Reframing is a technique used by counselors to shift a client's view of a particular problem, event, or person. Reframing helps create a different way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing it's meaning. I have written about my experience with EMDR therapy and how it has played a huge roll in my recovery. I am learning to look back at the past 20 years while reframing the beliefs that were embedded in me as a teen.
I was abused, but I broke away. I was in an abusive relationship, but I found the strength to leave. My twenties were a butterfly crack started at age 14 that could have spanned decades eventually causing me to shatter, but I persisted and turned those cracks into roads that lead me into many beautiful experiences. I dreamed of a family, and I created one. My abuse almost broke me, but I finally planted my feet and started to stand tall. There were so many dark paths I could have taken, but my strength lead me here.
What I had seen as weakness is really vulnerability. Vulnerability is not weakness. Vulnerability is one of the most powerful emotions I have ever felt. No weight I have lifted, mile I have ran, mountain I have climbed, or lake I have paddled has made me feel as strong as I have when I let myself feel vulnerable. Vulnerability is a universally felt emotion that, when shared, brings people closer together through honesty and truth. Let's just stop pretending and let's grow together.
What I had seen as insecurity and invisibility can be reframed into determination and dedication. In a quest to seek validation and connection, I have pushed myself to become a better teacher, husband, father, and friend. I have nearly two decades of successes and meaningful connections that only I couldn't see or accept. At every school I have been lucky enough to join, I have made a positive difference and promoted innovation and change. While my insecurity and intense desire to be seen drove me to work harder and harder, it also helped me exceed every expectation I ever laid down for myself.
I can see now that my husband is proud of me and sees me as an equal. I have learned that I bring so much to our marriage and family. I have learned I am no longer that wounded twenty year old he met, broken, all those years ago. My boys love me unconditionally. I see it when I look into their eyes. They were put on this Earth to be my sons. Their pain found mine and we have healed together.
I have spent years running from my past, laying a path I believed to be grounded in weakness, insecurity, invisibility, and unworthiness. I see now that it was truly rooted in determination, strength, passion, and a desire to leave a meaningful mark on this world.
Reframing has been a powerful practice for me. It has helped clear the fog of self-doubt so I can finally see myself clearly.
These are my thoughts as I watch the fire crackle in our living room illuminated with the twinkle lights of our family Christmas tree. Derrick is whistling as he enjoys the home cooking of his aunt. I hear the yells of laughter as my boys play video games with their 80 year old grandfather. I smile as I answer another text from my mom as she shows her gifting expertise for the upcoming holiday.
It has taken me years but I am starting to see myself as a butterfly while also realizing the painful, yet beautiful, changes I have made to reach this point should be seen as the winds that help me take flight and not the fog that keeps me from seeing my journey ahead.