In episode #38 of The Changed Podcast, guest Lupe Hernández from the Beyond Trauma program at Adelante Mujeres discusses inner strength, forgiveness, and what it takes to heal and to support healing from trauma.
Lupe Hernández is an international trainer in healing trauma and deep understanding in ACEs. She co-founded “Help-Restore-Transform”, a program which works to address educational barriers and improve self-worth among women and children in Mexico; and brings over two decades of experience leading people to heal from trauma. She is trained in Conflict Resolution, Mediation and Restorative Justice and leadership and is a provider of the Beyond Trauma program in Adelante Mujeres. She is also the mother of two wonderful sons (Ivan & Izaak).
If you live outside of Oregon, it’s possible that you have not heard of Adelante Mujeres. Based in Forest Grove, Oregon, they now serve an international audience by providing(as they state on their website) “holistic education and empowerment opportunities to low income Latina women and their families to ensure full participation and active leadership in the community.”
Like our first season guest Nadine Montaghami, Lupe’s experiences healing from her past has given her empathy and depth as a support provider and trainer with the Beyond Trauma program, and she shared quite a few of her insights through the course of our conversation.
She also shared a story from a job she held earlier in her life where by all accounts she was saddled with a boss from hell, and not a lot of options. The way she handled that situation was surprising and beautiful, and incredibly effective.
Lupe Hernández’s story illustrates that you really can influence someone’s behavior by how you choose to interact with them. At the Art of Change we often talk about the role of belief in how we experience those around us. If you believe someone is an idiot, you treat them like an idiot. You say things like “I’ll talk slow so you call follow a long.” And when they look at you confused, you see their face as proof that they can’t follow… and you’re left going “See…? What an idiot!”
The same is true when you assume the opposite to be true. If you think that someone is brilliant, you’re likely to behave as though their words matter. You’ll pay closer attention to what they say, and then when in all of the words they choose you hear a sentence you like, you’ll nod your head emphatically and say “Wow! Brilliant!”
Truth aside… (because let’s not forget that reality does actually live somewhere in the mix), both in our negative assumptions and our positive ones we find proof that we’re right, and these biases are unconscious in nature. So if you’re going to be right about something why not make the conscious choice and assume something useful?
In Lupe’s story though, she didn’t make a different assumption about her horrible boss, instead she chose to act as if. This a really powerful tool! In behaving toward her boss *as if* her boss was friendly, kind and thoughtful, she actually managed to change the nature of their interactions so much that the boss actually began to resemble those positive qualities!
Takeaways from this episode
In addition to this powerful story of change, there were some good pieces of wisdom for those healing from trauma and those supporting those on a healing journey.
- Trauma is subjective. What one person experiences as deeply scarring another person may see as no big deal and vice versa
- It is possible to heal from the wounds of our past. Surviving traumatic events, experiences and thinking do not have to leave you permanently damaged
- Supporting someone in their journey is about listening more than problem solving
- Parents be mindful of letting your littles tag along with their siblings, you never know when some older sibling will decide that it’s a fantastic time to show your itty-bitty kiddo the Exorcist!
- Book: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk
- Book: Your Brain Is Always Listening: Tame the Hidden Dragons That Control Your Happiness, Habits, and Hang-Ups by Daniel G. Amen
- If you are interested in the Beyond Trauma program from Adelante Mujeres, you do not need to live in Oregon, or be a Latina woman. Learn more here.