My Beautiful Souls,

I am engulfed with emotions as I realize I am in a new place, new city, and new surroundings. Moving has its excitement, yet it also has its heartache, losses, overwhelming confusion, and frustrations. Having been ill now for six weeks with a severe sinus infection, has also caused me great angst. Yet, through it all, I have finally finished unpacking at least 50 boxes of nonsense, cleansed myself of an immense amount of hoarded old clothing that no longer fit me, yet thought, despite my best intentions, someday it might. I don’t know about you, but my closet has been filled for years with thin, medium, and large clothing, which all represent memories of experiences I have journeyed through. I found it healing, in many ways, to peel like layers from an onion, the significance these garments held for me that were from my first brain injury, and other encounters I clung to, as if to force me to remember never to forget. I wanted to forget. I wish I could. Perhaps, it is healing to let go of those memories that haunted me from the past. I wanted to let go, as it was time to say good bye to the bittersweet poison that has for so long held me captive, and move forward into a new chapter of my life. The glow is so much sweeter when the baggage is so much incredibly lighter…?

Baggage is a topic that is reduced to skeletons in the closet, shadows that hang around us, and secrets we choose not to face because of the ripple effect it has on us and our relationships with others. It’s impact changes us in subliminal ways and may force us to choose a life of falsehood versus one that lives in the glow. When we have unresolved baggage, it wears us down, drains our energy, and masks our true feelings, whereby we become someone we are not in order to be what we envision other people want us to be, so we are liked.

If we have been through trauma or abuse, our self-esteem has been ripped from our minds, so that we stumble with self-doubt, and second guess our every decision. We lack confidence in who we are as a person and our core is no longer grounded in intuitive knowledge. Trauma or abuse detonates self-esteem because of how it personally attacks, betrays, violates, and/or breaks our spirits by something or someone whom has left us feeling raw, vulnerable, confused, fearful, shameful, guilty and/or distrusting of others.

Consequently, this fear to be real, seen, and heard by people is an insatiable desire, yet we cling to the shadows in order for our secrets to be safe in the locked prison deep inside of us. We subconsciously keep back paddling, trying to control our environment so our world is more aligned with our mind shift. In order to maintain this false reality, we learn how to control others through forms of manipulation and lies, so they only see our masks instead of transparency.

Thus, begins the roller coaster ride of a lifetime. Manipulation plays into gas lighting, which is the catalyst for more lies, to ensure this mask of deception continues until we no longer know the difference between reality and an illusion. We demean others to feel good about ourselves, find ways to show good face in front of the community, and always showcase high standards for bragging rights. Baggage, however, eventually wears a face and is unveiled when you least expect it. Baggage can ruin you and your life. It is exhausting, drains whatever glow you might shine, imprisons your mind like a victim until you consciously choose to let it go. Unresolved baggage is a choice. YOU choose to carry it or leave it behind. Facing it is where the REAL healing begins. No one can do that for you except YOU.

Why do we hang on to baggage and let it control our minds as victims to the past? It is a safety net of major proportions, like an umbilical cord, that is wrapped around one’s neck, choking the life out of you if left unresolved. Like any attachment, whether psychological, physical, emotional, or spiritual, there must be closure before moving on. Finding closure is possible in many ways. Writing a letter to the person who abused you or injured you is one way of letting out your pain, suffering, and emotional disconnect. You don’t need to send the letter, yet its an opportunity to just release the intensity of the trauma on paper and let go of the emotional and psychological dissonance that is at war in your mind. This is symbolic of cutting the cord so you no longer will suffocate and/or suffer at the hand of your persecutor.

Another method, is to compile everything that reminds you and/or is part of the trauma you experienced, place it in a fire pit to burn. In doing so, you are conducting a ritual and offering these up to the universe to transcend your heart, mind, and soul for healing and the cleansing of your spirit so you can be whole again. It has been shown in literature that fire has a spiritual element to it that forges great power in will and determination. Fire is our divine light and is symbolic of the fire burning deep within our souls. It is also a source of energy that requires much control and moderation, because it is, after all, part of the earth. If not treated properly, it will burn you. In a magical sense, fire is from the ruling of Venus, the planet of passion. It burns with no remorse, yet gives back warmth and glow in return. buildingbeautifulsouls

Healing can only take place when you face your fears, conflict, past and pain in order for one to forgive and step into the light. By and far, healing the invisible scars are painstaking once we confront them. The shattered pieces of shimmering glass lying at your feet are the remains of your heart. Sadly, only you can see them and try with its resilience of love, to put it back together again. Sometimes it just isn’t whole and there are holes left in the heart that can’t be filled no matter how hard you try. The patchwork is labor intensive. You will feel broken, helpless, hopeless, afraid, forgotten, beaten down, violated, shameful, guilty, desperate, alone, and numb inside. The invisible wounds forced upon you are extremely challenging and time consuming to overcome compared to those of physical injuries.

Some of the lingering effects of trauma and abuse might surprise you as you begin to release the baggage you have held on to for so long. Inasmuch, the suffering that has locked your mind into believing the lies you were told and/or the nightmares that still burden your sleep, manifesting yourself into a realm of peace and tranquility is a beginning of believing the truth about YOU. TIME is your friend right now. Every one deals with emotional abuse and trauma differently. I have dealt with these injuries on different journeys received from various traumas, and regardless how minor or deep the scars, the baggage they leave behind is scattered systemically throughout your body. It’s effects are catastrophic! It will begin in the morning as you rise and shine, feeling as if 50 pound weights were tied to your feet, unable to lift them from the bed, as your brain is drained with fatigue. Then, your brain can become fogged over with numbness as you try to feel something outside of your traumatic experiences, yet the affect of even trying to connect leaves you utterly guarded and hopeless. You may become very needy, seeking approval to be liked. You have lost self-confidence, are broken, and your self-worth has crumbled to an all time low. At this point resentment, anger, and bitterness towards anyone and everyone, whose fabric shared a thread in connecting you to them as part of the trauma or abuse will be harmful, more to yourself than to anyone. Why me? Why did this have to happen to me? These and other questions we’ve asked ourselves over and over again, hoping hopelessly for an answer that would save us from this misery and miserable life that we didn’t deserve…! No one knows your story, but YOU!

Psychological, life coaches, and spiritual pathways share how resentment can become cyclic and toxic to our bodies and minds if not released in gentle ways. Repressing anger and other bitter attributes can cause enhanced blood pressure, frustrations, stress, and being on the edge. Resentment also can cause heart attacks and great impatience. People who are perfectionists also need to realize their life fits into this category. Being exposed to people who are predisposed narcissists, enjoy compiling your “excessive” weaknesses, twisting them into a masterpiece of lies so you believe to be unworthy, of no value, and mentally ill in someway. The irony here is, the reason you are so afflicted and wounded in the first place, with such heavy baggage, is because of the people who abused and traumatized you. They hold themselves with such high regard and ego due to their own lack of self-esteem, it’s difficult for them to imagine they could inflict harm at all, because after all, they can do no wrong and share no responsibility for what they did to you. Nor will they ever believe you if you charge them with the abuse, how horribly they had treated you during the relationship, especially while drinking, because drinking does release baggage when your inhibitions are down. Maybe not the best way to release the lingering pain they caused, yet, it does finally start the ball rolling when you least expect it. Sometimes, the great scars and pain we bear inside of us is anchored so far down, we don’t even know it exists until it all comes pouring out…even after drinking almost a bottle of wine.

What does that say about baggage? What does that say about us? Does that mean we are bad people for finally letting out our suffering in such a miserable way? As much as we wish to be gentle about how our baggage is conquered, there is nothing gentle about how we received it. True, words can never be taken back after they are said, yet, some words need to be said regardless in how they come out. Sometimes, the truth is ugly, hurtful, even painful to listen to if the person listening is the one who abused you. It doesn’t even matter if they “get it.” It’s your journey, your suffering, your baggage to release. You will know when it’s time to say goodbye. Your happiness depends on you knowing when it’s time to let go, because when you do, God will have a new door opened for you, waiting. “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”…Hellen Keller. Never underestimate the power of God’s mighty hand! He knows your heart, what you have been through, and wants what is BEST for YOU! When you are ready, throw the rear view mirror out the window and move into the glow…I want that for ME and for YOU! Life is so much sweeter to glow into my beautiful souls!?

Loving yourself first, giving yourself the freedom to live in the glow, finding your space and place in this world without pressure, and choosing gentle care techniques are good places to start. Inasmuch, finding our way home can be confusing and uncomfortable, as we struggle to find the shoes we once walked in no longer fit our feet for the new journey. Consequently, opening your heart is not an easy decision, even without trauma or abuse. Trying to discover how to love yourself, let alone someone else after trauma or abuse comes with an assortment of adjustments that can be overwhelming and fearful at best. God can not offer you something new when your hands are full of junk. There is no room for His glorious treasures to be placed in them. You see, we tend to hold fast to “things” that are truly of no value when it is all said and done. Things of this world will pass, yet those people whom you have formed deep roots and nurtured souls, have developed coveted relationships, and timeless friendships, will be the priceless gifts you acquire of this world. Loving yourself is the beginning in finding yourself again, trusting your heart, and believing in your self-worth.

One author, Jackson McKenzie, shares insight into five signs of lingering effects that suggests you may still be struggling with emotional abuse after the fact. Here below are his words from Five Lingering Effects of Emotional Abuse.

1. Numbness

You isolate yourself, becoming more an observer of the world than a participant. Everything feels blocked. You don’t feel bad — but you don’t feel good either. You don’t feel much of anything at all. Even when you know you should be happy, it’s like there’s a tight guard around your heart at all times, preventing anything from going in or out.

This can feel hopeless — like you’re permanently damaged and unable to feel emotions normally. However, it’s actually the first step toward approaching your trauma with a gentle and caring perspective. Allow the numbness to be there, and understand that it wouldn’t be there unless it was protecting you from some pretty overwhelming stuff. Your body is trying to help you! Focus on that noble effort, and you will slowly begin to develop the sense of love needed to hold this pain.

2. Seeking approval

This one can be really sneaky because it manifests in ways that are socially acceptable: people-pleasing, excessive accomplishing, being “nice” to everyone, and hyper-focusing on your appearance. The underlying current of approval-seeking behavior is that you are somehow “not enough” without it. This was a lie put into your heart, and it needs to be banished forever. Our worth as human beings is not dependent on any of those things.

If you slow down and pause these behaviors, you’re likely to feel a great deal of shame, inadequacy, and even jealousy. Your first instinct may be to run back to your vices, but I encourage you to sit with these feelings (and seek out professional counseling, if needed) until you really understand how much you are truly suffering. Only then can we begin to regard ourselves with compassion and discover that healthy love does not need to be earned.

3. Resentment

This can build up over time, and it’s not about throwing objects or screaming. Far more common signs include irritability, blame, blood pressure changes, heart tightness, frustration, and impatience. Resentment’s key word is “should.” (This bad thing shouldn’t have happened. People should have behaved a different way.) Essentially, we are living in a constant state of resistance to reality.

Most psychological or spiritual paths will outline the reasons resentment is toxic, but releasing it is not quite so simple. We need to be kind to ourselves and not feel any sort of shame for carrying this resentment. All we need is the simple intention to release it, and it will begin to happen. I personally have found forgiveness (and self-forgiveness) to be very effective, but there are many other paths. Once we stop focusing on the “bad other,” we finally have time to tend to the wounds in our heart.

4. Judging and analyzing

This is a personality shift that happens slowly. You hear nice words coming out of your mouth, but your thoughts are somewhere else entirely. You find yourself obsessively analyzing everything others do, to the point that it becomes difficult to trust anyone. You hyper-focus on behaviors, holding others (and yourself) to very high standards.

Once again, the key here is self-compassion. You need to be kind to yourself and understand that these are all protective mechanisms — a fear of not being in control. Judging ourselves for being judgmental is an infinite loop that can only be broken by love. You did not ask for this. You did the best you could with an impossible situation, and the more you can rest in this truth, the softer your heart will become.

5. Anxiety and depression

Insomnia, appetite changes, constant fear, a sense of doom, and hopelessness: self-destruct mode. This is your body saying “no more.” Your patchwork — the above four solutions — aren’t working anymore, and your body is going to torture your mind until you surrender to the only permanent solution: love.

As you seek professional therapy, life coaching, and or counseling for anxiety and depression, it is highly recommend that all emotional abuse survivors approach therapy from the perspective of love rather than constant analysis of your undesirable behaviors. Instead of searching your memories, give yourself permission to feel your pain because it is real. The simple truth is that you are a true suffering human being and this can break open even the tightest heart, bringing you to a place of self-compassion that you’ve never felt before — perhaps a new reality where you are as kind to yourself as you’ve always been to others.

My beautiful souls, self-care is so important at this stage. Focus on you and get the necessary rest, nutrition, and coaching that will assist you in transforming your memories, feelings, pain and suffering to a more harmonious and holistic pathway. You have done nothing wrong. Something wrong, however, has been done TO YOU! Letting go of the baggage is an expression of love, forgiveness, grace, and humility that you give yourself as a gift. YOU ARE WORTHY! YOU ARE ENOUGH! YOU ARE PURE LOVE! When you begin to rise like air, the light from within will have room to glow once again. Breathe, release, and feel the poison exhaled. The glorious energy you send out from your release will be mirrored back by those whose energy manifests itself with your glow…There are people out there who want to help you unpack your baggage, who will love you just where you are. Let them love you. Give yourself permission to shine on…?

Wishing all my beautiful souls happiness, wholeness, and gentle, genuine, love.? No one is immune in seeking and understanding the key to a wounded soul and then, baffled by what they find. The heart, mind, and body are so interconnected that if one has been abused, traumatized and at war, all have been instinctively broken, severed, and damaged. The resiliency of the human spirit is greater and more powerful than any possible connection, as it guards our hearts and minds when it is touched by abuse or trauma. It protects us so we may rise again, if we choose to. I still have lingering pain, as I’m sure many of you do as well. Even when you think you have forged through the crud and have put it behind, it still manages to surface, like volcanic ash, which burns everything in its path. All I can say to you is, keep reaching for the stars, stay focused on you, love yourself regardless of your pain, abuse, and traumas, and ditch the people who make you suffer. They know who they they are. Forgive them and love them anyway. I will continue to rise up a thousand times a day until my baggage is put away…

If you need to talk to someone about your baggage, or just need to know you matter, please feel free to contact me. YOU ARE WORTHY! Always, always be YOU! Make today the ONE YOU CHOOSE to Live in the GLOW!?

?In Light and Love,

Kimberly Lees, Ed.D.


One Comment

  1. Paula Jo

    I’ve been enjoying this same experience. I’ve been in my new city for a year this month. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. The healing, the obvious, the peace, the excitement and the learning has been terrific! I’m so much closer to my relationship I have with God and I’ve been surprised that my heart is so very open and excited at what will come tomorrow! I love you and I’m so happy and excited that you are starting a new chapter! ?

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