Just this past week Time magazine published its cover page titled "Person of the Year 2017: The Silence Breakers". In there, Tarana Burke, creator of #metoo speaks about #metoo not just being a moment, rather it's a movement. A time to make a change. Burke speaks of the importance of setting actionable steps in keeping the momentum, to create a rippled effect that will have lasting change on society.
As a trauma therapist I am grateful that this conversation is happening. A conversation about being honest about each person's strength, accessing their courage and letting go of things that don't belong to them.
NOW, THESE PEOPLE ARE ON THE NEWS, AND EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT THEM, YET THERE ARE MANY HEROES AMONGST US.
I am humbled by the heroes I get to meet on a daily basis. Every human being has their version of #metoo, some are louder, bigger stories and some are quieter, gentler stories. Some share their #metoo stories on every social media platform available and others echo the memories deep within their souls, only allowing a whisper within.
To each person out there who is sharing a struggle, sharing in the open or feeling it in their heart, I'd like to say #IBelieveYou. This isn't about about having the same injury as the rest of the public, what matters is who you are and how you've been impacted by any kind of difficulty, struggle or hurt.
NOW, I INVITE EACH OF US TO DIG INTO THE #METOO MESSAGE IN A DEEPER WAY.
Instead of getting lost in the swirl of others' stories around, I invite you to look inward. You don't need to have the same struggle or wound, yet you can take the time to flow healing to parts of self needing nurture and care.
I ENCOURAGE YOU TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE WEIGHTS YOU'RE CARRYING, AND GENTLY LET GO OF WHAT ISN'T SERVING YOU.
Sometimes these come from past experiences, other peoples opinions or carried shame from family dynamics. Check in if you're holding onto an old fear, worries, a negative belief, or unhelpful guilt from a past mistake. Take some time to flow gentle compassion and healing to those spaces so you can let them gently go.
Now, let's implement a change...
A shift in focus...
A way of being that solidifies support and care for one another...
HERE ARE SOME WAYS FOR EACH OF US TO TAKE THIS PUBLIC WAVE OF EXPRESSION TO A POINT #BEYONDTHEHASHTAG.
I encourage you to practice compassion and care for one another. Regardless of what another person is sharing, embrace them with curiosity and compassion. It may be regarding a #metoo story or about a tough moment in the daily grind of life. Practice flowing gentle care to another.
Validate others who share courage in their daily life. There's a healing power in the heartbeat of saying #IBelieveYou. I believe you're struggling, I believe you're confused, I believe you're needing some more support. Whatever it is that the other person is saying, look them in the eye and offer support as you validate them.
Let go of judgment. Our world is filled with criticism and perfectionistic pressures, and many struggle with the "not-enough-ness" inner nag. Let go of the fog of judgement. Allow the warmth and kindness that protects the beauty and sacredness of connection. Kind gentle remarks and gestures go a long way!
Do something today to stand up for yourself. Stay consistent to a boundary that you've set for yourself. Speak up about something that's important to you. Embrace your inner strength and engage in an activity you've been pushing off for a while. Practice adding courage in a small way that leaves you feeling just a bit stronger inside.
Let's take this message further than the 2017 social media noise.
LET'S TAKE SMALL STEPS TO CREATE A MOVEMENT THAT NOURISHES A SAFER, COMPASSIONATE, POWERFUL SOCIETY.
Esther Goldstein LCSW is psychotherapist and trauma specialist with a private practice in Cedarhurst, NY. Esther specializes in treating anxiety, trauma, relationship issues and parenting struggles with an emphasis on developing healthy attachments. Esther currently runs adult Dialectical Behavioral Therapy groups in her practice, and runs Trauma Informed Consultation groups for therapists who work with trauma. Esther's website is esthergoldsteinpsych.com