Trauma is Irreversible. How It Shapes Us is Our Choice: Sasha Joseph Neulinger at TEDxBozeman (Transcript)

So many of us struggle silently, isolating ourselves and further perpetuating this idea that we’re separate from or less than those around us. While not all of us had been sexually abused, all of us, at one point or another, have struggled to love ourselves. I still have moments where I really struggle to love myself, and that makes me human. There’s an old Chinese proverb that I like, and that states that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. I can’t change the past, I can’t change the fact that I was sexually abused as a child. I can’t reverse the trauma, I can only choose so I show up in the present moment of my life.

Every day when I wake up, I have to embrace the fear that comes from being a survivor of child sexual abuse, the vulnerabilities that I feel, the voice that echoes in the back of my mind from four-year-old Sasha, who still says, “You’re dirty, you’re disgusting, you’re unlovable.” I look into the mirror, and I look deep into my own eyes, and I find four-year-old me, and I say, “I love you. You are a beautiful human being Sasha. You are worthy of love, and I love you.”

I invite you to love your self, all of your self. It’s not all or nothing, and sometimes, it can be the hardest thing to do, but in my limited experience as a 25-year-old on this planet, it’s worth it. Thank you.

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