By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
Our theme for the survivor quotes we’ve been featuring this month has been “The Journey.” The journey that every survivor of an abusive relationship faces will be unique, and we know that there is no single way to define what the journey of recovering from abuse will look like for everyone.
As some of the quotes we’ve featured this month highlight, the journey can be long and challenging. For example, one of our study participants whose quote we featured last week said, “It is a long, difficult, and sometimes very lonely road.”
When one is in the midst of this journey and all of its associated challenges, it can be easy to feel discouraged and even lost along the way. Survivors may find themselves focusing more on how much further they want to go, rather than on how far they have already come.
And so, today I wanted to share some quotes from survivors that show just how important it is along the journey to take time to pause for reflection on the way.
First, one participant in our research said, “There is a lot of work that survivors do to become healthy, functioning members of society and they are seldom, if ever, given the credit they deserve.” This quote highlights the work that is often involved along the journey and shows the importance of being intentional about that work.
Second, personal reflection can help survivors identify the lessons they have learned along that way, and how those lessons can drive changes they want to make in their lives. For example, see the following quotes:
And third, personal reflection can lead to new insights that help survivors move forward with their healing process. One study participant said, “For me, a big obstacle to overcome in accepting and escaping abuse was the realization that I didn't have the power to fix or manage the situation. It wasn't about me or my behaviour. The violence was inevitable and all the patience, forgiveness and empathy, on my part, couldn't stop it.”
As Kierkegaard’s quote at the start of today’s post suggests, reflecting on the past can help people understand the experiences they have faced. In addition, I believe this reflection helps people appreciate how far they have come. Appreciation for all of the big and small acts of courage that survivors have shown can offer additional strength and motivation as survivors live forward into the next steps of their journeys.