There is something very powerful about being able to adapt well in the face of adversity, trauma, stress or pain. Resilience has been defined and used to describe a person who bounces back from intense difficult circumstances. More often than not, with resilience comes deep personal growth that prepares a person for what’s ahead. Resilience drives us to stand strong; it is a process of adapting & moving forward.
Trauma can be debilitating. It is life altering. But there is another truth about trauma that needs to be talked about too. The growth & positive changes brought about by traumatic events and life altering experiences. Post Traumatic Growth is when someone affected by trauma finds new strength, meaning, opportunities and self-realisation that drives them to live their lives in a different way than prior to their traumatic experience.
From resilience comes growth. The human capacity for resilience is extraordinary. A traumatic experience is life altering. We have seen the remarkable ability of a person, to turn pain and adversity into healing and growth. We have watched women thrive and rebuild their lives, holding on tight to their inner strength and keeping their eyes focused on possibilities ahead!
Post-traumatic growth (PTG) is the positive psychological change that some individuals experience after a life crisis or traumatic event. Developed by psychologists Richard Tedeschi, PhD and Lawrence Calhoun, PhD, in the mid-1990s, the theory holds that people who endure psychological struggle following adversity can often see positive growth afterward.
"People develop new understandings of themselves, the world they live in, how to relate to other people, the kind of future they might have and a better understanding of how to live life," says Tedeschi. The growth that comes from traumatic experience can change the many domains of our lives including how we relate to others, looking at new possibilities, personal strength, spiritual change, and appreciation of life!
In my experience of navigating life through traumatic events, I have found to be helpful, writing a narrative that looks to a hopeful future. It is important to be true to ourselves and hold in a safe space our stories of traumatic past, but more importantly should be our journey of moving forward towards a story that rebuilds a new framework to life.
While the many chapters of past years cannot be re-written, I know to be true that the resilience that got me to today, will write powerful chapters of growth, strength and courage for meaningful possibilities that are ahead. Life can still continue to throw curveballs but resilience that comes through experience is a great teacher to potential growth.
Emotions are complex. Traumatic experiences do collapse the structure of our world. And while it takes a painful process to rebuild and gain strength again, it is important for us to be aware and believe that we have within us the resilience to get there. This process should not be walked through alone. Connection, companionship and the support of fellow travellers have proved to be a life changing key to post traumatic growth.