I was thrilled to receive a contract from Spout Hill Press last summer for my non-fiction book, The Long Term Effects of Sexual Abuse, yet to be written. I also received a contract for my completed manuscript, Eve’s Amulet, Book 1, which is now being edited by the publisher, Black Opal Books.
The abuse book is my opus, yet I keep hitting walls as I write it. Even though I have over 30 years experience coaching abuse victims I find myself jumping from thoughts of “but I’m not a licensed professional therapist with framed certificates” to “that sounds too clinical and boring and detached” to “that’s not my authentic voice.”
Low self-esteem is one of the hardest self-imposed roadblocks to overcome, whether you’re a sexual abuse victim or not. Some of us need constant reminders that we are good, worthy, kind, and decent. When we need too much validation it shows that our personal boundaries have to be reset. It’s almost like being bullied, only we do it to ourselves.
Others of us have great insecurities that prevent us from trying to accomplish our dreams, or we crave approval that keeps us trying to please others but never being able to do so. It’s another sure sign that we have to take a hard look at our beliefs and change the stories that we’ve made up about ourselves or let go of those labels and false perceptions created by others that we bought into.
For those who don’t need continual reassurance, you may only want for an occasional or rare pat-on-the-back or acknowledgment that you are cared for from a particular person. The basic human condition makes it so that we must emotionally rely on others for validation to some degree, even just a small amount. At the very least, it feels good to know we make a positive difference to someone else.
Once I started to sense a “what’s the use?” attitude starting to take seed about my writing the abuse book, I set out to release my negative thinking and old stories. I recognized old beliefs growing and had to rip them out from the roots before they grew stronger.
Recently I re-explored the connections to childhood abuse –fear of speaking up and confronting the bullies of my past. I saw what no longer served me and what is no longer my truth and set about rewriting the untrue stories, stories that at one time I had changed but forgot that they require effort to maintain until they have flourished into something greater and immutable.
Here I am, back with keyboard beneath my fingers, ready to tackle another chapter in my abuse book. I’m ready to share another personal and intimate recounting of my life in order to help others understand how abuse destroys a person and how to reclaim a lost soul. My toe is in the water and it stings. I’m not sure if it’s too cold or too hot, but it feels right to have it in the water.
It often takes stating the right positive affirmations aloud or calling a trusted friend to remind me of the truth about myself. For these recent and deeper abuse issues, I’ve had to rely on guided meditations (visualizing and emotionally feeling the outcome I want) to get me through this rough patch and move beyond fear. I’ve reminded myself to accept the supportive encouragement from my daughters and friends who remind me of the value of my work, and more importantly, my own self-worth.
What do you do when you need to return to a positive mindset?