Healing Through Acceptance
I am honored to be dedicating today’s post to Audrey Michel’s Rewired Life Blog Tour, where 17 bloggers are passing the baton from one day to the next as we explore what it means to love ourselves, heal our body and mind and celebrate life fully as women.
Often when I tell women that I am creating a resource for women’s healing, they quickly say “Oh, I don’t need healing”. There is something about the word ‘healing’ that seems to trigger a negative association for women. I find this curious as women have been healing together since the beginning of time. We used to gather together to heal one another with herbs, words, ceremony and simple human touch.
So why is healing such a taboo subject for women today?
I feel like there is a misconception about what healing actually means. In our society it seems that if we need healing we are weak, broken, and a burden to others. When a loved one dies, or we undergo health treatments, or a relationship ends, we are often reluctant to pick up the phone and reach out for support.
Healing brings up shame. I held intense shame about people seeing the parts of me that needed healing. I tried so desperately to hide and push them away.
Over time I began to realize that the more of myself I tried to hide, the more fragmented I became. I became so fragmented that I went into a suicidal depression and finally had to admit to myself and to others that I needed healing. I imagine that I am not alone in this experience of pushing so far to the edges of myself that I became completely lost.
Why is this a women’s issue?
For me, this state of fragmentation came from the fact that I abandoned myself as a woman. For so long, I felt there was something wrong with me. I felt that I wasn’t adequate, that I wasn’t good enough, that things were my fault if they weren’t going well. I felt that I wasn’t loveable and acceptable the way I was and that I had to do something to make myself worthy. As a woman, I was never enough, so I didn’t want to be one. This showed up in my life in many ways that were hard for me to see:
Doing, doing, doing all the time, trying to prove my worth
Avoiding the pain and trauma from my mother’s line
Overriding my body and my needs in an effort to please
Embracing the masculine in an effort to fit into existing models of power and success.
The source of my deepest pain came from my most primary relationship with life itself – the relationship with my mother and my mother’s line. I avoided this pain my whole life. I sensed so much unhealed trauma in my mother’s line that I wanted nothing to do with. I received unconscious patriarchal beliefs from my mother that being a woman was a struggle and not safe. I understood that I should be afraid of my body, afraid of my sexuality, afraid of men and afraid of pleasure. I understood that I should meet the needs of others in order to be loved and feel secure.
We now know from the science of epigenetics that trauma is transferred in our genes from one generation to the next unless it is healed and integrated. Trauma leads to fragmentation as we split off to not feel the pain.
As I disconnected from my pain, I disconnected from myself. The more that I pushed my suffering away, the deeper it became in my unconscious. As Dr Brene Brown says, if we don’t own our stories our stories own us. I was living out my unconscious stories. The only way to heal was to look at them, become friends with them and the unwanted parts of myself. By taking on an attitude of openness and acceptance I began to heal.
So what does healing really mean?
The word healing is from the same Latin root as whole and Holy. To heal is to literally bring back to wholeness. Dr Dan Siegel, from UCLA says that health is defined by the band of integration. When we are integrated and whole we are healthy.
The more we deny ourselves and our need for healing the more the wound grows. Healing starts when we get to the root cause, which in my case was my rejection and abandonment of being a woman and the pain associated with it.
The women in my line had suffered and struggled and I didn’t want to be like them. When I turned towards the pain, accepted it and embraced it, I could feel the support and strength of the women who came before me.
Radical acceptance is the key to healing, and it starts when we embrace and love all of ourselves, even the unwanted. This is not something we can just switch on and off – acceptance takes practice and time. It is not a matter of just changing our thoughts but rather having embodied experiences that rewire us.
How can you start your journey to integration & wholeness?
Here are two practices I would like to share with you:
24 Hours of Acceptance
For 24 hours set the intention ‘Just for today, I will embrace radical acceptance.’ No matter what happens, lean into acceptance. If someone insults you, accept it. Don’t react and see what happens. Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself resisting. Just notice everything and how you relate to it. Remember to be kind and compassionate with yourself.
The idea of doing this for 24 hours is that it is a manageable challenge. You can always set this intention for multiple days in a row, but always ‘Just for today…’
The more you can accept, the more your nervous system learns that everything is ok just the way it is. Little by little we train to accept all the parts of ourselves and little by little we begin to integrate and become whole again.
I have a set of affirmations that I sing everyday, sometimes several times a day which are all about self love and acceptance. I have been doing them for almost two years now. One affirmation in particular helps me feel whole and complete, knowing that I have everything I need…. “I am God’s gift to myself, God is perfect and because I am God’s creation I am perfect as I am”. (Click here to listen to all 9 affirmations)
For more integrative practices and offerings please browse our website here at The Woman’s Network.
When we heal ourselves as women we will heal the world
Hugs and love,
If you would like to read more about Audrey’s Michel’s book Rewired Life click here for your free chapter.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the Rewired Blog Tour!