I think it’s the most amazing little nod from the universe that the end of the holiday shopping season coincides with the beginning of the new calendar year. We go from the time of year when we feel least centered and balanced, to a time when (very briefly at least) we have a completely clean slate.
New year’s resolutions are one of my favorite traditions. I am always inspired to be better than the person I am today. But I’ll be honest – my resolutions really are a TRADITION. Like, I’ve made the same four for the past five years (at least). Some years I have made good deals of progress. Some years I have completely backslid.
I have always believed that I would be ready to embody my personal destiny when I could finally achieve these goals. But I wasn’t there yet. While I could make progress, there was a force bigger than me holding me back.
Trauma was that invisible force and engaging in trauma work deactivated its shield.
This year, there is a fundamental difference in how I see my goals. In the past, I have been unable achieve long-lasting sustainable results. This was because each of these goals was attached to a trauma coping mechanism that I was still dependent upon. Now that I have untangled all of it, I feel much more in control of my destiny.
Today, I’d like to share my perception shift on the two goals I have absolutely struggled the most with in my adult life.
- Quit Smoking. I started smoking when I was 16, at a party. Nobody in my family smokes, and it is not considered and acceptable behavior. Like many things that occurred at this point in my life, I blame this nasty habit on being highly overmedicated on antidepressants. I was manic for several months and engaged in many behaviors that were against my values and left me bathed in shame. As we all know though, once you start, it’s incredibly hard to quit. Tobacco is also especially soothing to a nervous system that is PTSD wired. So, I’ve struggled with it for the past 14 years. At times I have quit for over a year. Then a personal crisis or job in the restaurant industry would pull me back in. As I did my trauma work in 2019, I relied on them more heavily than ever, as I was dealing with so much emotional flooding.
- What’s Different: I acknowledged and accepted that my trauma had left me with a good ole Freudian Oral Fixation. In my life, I have soothed through food, cigarettes, gum & dick. In my trauma work, I identified the initial event that this is tied to. As an adult I re-examined the entire scene that it occurred in. I can now label the emotions, sensations and phrases specifically that have always acted as ghost triggers to this need to self soothe. Once identified – they lost most of their power. Now, having a value driven desire is enough to break the chain. I do not want to be a smoker. Thus, I am not a smoker anymore. I tapered for the final two months of last year and am proud to announce that I am tobacco free for 2020.
- Get My Weight Under Control. Though I was average in the developmental charts as a young child, by the time I was 4 I feel into the overweight/obese categories. I have spent my entire life battling my body and dealing with the self-esteem issues associated with that. While I’ve never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, I’ve cycled through every level of disordered eating at various points in my life – restriction, binge/purge, over exercise. I often tell people I’ve gained and lost the same 70 lbs four times since I was 16. When I have lost weight in the past, it has had to be the forefront of my intention. I have to live and breathe – weight loss. How many calories in this? How many steps? I have to be at home to cook healthy! If I wanted to see results, I could not just take a balanced approach to it.
- What’s Different: I lost 35 lbs last year. I can’t attribute that to hard work or dedication, solely stress. As it came off, I recognized though it was layers of trauma weight that I was shedding. It was the burden of all of those years of carrying secrets. It’s fantastical thinking, but I’ve always felt that the weight I carried in my stomach was the outward expression of this slimy, black core of grossness that I carried inside of me. My trauma left me feeling dirty and disgusting on the inside, the weight was just a way to outwardly express that.
- I would like to lose another 35 this year. I am taking a balanced approach to it this time and my body is responding. I made two commitments – to replace 75% of sodas with water or unsweet tea + to walk 3 times each week. I know that by doing this, I can achieve the results on a steady timeline. So far I’ve enjoyed my first few walks so much that I’ve even jogged a bit during them. That’s another huge change for me, as I’ve always felt too weighted to the ground to run. Now my feet want to lift off. It’s another reward that I absolutely attribute to doing the work and letting go of so much psychological weight.
Do you find yourself with a list of Traditional Resolutions? Do you know exactly who you want to become but feel like each year you only are met with pushback from the universe? You want so badly to run but feel chained to the ground. The heaviness does not have to stay with you forever! I encourage you to consider engaging in your trauma work. The journey is hard, but the reward is far greater.
If you’re thinking about beginning your own trauma journey, check out my first Trauama 101 Post – Before You Start Trauma Work.
Love and light! Much strength to you on your journey!
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