Are you an Oprah fan? I am!! I LOVE her book entitled: "What I know for sure". I love her vulnerability and transparency sharing her journey of life lessons learned and her wisdom in recognizing that what you 'find along the way will be fantastic, because what you'll find will be yourself.'
Since embarking on this journey of trauma-informed care in the NICU my understanding of the implications of this paradigm, across the board, has really expanded and what I know for sure is we all started out as babies. I realize this might sound like a silly revelation but hang with me for a moment while I explain.
There is not one grown up on the planet that didn't start out as a baby and as such all those amazing things we talk about for our patients and their families, like neurodevelopment, neuroprotection, attachment, the importance of family and feeling safe, secure and connected were really important for our development too!
And what I know for sure is that when a baby does not feel safe and secure, when their emotional needs are not met, when their physical needs of comfort and protection from pain are not addressed consistently - there are lifelong consequences.
The ACE Study graphically demonstrated that adversity in childhood not only undermines lifelong health and wellness, but adversity in childhood is extremely prevalent, across the board (87% of the participants reported more than one adverse childhood experience)!
And now, here we are as adults with a shared experience of babyhood/childhood and I ask the question, what have we learned? What have we learned from our childhood that can inform our adulthood and maybe even inform our work and our life?
Have we learned the power of kindness especially when one is feeling out of control, vulnerable, or afraid (have you ever felt like that?)
Have we learned that patience matters (remembering all those times we were hurried along or dismissed when we had questions and how small and invisible that made us feel?)
Have we learned the power of presence and how we can use this power to soothe and reassure another person who may be frightened, in pain, and/or feeling alone (remembering how scary it was when we were little and frightened and how a loving grown-up was able to reassure us by speaking softly and gently while maybe holding our hand or stroking our head)?
What I know for sure is that we are all the same, we share fears and pains and stories that transcend our backgrounds and our demographics.
When we embrace our shared humanness, our oneness, we open the door to impact, purpose and passion.
What I know for sure is you touch lives and impact lifetimes at home, at work and in your life! I also know for sure that making your impact can be challenging, can be frustrating and can be overwhelming!
One small step to help you on your journey of impact is G.R.A.C.E.: gather your attention, recall your intention, attune to the situation, consider your options, engage and end. This very simple mindfulness activity can be employed anywhere, any time - try it and let me know how it works for you!
Take care and care well,
P.S. If you find yourself struggling to align your work with your values, build your knowledge and cultivate your change leadership skills we can help!
Using breakthrough, evidence-based strategies Caring Essentials helps you achieve clarity, build congruence, and challenge you, your colleagues, and your organization to become a center of excellence in trauma-informed neuroprotective care.