Written by Freelancing Writer and Editor : Olayinka Sodiq
Trauma is a horrible thing to go through in life, and nobody should have to experience such things. But we all do, at one point or another which is the basics of life. A lot of us live through more than two or more traumatic events in our lifetime, like losing someone close, get assaulted, lose a job, get divorced, get a scary diagnosis at the hospital, and so on—and we tend to come out a little bit stronger, wiser, and a better person.
THRIVING IN THE FACE OF TRAUMA
Recently psychiatry and psychology became more accepted that the field began to realize that trauma is common and that trauma is a fact of life. Many people end up developing and growing into stronger people because of their past pains and not succumb to severe mental breakdowns. Virtually everyone who experiences a traumatic event also experiences any form of personal growth in the following months and years. These get a greater sense of appreciation in life, priorities changes, relationships get more compassionate and warmer, they become emotionally intelligent, a greater source of personal strength, and new possibilities in their lives they never considered before.
TRAUMA IS THE BEGINNING, NOT THE END
Trauma in whatever forms it comes; it is not what makes us “stronger.” Inspirational quotes like “what doesn’t kill you make you stronger,” mislead you into thinking that just enduring hardship is enough to get yourself clear against hardship in the future. That’s not entirely true. What comes after the trauma matters, the survival of trauma does not make you stronger; it’s the work you put in to get rid of the trauma that makes you stronger.
Traumatic experiences make us question our place and fundamental beliefs about the world, make us question the kindness, degree of benevolence, and predictability in the world. Some traumas as reminders of our mortality. While you are being bewildered, traumatized, lost and questions everything about your life. It can go one of two ways:
- You experience some Real Shit and fall off the mental cliff that leads to a lot of dysfunction; this is less common than you think.
- It’s an opportunity to get a new worldview and forge a new set of beliefs that is more enduring than your previous view; this is a lot common than you think.
Think of an earthquake that rips through a particular city. Everything is fucked, but after that, buildings will be rebuilt with new knowledge of structural integrity and design more resilient systems to guard against future earthquakes. The city turns into a more resilient and wise city. So when our lives get disrupted by some personal shit, it’s an opportunity to rebuild ourselves, the pain and memory of the experience will forever be with us, just like the people of that earthquake ridden city. Now the most important is how to rebuild ourselves?
LIFE AFTER TRAUMA
It’s normal to question the meaning of the entire trauma, to feel ashamed, fear, guilt, and loneliness. The trauma keeps repeatedly playing in your head like a bad movie you’re forced to watch while chained to the chair with your eyelids taped open. Each replay feels as painful as the last.
But as painful as this is, it’s a crucial step in creating a story about your trauma. Your narrative will lead you out of the dark corners of your mind to a better place. While narrating your story, here are a few things to keep in mind:
IT’S NOT ABOUT DESERVING
The important step in creating a narrative of our pain is to understand that it’s not about deserving. Pain is not a zero-sum game if we get hurt by someone; hurting them back isn’t ideal and will not make it better. Pain is the opposite; it’s contagious and like a virus. The more we get hurt, we feel more inclined to hurt others and hurt ourselves further. Our shortcomings will be a justification means for further destructive behaviors towards those around us and ourselves. We did nothing to deserve our trauma. Nobody deserves trauma, and it’s important to recognize and stop it before it goes too far. But it’s just something that happens, and deserving is not the point.
A NEW APPRECIATION FOR LIFE
Trauma confronts us with our mortality, and the possibility that most of what we thought about the world was true may not be true, it has the side effect of exposing what we have been taking for granted in our lives. It’s an extreme pain that can clarify what matters in our lives and removes any doubt of taking advantage of it or not.
TALK to people ABOUT IT
Your narrative only exists when you talk to others about it. According to Research, a strong predictor of personal growth following trauma is the ability and willingness to open up and talk to people about it. Find family member, therapist, and a friend to share your feelings, experience, doubts, and fears that surround your trauma. Get it out of your head and open up about it all.
Sharing our pain lets us move beyond it, our pain becomes something outside of us when we mold and share that meaning out in the world around us. And when it’s outside of us, we will able to live without it.
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