Survivor – Know Thyself

Recently, I came across this article about how common happiness boosters might actually make you feel worse, and as I read it I came to realize that really, even though some of these can be mood boosters, or stress relievers, for some people they simply aren’t.

It’s obvious from the article that the author is very aware of what works for her, and what doesn’t, even though some of the things might generally be considered helpful for others. As a survivor, it reminds me that the biggest thing you can do to help yourself in your healing, is to know yourself. It’s easy for me to sit here and write about what has worked for me, or what has helped, but it might not be all that helpful for you. We’re different people, with different issues, and different responses to what happened to us as children. It would only make sense that what helps us would be somewhat different as well.

Of course, knowing yourself is a challenge for survivors. Childhood is supposed to be the time in which we develop a sense of ourselves, who we are, what sort of life we want to have, etc. Most of us were too busy simply surviving, which was no small task! Now is a good time to get to know yourself though, and develop a life that is healthy, and happy, for us.

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  1. so many times I see things that are supposed to be comforting, motivational or supportive and I find them stressful triggers that make no sense at all. Thanks for this post, it is so important to remember that even if we are both standing together physically in the same place we are actually in in very differently because of paths, experiences and our understanding. Growing understanding of ourselves makes for empathy and that makes things better when we are together in the world. Bright blessings!

  2. This is SO true! I can’t count the number of times that my husband has told me, “Go relax in a warm bath. It will make you feel better.” But it doesn’t, in fact, it makes me feel all anxious and uptight.

  3. That is such a great point. I can’t tell you how many times I have read those “10 ways to feel better about you in 10 minutes” articles or had someone say things like “Try going for a walk.” Go for a walk? Really? I agree it is good exercise and the fresh air is fantastic, but for somebody with anxiety it might bring on a panic attack.

  4. I couldn’t agree more.

    I have only written one article on my blog as a “piece of advice” and that is: listen to yourself, listen to your heart. Only you know what is your path to recovery. Only you know what makes you feel better.

    Great article!


    – Prozacblogger

  5. Mike, thank you for saying this. Once I was chairing a 12-Step meeting and a young man from a different 12-Step meeting asked me why we used so many different books and things that weren’t The Big Book. I told him that I had found that somethings that work for others didn’t work for me and some of the things that worked for me didn’t work for others. By sharing different sources, it was my hope that everyone could find something that worked for them.

    My healing work has come from so many different sources over the years. I learned a little here and a little there and went through a lot of “how to be happy” stuff that just didn’t work for me at all. Sometimes I would find a temporary high but nothing that really worked for long other than going through the pain of my feelings. I had to feel the feelings. Going thru the pain meant letting go of the denial that said that nothing was wrong. I had to first face the truth and accept that I was an incest survivor. Acknowledgement of the abuse gave validity to my pain. Acceptance that the abuse happened to me, but was not me, gave me a chance to change myself and my reactions to the abuse. Thanks for your article.

  6. Hey, Mike! It’s so nice to “see” you through this post. As usual, I am struck by what great nuggets of wisdom you are able to convey with just a few short paragraphs. Sort, sweet & succinct! It makes me feel like you really do know yourself! Thanks for contributing this for the carnival–it’s a good one! Hope you are well.

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