February 3: Day 34
STEP FIVE CONTINUED
Share our struggles with others of like-mindedness trusting that our anonymity will be guarded by all.
Instruction: Sharing for caring.
What is the purpose in sharing our struggles? Does it change what happened? Of course not. Sharing doesn’t mean that the religious organization or the religious leader(s) who hurt us will be punished or that it will change them in any way. Sharing is not about changing the situations outside our realm of influence or about retribution. We’re not saying there might not be an occasion where proactive steps need to be taken to prevent abuse from occurring to others, but even when these preventive measures are taken, it can still leave victims in the same pain they were in prior to seeing corrective and preventative measures taken. The simple act of sharing — talking about our struggles — seems like such a simple measure that we might be prone to question its effectiveness. What has been discovered, however, is that sharing leads to caring.
When we confide in other people who keep our secrets and honor our anonymity, we find that there is a collective healing that not only affects us, but it affects the community to which we are connected. Going through abuse alone is painful, and we often make it a shameful experience for ourselves. We often fear the opinion of those who can’t relate to our situations. We worry that we might be judged for something we had no control over. Sharing with a group of people who have experienced the kind of pain and emotional abuse to which we were subjected allows us to release that experience bit by bit until the past no longer haunts us, the present is free from fear, and our future is bright with promise. As we are being cared for by our new support group, we discover that we begin to care for those who care for us.
Today’s Assignment is to strengthen your healing today by joining a caring group of individuals who have experienced pain, shame, blame, or judgment — even if the group only has only two members. This group doesn’t have to be exclusive to people who were religiously abused. Other forms of abuse share many of the same characteristics and can be healed by banning together and sharing our stories.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.