Blogging about my past has been an adventure. You know the kind with lots of ups and downs. I’ve learned so much about myself and have become painfully aware of many things I still need to work on, but work on them I will.
I find it extremely interesting that I opened up because of a simple trigger. (not my proudest moment) I’ve decided that I want to dedicate this post to the subject of triggers, mirrors and personal revelation. I think perhaps this would be a good way to end this period of my life as I transition to the next.
Triggers are powerful emotions that surface when others do things, say things, etc. Triggers can bring up powerful emotions like feelings of shame, regret, pain, and just general feelings of discomfort. They can cause an individual to go into a panic attack, anxiety, cause a flashback, bring up nightmares or simple feelings of discomfort depending on ones past, current situation or mental health.
We all come from different backgrounds with varied circumstances. We often expect others to behave just like we do with the knowledge we have. It’s truly unrealistic. One thing I’ve learned is that as I personally grow in knowledge, I have an even a greater obligation to be patient and loving. Yet, how often have I allowed myself to become frustrated or have been triggered because someone hasn’t had the experiences I have had, aren’t doing what I think they should be doing or behaving in a seemingly unbecoming fashion that’s not worthy of a Saint. I’m shaking my head at myself even as I write this.
I remember a while back in addressing a problem, I spoke of how hypocritical I thought an individual was. (Super judgmental) Then last year we had Elder Jeffrey R. Holland speak to us in our stake. I will never forget his words as he explained that making mistakes doesn’t make us hypocritical, it makes us human. What an incredibly generous statement and I only hope that one day I can be as generous in all my feelings as he is. It’s my goal to get there, just as it is to be more empathetic, loving and Christlike. Creating Inside to Empathy certainly wasn’t a proclamation of being perfect, I have had moments where I have definitely been less than empathetic on more than one occasion. I do see the need for more empathy in the world in general, but in my life specifically I see the need to relax more and let individuals grow at their own pace, to stop being hasty to judge and to seek solutions that will help contribute to solving problems in a loving way versus creating more problems. Perhaps when I meet my maker I will have it all figured out. In the mean time, I need to be gentle with myself. This life is the time to prepare to meet God and a lifetime it will take. We can put so much pressure on ourselves in trying to get there, that we end up creating more problems than solving. So if you’ve been there or at currently there too, be patient with yourself.
A few days ago I posted a definition of what Spiritual abuse was.
Spiritual Abuse: When a person uses the gospel of Jesus Christ as a mental beating stick on another. This is done by knowingly and constantly bringing up things that others aren’t doing right (in ones personal opinion) in a public or private setting. A form of condescending condemning and constant criticism of others using gospel principles as the basis. It is a form of mental abuse. It is the opposite of Christlike Charity and a driving wedge between members of any faith. It is a tool of the adversary with a base in fault finding. It destroys families and individuals. It creates a hostile environment where the spirit of the Lord cannot be felt. It is often found when one religion bashes another. It is found in individual congregations and even in individual families and is often referred as cornering an individual. It’s a dangerous practice that divides families, congregations and even communities. It’s a damaging practice because we never know the extenuating circumstances or struggles others are going through or facing. Unless repented of, it causes feelings of resentment and a loss of the spirit upon the individuals who participate. We are judged according to how we judge others.
It’s a sobering thought isn’t it? Ever been guilty of such a thing? We all have room to improve.
Notice at the end I state we all have room to improve. When I look back at how Bob and I have raised our family, we can definitely see our mistakes in doing this on occasion. We did our best with what knowledge we had at the time. It’s my hope in addressing this that the next generation will do better.
It’s only been in the last few years that I realized how important it is to place my main emphasis on changing myself instead of focusing on the problems of others. This has been easier said than done because I keep having these triggers causing major anxiety. I’ve also been holding onto some hurts where a rumor got back to me on some things said about me. Now I see how foolish I have been in allowing myself to hold onto this wound for so long.
I am currently being coached, being mentored and have a support person that I meet with weekly. I am currently working with a group of ten women right now. All of them are incredibly brilliant mentors. We set goals, mentor one another and mastermind our struggles. We each take a turn coming to the table with a problem that we are open to receiving help with. It has really opened my mind to receiving suggestions for personal improvement on how to overcome problems. I love this setting because we are all on equal ground in giving and receiving. The respect and love in this circle makes it a safe place to share, learn and grow from one another. We are never there to fix each other’s problems, we do our own work and we hold ourselves accountable. We celebrate each other’s success’s and build each other up. One of the things that I was reminded of today after our early morning call was how we often mirror those who trigger us. Meaning the things we see in others, that are bugging us so much, are often because we are struggling with the same thing ourselves. It’s something we truly don’t like about ourselves, something we’ve done in the past that we haven’t forgiven ourselves for yet or related to something that was done to us in our past.
Yes, I’ve been through a lot in my past, but I know that I have a responsibility to work through those things. If I’m unhappy in my life today, I know it’s my own fault because I am an agent unto myself. If I need to get counseling or be mentored to get there, so be it. If I need the support of 10 strong amazing women to get there, a coach, or a support person, again, so be it. I know that positive connections help us reach our goals sooner. I know it’s my responsibility to take charge of my body, health, emotional health and to look in my mirror first every single day. There isn’t a day that goes by when I’m tempted or do judge another that I don’t look back inside and ask, “Now Voni, have you ever been guilty of the same thing?” It keeps me humble that’s for sure because I’m not perfect and I know it.
One of the things that I love in my life right now is working the LDS Family Services 12 Step Program. It is here that I have learned the importance of promptly admitting when I am wrong and the importance of looking and asking the Lord to show me my weakness’s. I love how this program is set up because it teaches us how to allow the spirit to become our greatest mentor in what we need to work on. We are to refrain from giving one another advice or tell others what they are doing wrong because we are being trained how to reach a new level of learning through receiving personal revelation. It’s the highest form of learning.
I believe this is why we have seen the changes we have in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Sunday curriculum. They want us to have the highest form of learning, they want us to focus on our personal problems, struggles and look in the mirror and heavenward. There is something so powerful about coming together as a group of brothers or sisters who are striving to work on there own personal growth. There is something uniquely invigorating in meeting together and sharing the powerful and meaningful experiences we have had while being mentored by the spirit in how to improve our own personal lives and the lives of our personal family.
This last General Conference we were told that it’s absolutely necessary for us to get really good at listening to the spirit in our personal lives. I would also add that we need to stop questioning what the spirit is telling others to do in their lives. (Yes, I have done this too.) We are all meant to have distinct paths. I have been told in personal revelation to continue my education and develop my talents. I was told to take classes in Salt Lake City and to become a trained mentor. This prepared me for the next level of being a missionary. I am still working through many things and the Lord knows that with support we can overcome things faster, so I am working with 12 amazing women total right now as my sounding board in working towards my goal of eating right, taking my supplements and putting my health first because I know I can’t serve others the way I want if I keep letting myself go and continue to get sicker and sicker. We know the power of support. We understand what true support looks like. I thank the Lord for this incredible support because I have needed it. I have a testimony of the power of a strong support system. I know what it looks like because I have experienced it with some of the most incredible individuals that the Lord has placed in my path.
If we will allow ourselves to be led we will all have some of the most amazing experiences as the Lord hastens our emotional healing, our learning and our growth until we are prepared to stand before the Lord on that great and terrible day of his return. We have much to do and it’s time to put indifferences (referring again to myself big time) aside and role up our sleeves. We need each other.