Posted On April 20, 2021
Originally Posted on January 28, 2013 by BJ Howell.
Many individuals experience traumatic events in their lives that can shape and mold their future. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, divorce, neglect, being exposed to violence, etc. All of these things have the possibility of leaving traumatic wounds, which can change how we carry ourselves, how we interact with the world around us and who we ultimately become. Are you a survivor or a thriver? That’s the bottom line. Being a survivor is the 1st step. If you live through the events, by default, you survive. It is a natural human instinct, so, surviving is the easy part. If you survive you have a chance at a decent life. All you have to do is live. Thriving, on the other hand, takes much more than just living and breathing. It calls for conscious decision making and it can ensure a purposeful, rewarding existence.
So what does thriving really mean? We’ve all heard the quote “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. From disaster can come something better, stronger, more beautiful… It almost sounds like a conflict with reality. Things that can cause stagnation, self-loathing, issues with trust and unhealthy relationships…can lead to something good? How can something good come out of something awful? It’s all a matter of choice. These events hurt so deeply because they render us powerless. Take your power back. Choice equals power. Choice equals freedom. Consequences of traumatic events can be devastating, however, having the power to choose how you proceed, what your attitude toward life will be, who you want to become, who and what you allow into your inner circle, etc. can help heal those wounds. Understanding that what happened to you does not define you. And being able to integrate your wounded self with your authentic self can create something wonderful.
Psychologist Viktor E Frank, the father of existentialism, was held as a slave-worker in a concentration camp. It was there that he realized that even in suffering, life has meaning. He realized that in dehumanising conditions, he could still choose his thoughts and ultimately, that is how he survived. “Everything can be taken from a man or a women but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” .(Viktor E. Frank) And that moment of choice lies in between the negative event and our response to it (even if our response is years later). “Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our responses lives our growth and our freedom”. (Victor E. Frank)
So I say choose. Choose consciously. Choose wisely. Choose recklessly. Choose boldly. Choose healing. Choose growth. Choose right. Choose wrong. Choose happy. Choose life. Choose love. It doesn’t matter what you choose, just choose consciously… And Be Empowered!