Traumas as Fuel
Our perceptions create our realities and become stored in our bodies. They show up as tight musculature and spinal or postural distortions. Our bodies store past traumas and experiences so we can establish a somatic awareness of the emotions that were too charged for us to fully experience at that time. Although we may superficially forget about these experiences as life goes on, all we need is a little reminder through a life challenge, and all the old feelings come rushing back to us.
Feeling safe to connect
The first step towards using past traumas as fuel is to work towards feeling safe to experience those emotions that we deemed as scary or overwhelming in the past. Until we can fully embrace and re-experience those past emotions in the present, we will never be able to use them as fuel.
Whenever we have an experience, we form a perception of that experience and we label it as either a positive or a negative one. This perception is based on whether or not we felt supported or challenged at the time and is skewed and unbalanced. How can we identify whether what we experienced is true or not?
Balance our Perceptions
Once we are able to fully experience the emotions of our past traumas, the next step is to bring our perceptions into balance. We are biased to want to experience pleasure and avoid pain. When we feel betrayed or take the stance that something was done “to us,” we feel less than. This feeling of “less than” and the hurt we experience override seeing how this experience served us. We hold onto the pain we experienced and build up resentment to the person or to the event. The hardest thing to do is to see how that charged experience was a benefit to us. Many times we hold onto the negatives versus looking for the positives of the experience.
Listing out the Positives
You can start to bring balance to any experience you felt was negative by making a list of all the positives of how that particular painful experience served you. This is one of the hardest things to do, because we generally do not want to see how this painful trauma actually helped us to break out of an old conditioned pattern that no longer served us. Many times betrayals force us to value ourselves and step into our own power, and get out of a relationship that no longer served those involved.
People Mirror Us
The next level to bring balance to our experience is to recognize where we have the same traits as the person that hurt us or irritates us. Many times people reflect all the things that we admire or dislike about ourselves. No one likes to admit that we can be proud and uncaring; we rather choose to see ourselves as never doing something as bad as what was done to us. However, we can be proud and humble, loving and uncaring; happy and sad. The more that we can allow ourselves to see that we at times can also be uncaring and do the same things that another has done to us, it is easier for us to bring our perceptions back into balance.
Recap of Strategies to Use Traumas as Fuel
- Recognize what experience or trauma we still have a positive or negative charge on.
- Experience this emotion as fully as possible. The best way to do this is to feel the hurt and anger, and stay with the emotion. Do your best to let go of all the thoughts your mind will create to justify feeling this emotion. Breathing helps as you start to feel the emotion. You may begin to feel hot.
- List out the positives of the trauma and see how the experience served you in a beneficial way.
- See where you express the same traits that this person exhibits and see those traits in yourself. Own those traits.
- If all else fails, Gang nam style it!