You may have read in a previous blog that the Founders of 1 in Four met two summers ago at a summer camp for women survivors of violence (and their children) called SAGE Family Camp. My daughter and I were fortunate enough to attend again this past August for a week. During the camp, one of the many scheduled activities women participate in is called ABCs (Adventure Based Counseling). The whole group of women is divided into three smaller groups, to allow us a more intimate connection with those in our group. We are challenged to step outside of our comfort/safety zone and take part in trust-building activities for 5 days, usually during the morning session.
One of the closing activities that my particular ABCs group carried out was to write letters to ourselves that the facilitators would take on the responsibility of mailing out at a later date. I got my letter today! On the back of the paper, my fellow group members wrote many kind, thoughtful and encouraging messages to me -- reading them today brought me to tears!! On the front of the page, we were all invited to write a letter to ourselves; to reflect on the week and on any growth that may have happened while we were working our way through ABCs.
It seems only appropriate after yesterdays blog post, that my letter should have arrived in the mail today. Something I touched on slightly, with the 'compassionate' part, but which I really didn't focus on, was something I had written in my own reflections on my learning: being strong is great -- being able to be delicate and flexible is, too!
I also wrote what I chose for the title of this blog "Be gentle with yourself!"
Healing takes time -- it can take a lot of strange and unexpected turns along the way. There can be upsets and relapses; it is rife with shame, doubt and most certainly guilt. The best advice I can offer for ALL of this is just that -- be gentle with yourself.
I would absolutely encourage anyone struggling through this healing journey on their own to reach out and seek support. That could simply be by joining our discussion Forum here at 1 in Four, it could be calling a Crisis Line (local Hamilton ones are listed at the top of our website), or checking out our Community Links of local contact information for counseling or otherwise.
Above all, remember, you are not alone, so do everything you can to be gentle with yourself!by