Jane’s background is not as uncommon as one would think. Her family life was abusive, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. “I grew up with what many would call a harsh and cruel father and a disconnected mother. My father would embarrass and humiliate me and my mother allowed it.”
Because of her upbringing, everything in Jane’s life felt traumatic. She lived in a constant state of anxiety. “What I thought was fear and shyness was actually embarrassment and humiliation. Although I did not realize it at the time, embarrassment and humiliation kept me from trying new things, meeting new people and going to places that were unfamiliar. This is not to say I didn't do some of these things; however, if I did I felt an enormous amount of anxiety. I learned to avoid what I could. I feared looking stupid, messing up, being laughed at.”
For years Jane dug through her fears. What she kept coming back to was a profound truth that the way to heal her old trauma was through courage.. the courage to be who she really was. Who was that?
Because of her childhood trauma, Jane lost herself and became a follower. Following felt easy, less traumatic. Her layers, however, consistently guided Jane toward her leadership qualities. Fear kept her from getting there.
Fast forward to her adult life, and anything that remotely resembled humiliation or embarrassment stimulated Jane’s old trauma. Jane never learned how to cope with her childhood abuse. She ran and hid as a child; she did the same as an adult. She understood that most of the time running and hiding made no sense, yet she had not put the pieces together and had no control over her reaction.
Most recently, Jane had a huge breakthrough. She recognized that all her trauma and anxiety was attached to the humiliation and embarrassment she experienced as a child. This time, however, instead of running and hiding, Jane kept working this energy. Her next step was to learn how to deal differently, with courage.
As with all old patterns, when we are ready, life will present opportunities to heal ourself. Jane began to have experiences that showed her a new way of being. When embarrassment or humiliation reared its head, Jane used all her courage to face the situation and deal with it.. in a healthy way. Each experience allowed Jane to grow stronger and more confident. And within a short time, Jane knew she was healing the pains from her childhood.
“Once I understood the connections, I imagined that there was going to be one big event that was going to bring me from 0% courage to 100% courage, like a battle of wills. However, that is not what happened. The shifts occurred in stages. Little things started to change, and I felt myself slowly gaining courage with these little changes. As I gained my inner courage, I was able to verbalize how I felt without my cheeks turning red. I started to make decisions that I knew were right for my family without having to get approval first; it felt great. I started requiring my children to listen better; I'm the Mom and I deserve respect. Things started going more smoothly and peacefully at home. Now I feel so much better, I am happier and stronger and more quietly courageous than ever. What a wonderful feeling to finally be free from embarrassment and humiliation. I am looking forward to finally trying something new for myself that I've always wanted to...maybe learning how to dance!”
As Jane so eloquently voiced, “Courage is not loud, it does not scream or fight; courage is not aggressive or confrontational. Courage is a quiet strength from within...”