Childhood is a very vulnerable period in our lives: we are growing, developing and learning how to see ourselves and the world around us. This, in turn, can affect how we function as adults—soon, a very toxic, generational cycle of trauma can be set up! In this podcast (episode #263) and blog, I speak to holistic psychologist Dr. Nicole LePera about overcoming childhood trauma and her upcoming book, How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal From Your Past + Create Your Self.
Based on Nicole’s professional and personal experience, her new book discusses in depth why it is so hard to go from knowing what to do to actually changing your life. It is all about empowering unique individuals to create actionable change in their life based on a holistic model of wellness—one that looks at their whole story.
As Nicole points out, we all have messy lives and we all get stuck at times. Messiness is part of the journey; to heal, we must embrace all the parts of our story, even this messiness! Indeed, we often become stuck because of an accumulation of past experiences that we have not dealt with. These experiences condition us to think and behave in certain ways, which can throw us out of alignment with our own unique needs if we don’t face and deal with them. When we operate in this state of disconnection, this can affect both our mental and physical health. We often get so stuck in our past experiences that we lose sight of who we are at our core!
We need to recognize that symptoms like depression, anxiety, sleep issues and heart palpitations are messengers that we need to listen to, telling us that we are out of alignment with our own selves—what Nicole calls our true “essence”. We need to hear the message that they are trying to tell us about ourselves, not suppress or ignore these feelings or identify our whole self with them.
Our symptoms carry a message that we are disconnected from our true selves, not that we are broken. The more we try to “band-aid” or stuff down these symptoms, the more we accumulate the consequences of this suppression. We need to remind ourselves managing or ignoring our symptoms are not our only options. We can find true healing by facing ourselves and doing the healing work.
There is always hope! As Nicole notes, the brain can change at any age. We can integrate new ways of “being” daily, which impact us all the way down to the physiological level.
The first step to healing is what Nicole calls “consciousness”. Your mind is always time traveling through the past, present and future. Self-regulation means harnessing this consciousness in the moment, figuring out where this thought or behavior is coming from and where it is going. It is about training yourself to recognize how you are functioning in the moment, which starts by training yourself to be present in the moment. This involves being able to embrace how you are feeling and what you are experiencing right now, and through this, we begin to see how our past wounds are coloring our “here and now”.
True healing means learning how to integrate our past, present and future into our story through new ways of thinking, choosing, feeling and acting. It doesn’t mean getting rid of the past entirely or forgetting everything that happened to you. Healing begins with becoming aware and conscious of ALL of your experiences to make choices that better serve you.
For more on healing past wounds and the importance of conscious self-regulation, listen to my podcast with Dr. Nicole LePera (episode #263) and check out her website and new book. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
For more help on managing your thinking and dealing with past traumas, check out my new book Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess!
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2:15 Why Nicole wrote her new book
7:30 Why we all have dark nights of the soul
13:44 Why there is always hope
21:22 What is consciousness and why is it important?
26:28 Why we need to give ourselves permission to embrace and experience what we are going through
36:00 Is CBT good for us?
39:00 What is addiction and can it be healed?
44:00 Practical tips for dealing with past wounds and traumas
54:20 How to help someone who has no hope
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