- November 01, 2016
- 4 minute read
- by Staci Gray
Giving back benefits others and it propels our healing process. Giving back is about using our story, the life lessons we’ve learned, and the tools we’ve developed to help others along their healing journey. We can do this in direct and indirect ways.
To be clear, giving back is not enabling, rescuing, or saving someone. It’s not pointing out the flaws in someone else’s life and trying to fix it for them. That behavior is unhealthy and not helpful to anyone involved. It just prolongs pain and keeps people trapped. So, do not confuse giving back with taking on a project.
Giving back is when someone we’re not intimately involved with has raised their hand and said I need help. I’m stuck in the mud. The way I’ve been operating is not working for me, but I don’t know what to do or how to heal myself. Life has a way of forcing people into this position.
In whatever manner a person arrives in that position, same position you and I got to—enough is enough; I can’t live one more second like this. That’s the moment change begins. We can do for that person what we in hindsight wished someone would have done for us.
Initially, I took the hindsight part way back . . . I chose to volunteer with children. Wanting those little hearts and heads to be indoctrinated with healthy beliefs and positive coping skills instead of dysfunctional beliefs and destructive coping. Little did I know how that goal would propel my healing process.
I started volunteering at SafePlace, which is a domestic violence and sexual assault rehabilitation center in Austin, Texas. Volunteers are required to go through fifty hours of training prior to interacting with survivors. The insights and healing that took place within my own head and heart during that training was immensely valuable.
Prior to that my understanding of abuse and its effects were limited and I held my story close to the vest. I didn’t share much with others about past experiences nor did I care to at the time. I still don’t care to because I am not defined by my past and the past is in the past for a reason. I got the lessons and have chosen to grow into the person I want to be, so I feel it’s unnecessary. The only time it’s necessary is when it helps someone else grow into the person they want to be.
Giving back is about empowering others to be and do their best.
In any case, spending fifty hours learning about what abuse is, the effects of trauma, how healing actually works, and the social dangers triggering repetitive and destructive cycles of abuse was eye opening.
It took my healing to a deeper level. And that’s important. Giving back should not compromise your healing process; it should expand it. Spending fifty hours studying abuse can be a high trigger environment, so getting to a place where you’ve developed the tools, skills, and resources to maintain your internal safety is key.
We can give back by finding somewhere like SafePlace in our home cities and reaching out to volunteer with them.
We can also give back by wholeheartedly embracing our healing process, by being an example of a better way to deal with our imperfections, and change how our stories will go. And not just enduring the healing process, but having fun with the healing process . . . playing our way to success!
When we heal, our lives no longer say to anyone, outsiders or ourselves, that abuse is excusable or should be tolerated. We stop the dysfunctional indoctrination cycle. We don’t pass it up, down, backwards, or sideways.
Continuing to grow into the person we want to become is the greatest inspiration we can share with those around us. Investing in our healing; protecting and nurturing our head and our heart is the only thing that can never be taken away from us. We owe it to those we care about and ourselves.
I’m on a mission to turn targets of abuse into survivors and survivors into advocates. If that resonates with you, please join me. Check out the ebook and join us on social media.