Grace means that

all of your mistakes

now serve a purpose instead of serving shame.

Brene Brown

Life has provided me with countless lessons that I hold with tenderness and grace, becoming the virtues that inspire me, pushing me to continue growing and learning. Refleting on my own stories allow me to   remain cognizant of how many personal challenges and heartache became defining and inspiring moments. My hope is to pass this along hope to you.

Life Lessons That Guide My Practice

I have been presented with many challenges and triumphs. It is ironic of how the most difficult moments transpired into the most inspirational and life changing. My greatest heartaches and deepest wounds became a source of motivation to invite personal growth and discover who I am and how I show up as a therapist. 

Without pain and heartache, the joy of living remains hidden. While in grad school, I celebrated the birth of my fourth child, which followed with a period of post-partum depression. With humility, I stepped away from my studies, granting myself permission to take the time and space I needed to heal. 

This taught me the importance of self .

My greatest joy has come from the moments spent connecting with others; my partner, our children, my colleagues, my family, and my mentors. Had I not fallen down, I would not have been able to get up. If I had not stumbled, lost, and grieved losses of those in my past, I would have never found the possibility of love that exists.

Connections with others requires a willingness to be flexible within the storms - this is what fosters resiliency and growth. Five years ago, I came very close to losing my oldest child to suicide. His survival allowed him to become the person he is today - a strong, confident, and resolved transgender man. His courage fills me with pride, greater than I could have ever imagined. At the same time, I recognize a piece of my heart that mourns the daughter I once held. I was once shameful over my grief and now I find pride, hope, and acceptance.

As hard as I try, some things remain challenging and that is okay! I am a mother of seven children; four that I nurtured within my body – three more that grew within my heart. Welcoming my partner’s children was easy initially. However ,our relationship has become punctuated with rejection and heartache. Reflecting on this adversity, I appreciate that even within this pain and love, hope still exists.

“You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability” (Brene Brown, 2013). This quote validates my experience that courage requires a willingness to become vulnerable with myself - this is a prerequisite for personal growth. To truly understand this, I had to embrace humility and dig deeply into the dark crevices of my past that were tightly sealed. Only by exposing my wounds was I able to begin healing, invite forgiveness for others, and most importantly, to forgive myself.

Freedom from the past is possible. I have released resentment, anger and my tightly woven victimhood to make room for forgiveness and hope. Through my healing, I was able to restore my confidence, truly believe in myself, and find the courage to believe in myself.

Challenge and triumph present opportunities for growth. In the past, pain, sorrow, and regret prevented me from recognizing my own gifts. Unexpectedly, my trials softened my heart and now, joy and hope in the place where pain existed. I strive to remain mindful and present so I can help others experience the freedom and joy that exists in healing. 

Flag designed by Julia Feliz & Hayley Brown. I welcome all people of diverse gender identities or sexualities. 

 

Angela Normand, MC, CCC

    infinitypsychology@gmail.com       

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Angela lives and works across Treaty 7 and Treaty 6 Traditional Territories of the Niisitapi (Blackfoot), (including the Siksika, the Piikuni, and the Kainai Peoples), the Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Cree, Saulteaux and Métis peoples). .