The following is an excerpt from Chapter Eight of my book Repair Your Life. It is titled Awareness. REPAIR is an acronym for the stages of the program and Awareness is step four.
Understanding is the key, Acceptance is the door.
Socrates, one of the world’s greatest philosophers, once said, An unexamined life is not worth living. Much truth lies in those words as well as much power. In this chapter, you will need to draw on this to understand the importance of Awareness.
The quality of becoming aware includes many components. Sensibility, prudence, knowledge, visualization, feeling, and foresight are a few. They are siblings in the same family, gifts given to humans at birth. With these gifts, a human can be and do all to which they aspire. Let’s take a closer look at these qualities before we proceed to see what part they played in our childhood sexual abuse issue.
One of the marks of sensibility is the capacity to reason, to use your head and think things through. It is an invaluable tool to have by your side as you journey through life. A sensible person makes wiser decisions. He doesn’t react, he responds. He knows he can take all the time in the world to make a choice, and because he can, he makes the best choice possible.
Without reason or sensibility, one cannot have prudence. Prudence is cautious, not headstrong and impulsive. Prudence doesn’t get one in situations that leave scars, because it’s skilled in good judgment and knows all the resources available. Prudence uses that reason to discipline itself and once disciplined, life falls into order rather than chaos. One finds peace and tranquility in that order.
Knowledge gathers experiences and sorts through them for the right answers. Knowledge is cognizant of the full range of truths available in one’s life. Knowledge investigates, observes, and studies not only human nature, but the nature of things and the nature of the universe. In the gathering of this knowledge one gains power, especially personal power.
The ability to see all that you know, bringing it to life so that you can choose your next step, is a rare but not impossible quality. Vision, throughout the ages, has progressed men from the humblest backgrounds to some of the greatest positions on earth. On a smaller scale, visualization forms mental images that propel us into our dreams. Without visualization, we have no dreams. Create a vision, then step into it.
The capacity to respond emotionally to everything that happens in our life is a strength, not a weakness. People who are aware of what is happening in their universe can feel. Feelings bond us to others, give us drive, protect us against wrongs, offer the gifts of humor, pathos, joy, and sorrow. Even sorrow has a healing property necessary to becoming a whole person. It is not feelings that get people in trouble, it is the actions they take based on those feelings.
This simple act of looking forward takes us from the past to the present and into the future. We can do nothing about what has gone before, but the present, although elusive and shifting, is the arena of change. Healthy choices made in the now will open a future that promises the fulfillment of your God-given potential.
Now let’s take a look at these Awareness gifts inherent to man and see where they fit into the life of a person who was sexually abused as a child. They don’t. When you’re living in a world filled with chaos and trauma, moving from one crisis to another, the sibling qualities of Awareness can do little good.
Sensibility—how can a person filled with despair begin to put pieces together to find answers that make sense.
Prudence—once sexually molested, reacting, rather than responding to the daily happenings in our lives is the only tool we know to use, thereby eliminating prudence. Good judgment is a luxury we cannot afford.
Knowledge—One who is sexually abused as a child may instinctively know the answers but is unable to follow through with the right choices. Knowledge only becomes a powerful tool when utilized in conjunction with the other properties of Awareness.
Visualization—Who can see anything but hopelessness when all you hear is a child screaming inside of you, when all you know is that nothing ever works out for you?
Feeling—The wounded child has plenty of feelings, all of them either out of control or locked into that closet in their mind for fear that, once unleashed, they would be uncontrollable.
Foresight—The emotional growth of a child who has been sexually abused is locked in time at the moment of their trauma. There is no foresight for them, for they see no future, only a despairing past and a chaotic present.
This is what child sexual abuse has done, robbed us of these six God-given rights. It is our hope that by the time you arrive at this part of REPAIR, you will begin to experience the joy that the components of Awareness bring. They come little by little. One day you realize that you just set a boundary to give yourself time to make a decision. Knowledge combined with prudence and accompanied by foresight gave you a useful tool What a great step! It’s time for another.
Your decisions seem wiser, partially a result of sensibility. Your old friends (those whose own lives are consumed with the same chaos and despair you used to have), annoyed at you for not being “yourself,” begin to fall away. As they do so an amazing thing happens. You don’t miss them. You’ll begin to realize that you’re on a different road now and you have nothing in common. You’ll also begin making friends that are on the same road, thereby enhancing your ability to complete REPAIR.
As you move through the program and assemble the pieces to your life, a picture emerges—the pieces to the puzzle that your life has become.
If you haven’t yet worked the Repair Your Life program now is a great time to start. The book is listed on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.co, and all other online book stores.