Growth Beyond Trauma

Growth Beyond Trauma

“When we are no longer able to change a situation- we are challenged to change ourselves.”  Viktor Frankl

We’ve all heard of post traumatic stress.  It’s a response to severe adversity.   There is another response known as post traumatic growth.  It’s the ability to positively change as an outcome of one’s struggle and challenge.   This concept was coined by two psychologists, Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun from the University of North Carolina.

This is what fascinates me:  how people move and grow beyond their adversities and manage to create a good life.  I’m defining a ‘good’ life to mean a flourishing life filled with meaning and joy.

We must first believe that change is possible.  This growth mindset sets us up for hope and hard work.  We can develop ourselves, improve and enhance our abilities.   We can discover strengths we never knew we had and certainly strengthen our existing ones by using them in new ways.

There are two main ingredients that promote this post traumatic growth response:

  1. Talking about it in a supportive environment.  Sharing ourselves, mess and all.  We have to allow our painful emotions to flow through us.  If we resist the difficult ones, the pleasurable ones will be squelched as well.  All our emotions flow through the same channel so by allowing those hard ones to come through, we are more open to the good ones as well.

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain.”  Kahlil Gibran

  1.  Making meaning of the experience.  What did we learn?  How has our perspective changed?  Perhaps our priorities have changed.  What becomes important to us now?  What new opportunities do we seek out as a result of our experience?  Our response is what dictates our life.

After getting through the initial acute mess of emotions, what can I do with what I’ve been through?


Thanks for stopping by.  So do you think change is possible?  Have you experienced some form of change or transformation?







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