There is no one way to recover and heal from any trauma. Each survivor chooses their own path or stumbles across it.”
Can you look back and remember an event that changed your life? I can. I can think of a few. We all have that one big story that we carry with us that formed us into the person we are today. It may have prompted us to step forward and take action or it may have caused us to retreat and fear it’s very existence. Our reactions to experiences are all different. I may reflect back at a traumatic event and see that specific event as a catalyst for growth, while others look back and see that as the beginning of a downward spiral. We have all heard of survivor’s guilt or post-traumatic stress but have we ever thought about post-traumatic growth.
The truth is post-traumatic growth occurs every day. All across the world, there are people who face near-death experiences, survive one in a billion odds and have lost those closest to them and they somehow come out of these events stronger then they were when they first went in. Trauma can be the worst thing that can happen to someone but how they react to it and ultimately who they become can be life-changing.
On a personal note, the sudden loss of my best friend, my father was a catalyst for growth for me. The growth was not something that occurred overnight. There were months possibly years of agony and hatred that came with it. Wondering why it happened so fast and when was the last time I had said I love you. Replaying his voice over and over in my head fearing that I would forget what it had sounded like. I was a mess and I honestly never thought I would be able to face a day without having in my life.
But with time, I was able to work through the pain that is associated with loss. I was able to see that while my father was gone I was still alive. I began to see that I had opportunities that I was ignoring and that I needed to take advantage of. There was still life for me to live. My only goal became to live life to its fullest. To be sure, that when that day would come, that I would be reunited with my father that I would have a beautiful story to meet him with.
My goal in telling you about post-traumatic growth is not to scare you or shame you. It is not my job to judge. It is no one else’s job either. As stated above we all have different reactions to the same experiences but there is a possibility that when it’s all said or done you can see the positive side.
Of course, if given the decision I would want to have my father back immediately but I can’t change the past. And the more I look back thinking that I can the less time I spend living today.
So stop looking back and blaming your life for what happened yesterday. This is your life to live and now is your chance.
Through the pain of it all, there are a few important things that I have learned.
Don’t ever focus on what you don’t have. If you do you will never have enough. But if you focus on everything that you have, the big and the little, I promise you that you will continue to be met with more. The key is to be grateful for every person, every opportunity and every possession that you are lucky enough to be blessed with.
Chase after your Dreams
Don’t waste another moment wondering what if. Live the life of your dreams by taking risks and wholeheartedly believing in yourself. Some of the chances that you take may not work the way you envisioned them but you’ll only know when you take the chance. This is your life to live and you only have one to go after whatever it is your heart desires before you lose the chance.
Say I Love You
And mean it. Tell your family, spouses, partners, and friends that you care for them with your words and actions. Let go of the pettiness. I ask you to close your eyes and imagine how life would change if you lost some of the people who are closest to you. Say I love you. I’m sorry. I forgive you. I miss you. Say whatever it is that needs to be said and don’t wait for the right time to say it. If you wait for the right time the likelihood is that it will never come.
The key to post-traumatic growth is all in the mind. Can you take events that have happened to you and see how they have affected your life positively today?
By Melissa Fino