Yesterday I had the distinct honor of being a featured speaker on a teleseminar. I was able to be transparent and share my story with the listeners. It took quite a journey to get to this point – being vulnerable without fear. Being vulnerable is something that does not come easy to us military members. But what I’ve learned is that we all are going through or dealing with something.
My prayer, every time I speak, is that I reach and encourage someone and they are empowered by my story. This happened last night during the call. I just told my story and believed that someone would receive encouragement. A female caller asked a question at the end of the teleseminar. I could hear the anguish in her voice. She was in pain and wanted to know when the pain would cease. Like me, she also served 22 years in the military and was dealing with some strong emotions as a result of transitioning. My heart went out to her.
I just encouraged her and gave her 3 tips to help her make progress in her transition process. My heart went out to her because I was her! Here are the three tips I shared with her:
1. Create a support system around you. Make sure you have people in your life who you can trust to talk to about the intimate and vulnerable emotions you will experience in transition. Experiencing strong emotion during transition is normal and every Veteran experiences. There is nothing wrong with you if you need help to push through the emotions. The shame comes when you do not reach out for help. This support system can consist of family, friends, and even Veteran organizations.
2. Make yourself a priority. As women, we wear so many hats – wife, mother, sister, friend, employee or entrepreneur to name a few. Inherently we give so much to others, it comes natural to us. Many of us to the point of being sacrificial – placing everyone else’s needs above our own. Society would have us believe that if we make ourself a priority we are being selfish. That our happiness, need, dreams, desires, goals, health should be second to everything and everyone else in our lives. I disagree completely. And when women can embrace the truth and make themselves a priority – it is truly liberating. You are free to take care of yourself so that you are able to care for everyone else.
3. Tap into available resources. There is so much information to comb through for a transitioning military family. They are flooded with information when they separate from the military – it can be a little overwhelming. Life in the military is so much easier – everything is taken care of for you. What a difference. So to avoid being overwhelmed by the amount of information out there for transitioning service members, be deliberate in your search for information. ASK QUESTIONS! Tap into the Veterans Affairs system because it was created for us Veterans. Be deliberate in seeking out resources that will help you and your family.
I’m always grateful for the opportunity to share my personal story and my transition journey. I believe we all have something to share and offer to our fellow #BattleBuddy. When we share we make sure no #BattleBuddy gets left behind or travels this journey alone.