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How to Go From Surviving to Thriving After Abuse

4 ways to start taking care of yourself better today

  • October 12, 2015
  • By Connie Sloane
How to Go From Surviving to Thriving After Abuse

Emerging from an abusive relationship presents the opportunity to shift from a surviving mode to a thriving mode. During this period of transition, independence and practical everyday challenges happen while you may be rebuilding self-esteem and healing emotionally. It’s no easy task, and understanding what may lie ahead and developing a course of action can help you flourish, prosper and grow.

When life coaching, I explain this time of evolution as similar to a houseplant that’s been located in a spot not conducive to its growth. Its leaves are limp, its color is dull and it looks as if it isn’t going to make it. However, when watered regularly and moved to a spot where it receives the right amount of sunlight, the plant becomes healthy and beautiful.

You can position yourself to align with what you want from life. Perhaps you want a thriving career, doing work that you are fulfilled by. Maybe you want to run a household where your children thrive in their academics and talents. Maybe it is something else altogether. Whichever area of life is your focus, you can achieve what you want by creating the right circumstances to make it happen.

Here are few tips to help you thrive in four fundamental areas of life:

Goals: Knowing how you want your future to look and understanding why you want it to look that way is a good place to start. Explore in detail what is truly important to you and what the desired outcome will look like. To make your future more tangible, consider pinning aspects of your future self to a bulletin board, or placing objects in a room that represent the future, or placing Post-Its you reread daily with phrases related to your goals like, “I am confident”, “My kids are happy” or “I own a business.” And always remember that some days you’ll make more progress than others. This is normal for anyone.

Career: Is there is a type of work you thoroughly enjoy and would do for free? Provided you don’t have to make a living, this could be a reinvigorating professional endeavor. If you do need a paying job, even finding one that isn’t your ideal career choice can provide health benefits and position you for the career you seek. If additional training or education is needed to obtain the job you want, consider mixing in workshops and classes, when time permits. You do not need to feel pressured to accomplish too much too quickly or to achieve your career ambitions immediately. Career-building takes time.

Parenting: “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” is a saying that holds true. Taking care of you, whether you are a woman or man, is a top priority. Being a parent wearing a multitude of hats can be overwhelming, stressful and exhausting. Asking for help from others is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Having a support system can free up time for healing, career and personal pursuits and mitigate the weight of being a sole provider. Consider friends, family, local non-profits, social networks and online support groups (insert websites) all as potential support system options.

Self-Esteem: Healthy self-esteem is about being at peace with who you are and what you have to offer the world, accepting who you are and genuinely liking the person you have become. Building self-esteem will be a process that takes time and there are many ways you can try to improve it:

  • Make a list of your strengths, achievements and what you admire about yourself.
  • Think positively about yourself; you are a unique and valuable person.
  • Challenge any negative thoughts about yourself.
  • Do more things that you enjoy doing.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Focus on your personal hygiene and feel good about how you look.
  • Manage your stress levels.
  • Do something that you have been putting off.
  • Avoid people and places that treat you badly.
  • Do something nice for others.
  • Set a realistic challenge for yourself and achieve it.

Editor's Note: Connie Sloane is a revitalization coach and the Founder of The Soda Foundation.