Why Self-Care is So Important to Heal from Trauma
Discovering Love and Happiness Though Self-Care
Trauma is the result of a negative event in your past. Whether caught in an unhealthy relationship or facing feelings of loneliness and isolation, know that you're not alone. The journey to heal from trauma may be tough, but it's a road worth traveling. If, like me, you've encountered past trauma, whether 'big T' or 'small t,' making it hard to believe in your deserving of happiness, remember, there's strength in reclaiming your well-being.
If you are struggling to break free from the pain and challenges of past trauma, know that it is so important that nurturing yourself through self-care be a transformative process, one I know firsthand.
I spent years in an unhealthy relationship before embarking on my path to heal from trauma and cultivate more self-love. It may sound cliché, but loving yourself first is where the journey begins if you want to attract healthy relationships. Every step I took toward embracing my own self-worth and finding inner healing was a testament to the resilience within us all.
I have been coaching women for over a decade and I've found that there are mindset shifts that can help you find inner love and happiness if you are willing to embrace them. These shifts involve self-discovery, empowerment, and let's not forget self-care.
It took me years to get to a place where I left the past behind me, let go of the resentment and saw the lessons in my pain instead of being so hard on myself. It is with this self-compassionate mindset toward yourself where all healing from trauma begins. This is the ultimate in self-care - to love yourself if you truly desire to heal from trauma.
Here are 3 Tips That Have Helped Me and My Clients on our Journeys to Heal from Trauma:
1. Cultivate self-compassion
Mindset shifts for finding love and happiness begin with cultivating a positive self-image and practicing self-compassion. Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field of self-compassion, conducted a controlled trial of the Mindful and Self-Compassion Program and found that individuals who practiced self-compassion exhibited better psychological well-being compared to those who did not.
Healing from trauma through practicing this highest form of self-care involves treating ourselves with the same kindness, concern, and support we would offer a close friend. By cultivating this ultimate form of self-care, we can learn to forgive ourselves for past mistakes, let go of that negative inner critic and embrace a more positive and loving relationship with ourselves.
When we treat ourselves with care and understanding, rather than attacking ourselves for perceived shortcomings, we foster resilience, emotional balance, and inner peace, allowing for greater healing from trauma to occur. This is what self-care is all about – serving our highest good.
To slowly heal from trauma involves recognizing our shared humanity and imperfections. Consider taking specific aligned action steps, such as engaging in how mindfulness practices or seeking support from loved ones or a professional, to cultivate self-care and improve your overall physical, emotional, and spiritual health. (Related: How To Be Mindful in Everyday Life)
2. Set Healthy Boundaries and Communicate Your Needs
Embarking on your personal growth journey involves recognizing that you are the gatekeeper to your thoughts, feelings, values, desires, and deal-breakers. Setting healthy personal boundaries early on starts with self-awareness. Understand what you want and need for yourself and in your relationships, actively contributing to your healing from trauma journey.
It's important to express your needs openly and respectfully. Picture it as being the bouncer at your own personal nightclub, where you decide who gains entry and who faces rejection. So, grab your velvet rope and take charge of the relationships in your life, actively participating in your journey to embrace a healthier future and heal from trauma.
In addressing boundaries, the phrase "good fences make good neighbors" rings true - except, in this case, we're not talking about neighbors but rather your own mental well-being. When focusing on trauma recovery, establishing personal boundaries can work wonders for your self-esteem and stress levels. Think of it as a protective shield around your psyche, deflecting unwanted influences and safeguarding your own needs and desires.
Prioritizing your needs as you heal from trauma and unhealthy habits is essential for fostering a healthy relationship with yourself. Saying "no" becomes a powerful form of self-care, especially when faced with overcommitting or sacrificing your well-being for others. Setting these healthy boundaries not only empowers your ongoing healing journey but also establishes the standard for the respect and care you deserve in any relationship, be it romantic or otherwise.
It's easy to get caught up in the needs and expectations of others, but taking care of yourself first is essential to heal from trauma. When you are honest about what you want and need for yourself, you are more likely to attract partners and a close circle of genuine friends who align with those values and goals. This approach can lead to more authentic and fulfilling relationships because, by setting the bar high and prioritizing your healing journey, you signal a commitment to personal well-being that enriches the connections you form.
By setting and enforcing healthy boundaries, you create a safe space for yourself to heal from trauma that reduce stress and anxiety levels. You are telling yourself and others that your needs, values, and well-being matter. This is a powerful form of self-love because it shows that you respect for yourself enough to prioritize your own needs.
3. Letting Go of the Past
Holding onto past hurts and resentments only weighs us down and makes it difficult to move forward. So letting go of the past, (notice I didn't say forgetting it) is an essential step towards healing from trauma. It's not always easy, but it's necessary for our own peace of mind.
So what do I mean by this? By letting go of the past, we create space for new experiences and relationships, fostering a crucial aspect of healing from trauma to begin. When we release past hurts and resentments, we become more open to new opportunities without the baggage of past experiences weighing us down.
Holding onto past hurts and resentments can prevent us from fully living in the present moment and can even impact our future relationships, hindering the trajectory of trauma healing. By carrying the weight of the past, we inadvertently build walls that block the potential for new connections to flourish, impeding the healing process.
Releasing this burden allows us to effectively heal from trauma, approaching each day with a lighter heart and an open spirit, ready to embrace the beauty of the present and the promise of what’s to come.
When we hold onto negative experiences, it can cause us to become stuck in a cycle of negativity and prevent us from seeing the potential for positive experiences in the future, hindering emotional regulation. Letting go of the past does not mean forgetting it entirely, but rather it involves acknowledging the experience, processing any emotions that come up, and then releasing it in order to heal.
To begin the process of letting go and to heal from trauma, here is one important exercise that can be helpful: writing a letter to the person or people who have hurt you. This self-compassion exercise is not about sending the letter but rather about getting our feelings out and releasing them. It's a way to acknowledge and process our emotions, which can be a significant step towards healing from trauma. Another essential exercise in letting go of the past, is forgiveness, not for the other person's sake, but for our own peace of mind. Forgiveness is a form of self-care, which can be challenging for many of us to practice. Research on Forgiveness, Health, and Well-Being suggests that forgiveness can have significant benefits for mental and physical health. The study found that people who practiced forgiveness reported lower levels of depression, anxiety, and hostility, as well as lower blood pressure and heart rate. By forgiving, we release the negative emotions and beliefs that are holding us back, encoraging our healing from trauma moving forward.
Self-compassion is not a destination; it's a journey that brings us closer to ourselves and others with each loving step. ~ Kristin Neff
Self-Care is the key to Heal from Trauma
Remember that finding love and healing from trauma is a journey, and every step towards self-love and self-care is a valuable one that will move you closer to finding the one. Just like any other skill, the practice of self-care requires consistent effort and patience to develop. So, when you feel like giving up or feel discouraged, take a moment to remind yourself that progress takes time and that every small step counts. Healing from trauma no matter how small is not a linear process, and there will be bumps along the way. By cultivating more love and worthiness for yourself, you are not only improving your own well-being but also positively impacting those around you.
With time, patience, and a growth mindset, you will heal from trauma, and find the love and happiness you deserve. Be gentle with yourself and acknowledge your daily progress. Your journey towards healing from trauma through self-care is a gift to yourself and to the world, so keep moving forward with courage and kindness. Always remember to be nice to yourself.
If you are in your own journey of finding love after healing after experiencing some form of trauma, remember that every step you take toward healing is an affirmation of your strength and capacity for growth. Healing from trauma not only brings you closer to your own well-being but also prepares you for the authentic, fulfilling love that you deserve.
Finding Love is Possible
As the saying goes; We accept the love we think we deserve, conveys the concept that our self-perception and sense of worth profoundly shapes the type of love and relationships we permit in our lives. It implies that our self-esteem influences our choices, causing us to embrace relationships that align with our perceived level of worthiness, even if they are detrimental. If our self-esteem is low, we may settle for inadequate or disrespectful love which is not in alignment with our goals when trying to heal from trauma.
Conversely, if we value ourselves and believe we merit genuine respect and affection, we are more inclined to seek and accept healthier relationships. This quote emphasizes the importance of recognizing our self-worth and setting boundaries to foster fulfilling and respectful connections - a huge step forward in our self-care journey.
So, try and remember this above all else as you continue to nurture your own journey as you being to heal from trauma. You'll discover that self-care is key; the scars of the past do not define you; they are simply stepping stones guiding you toward a love that is truly transformative and life-affirming. Embrace the present, look forward to the future, and hold onto the promise that love and healing from trauma, along with self-care are intertwined in a journey uniquely yours.