Inspirational quotes about letting go of the past, not being a victim and moving on have always been the kind of mantras that played in my head.
But now I’m recognizing there is an entire demographic of us stoics who actually need to put it in reverse, review our past and perhaps even acknowledge we have been (gulp) victims.
Many of us have been victims of dysfunctional families and emotional neglect and abuse. And we learned to toughen up and protect ourselves early in life with the very specific intent of never, ever being a victim. We are the ones who have kept our hands on our bootstraps in a perpetual upward motion determined to keep moving forward, without a trace of emotion or complaint in our tracks.
But, it takes a lot of energy to defend and armor up with that kind of protection. And it can be exhausting. Really exhausting…and lead to depression and anxiety and well, exhaustion.
It’s time we take a few deep breaths and really acknowledge where we came from. Look at those things we didn’t get in early life and allow ourselves to be the other v-word, (no not that one) VULNERABLE. Yes, vulnerability is the kryptonite to stoicism.
But why would one want to be vulnerable and give up that strong stance you might wonder? Because it will break you wide open and you will love and feel and live and experience joy like never before. That’s why. Not to mention the other way simply isn’t sustainable. It leads to addiction, depression and illness.
I am focusing more on retreats now than ever before because I believe it’s my calling in life, but also because I believe people need a time-out to explore these concepts and have a safe space to begin chipping away at the tightly bound armor many of us live in. I hope you’ll join me in a daylong, a weekend or a weeklong retreat. It’s time to start living!