By Romal Tune – Author of Love Is an Inside Job
Early on in my life as a Christian, I learned that it was important to keep secrets to avoid being hurt. People liked a good testimony but not the God’s honest truth. Like many others, people did the same thing in the church that I did on the streets. When life was hard when I was afraid, anxious or in need of someone to talk to, I just held it all in, I didn’t talk about it just prayed about it. Epic fail. It didn’t work.
Through therapy, I was guided to give voice to what I’d buried for so long. I felt a deep release. I no longer had to hide parts of my story. In speaking confidentially to my therapist, I was able to acknowledge the impact of those haunting experiences, admit how they hurt me, and own that hurt. I did not pretend that it had no effect, hide or run from it. Through the therapy process, I was able to find a way to feel the pain for one last time and then move on.
What I mean by that is this: When I used to think about some experiences, they would make me sad, angry, or afraid, so I would avoid thinking about them. I didn’t want to think about the nights that I was so hungry I just wanted to go to sleep because I knew my mom was out drinking and was not coming home. Through counseling, I was able to confront those experiences and see them for what they are—past painful realities—and then detach my current emotional state from them. I could now look back at the experiences of trauma, verbal and physical abuse, and attempted sexual molestation and see what those experiences could do to me: take away my self-confidence, my desire to dream big dreams, my value.
Those experiences had convinced me that I’m not worthy, that I’m not good enough, and that I am only here to be used and abused. Therapy enabled me to look back at those experiences and say, “It is not true. Those things happened, but they don’t have to continue to produce negative feelings in me every time I think about them. I don’t have to treat the memory of them like they are real now. When they happened back then, especially in my childhood, I could not do anything about that. I was not in charge. When I was a kid, other people had the responsibility of nurturing me, protecting me, instilling value in me, speaking life to me, and inspiring me, and just because those things didn’t sometimes happen, at critical times when I needed them, doesn’t mean I am not worthy. I am worthy. Those people are accountable for their actions or failure to act. What they did or didn’t do neither determines who I am nor dictates my future.”
Therapy allowed me to take power back from those past experiences that hurt me. I began the slow process of countering the many ways those experiences shaped me as an adult. I was enabled to take control of the narrative of my past and embrace what God says about me. In the words of the Psalmist: “I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14 NIV). I started to believe it to be true about myself.
To play the lead in my life and write a new narrative was empowering. It was positive, hopeful, and based on the confidence that I am capable that I am enough. It was not dependent on what anyone says or does. Trust in God and belief in myself was the roots of my courage. Outside support from others is confirmation of what I already know about who God is and who I am created to be. I’m grateful for the support of friends and family because it’s the evidence that I am right about God and right about me.
About the Author: Romal uses purpose and passion to equip people to heal the wounds of their past. He bravely offers up his own journey as a case study of raw transparency and refreshing honesty. As a full-time speaker and author, Romal guides audiences through the process of identifying and embracing their unique destiny. Committed to living the six-word mission statement that defines his life— “I help hurting people find healing”—Romal’s platform and cross-sector relationships have positioned him as a global leader who guides individuals, organizations and institutions to recover from setbacks and achieve success by honoring the particularity of their unique stories. With an infectious style that has impressed thousands both nationally and international audiences, Romal moves people to action! Through compassion, and systemic change, he creates and environment that impacts the effectiveness of individuals, leaders, executives, and their teams.
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