Sometimes in order to move forward we need to look back. We cannot change what we do not acknowledge and change is one of the bedrocks of the program. It would of course be helpful if we could change many things, but in reality we only really have the power to change ourselves, so that is where we must start. We need to look at our own life, how the abuse affected it and the scars that are left behind. We need to look at the strengths we have within that have enabled us to survive the abuse.
Many survivors are empathetic, helpful, determined, honest brave people and it is time we fell back in love with ourselves, celebrating those parts of us that should make us proud. We should list our own unique strengths and values and remind ourselves often of the times in our lives where we are getting it right. Personal Affirmations, a daily gratitude journal and self-compassion can help with this step. Sometimes if we are struggling a lot we may find it difficult to see our positive strengths. Asking friends that we trust may help and as we get stronger we will be able to see the positive attributes we hold more easily.
This step is also about recognising our weaknesses. Maybe we struggle to be stable in our emotions, we may have mood swings, anger issues, we may be emotionally unavailable or are closed off. These weaknesses can often prevent us from having healthy relationships and affect our lives. Although the abuse can often be the root of these characteristics, it is now up to us to do what we can to address the parts of ourselves that are causing this effect. It’s very important we do this with self compassion and that we don’t just use it as a way to beat ourselves up for our shortcomings. Not being perfect is also part of the human condition so we cannot expect perfection from ourselves in an imperfect world. We can, however, work on our weaknesses so we can be the best version of ourselves that we can be.
“ owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it“ Brene Browne
Step 3: We made a fearless and honest review of our lives, our strengths and our weaknesses