Be Your Own Advocate | ItWe’re so conditioned to get the quick fix. It feels like hard work to admit the consequences of affliction, and to face the journey of healing. Any level of self-reflection is especially hard in a post-traumatic state.

It’s more comfortable to consult an expert, like a doctor, and to be given a one-size-fits-all treatment. We seek out a pill, a machine, a quick cure…one that doesn’t really exist. We ask someone else to step up and advocate for our needs, health, comfort, safety.

But the truth is, you need to become your own best advocate.

What I’m asking you to do is to get into your life. Look for cause and effect relationships. Ask yourself the tough questions about your lifestyle and habits, and the consequences on your health, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Seeking self-knowledge will improve every part of your life.

Please know that I’m not encouraging anyone to abandon their healing team. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the doctors, healers, naturopaths, kinesiologists, and spiritual leaders in my life. The difference is, I don’t show up in their offices with a vague list of complaints and expect a miracle. How could any of those people know me, and know my body, better than I do? It’s my responsibility to know everything about myself, and then to help them do their jobs better.

Whatever your circumstances, self-discovery requires a bold, courageous look at yourself. When you measure yourself, be ready to take responsibility for it all. I know for many of you this may sound unreasonable and unfair. The instigating experience of trauma almost always involves at least one other person, and it can feel unbearable to step up and take ownership of a mess caused by someone else.

But here’s the catch: no one else can rescue you from this situation. You could be waiting forever if you expect the instigator of your pain to come back, apologize, and give you back everything he or she took away. Most of the time, that fairytale ending isn’t even possible. It’s up to you to become your own hero here.

You may resist or even reject these words at first. I know, because I did the same thing, until the dead ends frustrated me enough that I had to look at different alternatives. I am sure you’re already coming up with numerous excuses, and examples that would prove me wrong in my assertion to take responsibility for yourself.

The truth is we cannot change anyone else: not our children, spouses, siblings, parents or dearest friends. We can only change ourselves. The only way out of the pain of trauma is owning every bit of your life, not some of it, but all of it. Once that happens, everything changes.

The first steps I took in owning it all were in observing how much I avoided looking at the things in my life that felt difficult and insurmountable. In observing this, I marched into these areas of my life like a soldier and learned new ways of dealing with the most challenging aspects of my life. Some of the these attempts were hugely successful, and others not so much, but each time I moved towards the discomfort instead of away from it I felt better; much better, in fact, than I did when I avoided the pain.

It’s occurred to me that when we take a deep look (instead of reaching for a quick fix) we find the real causes and cures for our problems.