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Why It's Difficult for Trauma Survivors to Feel Good

As we are on our healing journey and recognize rest and slowing down, ease, serenity, and safety as possible for us and likely part of the goals we're growing towards, vs. overwhelm, feeling stuck and in survival mode.

We start moving towards a more regulated, ventral, centered experience of life through regulating and resourcing our nervous system, through tending to our inner child, releasing wounds somatically, setting boundaries with ourselves and others so we can enjoy more ease, peace, spaciousness.

And our nervous system can have a strong counter response to this progress.

Because of the influences of systems that reinforce "hustle and grind" culture and even necessitate living in survival mode, coupled with our own individual and generational trauma histories, ease, flow, prioritizing ourselves, and setting boundaries have likely NOT served us until this point in our lives.

In fact, people pleasing, hustling, never stopping to question what we want, what feels good for us, what is in alignment for us may have helped us receive love, attention, or even helped us survive systems from our families of origin to certain work environments.

Healing means we become willing to release those formerly helpful patterns that are now keeping us stuck, stressed out and in overwhelm. . . and ultimately keeping us in mis-aligned relationships and in an inauthentic life.

I'm not being dramatic friends. . . this is literally life changing to understand and heal.

Even when we’re aware of our past traumas and how harmful “hustle and grind” culture is, we can have a hard time letting go of that programming and regulating & resourcing our nervous systems to live in a more restful, peaceful, easeful way.

As I work with my clients to deprogram, support their nervous systems, and set boundaries to decrease overwhelm and toxic situationships, they create more space, flow, and calm in their lives. They feel more in control of themselves and their lives. They feel more intentional in their choices. They smile and cry and say they’ve never felt so happy, relaxed, and aware.

I have clients who leave soul sucking jobs, set boundaries with or leave toxic relationships, who learn to put their self care as a priority and step into their worthiness. . . and after all this hard work they sometimes feel worse not better for a short time.

This is because their protector parts come pushing back harder with messages like “this won’t last” “you SHOULD be doing more!” “How dare you put yourself first/say no to your MOTHER,” etc. It makes sense that we can be uneasy in ease.

So if you're just becoming aware that hustle and grind, overachieving, being the "busiest" and doing "the most" isn't serving you, I celebrate you!!

If you are trying to slow down and embrace more rest, play, delight, softness, and presence and finding it difficult-it's just your brain doing it's #1 job: to keep you ALIVE with it's motto "this (pattern/behavior/etc) has kept you alive this long, why stop?!"

Your body is doing what it thinks it needs to do to survive by that internal impulse to keep moving-to people please-to never stop. . . And part of healing is learning to tune in. To discern. To honor our protective parts and show them it’s safe to rest. To notice when that impulse of reactivity arises and temper it with somatic tools.

Remember healing is two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, one step back (repeat forever lol!)

As trauma survivors we're really good at handing crisis.

Now as we need to build our capacity to rest.

Rest is our birthright and for so many of (women & femmes, BIPOC) it hasn't been safe to, or we haven't been allowed to or had access to, rest.

So let's start by moving a little slower, relaxing our muscles in our body as we're able to, prioritizing ourselves in some small way, saying no/setting an accessible boundary that's "low risk" (like saying NO to the waiter who tries to refill your coffee after you've already said you're done) to start to show our nervous system that stillness, self care, and slowing down is safe.

Or as an old Buddhist teaching says, just be present with washing one dish (or whatever is right in front of you to do).

I used to practice mindful walking when I would walk down one hallway in my home by noticing my feet on the floor, checking in with my body, and giving myself permission to take 3 more seconds to walk that hallway slowly. Can you even take up 3 more seconds of space in your life? Notice how that question lands in your body.

You deserve all the pleasure, joy, relaxation, and ease that's available to anybody else. If you're a trauma survivor I say you ESPECIALLY deserve to access these experiences that lead to you calling in conscious relationships and creating an intentional life.

With Compassion,

Cassandra Solano, MSW

PS: If you're ready for a highly supportive intimate and transformational experience to do the deep healing so you can craft the life you desire, I invite you to work with me as a 1:1 client in my 6 month program, RELATIONSHIP ALCHEMY. Click the link to learn more, fill out an interest for and let's get together for a 45 minute complimentary discovery call.

And make sure to follow @thenapministry on instagram to support your hustle and grind deconditioning journey

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