When we experience trauma, our survival instincts kick in. Sometimes we replay the events over and over, trying to work out exactly what happened, why and how it could have been prevented. We try to understand it. Other times we withdraw. We tell ourselves it’s done, it can’t be changed and we just have to move on.

Both deny us the opportunity to honour the experience and our feelings and actually heal. Neither are wrong, they are just a way to help us cope and survive in the moment.

If you are someone who is going over things again and again, notice whether the process is providing you with any sense of comfort or relief. If not, you may be re-traumatising yourself instead of healing.

If you are someone who just gets on with things and moves forward, notice if you ever experience any anger or dissociation of feelings in other areas of your life. In your effort to ignore what happened and move on, you may be preventing yourself from feeling and enjoying life fully going forward.

However we cope with trauma, there is an option to allow yourself to feel the feelings, without judgement, and allow them to flow out of you, to acknowledge them, to honour your experience and feel heard. You do not need to tell the story perfectly, figure out the answers or ‘get over it’. You already did your job: you survived. Now you are allowed to feel whatever is there still for you, wherever it resides in your body, and let it be.

When you honour yourself and your feelings in this way, you will heal. You will reclaim yourself. Instead of self-abandonment, you will hold yourself, and learn to trust yourself again. You are safe. You are held. You are loved.