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A while ago, a client mentioned finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of her food and emotional problems. It dawned on me then that rarely are we in tunnels that are pitch black, totally devoid of light. In fact, most tunnels we find our way through have intermittent light that provides enough illumination to help us emerge from them.
Where have the lights come from in your “tunnels” of overcoming eating problems, clearing trauma, and healing from emotional wounds? It’s important to remember what and who lighted your way so you can bring up those memories when you feel trapped and alone in the darkness. Moreover, it’s far more beneficial to focus on these “lights” than on how trapped you felt in whatever tunnel of despair you had been in. These bright memories alone can light the way for you now out of pain and suffering.
Which people have been torches of hope, kindness, validation, consolation, support, and comfort in your life? Take a moment to remember their names, faces, words, and deeds. Perhaps a mere acquaintance said something that lifted your spirits enough for you to soldier on. Maybe there have been a few constant, cherished relationships that have nurtured you along the way and it’s time to take a few minutes to feel grateful for their presence in the past or present. Maybe you were part of a support system and don’t remember everyone’s names, but do recall how safe, cared for and very much yourself you felt in their company and how those feelings helped you make progress.
What characters in movies, books, TV, or plays have inspired you? You know, when you suddenly felt that if they could keep climbing over hurdles, you could too. When we identify with characters’ struggles, we merge with their guts and their strengths. They become our role models—sometimes, sadly, the only ones we encounter along the way. What was it about these characters that you bonded with and which guided you back on the path of progress, recovery, or resolution? What attitudes did they hold, what actions did they take that stand out in your mind? How did they light your tunnel?
What words or phrases hearten you and give you hope? All of us have heard adages or advice that have struck a deep chord in us that has made a huge difference in our ability to move forward. Write down the wisdoms that helped you take a next step and not give up, the phrases that moved you in your core to the point that you couldn’t think of giving up. Seek out these kinds of lights no matter what tunnels you’re in. They’re always shining there if you pay more attention to them than to the darkness.
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