5 New Year’s Resolutions to Consider in 2017 to Reclaim Hope

If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am.

-Cyril Cusack-

 

Do you make resolutions for the new year? If you do, consider the following 5 things to add to your list.

1. Find a healthy way to deal with negative events, people, and emotions.

Things like deep breathing, meditation, or healing writing.

2. Embrace your truth, whatever it is.

Learn to love and accept yourself for who you are!

3. Try to recognize the things that aren’t in your control and let them be.

It’s so much better for your mental health if you can learn when to hold on and when to let go.

4. Look into doing something physical for your well-being.

Whether it’s walking, yoga, or simply focusing on having better posture, you’ll be amazed at the change you can make internally when you feel good about yourself externally.

5. Learn something new about yourself.

Make time to explore your thoughts, talents, and interests. You might be surprised what you’re capable of when you give yourself the chance!

We at The Younique Foundation wish you a very Happy New Year and hope that whatever your resolutions are, you make yourself – and your healing journey – a priority in the coming year.

I Will Rise Unafraid

“You’re allowed to scream, you’re allowed to cry, but do not give up!”

Tiffany, Survivor

“Did I make the right choice by coming here?” That is what was going through my head as I drove out to The Haven Retreat. Going into this knowing that I was going to step out of my comfort zone and make that best out of this was scary. Looking back at it now I can tell you that it was the best decision I have made in my life!

Walking through those doors for the first time feeling so vulnerable yet safe and loved is something that I can not even describe. I knew instantly that I would be okay, and that I was going to get something so special out of this experience. This retreat gave me my life back! It did this by giving me the tools, the hope, and the strength that I needed to get through each day.

Thank you to The Younique Foundation for hosting this retreat and helping so many realize that they are not alone. You’re allowed to scream, you’re allowed to cry, but do not give up!

I will rise unafraid.

-Tiffany, Survivor

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The Art of Giving

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

-Aesop-

You’ve probably heard the saying “It’s better to give than to receive.” That may be true, but there are several different layers of “giving” for a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. We need to focus on each at different times in our lives depending on where we are in our healing journey.

Here are the three categories of giving that we want to focus on:

1. Giving to yourself.

This one is first for a reason. You can’t be constantly giving to others without first making sure that your own needs are met. Too often survivors forget this important part of giving. As we are reminded in airplanes, in case of emergency, you need to put your own mask on before helping others with theirs.

A common problem survivors have is feeling that they are unworthy or selfish if they spend any amount of time or money on themselves. You are VERY worthy. Treat yourself well. Take care of your needs first.

2. Giving to others.

This is one that we’re all familiar with, but it doesn’t have to be big gifts for big occasions. If you consciously noticed all the small acts of kindness you give every day, you’d be amazed at how they add up. Perhaps trying to do one small thing for someone else is the perfect thing for you today – write a thank-you note, give a bigger tip, pay for the food of the car behind you in the drive-through – those small things mean a lot.

A common problem survivors have is giving out of obligation. Feeling that you HAVE to give so much of yourself or your time, etc. and you can feel guilty if you don’t. Giving out of obligation isn’t truly giving. Give someone a gift, however big or small, because you WANT to, not because you feel like you must.

 3. Receiving.

Are you surprised that this one is on the list? For some people it’s easy to give to others, but it’s difficult to receive for themselves. This includes people offering to help you in any way – it may not be something you’re used to, but try saying yes. Allow someone else to do something good for you.

A common problem survivors have is feeling that it makes them weak or pitiable to accept help from others. That isn’t true. Allow others to give to you because we all need that sometimes. Don’t accept if you feel it is disingenuous or insincere. If someone is trying to give something to you, a gift or help or their time, accept it for what it is – a sign that they love you and care about you.

As you read over the list, there may have been one that you want to work on. Whichever one it is, think about the reason behind it. For example, why is it so hard to give to yourself? Why does it make you uncomfortable to do small things for others? Why is accepting gifts or help from others so hard for you?

Find the answers that will help you on your healing journey and take the time this week to think about the art of giving and what you can do to give (or receive).

Handling the Holidays as a Survivor

Sometimes you face difficulties not because you’re doing something wrong, but because you’re doing something right.

-Joel Osteen-

Family get-togethers can be trying for anyone, but for survivors of childhood sexual abuse they can be especially difficult. Especially if your family is tied to your abuse in some way. It could be that they didn’t believe you, that they didn’t stop it, that they don’t support you in getting help, or that someone in your family was the perpetrator.

So what do you do in order to keep yourself safe and happy during the holidays?

We asked the clinicians here at The Younique Foundation for their tips, and most of them, unsurprisingly, centered around self-care.

It’s important that you take care of yourself before, during, and after any events you attend. Here is the advice from our clinicians:

  • Remember that you are the expert on your own life. Nobody knows what’s best for you more than you do. The more you trust what your “inner voice” whispers to you, the better you will get at trusting yourself. You have the right to set healthy boundaries for yourself. Keep this in mind if friends or family make you feel bad about your choices any time during the holidays.
  • Be kind to yourself and make self-care a priority – you are worth the time and investment to keep yourself healthy.
  • Realize that triggers may happen during holiday events, so make a plan ahead of time for how you are going to deal with them. Proactively face triggers instead of operating in a reactive mode.
  • If possible, make sure you can contact your therapist or a trusted friend if you start feeling anxious or panicking. Let them know beforehand that you’re going to be at a certain place at a certain time and may need to talk to them in that time-frame.
  • Create physical distance between yourself and your perpetrator if they are a member of your family. Avoid being alone with them and try to sit as far from them as possible.
  • Don’t give up – stay vigilant, give yourself space to think, and remember what has helped in the past.
  • Practice your favorite grounding techniques:
    • Deep Breathing
    • Mindfulness
    • Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
    • Guided Imagery
  • The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be fun and exciting. Sometimes though it can be overwhelming and exhausting. Remember to take the time for self-care. Relax in a bubble bath, sip a cup of cocoa in front of the fireplace, practice yoga stretches for tension relief, or immerse yourself in a good book. Feeling rejuvenated and uplifted will give you the energy to face the hustle and bustle.

The Forgotten Survivor

Written by Chris Yadon, Executive Director of The Younique Foundation

She is your sister, your neighbor, your coworker; maybe your mom or daughter.  She is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and she is forgotten by most. She keeps her abuse to herself because she feels shame or doesn’t feel safe enough to share it.  In fact, she may not even tell you she is a survivor no matter how close you are to her.  She is the “forgotten” survivor.

But she is not forgotten to us.

I love the work we do at The Younique Foundation (TYF) and, because of that work, I often find myself in situations where people are genuinely interested in what we do.  The conversation is predictable and usually goes something like this:

Person“What do you do at The Younique Foundation?”

Me“We get to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse find healing.”

Person“So you work with kids?”

Me“No.  We get to help adult women who were sexually abused as children.”

Person“Oh, so you run a women’s shelter?”

Me“Not quite.  The women we work with are not typically in crisis mode.   They are high-functioning women who are successful in life, but are still dealing with the trauma they experienced as children.”

The conversation continues as I share the great work we do at TYF and how we help women.  Our approach is intriguing because what we do is different—something many have not considered before.

Many communities have services for women in crisis or children in crisis, but very few have services for the “forgotten” survivor—the woman who was abused as a child but never quite got the help she needed. This “forgotten” survivor has learned to be successful despite her trauma.  She appears to be healthy and happy, but there may still be a storm raging on the inside that is silently tearing her apart.  Because she appears to be doing well and, in fact, is doing well in many aspects of her life, many people don’t see that she may need help.  In essence, she is forgotten.

At TYF, we know it is never too late to heal.  We are proud to tell the “forgotten” survivor that she is NOT forgotten and we are here to help—that now is a great time to heal.  Through our retreats and online services, she can find tools that help her find healing while she continues to succeed in her busy life, her career, and her relationships.  She doesn’t have time to stop her world while she heals.  She needs a simple guide and simple tools to implement that will help her heal along the way.

That is exactly what we do at TYF. We are proud to serve the “forgotten” survivor. She is not forgotten anymore.

I’ve Come So Far, and I’m Not Going Back

“I’ve come so far, and I’m not going back!”

Leilani, Survivor

“In a matter of a couple of years, I went from a woman who would have taken the secret of her abuse to her grave to the woman who did everything in her power to protect the little girl who never got her chance to fight or scream. After 15 years of not remembering my abuse and another 10 burying it, deciding to finally tell my parents was more than liberating. It was the catalyst to my healing.

The early stages of anger and rage I felt fueled my determination to fight for my inner child and do what she couldn’t do to protect herself at 4 years old.

Until I attended The Haven Retreat, I never felt strong or worthy of happiness. Never.

The Younique Foundation changed all of that. Attending the retreat removed the cloud I was living under. It helped me understand trauma and realize I wasn’t alone. I was surrounded by complete strangers, but we were bonded together by our traumas and a deep understanding of the pain we all felt. No one needed to say anything, but I felt like every woman in that room knew my heart like no one ever has.

The Haven Retreat wasn’t a quick fix. Those don’t exist. But it was an opportunity to rest, learn, and share in a very safe place. I learned I am strong. I am beautiful. I am worthy. And even though the journey to healing is long, hard and lots of work, I have the tools I need, and that’s dangerous in the hands of a woman who, as a child, has already survived hell on earth. I’ve come so far, and I’m not going back!”

-Leilani, Survivor

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