We are off to a great start for ABRA and some terrific Wyoming students! There’s nothing better than to see an empowered student, no matter what the age represented. A student who finds that their voice and story means a lot to someone else and that same voice will make changed in our state of Wyoming. Please read and share our own, “Your Voice Matters!” page where students can share their experiences with the world anonymously. Our students’ names are protected because it not only protects them from further harm, but it shows that sometimes other people’s stories can sound like our very own. This proves that you’re not the only one going through the same things. I hope our readers can relate to some of these stories and be able to share their own in turn. Thank you for taking the time to visit and read these wonderful student stories.
“LIFE’S TOO SHORT TO WAKE UP WITH REGRETS. SO LOVE THE PEOPLE WHO TREAT YOU RIGHT, FORGIVE THE ONES WHO DON’T, AND BELIEVE THAT EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. IF YOU GET A CHANCE, TAKE IT. IF IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE, LET IT. NOBODY SAID IT’D BE EASY, THEY JUST PROMISED IT WOULD BE WORTH IT.”
It takes a lot of positive energy to forgive someone who has caused you hurt. Hurt turns to hate, and hate turns to destruction. I’m talking about self-destruction that affects you emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically in health problems. Our bodies were meant to be nourished through the food we eat, the thoughts we think, and the exercise that feeds our major organs and physical wellbeing. As an adult, I was diagnosed with PTSD for what I had gone through in my childhood years.
When you consider the bullying episodes you’ve experienced through childhood or bullying in the workplace, it can take a toll on you in one way or another. For those who have had a negative home environment, it’s much worse as you look for a tranquil place to escape to in your time of need.
I’ve learned to confront my demons and have forgiven those who have hurt me, while apologizing for the hurts I have caused others. Forgiveness and apologies go hand in hand to move you towards the healing of your whole spirit and body.
Before arriving to that point in my life, I’ve told myself, “I’ll NEVER forgive him/her for what they’ve done!” or “I hate them!”. This inward negative energy festered for years before I realized those people my hate was pointed to never bothered them at all. Hate only destroys the person hating. I had become the very person I hated.
It took me years to realize my self-destruction was caused by me, not my lifetime of bullies. However, the path towards forgiveness wasn’t easy to travel on. Years of memories lingered in my mind, but I found the answer to negativity was simply to practice the art of positivity. For every thought of, “I hate them!”, I forced my mind to say, “I love them!” The first time I did that, it felt like it was more pain than hating them. How can I love people who don’t deserve to be loved? The battle between positive and negative thoughts raged within my head. When more negative thoughts came up, I’d counter those attacks by multiplying the positive thoughts of love and forgiveness.
During the time of turmoil, family and friends took a backseat in my life as I struggled to heal myself and strengthened my thought process. Prayers and meditation calmed my inner soul. Dr. Seuss was wise beyond his years and this one quote above is my life mantra.
When you don’t heal yourself, you cannot help others. ABRA was formed in the midst of bullying pain for my son, Patrick. He’s learning how to navigate this world and Autism does not define who he is. He wants others with or without disabilities to know they can step up to make changes in our world by starting in our little corner. The timing of this was right. I wouldn’t have been able to guide and help him positively without taking care of my own demons. My self-advocacy turned into his own self-advocacy and the beginning of his journey towards forgiving his tormentors in life. If you’re an adult confronting your past or a student going through bullying right now, your healing journey has begun.
As Dr. Seuss said, “…If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”
–Esther Flores, proud mother of Patrick(my superhero)