Usually, as part of my year end ritual of looking back on the previous year, I post a slideshow of my favorite photos that I took during the past year. This year, since I started a blog dedicated to just photography, you can find that slideshow over there if you’re interested!
The end of the year, and the beginning of a new one, is always a good time to take stock of yourself. For survivors, it’s always a good time to look back and use this as a guide to help determine whether you are making progress in your healing, or not. It’s very easy to focus in on the small details of our every day struggles and miss out on the big picture of healing, so I’ve always been a big fan of using this time to take a step back and look at healing from childhood abuse, or any trauma. and assess where I am compared to this same time a year ago. Have I learned a new skill, have I improved in my relationships, have I learned to trust a little more, to feel joyful a little more? All of those steps of improvement are evidence of healing, of the work we are putting in having a positive effect, and they should be recognized and cherished. It’s the truth of these accomplishments that gets us through the days where it seems no progress is being made.
For myself, it’s been a while since I’ve been in the day to day struggles of healing. Not that I’m “completely healed”, whatever that means, but I’ve found a way to live my life relatively free of the flashbacks, triggers, etc. that plagued me for years. But I still like to take a look back and make sure that I’m simply improving as a person, and becoming more like the person I want to be. This year, was a bit of a mixed bag. This was a year of awesome experiences professionally, and personally, it was a year of loss, and it was a year that absolutely showed me that regardless of what I may be feeling at the time, life has a way of moving on in new directions. If I’m honest with myself though, it was also a year of missed opportunities. I could blame that on being busy with work, which I absolutely was, but as I look back I realize that I spent much of 2013 planning and researching the best ways to accomplish some personal goals, and not enough time actually doing anything about them. So, not that I make resolutions, but I am taking some steps to ensure that I spend more time doing things this year, as I’ve already laid out on my professional site.
When I think about how this applies to survivors, I’m often reminded that we are, by our nature, afraid. We want to be able to know every possible angle and control every situation before we jump into it. It’s a behavior I’ve had to fight against for years, and one that, unfortunately, I struggled with more than I would like to in 2013. As things got challenging and uncomfortable at work, I became hesitant to jump in and try things. The only way to lose that hesitancy, though, is to fall back on your my self confidence. Of course, the best way to grow confidence is to jump into new, uncomfortable things, and prove to myself that I can deal with them. So I’m going to be trusting myself a little more, jumping in to try some new things and continuing to build my self confidence. It’s a natural tendency among survivors to play it safe, and you should always be aware of your own safety, but not at the price of losing out on any new experiences. That edge is where healing lies, I hope you will find yourself there a little bit and continue to grow you’re own self confidence in 2014.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and joyful new year for all survivors!