I talk much about taking action in life and acknowledge that we all take action towards a conscious purpose. To illustrate this today I share the skills and knowledge document created at the Reclaiming Your Soul Retreat last month.
All of these skills were experienced, named, and described by the participants. It needs no introduction.
Skills In Breaking The Cycle Of Abuse
We are people who have chosen to participate to the Reclaiming Your Soul: Healing From Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Retreat in April 2013.
We came with strong hopes to counter the devastating and often paralyzing effects that the sexual abuse has had on our lives. In re-storying our lives, especially shifting the previous discouraging views we had of ourselves as “self sabotaging”, “unworthy”, “unloved”, and “inherently bad”, we discovered many skills and knowledge that have often gone unidentified or ignored by us since they don’t fit these negative identity conclusions. We realize these skills have been always present. They have made our lives better and have contributed to the lives of those around us. Now that they are made more visible, we are proud and happy to have these skills. We also noticed we had many of them in common which made us feel more connected to each other and happy to be part of such a loving and caring group.
Here are our skills:
We have artistic skills.
Many of us make music and art. Some of us are artists in our gardens, and others write poetry. Art helps us feel “alive and part of the changing, expanding world.” Our philosophies and values come out through these artistic talents like for example: caring for the earth.
We are ever-ready learners and have pursued higher education. One of us put himself through three colleges. We are interested in learning more about the world, people, and how things work. We are introspective, good at debating and seeing new perspectives. We’ve taught this to our children and they are pursuing higher education too. We wonder and are curious to understand why things happen. Understanding fairness and justice is an important part of this philosophizing. Pursuit of justice supports our quest to learn and to research.
We are observers of the world.
This is honed from the skill of noticing what and who we can trust. These skills help us pay attention and often be able to tell how people are feeling and then act accordingly. One of us can “sense emotions in the room.” Another one of us can “feel someone’s energy before they even talk”. For example, we know how to leave someone alone if he might be aggressive, or soothe another who looks sad. It also helps us notice people who are marginalized and do something about it.
We have good-listener skills.
We care deeply about others, and have great compassion for them. Also, we know how to put people at ease and make them feel comfortable. A few of us are in groups and/or volunteer with others who have been sexually abused. We use skills in giving eye contact; validating, reassuring, and helping people realize that they matter, and that “their feelings matter”. This helps make them feel worthy and important to us. Just saying “I know and I know how you feel” helps people feel validated.
We respect and love our children, our clients, and our students. Also, we respect and love our partners, our families, our friends, and our coworkers. We love abundantly, especially people who are vulnerable. We have a great capacity to shelter, help, and care for others. Naturally, we are generous. We know how to take care of people; as we are good parents and loyal friends. We benefit from these connections because they also make us feel loved. Even though it is scary sometimes, we like to feel close to people.
We are caregivers.
When we were young, we often took care of our siblings, protecting them and distracting them from difficult or scary situations. One of us, who lived in shelters, helped take care of other kids. Another decided that if we are in danger anyway, we might as well be protecting or saving others to “make it count”. One of us lives this everyday as a fire fighter. Giving people security and safety is a high priority. Everyone deserves this, especially children.
We work hard.
We had to learn skills in survival very quickly, and this has helped us be successful. Also, we are competent, mature and responsible. We have a great sense of purpose to make the world a better place, we are self sufficient and place high value in job mastery. And, we pay attention to what needs to be done and many of us are stewards of the earth, trying to lessen our carbon footprint and take care of the land.
Many of us are teachers, opening bright minds to what is possible to know. We enjoy seeing our students get excited about the knowledge we share. One of us knows how to make difficult concepts easier to understand and has honed this skill purposefully. Also, we make it relatable and relevant because we know it is easier to remember this way. We teach in a way that promotes interactions and we know if they can read life, they can respond to it more consciously and safely.
We have desire to feel better.
Advertently, we are always continuing to build our skills in helping ourselves navigate the effects we have. We go to counseling and group therapy, as well as, we read spiritual books and articles. We ask questions and try to meditate, and we lean on our loved ones and sometime ask for help if we need it. Also, we are learning how to see events from a new perspective. We want to know we deserve it and are learning how to love ourselves. Sometimes we connect to higher power or go to our spirit guides to ask for advice and direction. Some of us list what they are thankful for and many of us use journaling to process our thoughts and feelings.
We value children.
Being parents is important to us. We, each of us, stopped the legacy of abuse. For many of us, one in particular, motherhood is her favorite identity. We raised our children differently from how we were raised. Some of us have grandchildren and are very close to them.
We are good in a crisis.
Some of us keep our “wits about us” even within chaos. We learned this ability quite young, when we used it to get through bad and dangerous situations. We often had to step in when other adults were not available. Many of us keep calm and clear so that we can return the situation to safety, and call in the help when needed. We know how to anticipate trouble and react quickly to alleviate suffering in others. One of us was able to help an injured person, when other by-passers didn’t know what to do. Being good-in-a-crisis has some of us being the “go to” persons when some needs help.
Please let these amazing people know if reading this has touched you in any way in the comment section. Responding to this beautiful story about their skills and knowledge will go far to help them sustain this new way of thinking about themselves.