Yesterday we talked about post-traumatic stress and how to deal with it. Once our post-traumatic stress has been healed and released then we are able to move into post-traumatic growth. Remember there was a time before your trauma, there was the trauma, then there was the post-traumatic stress after the trauma and then there is the post-traumatic growth that comes after healing and releasing the post-traumatic stress. This means that life can be better after your post-traumatic stress then it was before the trauma, not in spite of the trauma.
Let me be clear. I am in no way saying that trauma or abuse is ever a good thing. It is not! What I am saying is that after the suffering can come growth and a life that you didn’t previously believe was possible. It is important to remember that the suffering of being abused is real, but to know that resilience is also real. You are resilient!
How do you move into post-traumatic growth? What do you do? For many survivors it is a matter of transforming the meaning of their personal tragedy by making it a basis for change. They develop their inner strength. They value themselves. They have an increased appreciation for life. They transform their suffering. The re-invent their lives.
How do you do that? First, you must deal with, heal and release your post-traumatic stress. We talked a lot about that in yesterday’s post. Once, and only once, you have dealt with and healed your post-traumatic stress, you can move into post traumatic growth by:
- Telling your story and who you are in your story. Are you the victim or the survivor? Are you the person that overcame against all odds? Are you the hero despite or because of what happened to you?
- Asking how you can tell your story by saying yes, that did happen to me. Now what? What will I create with my life and how will I create it?
- Asking how you will now be defined by what you will create instead of what someone did to you.
- Asking how you can continue to use what happened to you to grow and get stronger.
- Asking how you can tell your story in a way that creates a future that builds on the strength it took to overcome the trauma.
- Seek out positive people and ideas. People that have problem solving attitudes. People that seek meaning from struggle. People that work to create fulfillment for themselves and others.
- Deciding to rebuild yourself in a new way. Yes, because of what happened, you will never be the same and that’s okay. You can be a different, stronger version of yourself.
Remember there are only the facts of what happened to you, everything else is just thoughts and all thoughts are optional. Every thought you have about yourself, your perpetrator, about what it all means is optional and totally changeable. You get to be the author of your story and you can write it in the way that empowers you!
Tell your story in a way that accommodates the trauma and doesn’t deny or avoid what happened. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Instead include the trauma in a way that makes you feel strong and lays the foundation for you to build an incredibly powerful life.
By dealing first with your post-traumatic stress and then continuing to heal through post-traumatic growth you then become free to create anything you want. You become empowered!