The Trauma Survivor’s Guide to Dating Your Greatest Soulmate

When I found myself on my own after leaving my first marriage, one question I would hear often was, “what do you like to do for a hobby?”

In the beginning, I couldn’t answer that. I was a mom who just survived being homeless. “My hobbies? Taking my kids to the park? Grocery shopping? Staying up in my room until 1 am to have some alone time with my TV and junk food? Surviving the day without multiple breakdowns?” I sounded like a real peach.

It dawned on me that I didn’t know myself at all. Many mothers experience this when their children are young, but I had lived through a traumatic childhood and marriage, so even before children, I never got to explore what I loved or even who I was. My hobbies included taking care of everyone else and getting my satisfaction in seeing them happy. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; however, I neglected to look within and see what made Dana happy. I had no idea how to do that.

Part of the healing process includes soul searching. It is a phrase that is thrown around quite often, but it is far more than just deep thought. Our souls are eternal. They are the only part of us that will live on and not die. Why we neglect our souls when they are so vitally important is beyond me, but so many people do it. Maybe it’s to avoid what someone knows needs change down inside, or maybe it feels impossible with the chaos surrounding life. Either way, it is one of the biggest disservices we can give ourselves. We must learn how to cultivate an atmosphere that allows this to happen in our lives. We must tend to our souls consistently just as we would our physical health. The biggest revelation I learned in this process was that the mind, body, and soul all interact with each other, and if one is injured, they all suffer in some way. We can’t neglect our souls and expect to be healthy in body and mind. It’s just not possible.

Our souls are eternal. They are the only part of us that will live on and not die. Why we neglect our souls when they are so vitally important is beyond me, but so many people do it.

Some of this is more elaborate and profound, but a big part of this is in the small things as well. It’s almost like dating yourself. When you start to see someone on a more romantic level, you get to know what the person likes and dislikes. You find out their favorite restaurants and activities. You make it a priority to meet those needs and desires. You must start to do the same for yourself.

When I started to date myself, I made a list of a few short-term goals. First, I wanted to try to do one “selfish” activity a week. This meant I would do something that would benefit nobody else but myself. Second, I wanted to try to do new things that I had never done before at least once a month or so. The way that I looked at it was that if I was going to be selfish, I might as well try activities that I had never experienced. If something seemed silly or scary to try, I wanted to proceed regardless.  

At first, this was different and almost uncomfortable to find out more about myself, but the more I continued the relationship, I began to see that I was a pretty fun girl. I was much different than the sad, hardened, broken person I had been for so long. I realized I was actually very gentle and a softie. I caught myself crying over movies and being more vulnerable. I visited an art museum in my city for the very first time in my life, just me and a friend. I attended a single Mother’s Day brunch where I knew not a single person and met many mothers just me. I danced in the kitchen with my boys as we baked brownies and found a knack for decorating my new home. Although this time still had many tears involved in it, my smile was more genuine than it ever had been.

I was much different than the sad, hardened, broken person I had been for so long.

For the first time in my life, I was beginning to see the little girl and woman that God had created for this earth in its purest form. The light began to shine through the walls around my soul because they were slowly starting to crumble. I was my own knight in shining armor rescuing myself from the tower of abuse, trauma, and pain that I was stuck in for years. I finally could see that I was worth finding in every way. It was the beginning stages of my transition from surviving to living. I knew I had to take one thing at a time, so I didn’t overwhelm myself but starting small had a huge impact in the long run.

As much as we need to find our hobbies and interests, another part of soul searching is finding out what brings us peace and security. Ultimately, this should be God, but it’s okay to admit there are earthly things that help in this as well. I quickly realized that stability gave me that. I lived in a very unstable way throughout my entire life, and it caused so much chaos in my heart. The little trailer I bought after my divorce may not have been much for the eyes, but it was stability. I knew the bills were being paid, I wasn’t going to be kicked out, and I had a roof over the heads of my children and me every night. It gave me a calming peace that I had never experienced.

I was my own knight in shining armor rescuing myself from the tower of abuse, trauma, and pain that I was stuck in for years. I finally could see that I was worth finding in every way.

When we investigate our souls, we see the places where we need enlightening and renovation. What worked in the past doesn’t always work in the present day or future. We need to constantly check ourselves to update old mindsets and patterns that need adjusting. It’s like our wardrobes or home décor. Wallpaper and shoulder pads are no longer what they used to be. They may come back in style one day, but for now, it would not get the same reception as it did before. Some things should just stay in the past, as well, like feathered hair and Aqua Net.

Strongholds are a part of the renovation that takes a little more grit and work. They are those behaviors or mindsets that have attached themselves to you. They have a tight grip on your soul, and they must be removed. They take control of our minds and bodies, and their greatest intent is to fill the voids in your heart where God should be occupying. Whether it’s an addiction, eating disorder, codependent relationship, belief, issue of the heart, or unforgiveness, it needs to be handed over to Jesus. He is the only one who can simultaneously take it from you, give you freedom, and fill the place in your soul where that stronghold previously inhabited. The tricky part about strongholds is that sometimes we are too deceived to see that we have one, to begin with. That’s why soul searching is vital because it exposes those areas that aren’t so pretty in our lives.  

He is the only one who can simultaneously take it from you, give you freedom, and fill the place in your soul where that stronghold previously inhabited.

Your soul deserves to be sought out, explored, and discovered. It’s truly one of the greatest adventures you will ever go on. I get this vision of a cave dweller finding hidden treasures in this dark place that no one ever thought to investigate out of fear of what they may find. It’s funny that our fear can hold us back from the riches that lie beneath the surface when we take the time to thoroughly investigate our souls. So many of our fears are irrational and never happen, and yet, we are ruled by them. It’s time to be fearless and take a flashlight to those hidden places. Whether it’s dating yourself or releasing strongholds, you deserve this journey in your life. It’s time to be adventurous and dig deep into the person that you are. Besides, you are stuck with yourself, so you might as well start to get to know the person that looks back at you in the mirror.

You are your greatest exploration, a quest that is worthy of taking.

2 thoughts on “The Trauma Survivor’s Guide to Dating Your Greatest Soulmate

  1. Dlurde Gerena

    Praise Praise Priase be to the Father , our Savior Lord Jesus and through the guidance of his Holy Spirit who dwells in our souls and minds and 💕Hearts.
    I’m a survivor from an abusive past relationship and I would love to share how God lead me to the light when I found Jesus. I was like Mary Magdelene and the woman by the well where I found the living water. Such a beautiful testimony so deep and I can actually relate to the freedom from captivity.
    My name is Dlurde and it means of Lord

    Like

    1. Yes!! God is amazing!! I love that name! I am so happy you are free physically and emotionally. You have a story to tell. You are a survivor! Please let me know more about your story. I would love to hear it.💜

      Like

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