Not "Better" but "Different": How to Make Your Own Fortune

One rape survivor spent years in therapy and decided to press charges against her rapist.

One rape survivor made changes to her life, work and cut off all ties with her family.

And your path may be completely different.

You're looking forward. You're following your own path. Is someone else's path better? Maybe. Do they do it differently? Does your thing (stuffed rabbit, healing from trauma, strawberry pie) look different than theirs? Yes. Is that "better"? No. It's different.

Don't stop doing your thing because someone else's way may look better or "normal". Never doubt that your path is valid. Their thing isn't better. It's different because they are different from you. So above all else, keep doing your thing. And consider claiming that path more robustly. Do it with intention. Make it more "you" than it is now:

  • Join a Twitter chat and claim your expertise about the topic;

  • Tell us why you do the thing you do or why you chose the path you did;

  • Add your name to an online discussion, blog comment section or Facebook post.

When you embrace your difference, what makes you unique, you do three things for yourself:

1) You worry and stress less. Looking inward moves you away from angst over whether someone is doing better, moving faster, or more "okay" than we are.

2) You stay in our own lane. When you're there, you're better able to concentrate on you. Not fall into the "compare is despair" trap.

3) You are more effective. Not spending time on looking at other people's paths, allows you to focus time more smartly on you.

Give "better" away. Your path can work. Just do it with intention.

Posted on June 20, 2017 and filed under Work, Advocacy, Inspiration.

The Best, First Thing Isn't Your Belief

You want to do the right thing. And your friend/sister/partner may sense your willing spirit. They yearn to share their story without feeling judged. But they worry about being "too much". They've been told to "get over it,", that they are making a "big deal" or that they are "too sensitive". It happens to them a lot. You may know this. So you want to be different. But the best, first thing you can do for them isn't "I believe you,".

In the past, their story hasn't always mattered. Friends looked away. Folks from church changed the subject. Family walked out. Sometimes, even the abuse became the focal point, instead of their experience. The survivor were urged to press charges or make a complaint. Survivors have often felt the bigness of their abuse, and less their own power as a person.

Yet, survivors need to feel powerful. Power and control was yanked from them in a painful way. Being able to share their story as they would like to gives back some of that power. There is satisfaction in getting to tell a story in their own way. In the re-telling, they get to choose how the story ends. Your "I believe you," is a sentence that not only takes power away but it also ends their story.

The best, first thing a survivor needs is the chance to share their story on their own terms. Wait for them. It may take years. But when they feel safe, they will speak. Then you listen until your gut tells you that they are done. After, you check in on that feeling. "Is there anything else?" you could ask. You wait.

This is hard.

It's easier to barrel in, try to get the whole story, to learn everything. But no matter how hungry you are for connection or answers, their life is not for your consumption.

A time may come in your relationship with them when your gut may urge you to offer, "I believe you,". And if it feels right and true, you can share that. And then again, you may never get that feeling. That's okay too. By this time, the survivor will know you are on their side. And you will both know that while the best, first thing isn't always the easiest, it's often the kindest.

Posted on June 5, 2017 and filed under Advocacy, Abuse.

Behind The Scenes: Can I Help My Friend?

Facebook message from LeAnne:

"Hi! I'm wondering if you have any suggestions and/or resources for me... I have a friend in an abusive relationship... still... and I'm walking the fine line between supporting her and not alienating her... as she's chosen to still be with him at this point."

Hi Leanne, You're a good friend for reaching out to determine how best to support your friend. It's not an easy spot to be in!

It sounds as if you both know she's in an abusive relationship but she's electing to stay there. Is that right? That's understandable. Love is one reason people stay in an abusive relationship but there are many other reasons. Here are a few: finances, isolation, loneliness, religious beliefs, familiarity and fear.

The best thing you can do is to offer your friendship to her non-judgmentally and, if you can, unconditionally. When you do that, you allow her the space to circle back to you for help/support when SHE is ready. Telling her something like "whatever you decide, whenever, I'll be there," gives her the option to make her own choices. This is really important in an abusive relationship where there is a lot of control but few real choices. When she does circle back to you, be prepared to offer a resource to her. Just one relevant something (an attorney referral, free support group, 24 hr crisis line number) so as not to overwhelm her. Lots of choices feel scary for those who haven't been allowed to make many choices. Thanks for being a good friend.

Posted on May 29, 2017 .

A Simple Way To Focus On The Future

You aren't the same. I'm not either. And neither is the person who hasn't said out loud that they was abused. None of us will ever be the same. That's okay.

Trauma changes us. And while we can't change the past, we can change what we do today. And tomorrow. And the next day. That's a simple way to focus on the future: look in that direction.

Concentrate on that. 

Don't look back. You're not going there.

8 Unique Ways to Up Your Self-Care Scene

Oh, self-care. That frequently elusive path to relaxation and happiness, you are the bane of so many. 

And yet...

We need you! You're crucial for our healing, de-stressing and sense of self-worth.

So here, dear reader, are eight unique ways you can boost your self-care in the easiest, least anxiety-inducing ways possible. No touching even, I promise! 

1) Be an urban explorer. Go with a friend if you aren't comfortable discovering a new place. The important thing is to go somewhere new. Get in the car and head to somewhere unusual in your own town. Or hop off the bus at the stop two before yours.

2) Splurge on citrus. Buy a few lemons, Cara Cara oranges, a blood orange maybe, and at least one grapefruit, etc. Wash and cut into slices. Trim the rind and arrange on a favorite plate, platter. Inhale your citrus sunset. Citrus improves our mood and is great for our immune system too.

3) Blow bubbles. Bubble wands were 99 cents at Michael's a few months ago. I bought 12. Do you remember how satisfying it was to blow bubbles or twirl around with a bubble wand in your hand? No? Then you really need this tip.

4) Deep breathes. Breathe in to the count of 1, 2, 3 and then breathe out to the same: 1, 2, 3. Repeat 4x. Then tell people about it on your social media and look like a mindfulness CHAMP.

5) Go to bed early. I mean, early. If you normally shut the lights out by 10:00, do it at 9:30. Whatever your usual time is (please tell me you have a usual time), make it 30 minutes earlier. Good sleep can right many wrongs.

6) Wrap yourself in a (weighted) blanket. Great for folks who have anxiety or sleep challenges. Here's a little bit about them from a small business. Weighted blankets can be expensive but it's possible to find people that rent the ones they make as a "try before you buy" and also gently used ones. Leave a comment if you need help finding one.

7) Go to a field, the Eno, your backyard...somewhere and pick wildflowers. Even dandelions count. Dandelions are only a weed if you think they are. {My four year old doesn't think of them as a weed.) Bring home and gather in a small vase. Flowers of any kind are cheery and cheering.

8) De-clutter. Grab a grocery style paper bag. Go around the house and fill it with anything that feels like clutter. For me that means not beautiful or functional. Extra stuff pulls energy away from what's important like your healing or self-care. When you're done put the bag in the car and drop it off at TROSA.

Got a unique tip? Share it below. Thanks for reading!