She’s a software sales rep turned yoga teacher, but the jump from corporate to studio pales in comparison to the jump from a self-destructive lifestyle, to a life of self-love and acceptance. Caron Christison turned full-time yoga instructor about a year ago just a few years after initially finding the practice. She decided to teach because yoga had a profound effect on her life.
Until late into her twenties, Caron believed that strength came through putting your head down and persevering no matter what issues arose. She didn’t talk about problems, she internalized them and kept going. She was really good at pretending that she was okay when she really wasn’t.
Caron experienced abuse at an incredibly young age and though she didn’t realize it at the time, has felt the backlash of neglecting and internalizing those traumatic experiences. Her awareness and acceptance are two key factors that helped her move past the constraints of trauma.
After a lot of self-destructive behavior and some painful growing years, Caron now knows that she can’t be strong from something that isn’t real. For a while, she put on a facade that she was fine. Internally she didn’t care what she was doing to her body. Somewhere deep down she felt as if she was damaged goods and never good enough anyway, so what was the point in caring? Her “strength” was based on the ability to ignore the deep seeded issues that had grown into an ugly mess of low self-esteem and poor self-image. After finding yoga and a community of acceptance and love, it became clear that what she thought were strengths were actually some of her biggest weaknesses, and they were tearing her down.
Strength comes from a solid foundation. When you’re operating from denial your whole world can fall apart in an instant. Pretending things didn’t happen and just pushing through doesn’t work in the long run. You have to accept where you are to grow from there.
Slowly, Caron began to put her issues out on the table. She got honest with herself. In doing so, she learned a lot about her own past and began to piece together her choices and challenges with their triggers. Instead of crumbling at the site of her self-discovery, it became the release that Caron needed to start accepting and loving herself.
For Caron, understanding that what happened to her in her past had nothing to do with her was a profound realization. She began to consciously remove the weight of the abusive issues from her own shoulders and mentally and emotionally placed it where it belonged - with the person who took those actions. Once she allowed herself to be free of this weight, she started to be more forgiving of her own actions and for the way she had treated herself in subsequent years.
The absolute truth is, you are only in control of yourself. You don’t have control of what happens around you. You control the way you respond. You control the way you talk to yourself. And that’s the most empowering truth there is…if you allow that to be your perspective, you have the control.
Caron now focuses on living as her best self. She knows she has room for growth, but she no longer believes she is lacking. There’s a difference in those mindsets.
And once she started sharing with others, she discovered that she wasn’t alone. We all have the same thoughts and fears. Our experiences may be different but the core of our modes of operation are the same. As she began to acknowledge and accept her own challenges, she saw how her journey paralleled those of her colleagues and students. She now loves to find ways to help others with their own journey to self-discovery and acceptance. “Lessons are widespread. If I can help you, then of course I’m happy to share. But when I teach, it’s not about me. It’s about the students and helping them and using the lessons I’ve learned to help them get through whatever they’re dealing with.”