This is the first of a two-part series ... to fighting the trauma of ... and getting back to a more positive way of ... of you may look at my title and wonder if I have 'lost my marb
This is the first of a two-part series dedicated to fighting the trauma of terrorism and getting back to a more positive way of life.
Many of you may look at my title and wonder if I have 'lost my marbles.' Let me explain. First let me quote from a wonderful article that was passed around on the web by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. entitled: Healing From Terrorism Sickness. She states: "The main goal of terrorism is 'intentional trauma' to the living. The concept of doing ongoing psychic injury to thousands and millions 'all at the same time' is an important tactic of terrorists ... innocent persons becoming afraid of life ... (this) hurts the human spirit and heart."
Clarissa then shares many ways to fight this madness including refusing to dwell on what physically depletes us of hope; dwelling in what strengthens us; resting; refusing to think that one is less able than prior to the assault, and not stopping pleasures that are good for you.
I don't know if Clarissa realized that her suggestions fit perfectly into THE ENCHANTED SELF's Seven Portals to Enchantment, but they do! Let's go through these gateways and see how they preserve us from disenchantment and even worse -- terror.
The first gateway is the Gateway of Self-Esteem. When terror strikes it is very common to feel vulnerable, of little importance and perhaps even valueless. This is exactly the opposite of how we need to feel for good mental health. To function at my best I need to know on a daily basis that I am 'special'. I have traits, strengths and abilities that all come together, not only to help me lead a life of meaning, but help me feel proud and sure of myself. You do too! What are some of your strengths and/or coping skills? Work with me as you read this and list some. It will be beneficial as we come out of this terror! Perhaps you have stamina, compassion, and an ability to reinvent yourself. Perhaps you are a good at cheering others up or great at making fudge! All of these and thousands more qualify as pluses in living!
The second gateway is Meeting Our Needs. Again, when terror or severe stress hits we often stop doing what is good for ourselves. We feel weak and may let go of a growth experience or learning a new skill that is good for us. Even after the acute weakness passes we may feel unsure or no longer committed to our own goals for growth and development. Again, this is exactly the opposite of what is needed for good mental health. Did you let anything go as a result of September 11th? You might want to make a note about it and also a new start up date.
I did. I didn't do my television show in NYC that month, as we were asked not to come into the city and that was a big loss for me. I really enjoy teaching the public about positive thinking via television. My show, Recipes for Enchantment, not only meets many of my needs but it stretches me and makes me grow further. Yes, I look forward to doing the show this month on the 17th.
The third portal to Enchantment is Recognizing Pleasure and Joy. It is very normal after a shock, in this case terrorism, to feel not only emotionally flattened, but unable to experience joy. In fact, often the person doesn't feel entitled to laughter, a good time, etc. For some it is guilt, for others sorrow. Again, this is exactly the opposite of what we need for good mental health.
We are not only entitled to live lives of joy and happiness, we need too! Does this mean everything goes right? Absolutely not. What it does mean is that we permit ourselves to maintain an attitude that encourages the capacity to experience happiness and joy as often as possible. No one has a right to take that away from us! Now is the time to fight back! What is fun for you? What do you enjoy? What gives you pleasure? Write some of these things down and plan on doing at least three of them within a couple of weeks. For example, I love shopping and last week I really enjoyed buying a black skirt for fall. It was a small treat but it was getting back to business as usual and felt great!
Please stay with me, as next week we will look at portals four through seven. I hope that you will practice positive thinking and start enjoying your life more and more every day. It is our best defense.
Dr. Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self and a psychologist since 1981. She is the author of two books: The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy and Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU! Dr. Holstein speaks on radio, and appears on television in NY and NJ. She gives lectures, seminars, retreats and audio interviews on LadybugLive.com and is in private practice in Long Branch, NJ with her husband, Dr. Russell Holstein.