Couple Hugging

Due to past traumas, and societal expectations about politeness, we may face difficulty with connecting to our inner thoughts. We may feel like setting boundaries are unkind, or we may feel it is rude to leave a place that we feel uncomfortable at. 

By ignoring that gut instinct, or red flags, we my ignore our needs and end up in relationships, friendships, places, and jobs, which do not serve us. Watch Video

Leaning into trusting our self is a journey. Emotional abuse can take a toll. If we lean into the uncomfortable feelings that accompany change, we may surprise ourselves at what we are capable of. We may begin to feel empowered.

The key to empowerment, however, is that individuals have to empower themselves. It may not be as simple as attending a lecture; it may require a significant psychological shift that challenges our current belief system or even our upbringing (see HBR).

As we fine tune our connection, we can bring awareness to our inner dialogue. 

  1. Listen to our hunch. What is this scenario telling us? Does something just feel “off” about a comment, person, situation, or assignment? Do we feel a gut instinct that we were just lied to? 

  2. Constructively question. Why do I feel uncomfortable? Is it past trauma, or does this still feel off even if we have experienced past trauma? What specifically was said that did not feel right? Is it safe to ask? Are there other ways of completing a task or assignment? Are there other ways to compromise? Were my boundaries violated?

  3. Practice. Begin to lean into the instinct or discomfort. If a place feels unsafe, casually leave. If a person has lied to us, ask for more clarification. If a person has imposed our boundaries, let them know. If a person is not safe or healthy, identify this and either seek safety, or have a conversation.

  4. Reflect. If you push back or set-up boundaries, what was the response? How did it feel? Did you ultimately protect your needs? What would you do differently? What would you do the same? Practice self-compassion because learning to trust yourself, especially after trauma or abuse, takes time.

Trauma Care: Trusting our Instinct, Safety & Empowerment