I am a survivor.
I am a survivor of emotional abuse in childhood, constant depression until I was 28, and in a marriage: domestic violence, infidelity, and sexual abuse and manipulation. However, I don’t identify with being a survivor or an overcomer.
I used to identify with being an overcomer, until a couple of years ago at a live event hosted by my favorite mentor. There were only maybe 30 of us in attendance at this laser-focused personal intensive. He was working with someone who also identified with great pride as being an overcomer. He brought to her attention that her attachment of value to all that she’s overcome will only lead to having more and more trauma to overcome.
Hold on—if my unbelievable overcoming created my self-esteem, then to keep my self-esteem up, I will have to keep overcoming extremely difficult circumstances over and over again?
A light bulb went off in me.
It’s NOT because I shouldn’t celebrate overcoming! I absolutely should honor myself and recognize my growth and success against great odds. That is wonderful!
It IS, however, about placing value and self-worth on “being an overcomer.” The coach was drawing to her attention that when she found her self-worth through “overcoming” and experienced validation as such, then she, of course, had to keep putting herself in a position to tolerate difficult situations until they were so awful she could overcome them too, thus perpetuating her self-worth.
I thought about this today when I noticed how much slimmer I was finally getting again. I have a fitness challenge starting on Monday, and I thought, Oh, no! I didn’t measure or weigh myself at the highest point, and I’m already shedding. Now I’ll never know for sure how many inches or pounds I dropped!
Suddenly, my self-coach kicked in. Pardon me, Tanisha, but is it really about how much you’re OVERCOMING or is it actually about the RESULT you want?
I heard myself with a new voice. Yes, it is definitely about the result I want.
The “overcoming” is awesome when recognized just for a moment (heck yeah you can celebrate and acknowledge you did a hard thing!), and then move on—I don’t need to feed all those pounds and inches any more attention than they already get. The real focus is in the results—in the physical tone, the energy, my favorite clothes fitting well, and on and on. It doesn’t actually matter if I shed a single pound or fifty, the only thing that matters is achieving the bottom line.
So, yes, I am a survivor, but I don’t attach value to merely surviving, and I don’t measure self-worth by the mounds I have overcome. My real joy is in loving myself at all times no matter what, and in the thrill of living outside of my comfort zone in the magical realm of everything I truly AM!