As someone who writes, occasionally I come across words that I’ve read and think to myself, “why didn’t I think of that?”
The following blog post is one such set of words. While doing the work we do, I have had the good fortune of meeting, working with, even being able to call many of our fellow advocates “friends”. Folks like Svava Brooks, who is not just a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but has dedicated her life to helping fellow survivors.
So take a few minutes to read her words. Share them with someone you know who might have been impacted by a similar trauma. As we say around here all the time…together, we heal…
Why Can’t I Heal?
This is a question I asked myself for a long time. So many people could diagnose me. So many people could tell me what was wrong with me. But few could actually help me heal.
Why? Because my healing wasn’t the task of these other people. It was my job. I had to take all the information I had gathered about recovering from child abuse and trauma and move that knowledge from my head to my heart. In other words, I had to do the tough, messy work of applying it to my own life.
Today, I’m going to make this task easier for you. Here are the seven steps child abuse and trauma survivors need to take in order to heal. Apply them every day.
- Establish Safety. Figure out what makes you feel safe. This is your first priority.
- Develop Courage. Eventually, your willingness to heal will develop into courage, as you take more and more healthy risks.
- Create a Mindfulness Practice. Connecting with your body is essential for healing. As abused children, we learned the toxic skill of disconnection. Mindfulness will help you reconnect.
- Express Your Emotions. Learn how to identify, listen to, feel, and express your emotions in a healthy way. All of them: the good, the bad, and the ugly!
- Change Your Negative Beliefs. You created these toxic beliefs as a way to survive an abusive childhood. But you’re an adult now. Change your story (beliefs) to what benefits your adult life.
- Practice Self-Care, Self-Love, and Self-Compassion. Put yourself first on your To-Do list. Every day find a way to lovingly care for and celebrate yourself.
- Build a Support System. You can’t do this alone. Healing doesn’t work that way. Surround yourself with nourishing friends who support your healing goals.
Just the act of implementing these seven steps is a major move forward on your healing journey. Stick with it, and you’ll experience a positive shift sooner than you think. Why? Because these steps are more than a decision. They’re a lifestyle change.
And that’s how you heal. Finally!
Svava isn’t saying that healing is easy. But if you take to heart what she’s shared, I promise the path to healing will become illuminated. And as she mentions in her original article, if you’re still having difficulty healing, reach out and find someone trained in trauma to help you. You can find Svava’s contact info here. Other survivors like Rachel Grant can help also. But no matter where you go, go forward and gain the help available to you.
Below you’ll find the link to the original publication of this article as well as some bio information on Svava. Thank you Svava for sharing these straightforward tips for your fellow survivors and for being a friend in this work we do.
Svava Brooks is a survivor of child sexual abuse and the co-founder of a nationwide child sexual abuse prevention and education organization in Iceland called “Blátt áfram.” She is also a certified instructor and facilitator for Darkness to Light Stewards of Children, as well as a certified Crisis Intervention Specialist, a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, a BellaNet Teen support group facilitator, a Certified TRE® Provider, and an Abuse Survivor Coach.
The mother of three children, Svava has dedicated her life to ending the cycle of child sexual abuse through education, awareness, and by helping survivors heal and thrive. She is a certified facilitator for Advance!, a program created by Connections to restore authentic identity. Every week she writes about healing after trauma on her blog, and also leads a discussion forum on Child Sexual Abuse Healing and Recovery online.