Have you had a traumatic experience, which was painful and hard, and at the same time been aware of your inner self growing, or having grown substantially from the experience? If you have, this is what is referred to as post-traumatic growth.
Post-traumatic growth is the experience of growth and development in certain areas of life due to overcoming a trauma or crisis.
It points to the positive changes in the person that have come from the challenge’s stress, angst, and pain. Post-traumatic growth and suffering will often coexist; they are not mutually exclusive.
When I was 13, I was in a terrible car accident with my family. As I came around after the accident, I could hear what sounded like gas escaping from the car. I thought, “Ah, this is when the car explodes, and we all die.” I noticed how calm I felt and thought that was odd. No fear.
My younger sister had a concussion, my dad had to be cut out of our mangled car, and my mum was freaking out, thinking he was about to die. I was the only one who seemed okay, physically, mentally and emotionally. I think this trauma made me feel more capable like I could handle intense situations. I could see strengths that were visible in that scenario that I was unaware of before.
Of course, it is not essential to experience trauma to grow, trauma is not desirable, but growth can be a valuable by-product.
Have you experienced growth that came out of trauma? Put a YES in the comments below if this applies to you.
P.s. My experience has been that the sense of strength and growth often comes later, not while we are in the pain and intensity of the trauma. Working with a therapist can be incredibly supportive to assist in processing trauma.
Reference: Tedeschi, R.G., & Calhoun, L.G. (2004). Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence.