We can go through the most terrible things imaginable & still get through to a better place. According to many studies based on what’s called “post-traumatic growth”, 60% to 80% of people grow in some way from personal trauma. Decades of research by institutions like Harvard, Yale universities & the University of Pennsylvania, an estimated 70% of people experience a life-altering traumatic event, and most grow stronger from surviving it.
According to me, it’s 100%, if you choose to grow from it & NOT dwell on it! We are energy in form, like elastic stretched beyond its normal limits, we often don’t just bounce back to our old form, we stretch & expand in new ways.
For me, everything I have experienced in my life, from domestic abuse to the sudden death of loved ones to being diagnosed with MS. All of the struggles & losses brought me right to this moment, NOW. The way I now see all those events, they all played a significant part. They allowed me to remember my purpose here, discover my special gifts, talents & skills. They assisted my growth. Because if it all, I have a greater appreciation for the things that I had to struggle to achieve. It gave me a new perspective on what’s important. It made me aware that you can replace physical things, these physical things don’t define you. The one thing you can’t replace is memories. In the end, when we leave this planet, we don’t take our things, we do take our lessons & memories. This is all that matters.
That’s what purpose those events serve. They teach us to remember what our gifts are; resilience, strength, awareness, understanding, compassion, empathy, growth, love.
So how do you recognize the lessons that are within these events?
Choosing self-directedness instead of self-pity in the face of challenges, this is the difference between those that thrive from those that merely survive. Taking responsibility for life & choosing the way you want to live it. We all have free will, this gives us choices, even in the face of difficulty. Challenges don’t define you. How you respond does!
Everything has it’s opposite. You can’t know pleasure without knowing pain. Where there is one, the other is there as well. Having a growth mindset is vital, focusing on strengths without disregarding areas needing improvement. When you maintain a balanced outlook that’s positive, it enables you to move on from trauma. Optimism is focusing on the positive without denying the negative, while focusing on what’s in your control & letting go of what’s not.
When you take setbacks personally, viewing them as permanent, pervasive & personal, you develop a sense of learned helplessness that inhibits growth & happiness. Do not ‘catastrophize’ or generalize what you perceive as a failure & extend it to other areas of life. There are no failures unless you choose NOT to learn from it, then they are repeated over & over until you learn the lessons within it.
We are built to be connected with others. It has a significant impact in regulating stress. All you need is at least one person you can count on. We can rebound strongly when we are surrounded with others that share common attributes, people we admire, people who embrace a spiritual outlook. Your vibe attracts your tribe. If you tribe isn’t what you desire, then change your vibe & your tribe will change.
View these times as a beautiful healing experience. It teaches us the true meaning of forgiveness. For others AND ourselves. This is key to help us move forward. Most people can get stuck in blame & anger, but resentment keeps you shackled to the past. If & when you’re ready to forgive, it will lead to better, abundant outcomes.
Workout That Resilient Muscle
- Learning a skill like mindfulness is an easy place to start. Just becoming aware & opening up your mind to unlimited possibilities. Just because you don’t know the purpose of what’s going on doesn’t necessarily make it “bad”. You just don’t know right now. Be open to the unlimited possibilities it may contain before judging.
- One-minute gratitude meditation. Pick five things you are most grateful for. Close your eyes, take a deep breath & say them. This brings you focus, reduces stress & reminds me of how lucky you are. It shifts your vibration from fear to trust, from lack to abundance.
- Journal. Just write about your emotions. It’s amazing how much you can learn about yourself & how calming it can be.
- When the going gets tough, the tough repeat affirmations. Applying positive self-talk when something blindsides us helps, as does not expecting to handle things perfectly. It’s OK to be anxious, sad & worried at times…in fact, it’s healthy, that’s how we know what we are feeling so we can adjust! It’s NOT OK to stay stuck there.
Resiliency isn’t only about how you bounce back from a single traumatic event, it’s how you respond everyday to the challenges that life presents. Repetitive use of your resilient “muscle” builds strength, enables you to do more & sometimes, even the impossible!
Love & light,