Times have changed, or so they say. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. I come from a country where civil unrest and corruption continue to coexist. In the past two and a half months, my country has grieved the deaths of hundreds of citizens due to a corrupt, power driven mentality. Nicaraguan citizens are currently living within a battlefield. I, also live in a country where new laws support alienation and school shootings continue to occur.
Traumas are being relived on a daily basis. Per the Global Peace Index, the world is becoming a more dangerous place and there are now just 10 countries which can be considered completely free from conflict. So, if you are not a resident of Iceland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Finland, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, Australia or the Czech Republic, chances are you have witnessed, have heard or been impacted in some way by civil unrest or hateful acts. Chances are you too live within a battlefield of stress or unrest.
The consequences of a battlefield can include physical, emotional, and psychological trauma in varying degrees of severity. Loved ones and/or families can also experience secondary traumatization. Anxiety, anger or hate, loss, feelings of abandonment, depression, and PTSD are some common symptoms that arise. Battlegrounds come in different shapes and sizes, and some of them are very personal.
Not many of us have been to an actual, live combat zone. Yet many of us have battled ourselves and/or others. Do words like anger, blame, judgment, or resentment ring a bell at your door? I know people who constantly fight themselves, some through self-talk, others through self-injury. Where do you fall?Let’s explore some personal types of battles.
Throughout our lives and its different phases, we all experience different types of struggles. For instance, during FFY 2015, an estimated 683,000 children in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico were determined to be victims of abuse or neglect. Bullying has also intensified, causing many pre-teens and teens to contemplate suicide. Currently, per CBS news, the federal government has already separated more than 2,300 children from families who crossed the southern border, and placed them in government facilities.As a community, we are all impacted by the world around us and its residuum. I, for example, came to this country as a member of a migrant family due to war in the place where I was born. I left family behind in the search of a better quality of life, nonetheless, sadness still prevails. Children of divorced parents can also relate to the pain and consequences of separation.
As adults it doesn’t necessarily get easier. Emotional and/or financial stress can lead to many wrong turns, even homelessness. If you or someone you know has a legal background, then you might have witnessed the battles faced or the continuous struggle when trying to “make it.” Furthermore, belief systems can also be very limiting and serve as mode of attack. If you look different, talk different, identify with the LGBTQ community, are a minority and/or suffer from a mental illness or concern, then you also have lived or live within a battlefield.
Unfortunately, statements as simple as not being where you think you should be by now, can also launch you into the rabbit hole. Nevertheless, if YOU are still here, then YOU are winning. Can you recognize that? Personal wins are exactly that, personal. Winning in this sense is about transforming battles into acts of compassion, better choices, life lessons, self growth, self expansion while validating your self worth.
If you are currently in a state of battle, reflect on what is it really that you are or have been fighting for? Who are you really still battling? What’s your intention behind all this? What’s your goal?
Pain and war are very real, but they also have the power to unite.
As a therapist I often hear clients describe themselves as “broken…fragmented.” I then come in to review the evidence of how they are whole. The power lies in recognizing that if we walked out from a battle it is because we each carried our own ammunition. I can only be conquered by me…no one else has that power.
You might still ask, ‘Then why does this ____ (a.k.a=shit) keep happening to me?’
I’ve learned that when things reoccur it’s an opportunity to shift paradigms and apply new behavior choices or words that can gear me into a new direction, transforming my battle. I’ve learned I no longer have to fight myself for things undone or for the way they turned out if my intention stemmed from love (vs. hate). I have learned that battlefields are everywhere and as such I can always be battling if I join in each time. I’ve learned I choose and pave my way. Most importantly, I’ve learned that my battle is mine, therefore, I have the upper hand at all times. You do too. But if your mind attacks, remember:
- Sit in silence with the intent to observe your thoughts. Thoughts are just thoughts unless you choose to act upon them.
- When possible, journal as a form of release. If writing is not for you, exercise, swim, dance, sing, draw, meditate, go for a walk. Engage in activities that nourish you.
- Consider therapy or coaching. Psychology Today is a great directory when searching for counselors.
- Give yourself a break by trying something new- a hobby, an activity, an honest conversation, a self care ritual, a different routine.
- Forgive yourself and forgive others. Remember, you are human and are bound to make mistakes. Self compassion goes along way.
With thoughts of peace and wishes of compassion,Yari