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Let go of trauma and choose empowerment!

mk_treesIf something really gnarly happens in your life and then you go seek help, in Western society many caretakers will tell you that you had some kind of “trauma”. And then boom, once you hear that, most people identify with it and then, in some cases, that trauma becomes their identity, not just an event that happened in their life.

Let us review the definition of trauma from the good ole Merriam Webster’s:

Trauma (n): A disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury.

A lot of people get so identified with what happened that they stay there, always identified by what happened and in many cases use that identification as an excuse not to grow.

Now, I am by NO MEANS diminishing that fact that crazy shit happens in life. Bad things happen to good people. There are all kinds of suffering in the world. But that doesn’t have to be where we LIVE!

You see, there are some key words in Webster’s definition. The first word is “state”. The state you are in changes during the day. Sometimes you are in a sleep state, sometimes you are in a groggy state, sometimes you are in an excited state, and if you are lucky enough to be with a partner you Love and end up getting busy with them, you can be in a pretty excited state, too.

We humans can be in all kinds of different states. The state that we go into when we experience a trauma is totally normal and natural. But afterwards, because we are co-creators of our life, the state we stay in is up to us. This is why I love it when Tony Robbins said that there are no such things as victims, because once the event happens it’s up to us to choose to stay in a victim identity or choose an empowered story and become stronger.

I can hear some of you right now screaming, “YES MASTIN BUT I WAS ________” and then fill in the blank. I’m not saying that these things didn’t happen and in that moment you aren’t a victim. Of course you are. But after that moment happens, how you live your life, where you choose to live emotionally is up to you and the meaning you give the events of your life! Moments of victimhood happen, a life of being a victim is chosen and we become a victim of our choice to identify with that moment, instead of growing past it.

The goal is not to avoid pain or to deny what happened to us; the goal is to learn that we have the power within us to change and that starts by not letting an event define us. Instead, we know that painful events happen and when they do, we give them an empowering meaning and choose not to relive and make our identity the trauma that we felt.

Who you are is infinite; you are a child of The Uni-verse and you have been sent here with a specific gift that is only yours to express. The events that occur, happen to shape us, to mold us and to help us step into who we are supposed to be. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are eternal and a part of a living Uni-verse that supports you. Give us your gift and don’t stay stuck in a moment and let your whole life be defined by one event. You are so much more than that!

As always, the action happens in the comments below. Leave a comment and join the conversation! The TDL Community thrives in the comments and it’s a GREAT place to get support!

Love and unstuckness,

Mastin

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Mastin Kipp is the founder and CEO of The Daily Love. Follow him on Twitter here.

Take what resonates with you in this blog and leave the rest.

  • http://beyouliveyourdream.blogspot.com/ Sarah Noel

    Totally agree!  Stuff happens, but it’s how we deal with it and how we view it, moving forward that makes the real difference. 

    We can view a situation so many ways.  “Good,” “bad,” “a learning experience,” “a horrible thing that was done TO me,” etc.  Of course there are awful things that happen.  But honestly, I believe even those things happen for a reason.  We probably won’t know why at the time.  We’ll just be angry, upset, etc.  And we may never know.  But it WAS for a reason.  At the very least, we wouldn’t be exactly who we are right now without all the experiences in our past. 

    I’ve grown up with “parent issues”… aka trust issues.  For the longest time I felt victimized, and judged my parents for what they “did to me.”  Now I see that I turned out pretty darn good.  I’m highly independent and a very strong person.  At least in part, I’m the way I am BECAUSE OF the way my parents treated me as a young child.  I’m working on trusting people, and am way better than I used to be.  But now I’m more grateful for the positive qualities I have, that I may not have had I had difference life experiences. 

    Sarah
    http://beyouliveyourdream.blogspot.com/2013/02/replace-judging-with-noticing.html

  • Mmcleddy

    Mastin, I agree with you that a lot of trauma victims get stuck and overly identify with their trauma as being part of who they are.   It should be that easy to just make a choice to live emotionally elsewhere. 

    The brain is amazing, it protects the psyche during trauma and stores the memory in a different part of the brain, which then causes a lot of havoc and dysregulation for that person.  You’re right..the goal is to feel the pain, go through it (in a safe,  loving, protective way) and process it.  Only then does it loses it’s power to keep a person in a victimized state of mind.

    Making the choice to not be a victim is a very important first step, however it’s not enough.  
    A lot of trauma victims don’t know there’s a choice. Unfortunatley, depending on the level of trauma experienced, you have to sometimes go through it to get to the other side.  That’s where the freedom to choose to not be a victim is.  

    The work you do is so important, God bless you,

    Maggie

  • Melissa

    I needed a version of this message today. Something happened this week that I need to move on from. Not trauma, but something that put me in a “state” for a few days. Today, I’m changing the story and growing stronger because of staying present and honoring my spiritual practice. Thank you, as always, for The Daily Love. 

  • http://twitter.com/MelissaSaysHi Melissa Johnston

    I need this today – thank you so much. 

  • http://twitter.com/MelissaSaysHi Melissa Johnston

    Another Melissa! Good reply. It’s true – we are not alone.

  • Yshyna

    I am not a victim anymore. I am free and choose to take the lessons from each experience n not the pain.

  • sueb

    An interesting, enlightening, empowering, energizing thing happened to me.  I have, as everyone has, come through some trauma.  I got stuck in the mud.  I moved.  I changed jobs.  I changed jobs again.  I was still under the influence of this thing that happened.  I kept seeing shades of the same sort of thing happening in my new environments.  

    Quite suddenly the Uni-verse came to me and stuck Its finger in my chest at 4 AM one morning and told me essentially that I had a lot going for me and I was not giving myself enough credit for the gifts I have been given and the things I have done.  I woke up that morning feeling so light, as if I could fly.  Life looks very different to me since that morning, and I am much more gifted about seeing how amazing the people are around me.  I am endlessly thankful for this potent intervention, and I can now see how these traumas send us in the direction of our true purpose here.

    Remember to give yourself credit for what you have done, the talents that you have, and unique way that you look at the world.  We all need your point of reference, and we realize that you are doing the best that you can!

  • Lawgal911

    I am a victim of sexual abuse. I have never chosen to revel in that but it has been a catalyst for how I lived my life and how I saw others around me. My point is, is that I did not realize how angry and introverted I had become. Seeing a mental health professional has helped me to actually see my life for the first time. Being in a state is different than shoving all the garbage way down deep. My innocence was taken away at two years old and continued till I was right years old. Today I am empowered. I am full of life, I am treasured by a loving husband and I know that God is on my side.

  • http://twitter.com/MissionInspired Stephan Gardner

    I’ve consistently expressed that 2 minutes of pain doesn’t need to equal 20 years of suffering. Great people understand other’s pain, but also stand up for their greatness.

  • Pitsypatsypoo

    I definitely relate to what you are saying….however im rather stuck still. You see my trauma is ongoing and is very extreme. My daughter was hit by a drunk driver 8 yrs ago when she was 18 it rendered her a quad. Now bedides the initial trauma and huge adjustments that this caused for her mysekf and my then 2 teenage sins , she has had severe life and death health issues ever since. with very very heartbreaking horrors she has had to face and i as her mom have not been able to “fix” or solve or really help. So how do you suggest that we get past the trauna….we are all very much constantly finding good things to focus on and be active and present in our lives my sons are grown and on their own now with good jobs too. The problem being that when something happens as it always does it puts us right back to the fear and chaos and helplessness of the trauma. For example my daughter has had two serious strokes in the past 5 years but managed to recover has had a leg amputated has suffered malpractice at the hands of hospital staf that seriously jepordized her life miss diagnosis been prescribed oxys til she was terribly addicted she off them now but she has come close to death so very many times and been on life support and its very hard not to be re-traumatized. please your advice is appreciated

    • Mmcleddy

      I have no words of advice.  I will pray for you and your daughter that God gives you the grace to live each day to the fullest. I’m sorry for the heartache you’ve all been through. God bless you.

    • Dollydoodle

      I’m really sorry to hear about your situation. The book at Home with God by Neale Donald Walsh is really beautiful and helps to deal with the concept of death. We are all so traumatised by it but really it helps to see it in a different and beautiful way. That way we can be less scared by the outcomes and more at peace with the things that happen outside our control. There is also a book by Byron Katie called Loving what is. This is really helpful I stead of judging things as good or bad we can learn to love what actually is not just what we think is good. I hope this helps. Maybe remember to look after yourself too and not just everyone else. Lots of love. Xx

  • James

    He said that everything possessed
    The power to transform itself, or else,
    And what meant more, to be transformed.
    -Wallace Stevens

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1233837350 Jo Bot

    My new favorite line is Love and Unstuckness!

  • JennyG1083

    I am an inchildren’s clinic for children and adolescents who have been sexually abused. thank you for posting this!! I love the quote “the goal is not to avoid pain or deny what happened to us. The goal is to realize we have the power within us to change..”

    • Jenny Giblin

      an *intern

  • http://twitter.com/RoRawlins Rosemary Rawlins

    I love the power in this blog. None of us chooses to have trauma happen, but you are right, if we find meaning in our lives, and move past it, it does not have to define us. It may take time to get there, but breaking out of the box that trauma tries to trap us in is liberating and exhilarating! Thanks for the booster shot!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1515026778 Gail Stone

    I have to agree with you.. we can be victims or choose to be survivor.. I was in a very violent relationship in my 20′s My injuries included a broken Jaw. I was raped in my 30′s ( stranger rape) I developed drug addiction and was a victim of that horrible disease. In the end I healed by giving my strength to others working as a DV and SA advocate.. provided groups for women to heal. Going to 12 steps and joining a Center for spiritual living. I was healed by co-creation with affirmative prayer and living in this moment using mind-fullness.. every thought is prayer and creates our life manifestations. Working with people in the pain from fresh or old trauma is draining.. many do not believe they can choose joy, love and the blessings of today. I am grateful I learned that there is only one day.. TODAY.

  • Jane Lee Logan

    By definition trauma is a physical or psychological event or series of events that leave the victim overwhelmed, feeling a threat to life, safety and/or sanity.  It leaves one unable to cope in the usual ways we think of as coping but is in itself a coping mechanism.

    Both the difficulty and the opportunity of trauma is found in the inability to cope.  When we are truly traumatized we see through first hand experience that human will power, understanding, past experiences (even our past spiritual study and experiences) are not effective.  We need to go deeper.  And by doing so we discover a Wisdom within, a Strength and a Power that is beyond all human efforts and learning.  The end of our rope is the opportunity to discover an invisible rope that abides within and we learn to ALLOW it to lift us, recognizing we are unable to do so for ourself.  It is an opportunity to birth true humility. 


    I write from experience and does the trauma define me?  Yes!  In that I know that we can be healed of things most would not think possible.  Trauma can be the gateway to our purpose, leaving us in a position to help others and offer hope where there is often hopelessness.  I know more clearly each day that there is Help no matter how difficult, how awful, how seeming impossible a situation might seem to human understanding.   And I see that my own wisdom, understanding, learning, and efforts are too small and not the place to look.  I am irrevocably changed and defined by trauma in that it has been the catalyst to birth a new and clearer view…of everything.  And for this I am deeply and truly grateful.   Human extremity is Divine opportunity and the “gift” of trauma is that we find little or no relief until we look to what is beyond what we know and our own abilities.

    It’s difficult to write about this in a few paragraphs but suffice it to say that when one is traumatized a simple affirmation or some “five easy steps to freedom” is not going to work.  The work is deeper and it’s important to be very gentle with one’s self whether the healing comes quickly or seems to stretch over time. I am going to end this with one practical exercise that is helpful if you are in midst of feeling traumatized or even if you are not.  You do not have to believe in anything, or even that this will work before you do it: 



    Close your eyes sitting in a comfortable position but preferably not lying down.  Breath slowly and deeply for a few breaths. Remind yourself that you do not know the answers and that you don’t need to because there is a Wisdom within you that does, and it is to this that you are looking (we often think we need to know something or should know before we even ask the question and before we learn).  Tell yourself that for the next 30 seconds, minute or five minutes (whatever you feel you can do), that you are going to lay down your efforts and what you think you know about the situation.  Tell yourself that you can pick them again if you want to when the time is up.  Then just sit quietly as if you are listening for a very quiet whisper deep inside you.  Don’t worry if you just start crying or if you don’t hear anything.  You’ve cracked the door to the dark room where you thought you sat alone–the light DID come in, and you will see it probably when you least expect it.  Do this exercise as often as you can.  You don’t have to sit for long periods unless you comfortably feel moved to–even a minute or a few seconds is helpful.  

  • Mirinthia

    LOVE this: Where you choose to live emotionally is up to you

  • http://www.wholesomejunction.com/ Kathryn

    I loved your quote by Paulo Cuelo this morning! I’ve been going through exactly that! I had just written on my blog how important it is to protect yourself from negative energy and so I came into contact with someone who had proven to me years before that they were insincere and not really there for me. I hadn’t seen or heard from this person for 5 years until I posted this blog! I had a choice to stand in my truth or to be controlled by that person. Paulo Cuelo’s words described exactly what I was feeling. My first thought was that the Universe was testing me, but I preferred to see it as the Universe was bringing forward into my consciousness areas of my own trapped emotional energy that I needed to clear. My own vibration attracted that into my life and because I wanted to be free from that, the Universe has a way of showing me what it is within myself that attracts stuff like this into my life. 

    I was able to be in love and acceptance of this person. (Thank you very much Mastin for your years of Daily Loves that helped me to build strength!) I truly felt love for her, yet at the same time I was empowered to ask her questions that I had in my heart about some unresolved issues in our relationship. I wanted for us to have an honest relationship if we were going to have a relationship. I was grateful for Barbara Ann Brennan’s understanding of the higher self, the mask self, and the lower self as that enabled me to understand this person’s response to me and not take it personally when she wasn’t able to respond to any of my questions. It ended up being a nice experience for me to be aware of her energy and not allowing it to consume or affect me. 

    I did have a lot of feelings come up that I knew I needed to clear. I did a session on myself and removed several trapped emotions that I had gotten during the time of my life that I had a relationship with this woman. I was able to remove those emotions and I felt a clear energetic shift. Two of the emotions I removed were anger and taken for granted which are both connected to the gall bladder. The gall bladder affects the right knee and right shoulder. After removing those emotions I could do the child’s pose again in my yoga session and my right knee no longer felt the tension/pain I had been feeling!

    So, again Mastin, as has been the experience I’ve had over the years, your Daily Love completely correlates to what I’m going through in my life. I’m very grateful for you.

  • Mirinthia

    There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.    ~ Anais Nin

  • http://www.are-you-there-kathleen-its-me-god.blogspot.com/ Kathleen Reynolds Chelquist

    Today is the day that I am going to write about something I have been avoiding. Why? Because I tell myself that MOST people will THINK it sounds ridiculous and crazy. You see, I have been in the GOOP (Good Opinion Of People) or FEAR. Especially from, you…Mastin. Anyway, here it goes. The truth. And, what I know. (Believe me when I say…The EGO wants us to think we don’t KNOW anything. And, that it is arrogant to even say such a thing; thus the watered-down language of, “kinda, sort of, I think, and I believe) We do know!!! Not everything. Never will. And, we know more than we think we know. I know that EVERYTHING in life that occurs…is for a spiritual purpose. I know that we can handle ANYTHING if it occurs. So, why can we handle it? Because…WE SIGNED UP FOR IT! It is OUR sacred contract. You see, we aren’t a victim when the traumatic event even occurs. We chose it. I know, I know…I have lost many listening ears. And, I have to be REAL. Once I knew that I chose eye cancer as my earth school lesson, I really became a VICTOR over it. Not just a survivor. It has brought me sooo much relief to know that things don’t just fall out of the sky and HAPPEN to us. We chose it. And, God said, “YES.” If my mentor had not been raped, she would not have been who she is today: A humble, loving servant of the Holy Spirit of Love. If more people wake up to this truth, the more victorious we will be. There is a children’s book by Neale Donald Walsh that explains this more clearly called, “THE LITTLE SOUL IN THE SUN.” For those of you who are still listening:)
    The Daily Commenter,
    Kathleen
    are-you-there-kathleen-its-me-god.blogspot.com

  • Atomictruth

    This is a great post and rings true in so many ways. How do I handle my physical scars from abuse as a child? 

    As a toddler my mother put my hands under hot water to punish me often, one day she put the water to full heat and I was put in hospital with 3rd degree burns on my hands and part of my face. 

    I’m 41 now but to this day when I meat new people about half ask about my hands and the scars, putting me right back to that child who was taunted and called “old man” because of my scared wrinkled hands. 

    How do I not go back to that place mentally when reminded? 

    • Azaralea

      Hello I am sorry for happened to you as boy and Thank you for sharing I don’t know the best advise, but maybe when they ask you about or you feel go to that place.  Know is normal to remember and process to heal. 
      Also try take deep breath in to your heart and then breath out the bad, feel the air. Your feet on ground, grounded in the present. say it was long a go and notice or say something good about the now. Even if its the air quanlity, how breath can anchor or just your nice to meet them, like their shirt or. 
      Also I seen Mastin write about Tapping and heard it helps a lot of people. I couldn’t find on the TDL site, but here is a video on:
       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWu3rSEddZI
      Namaste

    • Maggie

      Maybe this might help you. When you look at your hands think of that beautiful little boy and remember that you are now a beautiful loving man, who keeps that little boy safe and loved at all times.  I’m so sorry you where hurt as a child. I wish you peace and happiness. 

  • Sharice

    There is something so much greater in this Universe that sent me this blog today! I am so grateful for this. My ”trauma” is also my greatest strength. Thank you TDL for your inspiring and gentle outlook on life! I am an immigrant from South Africa, I am a social worker, Life Coach and a human being who believes that we are all on this Earth School to learn…and sometimes the pain will be unbearable but it is ALWAYS our choice what to do with it. Your light lights my way, TDL. Thank you!!!

  • Jessica Elaine

    Thanks for this Mastin! Out of all the TDL’s I have ever read…this one resonates with me the most in this very moment.  I will create my day – and be empowered by the less beautiful situations of the past.

  • Mcvianet

    Hi Mastin,

    I love your newsletter, but I’m a bit disturbed by this advice.  It’s a bit symplistic and can easily be used to blame people for taking too long to heal from trauma.  In my experience, trauma is rarely a onetime experience.  It’s usual decades of constant, sometimes life threatening pain.  Often children grow up with constant physical or sexual violence defining the world for them.  Some people spend years of their lives, literally in war zones, where a stray missles kill and maim people they know on a regular basis.  Part of the reason for defining trauma is so people can recognize their reactions to it as normal rather than hating themselves for the normal reactions they have to what happened to them.

  • Carmen

    The best advice I have heard for awhile, came from an 85 year old, ” We all have crosses to bear at some time during our life, don’t think you are the only one”  the difference between one happy person and another bitter is their response towards the cross. 

  • Jeff

    I like your message and agree; but how come 95 % of the comments are from women???  Just an observation…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000392107784 Anita Richards

    Yes the demon trauma.
    Tapping is the only thing that has truly helped me get through the traumas that I’ve experienced and I gotta say in all honesty I tried a LOT of different therapies .  My life has completely fallen to pieces on numerous occasions, I grew up in domestic violence have been the victim of multiple sexual assaults though childhood and early adulthood, I’ve been in abusive relationships and more.
    Trauma is almost gone from my life now but I still have a lot of self-work to do.
    Many thanks again for your inspiration Mastin!
    Brightest blessings.

  • Melissacohenlcsw

    Yes! I work with my patients to LET GO of the trauma. I help them remember there is a big difference between happened and happening.