I can’t possibly know what the most traumatized among us have experienced, nor do I have some simple healing solution that will transform their suffering.
We are only just beginning to understand the nature of trauma on this planet. We are only just beginning to understand that we are all trauma-survivors, to one degree or another. We are only just beginning to listen to the real story of our lives, after generations of denial, victim-bashing, ungrounded attempts to ‘rise above’ it.
But I do know that we need their voice, more than ever, to save this species.
In the survivalist world that we come from, the most traumatized individuals were the most shamed and shunned. It was survival of the ‘fittest’, authenticity and healing be damned. If you could punch your way through the pain and accumulate, you were deemed a success. It didn’t matter what your inner world or personal life looked like, so long as you championed the material world.
But that way of being is coming to an end. It is no longer serving us. Those in denial around their pain, those focused exclusively on mastery and material achievement, those who imagine themselves ‘self-determined’ (while negating all who have contributed to their ‘success’), are actually destroying our species and the planet that houses us.
We can no longer live in a world that defines success in comparative terms. We can no longer inhabit a reality where our greatest success stories are those who fled their pain the fastest, hiding their unhealed brokenness behind an over-compensatory materialism.
I am not fooled by the egoic accumulators of the world. They are merely lost children, confusing their bottomless quest for worldly validation with healthy self-regard. They will never find peace, in this way. It is a soulless path.
It is time for a world that champions the survival of the truest. That stands down the accumulators and elevates the authenticators.
A world where success is not measured by our ability to out-achieve our neighbor, but by our ability to remain heartfully connected to each other. That honors those who have the courage to feel and acknowledge their victimhood, to share their painful story, to invite all of us to self-reveal. That celebrates those who are brave enough to own their uniqueness in the face of judgment and ridicule. This is the only world that can last.
In this next-step world, those who have suffered the most will be our greatest teachers. It has been so artificial for so long, that we need the trauma-speakers to save us. Because they are the closest to the truth of all of our lives. Because they are the most connected to the feelings that we are all burying — the individual cries for relief, the ancestral unresolveds that thread through each generation.
It may seem counter-intuitive in this conditioned world, but those who have the courage to own their pain, are actually the ones we need the most.
So next time you feel tempted to turn away from someone who wants to share their horribly painful story, stop. Just stop. Ask yourself why you are so eager to go — are they reminding you of something you don’t want to feel within yourself?
Then listen close to them, and let them whisper your heart back to life.
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Image: thanks to Word Porn
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