The Board and I recently participated in a team building workshop. Each of us had a different idea or expectation of what was going to transpire, and I think it’s safe to say we were astonished at what we’d learned about ourselves and each other. It was an exceptional day and experience, one filled with grace and connection.
In expert hands of our Facilitator, Kim Barthel, we discussed what triggers us in life, how our young lives formed our reactions as we get older, and how our interactions with one another can be more meaningful now that we have greater understanding about some of these things. We play-acted regular, everyday interactions to see how the others responded, and we learned how our behaviours contribute to the good, the bad and the ugly! There was also discussion on implementing various communication techniques to gain better connection and response from others.
Personal development and growth are priorities for all seven of us. We believe that as we support others in their healing from trauma, it is only appropriate that we work on ourselves. No one of us escapes life unscathed by trauma and we each have opportunity to heal, to practice new ways of being, and to move forward beyond the ‘victim-hood’ that can sometimes consume us.
By definition, trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. The kinds of experiences that can be deemed traumatic are vast and differ from divorce, illness, natural disasters, abuse, war, torture… the list goes on and on. (BFF website)
Some of the barriers to growth and healing can include:
1. Harbouring an “I am not weak” mentality. It can take courage to reach out to find ways to improve our lives, but I often use the analogy of someone with diabetes to help reframe this barrier. If a diabetic refuses to adapt their lifestyle and take the insulin required that allows them to live, we would consider them irresponsible and self-destructive. When we are hurt by life’s experiences, we can practice our ways into living as a victim, or we can practice our ways into discovering tools that will help us live a full and enjoyable life, just as a diabetic does when they care for themselves. Read a book, talk to a counselor or a trusted friend, do some research online – just do something towards your personal growth.
2. I don’t need help. This is different than “I am not weak.” If you don’t believe you need help, your blind spots can be detrimental to not only your success in life, but can impact your relationships. The truth is, we all need help. Just as the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” it also takes a community to build healthy, strong and emotionally stable adults. I learned a saying in my early twenties that I’ve carried with me since: No one of us has it all together, but all of us together, have it all. Good, right?!
3. I can’t afford therapy. This is a tough one, particularly when jobs have been slashed and access to benefits no longer exist. The truth of the matter is, sometimes we can’t afford not to access therapy. Many hospitals and health centres have a mental health department, and there is also access through the Canadian Mental Health Association. At BFF, we may also be able to support you through our Therapy Grants via an application process.
4. I am a private person. While each of us has our own way of handling things, being a private person does not mean you are required to handle everything internally. Speaking with a therapist or counselor protects your privacy while allowing you the benefit of seeing things differently and learning more about yourself. Always a good thing
Are we saying everyone needs therapy? Not necessarily in a formal setting. But we do all need to be open to growth, development and change. The only constant in life is change! Just as we choose to work on ourselves as a team and as human beings, we truly desire the same for all humanity.
We encourage you to search out ways to be a new and improved version of yourself. You will be happy you did.
– Written by Shandra Carlson