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Childhood sexual abuse severely diminishes self awareness. Ask a survivor what others need from them and you will get an instantaneous, perceptive, clear listing. We are tuned into this as though our life depended on it. And it often did.

This ability to know what makes others comfortable and happy with us does not translate into recognizing what we need to feel good. That information is like wood shavings on the floor as we carve our choices around expectations in our relationships. Yet there is great empowerment in identifying what makes us smile, sigh, and soar.

Wherever we are in our healing journey, it’s hugely helpful to make a list of what feels good and right, what feels like a fit, what makes our days better, and life sweet. If you are like me, this first effort will name old and new dreams. It will shine a light on events. We tend to see what we want as the ‘sometime moments’ we’ve imagined or those we experience now and then.

These are great, but they’re only part of the story. The list that will really change our lives is about the little things that make all the difference: wearing a favorite pair of pants, looking out our kitchen window, or the snap and crunch of a cold apple. When we honor the every day, very personal things that make us feel good, we invite happiness. And we’re in charge of it.

The mirror that was cracked during our abuse still holds the perfect image of our unique Self. Now we get to repair it with self awareness and choices. These lists will help.