Brave Up, Breakthroughs, Challenges, Empowerment, Inspiration for Change Three Life-Affirming Steps To Take When You’re Traumatized By Events Around You Written by: Kathy Caprino

Yesterday, I and several inspiring colleagues of mine who are in the helping, healing and business arenas held an open, online Healing Together call, with the sole intent of offering a much-needed chance for anyone who may be struggling with the events of this week and this year to come together, share authentically and openly, and find a place of respect, care and empathy to express themselves without fear, and process their feelings, and begin to heal.

The amazing women who joined me – Cheryl Hunter, Neha Sangwan, Angie Ruan and Mo Faul – all work to empower and uplift women and to support humanity in important ways. And each of us has been challenged in our own, unique way by recent events and experiences.

In listening to these sage and empowered women talk about how they cope with deep challenge and trauma, and in formulating my own ideas about how we can best marshal all our internal resources and our strength, hope, faith and courage in challenges times — and hearing the beautiful, riveting comments from attendees — I learned so much about what severs and destroys love, connection, strength and positivity,  and also, what restores it.

Below are three strategies I’d like to share and I hope are helpful, about how we can reconnect to our spiritual and emotional centers again, and engage all our capabilities, courage, faith and love to heal and empower ourselves through difficult times.

Reconnect to yourself through your physical being and your breath

So often, in challenging times, we become deeply fearful, and our feelings of extreme vulnerability, confusion and disconnection wreak havoc on our bodies, minds and spirits. It’s so important in these times especially, to, every day, get in deeper touch with yourself – physically, emotionally and spiritually—to ground yourself and reconnect to your heart, soul and to our inner guidance, capabilities, strengths and love.  In this way, you’re continually reminded of how powerful you really are, and your personal accountability and sense of self can grow..

Dr. Neha Sangwan shares exactly how we can do this, in my podcast with Mo Faul, Best Work/Best Life. Listen in here for a powerful interview with Neha that helps us all reconnect to what we’re feeling and experiencing, so we can begin to heal.

Move away from the blame and hate place

Throughout my 15 years of personal transformation and reinvention since leaving corporate life after 9/11, I’ve learned a great deal about how I personally operate – including the knee-jerk reactions I have to life and to challenge. I’ve observed in my own reactions that when I’m deeply upset, angry and anxious, I go immediately to the blame place. I look for someone to yell at and blame so I can feel better and not deal with the messy, painful process of identifying exactly what is making me so upset and afraid, and working through it, and being accountable for it. I try to shortcut the pain by making someone else the problem.

Sadly, this is a futile exercise, and in fact, a self-damaging and corrosive one.  Discharging our anxiety is not dealing with it, not taking accountability for it and addressing it in a strong, empowered way.  And deal with it we must, if we want to move to the process of healing and growth, and become the person we long to be.

Also, taking responsibility for our part of it – understanding the meaning we’re attaching to events and things and seeing exactly what that “meaning” and story is catalyzing in our own minds – is essential if we ever want to achieve any sense of balance, peace and self-control.

As renowned social researcher and vulnerability expert Brené Brown has said, “Blame has an inverse relationship with accountability.” In other words, people who chronically go to the blame place seldom have the tenacity and grit to actually hold themselves accountable for what they’re feeling and doing.

Cheryl Hunter, a resilience expert and national news commentator shares so much wisdom and guidance about how to become resilient after trauma. After being brutally attacked by three criminals while traveling in a foreign country in her teens, and learning how to survive and thrive after this unbearable experience, Cheryl has so much wisdom and beautiful guidance to offer us.

Angie Ruan, technology leader and empowerment of women in the tech field, shares her amazing personal story of coming from China to the U.S., and how rising up in the tech world has taught her so much about what’s required to ovecome gender bias and discrimination, and lead powerfully. Listen to her amazing story here.

Finally, Mo Faul shares about her journey with cancer, and how her dark times with disease have changed who she is.

Brave up: Become more of who you really are 

Numbers of people on the call yesterday shared how scared they were about they own situations, and that of their loved ones, children and family members. They revealed their deep anxieties and fears about where our world is going in terms of how dominant culture and society treats members of minority and marginalized groups and cultures. We talked about what it feels like – for women, blacks, and members of the LGBTQ community, for example – to feel demeaned, disrespected, ignored, put down, or worse – overtly and criminally punished and discriminated against.

As a woman and a professional who has lived through numerous experiences of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in my 56 years, I know what this feels like. And I know how damaging, infuriating and overwhelming it is to be pushed aside by a fellow human being, and kicked to the curb like garbage. It’s crushing and it strips us of our faith in good and in humanity. And it makes us feel helpless.

But I’d offer this: we can stay in this place of disenfranchisement, alienation and victimization, or we can do something powerful about it. In my TEDx talk “Time to Brave Up” this month for TEDxCentennialParkWomen (link coming soon!), I shared about what I’ve found to be three essential ways we all need to Brave Up: See Bravely, Speak Bravely and Shine Bravely.

Each and every one of us needs to muster more power, courage and internal commitment and resolve to rise up, speak up and stand up BOLDLY for ourselves and for others. And in doing so, we will all transform our lives, and the world. I don’t just think this – I know it, because I’ve personally moved away from victimhood and so have thousands of women I’ve worked with. And their lives have been transformed.

What can you do today? Don’t take abuse or discrimination lying down. Speak up and take a stand. Get empowered outside support, join together, address the issues with accountability, strength and clarity. Let’s all become more accountable and stop blaming others for what’s happening around us that we cannot tolerate.

I’ve found that it is exactly in this rising up, standing up and speaking up for ourselves, in small ways at first, then in much bigger ways, that people have created new life experiences, away from victimization to experiencing more and more empowerment, confidence, impact, growth and accountability – and that changes the world.

To build a more empowered life and career, work with me, take my Amazing Career Project video training, and read by book Breakdown, Breakthrough. And if you’re longing for a powerful meditative guide to overcoming challenge, check out my Breakdown, Breakthrough 2-part Meditative companion