I originally published this blog in 2019. I still feel it’s relevant and we all need the reminder of our common suffering.
We all walk around with a little trauma in our back pocket. Sometimes we forget it’s there. Sometimes, unbeknownst to us, we pull it up and it’s in our face without any warning. How we experienced the trauma is individual and unique: what happened, how we dealt with it or didn’t deal with it, our own personal experience of the trauma. We were innocent one moment and then the event rocked us to the core and that is something we all share.
We’d like to pretend it never happened to us. Why talk about such negative things that don’t affect us now? The event shaped us whether we’d like to admit it. We can choose to acknowledge this trauma that we’ve been carrying around for far too long. Perhaps we’ve grown tired and exhausted from the heaviness of that burden. And it has metaphorically created a hole and fell out of our pocket. However it happens, the opportunity lies before us.
Do we quickly scoop it up and bury it once again? Do we distract ourselves and hide it, ignore it or stuff it? Or can we just for a moment accept our common humanity that trauma unfortunately happens. It’s a part of the journey of life. But it doesn’t have to control us any longer. It happened, for sure. It sucks. Who wants to rehash unpleasantries?
But once we acknowledge our common human experience – our trauma – something shifts. Our burden lightens. We see that we are not alone in our suffering. It is okay. We are not justifying what happened, but right now in this moment can we feel safe? Can we take a breath? Can we sit with this feeling for just a few moments?
Here’s what I would like you to do right now. Don’t engage in a dialogue with the trauma. Just be the listener. Write if it helps you to sort out your thoughts on paper. Treat yourself gingerly, with the softness and tenderness as you would a small infant. You were innocent when it happened through no fault. Can you see what “trauma” is showing you? Is there a message? A nugget of wisdom that you can explore?
When you’ve listened to what has to be said, put your hands on your heart and just breathe for a minute. Counting breaths helps. I like to count to 10. One, inhale; one, exhale. Two, inhale; two, exhale, etc. I promise you that any fear, anger, or other strong emotion you feel will dissipate if for just a moment you can let it out. It’s been bottled up for too long.