“Sometimes you need to hang on to someone else’s hope,
someone else’s peace and sanity while yours is under siege.
Courage, hope, faith, sanity, peace…they all come and go.
Borrow them from someone else’s supply until your own comes back in.”
I read these wonderful words yesterday and they made me teary and feel overwhelmingly grateful for the kind and loving souls who shared their supply with me when I felt so lost, scared, insecure, and crushed in body and spirit.
Since then I’ve had a slideshow of beloved faces running through my mind that send me smiley and weepy all at the same time.
Until I moved to Australia, I’d always prided myself on being a Very Strong Person. After all, I’d made it through a religious cult and brainwashing, several stalkers, being abused by people I trusted, crippling illnesses, etc, etc, and I was Fine. Wasn’t I?
No. I wasn’t Fine. I was simply Hanging On For Dear Life.
I was trying so hard to be strong enough, good enough, brave enough, wise enough so that I wouldn’t be a burden or a disappointment or a failure or an embarrassment. I held the wonky notion that to be strong meant to be unaffected by bad things.
I was wrong.
I didn’t need more strength, I needed healing, validation, and truth that liberates and frees. Mostly I needed love. Real love.
I’ve learned that there are lots of different things that go under the name of love. People beat, rape, break spirits, dull minds, fetter dreams, force into molds, seek to control and manage, all in the name of love.
For a long time I didn’t know what real love was. I believed whoever said they loved me even when they hurt me, lied to me, touched me in bad places, exposed me to molesters and didn’t protect me. I believed them when they said that Love was their motivation for keeping me from the very people who would later help to heal and free me.
But that’s not love. That’s fear. That’s arrogance. That’s one human being believing they have the right to control another.
I’ve learned that Love isn’t a word that people say, it’s something they feel and something they do.
I’ve been learning to love all over again, casting aside the wonky notions I had and embracing affection, kindness, consideration, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, apology, delight, restoration. There’s a glorious peace and acceptance in real love. I don’t have to try to change anyone or fix anyone, not even myself. Yes, I get to grow and learn and share and all those good things but not to prove my worth, simply to thrive as a human being.
I’ve thought about love so much in recent months as I’ve healed from PTSD and Depression, and learned how to stop the coping methods I’d adopted to survive and embrace thriving methods instead.
It’s a hard thing to learn how to thrive when you’ve been coping for so long. Coping is good, necessary, and the very bravest thing you can do when you’re in a dark or dangerous place, but once you’re out in the light, you don’t need to cope anymore. We get to thrive.
Thrive. I love that word. 🙂 It is so ALIVE, so free and open and honest and real. It speaks of freedom of thought and spirit and body, of self-awareness and wholeness, of healing and strength and hope. I love it.
Bit by bit I’m building the things into my life that help me thrive: loving people, exercise, nature, good food, lots of water and chamomile tea, great books and movies, soul-stirring music, supporting others, writing, taking pictures, making beautiful things.
How about you? Have you ever been in a Coping Stage? What things, thoughts, people, experiences helped you transition to thriving? I’d love to hear your ideas. 🙂