Life happens. We deal with a lot of unexpected and unwanted events throughout the years. These include the end of an important relationship, death of a loved one, health or financial challenges, trouble with our family or losing our way in life.
We have all been there. One day everything in our life is fine. It is stable, predictable, and we are content. Then suddenly, we find ourselves dealing with a major upheaval or personal tragedy.
It is a threshold moment in our lives when this happens and we have a choice to make. We can choose to go on and thrive, or we could stay unhappy and upset, and give up.
The first stage always includes experiencing the emotions and the pain that come with life-changing events. We don’t choose to suffer that way; we just don’t have an alternative. We must go through this process to get to the other side of sadness.
We find ourselves trying to deal with it. We try to pick up the pieces and get our life back on track, and, more often than not, it seems unbearable.
But when we get through it and come out the other side, there can be joy in our life again with newfound meaning, a renewed sense of passion and purpose for life.
If you are going though a personal tragedy, there is some good news: It won’t always be like this.
Dealing with Adversity: The Post Traumatic Stage
We often hear about people who have gone through a major life adversity, and their life is never the same afterward. The event has somehow diminished the quality of their life. The experience is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Yet most people don’t get to that kind of state. Rather, the experience turns out to be a springboard to something new and meaningful.
We not only cope with the tragedy, but we relate to the world differently. Our attitudes and beliefs change. We are different, stronger and have a greater capacity for life. This is called Post Traumatic Growth.
People who experience this transformation find that they have:
A Greater Appreciation for Life
We know that life is not predictable, that it is fragile, and it is a gift. We learn to value the joy of an average day or the smile of a friend. We are grateful for the world around us.
Changed Set of Priorities
Not everything in life is important. We all know that, but often we spend so much time worrying and coping with things that have no value to our lives.
After a setback, we are better in touch with those things that are meaningful and fulfilling to us. We learn to say “no” to things that are no longer good for us. We get rid of our “shoulds” as well as the toxic relationships.
Warmer and More Intimate Relationships
We let go of anger, unrealistic expectations and the need to control others. We forgive others and ourselves. We enjoy our friendships and family on a much deeper level.
Also, we cherish the ordinary times doing ordinary things. We come to accept people for who they are and truly appreciate their uniqueness. We have a need to connect on a different level by just being together.
Greater Sense of Personal Strength
Overcoming a traumatic season helps us realize how strong we really are; that we can endure and accomplish great things. We learn self-reliance, we trust ourselves more, feel our power and the significance of our place in the world.
Recognition of New Possibilities when Dealing with Adversity
We live in the world of new possibilities, which makes us optimistic about our future. We learn to create new things in our lives, to reach out in a way we hadn’t done before.
There are limitless options before us, including becoming very involved in our communities, starting a new hobby, starting a new business or meeting new friends.