Healing from traumatic life experiences is not easy and often one of our biggest life lessons. Sometimes we manage and other times the thought of healing is impossible because the trauma appears too severe. Traumatic life events have a fundamental impact on our existence and can change everything in the blink of an eye. We are not referring to daily problems or challenges, but more deep-rooted changes caused by illness, death or accidents. I am certain that you might have encountered such tragic events in your life where at the time you felt that the world was going to come to an end. It obviously didn’t, and you moved on, slowly, day by day, managing to overcome the trauma and re-engaging with life. You may, however, have remained stuck in the circle of trauma? It is never too late to work towards healing and growing from the trauma. You may be asking yourself how to do that, so here are some pointers:
1. Be kind and gentle on yourself. You need to be patient with yourself and in the beginning manage yourself one day at a time.
2. Instill healthy rituals and habits. Help yourself to heal by maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. At this stage of your life it is easy to slip into unhealthy habits. Manage your external environment very strictly.
3. Surround yourself with a strong support system that helps you to talk about the event. Talking is crucial because it helps you to express and order your thoughts and with time this will heal the emotions. Use professional assistance where necessary to boost connection and conversation. This is so important because it enables you to express and deal with the abundance of negative emotions that come up. Through talking we can let go of anger, sadness, bitterness, and disappointment etc. Bottling up negative emotions will stop you from healing and re-establishing meaning in your life.
4. This step involves forgiving the person who caused the tragic event and if there isn’t a person involved, it might mean forgiving life for an unforeseen illness. Sometimes we even need to forgive ourselves. Forgiving does not mean forgetting or pardoning the transgressor, but more about being able to not hold onto the negative pain. Freeing yourself and letting go.
5. The last healing step comes with time and there is no guidance on an appropriate timeline. It is totally up to you and will depend on the situation. It is made up of internal reflection where you will explore what benefit has come up through the trauma or tragic event. In the early stages of the pain, this process will seem totally impossible, but with enough time and some work on yourself it is possible. It will mean that you will come to terms with and make peace with the event as well as consider what positive changes or developments have taken place. As an example after recovering from a severe illness, you may have developed closer bonds and relationships with your family and friends.
Past traumatic growth is vital to our psychological well-being. When we have managed to forgive and let go, we are able to fully immerse ourselves in our life. We can engage in positive relationships, feel more positive emotions and allow ourselves to grow and develop as a person.