Last week we began our look at the final phase of the Authentic Hope Process: flourishing. This week, we wrap up that discussion, as well as our larger journey through the six phases of healing from betrayal trauma. My hope is that exploring this process has given you an understanding of where you are and a roadmap for healing as you walk the path toward wholeness and health.
One of the most amazing things about dealing with betrayal trauma is that the healing process includes all kinds of hidden gifts. The skills that you learn, the new understanding of yourself that you gain, the relationships that you develop, and the new levels of intimacy and connection that you are capable of stay with you for the rest of your life.
If you have wholeheartedly committed yourself to the process of healing from betrayal trauma, digging deep and doing the work, then you are engaged in what is called ‘second order change.’ First order change is when we tinker with the existing structures in our lives and relationships. We tweak things here and there to achieve a better result or to bring our lives back into alignment and balance.
Second order change is when we go below the structures and change the foundational beliefs, feelings, and thinking that guide our behaviors. Second order change is deep, and it is long-lasting. It changes things at the core, and these changes then weave and wind through our lives, rising up to create all kinds of additional changes in different areas.
Second order change takes time. It is not a short, quick fix. It’s a process that must be slowly and intentionally undertaken with diligence and attention. It requires risk-taking and the willingness to be uncomfortable—because all change requires us to leave our comfort zones in order to experience something new. And the deeper the change, the more profound our discomfort.
Second order change is also experiential. We cannot think ourselves into a new state of being. We must live our way to second order change by doing new things and having new experiences that challenge our old beliefs and convince us in our cells and bones that something new is possible.
When we get to the flourishing phase, all the second order change that we have been working toward begins to feel comfortable. We are well on the way to creating a new normal for ourselves through our hard work and metamorphosis, and we can now experience the joy of living in this new normal.
Below is a brief look at the steps on the path and hopes for the journey that often become the new normal and are hallmarks of the flourishing phase.