I think that finding your happiness is one of the most important parts of healing from child sexual abuse. It is not supposed to be used to distract yourself, to dissociate from what you are dealing with as a child abuse survivor, but rather in order to fill up parts of your life, your moments, your body with joy.
We are all meant to have lots and lots of memories of joy; few survivors enter adulthood with that, at least untainted ones. All the more reasons for survivors to stuff themselves with happiness and good moments that will become good memories. I have noticed that happiness is something that survivors who are more healed seek out. I think that all survivors, no matter where they are in their life or healing, should explore their life and work on finding their own happiness.
At some time in a survivor’s life they have no idea what brings them happiness, joy, bliss. Many survivors don’t know what they want to do, to be. All the little steps into finding themselves and finding happiness are denied them. Just coping with being a survivor can overwhelm all other endeavors. Part of healing from childhood abuse is figuring out what emotions are and how to deal with them; figuring out what you love, what you hate, what you like, what you don’t like, what brings you bliss.
It took me a long time to figure this stuff out for myself. By the time I did, I found several ways to help. One was suggestions by Barbara Sher, who writes books and does seminars as a life coach. In one of her televised seminars she talks about a method she uses and suggests for others: everything you see and do, rate it on a scale of one to ten. Then you will be able to gather a list of things that you are interested and to give you ideas of where to go from there. Still most survivors find themselves at a time in their life where they wouldn’t even be able to do that, because they are still so disaffected and dissociated from themselves and their bodies.
Some time later I found the wonderful book Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck. I really love this book. I only wish that there would have been a book like this out there when I was trying to figure things out for myself. It has a step-by-step process for helping someone figure out and finding their own north star, their bliss, their happiness. I love this book.
We all deserve to be able to find our own happiness.