In the two posts before this, I outlined the first six aspects of Trans Resilience. Here are the final three. Another note: these are in no particular order – the first three are not necessarily more important than these last three.
Explore the sensations of your body. Full embodiment is a challenge and journey for a lot of people, and for trans people, it can be even more so. Between gender dysphoria, body shaming by others, and trauma, we might not be able to fully inhabit our bodies. But the more we are able to live in our bodies, the more joyful our experiences can be.
Conscious embodiment is a journey and practice. Start small. In this moment, see if you can notice sensations. Perhaps you can feel the surface you are sitting or standing on. Maybe you can notice your breath coming in and out of your body. And as you notice these things – greet any feelings you have with curiosity. Notice any judgmental thoughts, and greet those with curiosity and compassion.
The step-by-step moment by moment approach, as well as experimenting with embodiment modalities, such as Authentic Movement, Yoga, Tantra, and many, many others can open the door to a fuller, more conscious relationship with your body.
Notice changes in your experience. Transition is a journey, and really, a lifelong process. As you move through transition, your internal and external experience will change. Noticing these changes is a way to acknowledge your own journey. Greet all of these changes, both desired and unexpected (and even the expected and undesired) with compassion and curiosity.
You’ll notice things like how people respond to you, and how you respond to them. You’ll notice changes in the way you feel, and your body feels. If you are on HRT, you might notice that you cry more easily, or less easily. You will notice changes in your body, and changes in libido. Even if you have chosen not to do HRT there will be changes in your experience, due to your presentation, or even just your own internal process and shift.
All of these changes are a part of the process and the noticing can build resilience. Some things you might choose to modify, and others not. All of that is up to you. Work on being compassionate with yourself and your body.
Communicate skillfully. Learning how to communicate with others, particularly loved ones, can make a big difference in the quality of your relationships. Communicating skillfully means: owning your own triggers and emotions, communicating about your emotions without blame, shame or criticism, and being able to listen without making assumptions.
Other’s actions might have triggered anger, fear or sadness in you, but that emotion is yours. There is a big difference between saying “you made me angry when you…” and “I felt anger when you…”
Relationship researcher John Gottman talks about the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” when it comes to relationships. These are: criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. It’s important to eliminate these from your communication as much as possible.
Learn the skills behind these nine aspects of trans resilience, and you can enjoy your life as only you can live it!