I was recently asked by Brian Wright, host of Success Profiles Radio, “How have you been able to turn your pain into power?”
A long pause followed, as I sat there in silence, reflecting back on some of the painful experiences I have had in my life.
It was difficult to answer such question with a single response, as I believe it has been a combination of multiple things that have contributed to helping me make this transition.
One memory after another, or rather one traumatic experience after another came to mind.
It was as if I was watching a movie, on repeat, without any commercials or interruptions. Can you imagine that? In 2019? Probably not.
I thought of the time when my birth mom lost half of her ear during a scuffle that broke out at her boyfriend’s apartment … her body sliding down the hallway wall, with her face covered in blood, tears streaming down her face.
I thought of the time when I witnessed my sister trying to take our mom’s life with an axe. Fortunately, my bedroom door was there to stop what would have been an unimaginable image to live with for the rest of my life.
The list went on and on …
As I looked at each memory, what I realized was that part of my ability to “turn my pain into power” came from accepting and reframing the traumatic events.
At first, I had to accept the reality of each one before I could choose to look at them in a different light.
Sharing my story with others helped me do this.
People asked me questions I had never thought of before, giving me a chance to look at each and every one of the traumatic experiences from multiple angles, helping me develop multiple perspectives.
The more perspectives I had of each experience, the more comfortable I felt with accepting each one of them for what they were.
Once I was able to accept the different experiences, then I was able to reframe them the way I wanted to see each one.
Nicole Ash, Brian Kelly, Kahila Hedayatzadeh, just to name a few, have been tremendous resources in helping me understand that I have a choice in how I look back at some of those traumatic experiences.
In addition, I know now that I can choose the language around these experiences when I reflect on them.
For me, this process didn’t happen overnight.
It took months of consistent practice, and being aware of how I talk about my past traumatic experiences.
I firmly believe that we have a choice in how we view all of the experiences in our lives.
We have a choice in whether or not we allow our past events to define who we are today.
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