Lessons I’ve Learned in 40 Years

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in adult survivor of child abuse, healing, inspiration, self-healing | 0 comments

Heather-Durling Lessons I've learned image


This written piece was originally published on The Wellness Universe  on 05/27/2015.  You can view the original post by clicking > here.  As I’m moving closer to 41, I’m finding that all of this still applies.


On the eve of my 40th birthday, I’m in deep reflection. I suppose this is the norm when we all hit this landmark age. There are lots of “over-the-hill” and “wow, you’re old” jokes, cards, and party decorations. Pink Flamingos are another familiar sight, gracing the front lawn of the woman being celebrated, in their bright pink glory. A plethora of books have been written to help ease into this new “middle aged” phase of life.

My life now comprises of writing, creating content with the hope of strength and encouragement weaved into every energetic fiber, embracing being a stay-at-home mama to my two youngest children, playing a mad scientist with herbs/tinctures/salves/oil blends/etc, and learning to enjoy life at a much slower pace. The last part has been the hardest, yet most valuable, skill I’ve learned. It wasn’t always like this for me, and I’m constantly working on healing from my past history of childhood abuse.

I just recently did my first official podcast interview, with Melissa Wilson, the creator and owner of a great website – www.thegrassgetsgreener.com. Her work is to help inspire and empower bullying survivors to overcome their trauma, and become the person they are meant to be. She asked me a series of questions, and the one that stumped me was this one:

“Given what you know now, if you could go back to when you were going through the tough times and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?”

This question made me reach down deep, traveling over the many memories and shadows in my historical time line. I was grateful for it, and it helped me to realize how far I’ve come, and also how much I’ve overcome. I wasn’t able to keep it to just one answer, and as things in my life generally seem to go, I had a trifecta of three.

1. Don’t Settle.

Ever. Just don’t. When you settle, you are giving up a piece of yourself. You let go of something important to you, something you value. Your soul will hurt in some way from the sacrifice. It may only be a little, like when you settle for a cup of black coffee or when you really want a Nutty Irishman mocha (trust me, it’s divine). You won’t be completely satisfied. It may be big, with the end result of you feeling less than, your heart wounded, your spirit feeling broken, or even betrayed. Being in a relationship that you know isn’t healthy, hanging out with people that saturate you with their negativity and just general down-ness, working at a job that you hate instead of working towards accomplishing your dream or your true purpose, distracting yourself from the pain, and not allowing yourself the time and energy to truly heal – these are just a few of the big ones. If you want to live a life that makes you feel complete, connected, and truly soul happy – don’t settle. Strive for what you want and need. Which leads me to the next answer.

2.) Believe in Your Worth.

A very famous fiery red-head shared this wisdom, in regards to self-worth:

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball

We’ve all heard this – when you honestly value yourself, and everything that makes you unique, others will too. As cliché as it sounds, it’s pure truth. Embrace everything that you are, and give yourself the love you deserve. If there are parts of yourself that aren’t serving you, then work to change it. The opposite of negative is positive, and this relates to the negative characteristics of our personalities as well. If you want to be a more positive person, then allow yourself the time, resources, and education to learn how to see things in a better way. That’s all it takes – the willingness to see things differently. Your healing journey gets so much easier when you believe you are worth each step.

3.) You are Not Alone.

As an adult survivor, this is a big one. There are people out there who are keeping their stories locked up tight in their own personal titanium box. Their trauma, their pain, their suffering – it all remains locked away, never to be discussed. Often times, it’s due to feeling like others will judge us, or look at us differently. My main reason for not talking about my own abusive past was because I didn’t want to be identified by it. Having people instantly think, “she was hurt and abused”, then treating me like a fragile egg would make me shut down. As a survivor, you don’t need pity, you need understanding and support. You need to be heard. You need someone to care. However, because of the paradox of being afraid to share your story, you won’t be able to get the understanding, compassion, and support that your soul needs.

Understanding that you aren’t alone, that there are survivors every where, can help you to take that first crucial step: using your voice. Every time you tell your story, you take away more power from your abuser(s). You are able to let go of trapped negative energy and pain. Most of all, you let others know that they aren’t alone too.

So now I ask you the same question, in hopes that it gives you a minute to reflect.
What are some of the things that you would tell yourself at a younger age, knowing what you know now? What advice would you give to yourself? Share that golden advice with everyone, so that we can be enlightened too!

Blessings to you,

Heather Durling, The Phoenix Gathering
“One Starfish At a Time.”
Proud Member of www.TheWellnessUniverse.com ‪#‎WUVIP‬

Copyright 2015-2016 The Phoenix Gathering. All Rights Reserved.


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