Growth, after experiencing trauma, is some of the most important, profound and life altering recovery. It’s something you have likely experienced but didn’t know there’s a term for it. I’ve known it myself and have been encouraging it in all aspects of my work.
In conducting training on Trauma Informed Care for professionals, there was quite a bit of discussion about it. It’s understood that post-trauma personal growth helps people become healthier and able to move on with their life, often better than before their recovery.
Here are some concepts to consider:
MOVE THROUGH THE PAIN
The pain is real, don’t judge it, deny it, or act like it doesn’t exist. I’ve done all of that early in my life, before people even knew that talking about your trauma and pain was a healthy thing to do. Thankfully there is now expansive understanding and science about recovery from trauma with specific treatments that are readily available. The myths and judgement that symptoms are a weakness, with an expectation that you just get over it and move on are finally dissipating.
FIND THE LESSONS AND THE GRACE
The working through part of trauma requires courage and grace. Courage to trust that there is light, in the form of treatment, on what often feels like a dark path, and grace to be patient with yourself. The lessons from difficult situations come in time, like a series of ah-ha epiphanies, trophies for your hard work. They include realizations like “I’m strong enough to handle whatever comes my way, I’m no longer afraid, I did the right thing, I can trust myself, everything happens for a reason”.
USE YOUR WISDOM
These lessons become pearls of wisdom that you can dispense, like precious treasure, when someone else is in need. It is the heart of the recovery movement, where peer support has become the helping hand to others going down the same path. Consider how you can support someone else and don’t be afraid to share. We can all learn from one another.