In this episode I share my thoughts on navigating trauma and understanding that sometimes life is happening for us and not to us.
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e345-how-i-think-about-trauma-trauma-healing-coach/#show-notes
In this episode I share my thoughts on navigating trauma and understanding that sometimes life is happening for us and not to us.
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Somebody asked me recently, what do I think about trauma?
What's up Unbroken Nation. Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. You know, that's a really interesting question, right? Obviously, I live in this world. It's been a huge part of my life to heal and overcome and to be where I am and the truth about it is there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about it. And that's not even necessarily like, just because of coaching or the podcast or writing or any of those things, it's because it's such a foundation of the fabric of my life.
And you've heard me say this before, but Tony Robbins talks about this idea that life is happening for you and not to you. And for a long time, the way that I thought about trauma being in the victim mindset was it's your fault, community's fault, everybody's fault, but Michael's fault that my life is a disaster as an adult. Now that's not culpability for childhood, you've heard me talk about that. As a kid, I didn't understand what was happening and I don't think that most children don't. Most children don't know what's happening, did not mean do, um, that's just the word that came out.
And in that you kind of sit in this thing that feels like normal, right? Like I put it like this. If you only ever ate cheeseburgers, you would never know that there were other foods. Right? And so, if you only ever know trauma. You would never know that there were other ways to be treated as a child. And then what happens is you discover, oh wait, there's tacos over here. I know this is a really weird analogy, but follow me. One day you go, oh shit, there's tacos over here and over here is there's steak and over here, there's a salad, and over here there's quinoa, right? Whatever it is. And so, your brain starts to make meaning of this, but you keep going back to cheeseburgers because that's what, you know, and that thing that you know about cheeseburgers or trauma in this case, by going back by reverting back to it, by being stuck in that place, that is the definition of a fixed mindset, because it's like, you've seen over here, man, like fucking quinoa, so good like love, companionship, empathy, grace. Wow, those things feel really good, but they're not for me. I'm gonna stick to cheese. You get kind of trapped in that where every single day you're like, man, you know, it'd be really good today. Fucking salad be delicious today. It'd be great. I would love empathy salad.
And you're like, ah, but you know what? I only know cheeseburgers. I'm gonna go back to cheeseburgers. That to me is a way that I think about trauma. I know what's a strange analogy, but it's true because like on the other side of what you're used to is change. Right? that's not these grasses greener mentality, cuz I don't think that works. As someone who's traveled the world lived in multiple different countries, airplane to airplane, to airplane to airport, to airport. The one thing I can tell you is that wherever you go, there you are like, there's no escaping who you are. It's gonna follow you.
And so, when you're in this place in your life where you're thinking about, okay, well, how do I really go into what's next? What I always try to remind myself of is that today is the day that matters, right? And the way that I really think about trauma the way it consumes me on a daily basis is that I don't want it to be the thing that dictates who I am. I don't want it to be the thing that tells me the guy I'm supposed to be, or the life I'm supposed to live, I don't want it to be the precursor for success or failure in my life. I want it to simply exist as it is, and that's in truth. And I tell people all the time. Like what's really interesting is like, when I meet people who don't know me, they will always say, well, what do you do? And I say, I just help people change their life. I don't always have to go into a nor do I always want to go into like, I coach people who survive childhood trauma, or I have a podcast about childhood trauma and personal development and mindset and overcoming, right? Sometimes it's just simply, I don't want that to always be the defining factor of who I am. And it's always there. Right. Again, I don't ever try to escape it. I don't ever pretend it's not there, but there's a heaviness that it carries, right? Especially in the world, people hear the I've literally, I'm not even joking. I've literally been in conferences or seminars or rooms and people will say, what do you do? And I'm like, I work with adult survivors of childhood trauma. I've had people go, whoa, and turn around and walk the other way. So, I've kind of learned to read the room a bit better in that. And even for myself in the beginning, if I rewind, you know, five, six years ago saying that to people was always a little bit uncomfortable.
And today the way I think about it is just simply go, it exists. It is the truth, it is life, but it is not the definition of life. It's like what I wrote and think unbroken the first book I said, though, trauma may be our foundation, or it is not our future. I believe that to be incredibly true. I see it to myself. I see it in many of you. I see it in the community. I see it in the things that we're growing and building and changing. And that is fact it's just that is not like where we come from does not have to be who we become, but you can't hide from it. Right. And I think that was probably one of the mistakes that if I could go back in time, I would've really, really thought about don't hide from it. Don't run from it, cuz it's gonna show up and as much as we don't want it to it's going to rear, its ugly head in some way, shape or another. It's like, you know, when you have a small leak at home, you keep ignoring it and eventually have a flood, and that's how I thought about it. And, and today the way that I carry it and the way that I think that if you can get to what I'm about to say is gonna be really profound for you.
If you can understand the truth that we're the sum total of our experiences. So yes, all the things that happened leading up to this moment form who we are, but it doesn't define who we are. Right? Think there's behavioral patterns, there's ways you operate, there's things you do and how you say and how you act and how you react that are informed by those experiences. But those experiences are not who you are, that's the conclusion that I came to, that's the thing that for me, changed my life. And that's how I think about trauma every day, because like, there are a lot of people like me, we carry these scars on our body that cuts the bruises, the things of that nature well, you know, my finger being cut off by my mother is a scar that I look at every day. I cannot fucking avoid it unless I cut off the whole finger, then every single day, like I have to see this. I can pretend it's not there. I can run from it. I can hide from it and I can try to cover it up, but it's still there.
And the only way that I've been able to effectively move through my life while it is still there is by simply pausing and saying it is what it is and that's not to be dismissive, but that's instead to just kind of honor it and go, this is the reality. This is the truth. But it is not who I am. Like, trauma is not who I am. Those experiences are not who I am. I'm not even a coach. I'm not even author. I'm not even a speaker. I'm not even a podcaster, I'm just me. And if you can get to that place and be okay with just being you, right. The reflection in the mirror, then you're going to win. And that's the thing that I encourage people all the time is just, it is okay.
It is okay that these things happen to you. It's okay in this way, where it's not about that it's bizarre to explain because sometimes my brain goes into the matrix on this when I say, okay, I don't mean it's good. I don't mean it's like rational, I don't mean that it's acceptable. I mean, that it's okay in the sense that when you acknowledge it, when you acknowledge it and you go, it's okay, that this happened to me because I'm not going to let it to control me because I've healed, I've grown, I've done the work, I've gone to therapy. I've done all the things that happens, right?
People will always say to me here, this context will help a lot, cuz I don't want what I just said to be misleading.
People leading people ask me all the time. Wow. How do you feel about all those terrible things that happened to you?
I go, it's okay. I can't change it and that's just about acceptance for me.
And so, when I think about it, I go, it's okay, it's not that I'm happy about it. It's not that I want it on any, wish it on anyone else, it's none of those things. It's just simply an acknowledge. Right?
Think about this. If your car's outta gas and you don't acknowledge it, you can never change it. And that's not okay. Right. Then maybe, okay, is the wrong word. But in the moment, this is what's coming to mind. And so, I hope that you'll really follow me and saying that I'm not saying. I mean, obviously, I mean, fuck, I've been doing this for four years, just podcasting alone, not to mention coaching and writing books like abuse is not okay. The first line of think unbroken is child abuse is war. I'm not saying that's okay. What I'm saying is okay is just the simple space of acknowledgement. That's all. That's all because there's freedom that comes in it.
So, when I'm thinking about trauma and I'm thinking about the day to day of life, I don't let it be this weight that pulls me down. And that's what I want to try to convey to you today is that when you can get to that place and it's like, look, I'm gonna be honest with you. For some of us, it's gonna take a really, really long time. It probably took me seven years to get to that place. You know, and it's something that all the time I'm like battling back and forth in my head.
So, my hope is that as you hear this, and as you think about what is to come in your life, in those moments, you don't run from it. You don't hide from it. You don't stuff it down. You go, yes, this is the reality. This is the truth, life happened. And again, I know the Tony Robbins thing opening this is, it's a hard truth for people to hear. Right? But you go look at that guy's story. His mom beat the shit out of him, used to make him drink liquid soap, would walk him outta the house that night. Like I relate to so many of the experiences that he had and for this sense of freedom that comes through acknowledgement, it's unbelievable because you get to that place where you go, wait, maybe this happened for a purpose.
And it sucks, like I'm not saying it's good because it's fucking not, it blows like it really blow. You've probably heard me say this on this show before. I would rather be doing a million other things than this, but that wasn't in the cards for me and I'm okay with that. And so, I look at life and instead of letting life be this thing that destroys me or every single day, I just go it's okay, it's okay. Can I overcome? Can I push forward? Can I continue to show up? Can I be a man of valor, of self-love of empathy, of companionship, of compassion? Can I change the world? Right? It's like, well, without all those other things that happened for me, I may not be able to do this and that's a mindset shift, and it's a difficult, arguably it's the hardest one to make, because it's really easy to point out life. And as you fucking should, like for real. Point at life and be like, this suck. This is unfucking fair. There's this really interesting space where it's just, okay, it happened for a purpose.
And again, I know that it's gonna take a while for some people to get to this. For me, it's taken a very long time and I go, well.. I'll give you more context. I think to myself, how could I serve the world? How can I end generational trauma in my life? How can I help people change their lives forever? How can I create this show and all this other stuff that comes along with this idea and concept about Think Unbroken, if I didn't come to the conclusion that all those things happen for a reason, it's not that doesn't suck, like, it's not that it doesn't suck, it's just that I simply go, okay, I get it, maybe there's a purpose here.
I know this episode's a little heady. This is just something that's been on my mind over the last couple of days. People ask me a lot and I was like, you know what? I'm gonna break this down a little bit. If you're confused. If you want me to go deeper in this with you feel free, email me firstname.lastname@example.org or you can comment on the YouTube channel if you just search, Think Unbroken or even DM me, everybody. I tell everyone all the time, the only people that check my social media is me. Nobody else. So, you can hit me up at Michael Unbroken, especially if this one might be making you go wait, I don't fully understand. It took a long time for me to get to the place of breaking down what I just did.
So that said, my friends, thank you for being here.
It means the world to me.
And Until Next Time.
I'll see ya.