How Healing from Trauma Empowered Me to Create a Purposeful Business
When I was little, I lived in total abundance. Some days my brother and I would wake up to a table full of food and lots of sweets while my mom was out taking care of her brand-new business. I felt loved, safe, and abundant, even though I didn’t even know what that meant by then.
Unfortunately, abundance didn’t last long for us. In just a couple of years, Mom’s business went down, and in the blink of an eye, we were in deep debt. I went from dressing like an African princess living her best life in Europe to wearing used clothes that barely fit me and from having an unlimited abundance of food to opening the fridge and seeing nothing but a tomato can.
At that moment, I learned that 'one day you have everything, and the next day you are left with nothing.' Well, at least that’s how I felt, especially after I started experiencing physical and then sexual violence by a close family member right around the same time.
If you feel called to, you can learn more about my story, at the end of this post I am sharing an interview I did a couple of years ago, but for now, I’d love you to keep reading to know how healing from trauma empowered me to create a purposeful business, and how it can help you too.
As you probably have guessed, the trauma I suffered has influenced tremendously the way I view money, my mindset around abundance, and my sense of worth. You see, trauma has repercussions that go from extremely clear to subtleties you can only notice when you practice mindfulness and awareness. It took me more than a decade after leaving the abusive household I grew up in to even start noticing. Do you want to know how everything started?
A long time ago, in another life, I was working for a hotel as an entertainer, and I had to teach some classes, including stretching. Mind you, I knew nothing about stretching, I didn’t even exercise or intend to, I was just trying to make a living. While walking beside the hotel pool, I decided to investigate some of the materials we had in the cabinets. There were all sorts of gym equipment and other sports materials that I didn’t even know how to use, but there was something that caught my attention: a yoga book. “I could use some of these postures at my boring stretching classes!” - I thought to myself. Little did I know that I would fall in love with yoga and that would wake me up from the fake hypnosis I didn’t know I was in, where I thought that if I just kept walking like nothing happened, it would be like nothing happened.
I now know that my yoga practice allowed my nervous system to calm down and give me a break. The good thing was, I could see clearly now, and the best thing, I could start making some changes in my life! That’s when I started my personal growth and healing journey. At first, all I wanted was to be truly happy, so I set up myself to be happy 5 days a week, instead of being kind of happy once a week, like I was before.
Lo and behold, it was happening. I was experiencing true happiness for the first time in about 20 years! And from that experience, I kept going deeper and deeper and saw a huge change in my overall well-being, behavior, and even in the way I carried myself.
That was it, healing was possible! And happiness too. Even for me!
So, when I learned all that, I immediately wanted to let other survivors know, because: I just came from the darkness I never thought I’d come out! I wanted to teach everyone the tools I learned, introduce them to traditional yoga, and meditation, mindfulness, and give them the plethora of tools and techniques I acquired along the way. I wanted to scream from the top of my lungs and let them know that YES!, healing is possible, and so is being happy and enjoying life. But once I realized that what I wanted in my heart was to dedicate my life to it and that that meant creating a business to sustain the mission, fear took over me:
“Who am to do this?”, “Who am I to charge money?”, “I don’t deserve to have money!”, “I don’t have what it takes, forget it.”
- My mind would say, with a certainty that made it hard for me to even question it. After all, I was used to having everything in the material world to be taken away from me, so that feeling was only normal and too familiar. These feelings of unworthiness were rooted in traumatic experiences, and when that happens, you really need to pay attention to that because either you are going to achieve what you want but still feel like you’re not worthy, or you’re going to sabotage yourself so much that you’re never gonna fulfill your purpose. By then, I chose self-sabotage.
So, Years went by and even though I knew what I actually wanted to do with my life, I went ahead and tried to balance several full-time jobs, got my life coaching certification to start coaching people on the side, all while hosting some workshops and teaching yoga classes. Which is not so bad, you may think. It was okay, but when you KNOW what you’re supposed to be doing, what your soul is craving, it is painful to stay half-committed. In the meantime, thankfully, I kept up with my own healing and personal growth work, and that’s what ultimately empowered me to take the big leap. I was tired of living on the fence, and not trusting my skills after years of expertise, and thousands of euros spent on my education.
I know the big leap sounds cinematic, kind of like a big jump from one side to the other, but in reality, I did not jump: I built a bridge. Today I am going to share with you the unshakable foundation of my bridge; the 5 fundamental pillars, or practices that helped me build the confidence, resilience, and peacefulness to follow my purpose and most importantly; actually feel happy while doing it!
#1 Dive deep into feelings
I believe you can not go on any journey without connecting or re-connecting with yourself. When I started my own journey, I decided to be honest with myself no matter what, no matter how embarrassing the truth was. To do that, I had to dive deep into my feelings. When I dove deep, I allowed myself to have access to what was really going on in my heart and therefore in my mind. I needed that awareness to make better decisions.
Surprisingly enough, feelings can be a great compass to where you should aim towards. Are you feeling unfulfilled? Dive deep. Sad? Dive deep. Numb? Dive even deeper.
And when you dive, make sure to look for some treasures like your true self’s voice. What does it want? What would it do in this situation? Dive deep to know the truth and inspired action will follow.
Diving deep enhances your emotional intelligence and allows you to make better decisions in any area of your life, including business. But the best thing is that you can do it from an empathetic and authentic perspective. As you do that, you connect with the outer world not from a traumatic experience lens, but from a grounded and empowered perspective.
#2 Inner Child Integration
As I moved on on my healing journey, I started not knowingly distancing myself from my inner child. I felt like I was a new person, and that little Erika was a thing of the past. But contrary to what I thought, she was still a part of me, and will always be. By pushing her away, I was rejecting a precious part of myself; the part that brought me to where I am today. So, until I realized this mistake, I spent a great deal of time trying to completely ignore and repress her.
Fortunately, with the help of my life coach, I realized that I had to welcome her, love her, and embrace her as part of me and my story.
You see, your inner child carries the wounds and vulnerabilities from your past experiences, which may be painful to embrace at first, but integrating your inner child allows you to nurture and heal this wounded aspect of yourself. This practice not only strengthens your emotional resilience but also enhances your capacity to adapt to the challenges of an adventure like entrepreneurship.
When you embrace your inner child with love and compassion, you cultivate a wellspring of self-care, and this self-care becomes an anchor, providing stability in the face of uncertainty. As you bring your inner child along on your journey, you create a harmonious relationship between past and present, infusing your life with authenticity and a childlike sense of wonder.
Integrating my inner child helped me navigate the world feeling whole and complete, and gave me the power and confidence to keep investing in myself and my dreams and I would love that for you!
As a survivor of child abuse and violence, I got used to doing things in a forced, nervous manner. Barely anything would be motivated by joy or lightness but hard work, suffering, and sacrifice. When I thought about having a business, guess what I assumed I was supposed to do? You guessed it: work HARD. Just like my abuser would do to me in the past, I started bullying myself into taking action and bullying myself a bit more into pushing harder and harder. And oh my, it took me a while to get this one right. But I did it! And now I can proudly say that I work and live from a place of self-compassion.
As far as I can see, self-compassion is a radical act of kindness towards yourself. Treating yourself with the same understanding and care that you would extend to a close friend, will give you a sense of calm and emotional stability. As a thriving survivor, self-compassion enables you to break free from self-criticism and perfectionism. It’s another step to cultivating the resilience that will serve as the foundation for your journey, propelling you forward even when faced with setbacks in your personal or professional life.
Practicing self-compassion has blessed me in so many ways, but fundamentally helped me build up my self-love and confidence and empowered me to claim my space as a woman navigating this world and as a business owner with a voice that matters.
#4 Abundance Mentality
When it comes to having an abundance mentality as a thriving survivor, I think it's all about understanding that your past experiences do not limit your future potential. By adopting an abundance mentality, you open yourself up to endless opportunities, and this mindset change allows you to see the potential for growth and success in you and your business.
Transitioning from a scarcity to an abundance mindset was a transformative shift for me, and I have to say that it was probably the number one thing limiting me in the most recent years. I did not know how deep-rooted my scarcity mindset was, and when I started digging, I was surprised. I had to tackle my limiting beliefs around money, one by one to get to this point, and I am still peeling the onion.
This shift from scarcity to abundance empowered me to dream bigger, set audacious goals, and take the calculated risks I needed to take to get to where I wanted to go. Apart from that, I realized that having an abundance mentality also allows you to collaborate and connect with others more healthily because you understand that abundance is infinite and other people's success or lack thereof says nothing about you and your worth. And the same goes for the societal definition of success.
In exploring abundance, I have redefined what success means to me. In this version of success, my worth is not attached to my achievements but is rooted in the undeniable truth that I was born worthy.
This mindset change inevitably translated directly to my business, and I now approach each venture with a sense of possibility and a determination to thrive.
#5 Own Your Story
Nothing felt more empowering in my entire life than owning my story. In owning my story I took my power back and claimed the right to write down the rest of the book of my life.
I know this for a fact: owning your story is an act of empowerment. Unfortunately, you only realize this once you cross to the other side.
What does owning your story mean? To me, it means I assume and embrace my past experiences as they truly happened, without sugarcoating them and feeling embarrassed or ashamed. I say: that’s what it was. I accept it so no part of me is denied or left behind, but then I choose what IS and what will be. I take my power back.
When you own your story, you stop letting it define you, and you can make decisions like dropping your nine-to-five to pursue your purpose. Not only that, but you do so in a self-compassionate matter, and you lay the grounds to make the ride as smooth as possible. Because in knowing your story you know yourself and embrace your limitations, or should I say particularities? I mean, how many limitations have you overcome already?
Another big deal about owning your story is the authenticity and depth that it brings to your relationships. You come as you are, and the right people will receive it with a kind of love you probably never experienced. Not to talk about how it empowers other survivors to free themselves as well.
A word on the Unshakable Foundation
When I was still working at my last nine-to-five as a primary and infant school teacher, I heard Mel Robbins talk about this visualization of a bridge. When you are going through transitions, think about you in the middle of a bridge, going from one side to the other. This image helped me to get through the necessary transition moment between being an employee and having a side gig to becoming a full-time entrepreneur. But at the same time, I can’t help but think I made it through because I built that bridge on a very strong and unshakable foundation, and so can you.
In this blog post, I shared five fundamental practices to empower yourself to create your purposeful business or better said, anything you want in life. All you have to do is dive deep into your feelings, integrate your inner child, practice self-compassion, work on your abundance mentality, and own your story.
With this foundation, you will see your life transform in imaginable ways, and I can not wait to witness it!
Love and light,
Pssst! Here's the interview I was telling you about 🤗😉