We are not all made of stars
And why your self-improvement advice does not work for me
Two weeks ago I wrote a piece called When nothing can take away the pain. The title speaks for itself. Someone commented with a screenshot from the “self-help medium guru” whom I have blocked, Benjamin Hardy, that I am pasting below.
This is not the first time someone shares such advice when I am in pain. It started with my mother imploring me to just shut down the negative thoughts. Facebook posts telling me to breathe for 10 minutes. Books and articles giving me tips and generic advice on how to snap out of the darkness.
While some of the pieces of advice can work for a number of people, most do not work for me. In fact when I read things such as “it is all about how you respond,” I feel infuriated. I feel ashamed that I cannot change my response to be positive, peaceful, equanimous. That I am not doing enough. As if we needed more pressure in a society that runs on burnout.
Am I special? I ask myself. I do not think so. But I know I am not made of stars. I am a trauma survivor which means that my brain is on alert more often than not.
Which means my body is more scared than the average person these tips are thrown at. I grew up in war inside and outside of my home. I am made of bombs and bullets and not out of stars.
We are not all made of stars. Some of us are sensitive souls, who have been exposed to suffering in our early lives. Suffering includes neglect, abuse, war, violence…. And what we need is not your advice, but your ears, your compassion, your presence and your love. While our story may be just a story, we are trying our best to find a way out. Trust me no one hangs out in a traumatized brain out of choice.
Pre-order your copy of child of the moon my first illustrated book of poetry:
about child of the moon:
in between being your mother and father
i forgot to be your daughter
and became the child of the moon
inspired by the author’s traumatic childhood experiences and set against the backdrop of the lebanese civil war, child of the moon is a powerful collection of poetry reflecting on fear, shame, despair, suicide, and the unconditional love that leads to healing.