “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” Kenji Miyazzwa

  10. So moving, Carolyn. I always see so much of myself in your stories. It is so easy to think courage is only for those doing “big” things, yet those of us working to heal our one small corner are often most in need of it. There’s a great quote about courage from MaryAnneRadmacher that has long been one of my mantras: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says…I’ll try again tomorrow.”

  11. Wow! Another great post, Carolyn!! This is so very true, “the damage of a life changing event or situation can create a victim mentality that unless challenged will keep you trapped in the past. The longer you remain attached to the pain the harder it is to break free. Your emotional state, whatever it is – anger, bitterness, jealousy, grief becomes your normality. Eventually it can become your refuge, because familiarity is safe.” Once I finally came to terms and did the work I needed to do to end my victim mentality, my world and life turned around. Today, I am absolutely amazed and deeply grateful for the life I’m living.

  12. Hi Carolyn,
    Courage to take responsibility for your life again. Courage to take the risk of letting go. Courage to explore your inner-self. Yes, it does come down to courage and we all have it, it is a matter of using it.

    Great post Carolyn. With the mistakes that I have made has made me stronger. They have helped me understand myself and love myself.

    the story about the nurse is great.
    We never know how our words can change a life. How special we can be and the life line that we can hand others when they are in need.
    We are all made in a special way and add to this world, just as every branch on a tree is important to the tree.

    Thanks for your powerful post and blessing to you,
    Debbie

  13. The courage to heal is definitely the courage to face the unknown. Some days that simple notion, “I am still here” is what got me to think, well then now what? Just keep finding the next step, as small as it may be, and the healing seems to follow.

  14. Hi Carolyn,

    This is a great post, as always.

    It reminded me that sometimes, to continue healing, we need to find the courage to let go of toxic relationships, no matter how much we value certain aspects of those relationships 😦

    V xo

  15. Great post. Yes, we can get so easily trapped in the incessant licking of our own wounds. The crisis we know is sometimes less scary and more familiar than the crisis we don’t know. For example, the daily battle to get high and stay high seems a more familiar one to fight than the battle to find meaning, joy, happiness, and purpose.

    On a related note, the “What if… ” game has found it’s way to our dinner table. It is a fun ‘what if..’ with the 6 and 9 year olds letting their imagination roam. Once we get away from the potty humor, (for example: ‘what if daddy pooped Ipads?’ was one of them) it’s a lot of fun.

    • Thank yo for commenting Mark. I can relate to fighting the familiar battle rather than a battle with a purpose.
      Love that you have taken up the ‘What if…’ game with your children. An ‘ipod pooping daddy’! What a thought 🙂

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