Imagine waking up every day feeling like a puppet, controlled by invisible strings from your past. Each decision you make, every emotion you feel dictated by past wounds that you didn't even realize were pulling at your strings. This is every single person's reality until you are ready to break free from the grip of trauma.

A lot of people don’t even realize they have wounding and trauma, let alone that their lives are dictated by it. So, to finally surrender to the understanding we all have wounding, and recognize that there is something to work through, is a huge step in itself.

If trauma is a puppet master then how do you free yourself from your trauma? The key is self-awareness & introspection. Once you’re aware of the hurt and fear trapped inside of you, you can make friends with it and relieve it of it’s self-appointed duty to protect you. Your mind can become your friend rather than your master.

To recognize your source of suffering is taking a step to relieve it - Buddha

Think of it this way, imagine your upbringing as a protective shield constructed by your parents or guardians. They established rules, advised your behaviour, and outlined what is acceptable and what is not, and you, as a child, went along with it without thinking about it. This was all done by your guardians in hopes of shielding you from life's inevitable pains—heartbreak, loss, disappointment, injuries etc. Now, when something deemed 'bad' or emotionally overwhelming happens, your parents or guardians double down on rules and try to steer you away from ever going through something like that again. Similarly, your unconscious mind and ego operate with the same intention — to safeguard you from potential pain and fear, particularly if the pain and fear has been experienced once before.

Your actions are unconsciously influenced, your decisions are unconsciously steered, your reactions are not your own, and barriers are unconsciously put in place based on past conditioning. However, just as you outgrow your parents' authoritative guidance and begin to make your own choices, there comes a point when you realize your unconscious mind can no longer dictate your life unchecked as it's not serving to protect you anymore. Instead, you start to recognize that your mind and ego perpetuate negative thought patterns and dysfunctional relationship dynamics. It's time to transition to the driver's seat of your consciousness.

To pinpoint the source of your suffering start with your triggers—this is a signal your body provides to direct you towards your wounds. Focus on becoming aware of when you are triggered and work back from there. In a moment where you feel an intense (almost illogically intense) reaction to something sit with it for a bit of time. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why is your reaction is so big?
  2. How do you truly feel about this situation?
  3. What are the feelings that are coming up?
  4. Do you feel an underlining sense of being abandoned? Unwanted? Unsafe? Not good enough? A failure? Unseen? Unheard? Disrespected?
  5. When did you feel like this before?
  6. When was the first time you ever felt like this?

Keep diving back in for your past to your teenage years, and finally into childhood. Journal about it, keep writing, keep exploring the feeling and understanding of it. Similar to watching clips on a movie screen, you will see vignettes of your life and begin to remember moments in time you forgot about, and corresponding feelings that you unconsciously tucked away.

Recognizing your trauma won't happen overnight; it requires dedicated inner work. You'll need to revisit your journal repeatedly, or you may even find it helpful to talk it through with someone close to you (I talk to my mom ALL the time when I’m trying to dig into my past). Once you're onto the scent of your trauma it will be like an itch you have to scratch. It will be a treasure hunt of sorts that you can't wait to find! Eventually, you'll experience an 'aha' moment—it will be the moment you bring conscious awareness to events where parts of your heart broke, and you’ll see the walls you built around yourself as protection.

NOTE: the traumatic events will not be a huge epic event that is obvious for most people. Your trauma is most likely going to be an experience that might be seemingly small to you as an adult. But remember to view the vignettes of your past as you would from the perspective of a young child. It will be easier to understand where you, as a child, would have felt confusion, fear, unworthiness, lack of love, unsafe, etc.

Through this introspection the pain stored inside of you will request to be released — you’ll cry, you’ll want to scream. It’s painful to recognize that you didn’t feel like you had worth growing up. That you didn’t feel good enough, safe, wanted, loved, and abandoned. Admitting those things is hard. Let yourself feel it, let it all out. Release the trapped energy within you.

You’ll need to cry for 5 year old you who felt abandoned, for 8 year old you who was bullied, for 12 year old you who felt rejected by friends, for 15 year old you who never felt good enough, for 19 year old you who was heartbroken, for 25 year old you who made a mistake. You will need to allow yourself to feel safe to finally feel the pain, express the things that you were too afraid to say and ask for the things that you needed at that time.

This moment of clarity is transformative. You'll be able to see how your mind and ego, acting as a protector, tried to shield you from pain and vulnerability throughout your life. At this moment say to your mind and ego, ‘I appreciate you, I love you, thank you for helping me, I can take it from here’, and relieve your trauma of it's self-appointed duty to protect you.

Releasing trauma doesn't grant immunity from triggers, but it does grant awareness. And awareness is key! Armed with this awareness, you can start to consciously choose your reactions, actions, and decisions from the driver's seat of your consciousness. With each revelation and release, life becomes lighter. You'll come to terms with your traumas, reclaim ownership over your wounds and your life, and navigate life's twists and turns with newfound clarity and resilience.

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