It’s nap time at my home, that blessed time in the middle of my hectic day when I can have a quick moment to myself, as long as the baby sleeps, that is! The older kids are working on their distance learning for school, the younger ones are either napping or working on quiet projects. My steaming cup of tea warms my hand as I hold it close, smelling the berries while enjoying the mantra written on the mug. “Hello, beautiful,” it reminds me, rays of sunshine all around the words. I can’t help but smile.
Beautiful, that word resonates with something in me deeply. There was a time when my life was not beautiful, nor did I feel beautiful in any way. I am a survivor of domestic violence, and in addition to that, four of my six children are also survivors. Although we were able to criminally convict our abuser, life still felt void of that deep, soul-crushing beauty that I thought was supposed to come to my heart after surviving that. What, if any, was the meaning behind what we went through? How could I ever feel the beauty in life again? Could I ever transform from surviving to thriving, to that place where I felt worthy of the beauty I so longed for in life?
It dawned on me one day, that the way I feel, the thoughts that race through my head, those negative stories I tell myself, are all being fed by something, from somewhere. You get what you focus your mind on. Where is your focus? I had to ask myself, “Where is your lens of focus, Jenny?” That question alone stopped me in my tracks. This doesn’t change what’s happened to you, but it starts to get you in the mindset to not let the past keep you in shackles forever. That is no life worth living, and certainly devoid of any beauty.
Beloved, I never have gotten an answer to my question of “Why?” but I had to make a conscious effort to shift my mind’s lens to the other answers life had given me. Life has shown me what real, healthy love is from a partner. Life has shown me that when I focus each day on my gratitude for what I do have, instead of what was taken from me during those years of abuse, I smile more and my heart lightens as if a healing salve keeps being tenderly applied to those old wounds. I have learned to see the good in myself, though imperfect and yet still beautiful. Life has given me loyal friendships that lift me up, and not tear me down. When I thought of these gifts, I started to feel beauty coming back into my life. I even started to consider myself beautiful again.
Getting to the place of daring to be worthy of life’s beauty can be difficult, especially for those who have gone through interpersonal trauma. Abuse isn’t just physical; it’s emotional and spiritual, too, and it gets in the way of the narrative you tell yourself every day.
I knew someone who had made what she called a wailing wall in her master bedroom. It was a place she went to cry. It was an overall source of negativity in her life. I kept wondering to myself, “Why would you make a place like that in your life?” Of course, there needs to be space for you to feel what you need to feel, letting every emotion out as you process what you’ve gone through. But I also believe there has to be a way you can remind yourself to walk in victory, every day, instead of wallowing in the thoughts of defeat, rejection, and replaying your abuse.
To get rid of that negative self-talk and thinking, I want to ask you to do something to get your mind back to where it should be – focusing on all the good, all the positive, and all the love. I decided in my life there was going to be one place I could go whenever I was feeling down or flooded by negative thoughts. I want the same for you – I want you to reclaim your life and the truth of who you are, regardless of what has gone on in the past!
I want you to make what I call a Worthy Wall.
Who are you? Do you see who you had hoped you would see, who you’d always wanted to be? I passionately believe now is the time for empowerment, self-love, and to take the steps necessary to become the best you, the one who is worthy of all things beautiful, whatever that means to you!
My husband, Branden, and I decided to take the concept of a Worthy Wall one step further… we wrote on our bathroom mirrors all that we love about each other. So, grab your bestie, partner, or special family member, or fill your own mirror with what you love about yourself. Any time doubt, failure, depression, anxiety, and lies start to rear their ugly heads, you go to this place of worth and read each thing you and others love about you! When you get to really struggling, you can go to your Worthy Wall and say out loud you will not agree with those negative thoughts that go against who you are and whatever you’re trying to accomplish. Read aloud what you and your partner have written.
The more I began to shift my focus to all the goodness life has brought me, the beauty in life that I thought was missing after enduring abuse came back many times over. I am living proof you can come back from trauma. You can not only survive but thrive. I genuinely believe you deserve to have every bit of life’s beauty, and it starts with that narrative inside you.
Naptime is over, the baby needs a diaper change, one of my kids needs help with long division. We have piano lessons in 30 minutes, and I just stepped on a Cheerio. That could easily become overwhelming; however, having spent that time at my Worthy Wall, filling my own love cup with life’s beauty, has shown me I can handle anything. You know what, beloved? You can, too.
Let’s do this in 2021! Be well, dear ones, and take good care of you.
By, Jenny Bullington, MA, CTLC, a writer, inspirational speaker, and advocate for survivors of trauma. She is a mother to six children, one fur baby, and happily married to her best friend.