Post-Traumatic Growth

There is the most interesting article in Success magazine ( July 2016 ): “Post-Traumatic Growth, The worst of times can lead to the best of times”. Post-traumatic growth is about rebounding after some devastating life changing event. Because I’d never heard of this term before, I was intrigued to say the least. The article didn’t disappoint. Success magazine has great articles all the time, but this one is definitely worth the read.

There were 3 stories shared about 3 incredible people that had faced some of the worst traumas imaginable. An accident resulting in paralysis. The death of one’s mother and sister, in a car crash that resulted in and having to raise a permanently disabled child. As well as,  a divorce in the midst of a health crisis. All 3 people had a reason to give up, but due to the way they handled it, the trauma changed their lives for the better.

Richard G. Tedeschi and Lawrence G. Calhoun of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte coined the term itself. It’s definition: A positive change experienced as a result of the struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event. According to both Tedeschi and Calhoun, it doesn’t happen in the absence of Post Traumatic Stress, but it makes it more tolerable. People who suffer trauma and experience this know that there’s more to the story, and the outcome doesn’t have to end badly.

It was interesting how they explained in this situation the way people changed. Having a sense that new opportunities will open up. Closer relationships with others who have suffered with a new sense of connection. Increased awareness of one’s own personal growth. Life in general is appreciated more, and change or deepening of spiritual beliefs. This subject is talked about more in the book, “The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth”, by Jim Rendon.

According to Rendon’s research, he was surprised to find that many people who had experienced unspeakable traumas said, “If I had to do it all over again, I would.”, or “I’m thankful for this thing that happened to me.” Numerous studies had shown that about half or more of trauma survivors have reported some kind of positive change as a result. Their lives not only improved, but thrived.

Further, going into: how leaning on others, thinking things through, self-expression, faith and optimism, and recovering joy all played a part in being able to make it through. All of these things are components in the outcome, and it’s dependent on how you handle the crisis. A positive mindset is key, but it’s a process that you have to allow yourself to experience. This process is essential and necessary. They let it propel them to extraordinary lives. With the right support, encouragement, and inner strength their passion for a better, richer life grew.

Giving back was also crucial in their success. They wanted to give back to others that had experienced traumas, obstacles and difficulties as well. It actually gave their lives more meaning. Being able to empathize and therefore help others in similar situations. Eventually, they felt what they went through actually helped them to lead more authentic and happier lives. Hence, motivated to do more, and be more.

The changes made benefited others as well as themselves. A nobler cause helped them to be the best versions of themselves. And, it didn’t stop there, they continued to strive to help others with their own personal achievements as well. Trusting themselves and the process in the midst of their trauma.

These people and others like them were able to re-frame their situations. Instead of giving up and excepting their fates, they made the decision to step up and make the best of what had happened to them. No wallowing, complaining, or blaming. Just taking personal responsibility, holding themselves accountable, looking at new opportunities, finding solutions, and doing the work necessary on themselves to see it through. Seeing the bigger picture and deciding to move towards it. Proving that it doesn’t matter what happens to you, it only matters how you handle it.



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