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August 24, 2021

Trauma & Connection: the Healing affect of Authenticity.

Trauma has become renowned for its ability to disconnect us from our lives, ourselves, and others.

I know firsthand as I have experienced this through rape, PTSD, and losing a child.

What people often don’t realise, though, is that trauma isn’t reserved for the most life alternating moments. It also affects us when we lose our job, end a friendship, get yelled at, or suffer an illness that changes our lives. And even in today’s world of the pandemic, where we have lost the life we once knew as normal and all that comes with it.

It can arise anytime someone or something scares us and the fear stays with us. When we don’t believe we have the abilities to cope with a certain problem, it creates trauma, which triggers our adaptive behaviours (fight, flight, run, hide, deny, project, or addiction).

It’s not the trauma itself that causes the most long-term problems, it’s our adaptive behaviours—how these mess with our psyche and prevent us from living a healthy lifestyle in regular or unknown situations.

Does anyone resonate with trauma not needing to be a life-altering event?

My whole point of being here on social media was to build authentic connections, and in doing so, I could experience it in a positive manner.

I’ve made friends who I’ve never met and sent them gifts. I’ve made friends whom I have met, who I now feel are an enriching part of my life and family. I’ve become an author. 

I learnt yoga, completed my yoga teacher training, and been able to teach yoga and fitness to people all over the world. I use social media to give many of my lessons away for free on Vimeo and YouTube for those who cannot afford to pay to attend classes, so as to be the change I wish to receive in the world.

I’ve been able to earn an income to pay my bills in this difficult time of the pandemic, which I never could have done without the online world. I’ve also used social media to connect with family in Australia, watch friends get married, and continue my own healing.

It’s reported that when people use social media in a genuine way, to stay in touch with others, learn, grow, and build friendships, they don’t experience the anxiety or depression associated with it. As opposed to those who use it unauthentically, like chasing the number, trying to make the perfect post, or comparing themselves to others whilst not thinking they are enough and commenting negatively.

The reason people try to use social media unauthentically is they confuse attention with connection, and these are not the same thing. However, in an instant gratification world, it feels like they are. The numbers and likes become like a drug and a measure of our self-worth. Rather than a part of life, they become our reason to live and we in turn disconnect from that life and who we are, eventually feeling lost or unworthy when the pedestal falls.

So what is the solution to this?

When we work on an authentic connection with others, we can see that we are actually building a connection with ourself.

In today’s world, most people believe that connection is something transactional or must be earned. They feel the need to show that they are worthy enough. When it is really about being willing to see the love instead of fear, to be the kindness instead of hate, to find the possibilities instead of impossibilities—to be willing enough.

As humans, at our core, we have a need to connect. This is why in the hunter and gatherer days, they would use being banned from the tribe as punishment when someone did something wrong.

Lack of connection is wired to survival, deep down in our brains. That is why studies show people with authentic communities live longer than those who do not have them.

When we disconnect, we feel unsure, lost, and isolated, like all that we ever believed is challenged. The world operates in many ways, not just the way we were conditioned, taught, or believed it did. This is why so often we argue with one another when we see things differently, because it makes us feel disconnected from our knowing and hence our old brain kicks into survival mode to reconnect.

Anyone ever felt this when you feel isolated or disconnected because you believe differently from another? Or argued with someone trying to prove your point because the new point is uncomfortable and unknown, and makes you feel out on a limb?

When we are healing, the most pivotal experience we need to grasp is the ability to take down our walls and open up again, where our emotional wounds lie. 

You see, healing sits right in our ability to simply show up as we are, and trust, and believe, and have faith in better tomorrows, as we work on ourselves. 

It’s that ability to see the castle in the sky and trust and believe we have the tools to build our stairs to it.

It’s that knowledge that even though we get burned, we will rise from the ashes, but not the same as we were.

It’s about giving ourselves compassion and respect to cherish our time, and remember that time only heals if we work on ourselves.

Think of it like the Japanese art of kintsugi:

Kin = golden

tsugi = joinery

Literal translation, “to join with gold.”

The broken pieces of a smashed pot should be carefully picked up, reassembled, and then glued together with lacquer inflected with a luxuriant gold powder. In this process, there should be no attempt to disguise the damage; the reason behind this is to render the fault lines beautiful and strong. The elegant veins of gold are there to highlight that breaks have a rich excellence all of their own.

What is ironic is we are taught that trust is built when nothing is ever broken. However, trust is formed when something is broken and repaired again.

You see, our connections and reconnections are often strongest where we had to forge them ourselves. It’s often when we become aware as we heal that we realise not everything big in our lives caused our trauma. Some of the small, seemingly uneventful, normal everyday events, such as our parents yelling at us as kids, caused our adaptations and trauma, with the fear that is woven within our human experiences.

When we weave the golden lacquer into our cracks, like kintsugi, we find our foundations of growth end up being our new strengths and joys.

However, we must first remember that every crack or every place of fear that was woven into our life, no matter if big or small, must be addressed in order to truly heal and rebuild authentic connections.

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