Without the simple step of recognizing our trauma, we replay the story, the sadness, and all of what it has taken from our lives over and over again. The importance of validation must not be underestimated. Validating the loss will support you in letting go of the story and allow you to take the next steps in healing. Give yourself permission to know the impact of your trauma on your life so you can get on with your life.

Note: If the circumstances of your life feel too frightening to revisit without the support of a therapist, do not move ahead with this practice.

Validation practice:

Find a place in your home or office where you can be alone and undisturbed. Make it a place where you feel very safe. Bring a journal, a pen, a timer, tissues, and anything else that helps you feel supported. Set your timer for three to six minutes. You may want to start with three minutes and work up to six minutes depending on how you feel going into the practice. As always, honor where you are before you start.

Trauma in your life may involve a variety of factors. For this practice, I address the most pressing feelings in this moment. These emotions might be connected with what happened long ago or what may be happening right now in your life. It doesn’t really matter what the details are. What you are feeling in this moment? Stand witness to your feelings without judgment, hear them, experience them, and validate them so you can release them.

Without lifting your pen, write the first things that come to your mind when you ask these three questions.

  1. 1. What did this event take from your life?
  2. 2. What injustices did this event impose on your life?
  3. 3. What would your life be like had this not happened?

When you have completed your journaling for that day, take the sheets of paper and find a place where you can safely burn the contents, such as a fireplace or an outdoor fire pit. As you ceremonially light the paper, ask, “Do I need to revisit this again tomorrow?” If yes, make time to do this exercise again the next day. Ask this question every time you do this ritual until you feel the story let go of you.

After your burning ceremony is complete, take a comfortable seat and read the intention below or an intention of your own that you have created. Complete the ceremony with gratitude for the experience.


I have suffered the effects of _______________________________________ (fill in the event that has brought you suffering). I have felt the sadness it has brought to my life. Thank you for bringing to light the parts of me that call for healing. I am grateful, and now I am ready to release the hurt and anger and move on. 

The deep effects of sorrow and trauma can stay with us forever if we don’t give them an outlet. I have found this practice potent in clearing stagnant energy that prevents us from moving forward. Invite this practice into your life, give voice to your sadness, and make room for new hopes and realities. You are worth it!

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Image credit: Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash