Some traumas shake us to our core; affecting our sense of self, the way we trust ourselves as well as our trust in others. Trauma is individual and depends on our individual histories. We could have fifty situations we are resilient in, and then one where we are not.
Let’s look at trauma compassionately. Suppose we are in safe place ‘A’ and we get moved into place ‘B’. Our safe and comfortable place A is taken away from us. We no longer feel safe in place B. When this happens traumatically, we may find ourselves living in a limbo between A and B. We are attached to A because B is very uncomfortable. We long for what was, for when we felt safe. In B I am sitting in the loss of my stable place A. Everything has changed and our primal stability of safety is shaken. But there is another place ‘C’ – we can move there.
But before we get to C, we need to acknowledge place B and feel the loss of place A. The amount of time needed to do this depends on our personal experiences and how much the loss has impacted our life. But allow yourself the time you need. Feeling the loss can turn trauma intro growth, as we move from B into C – we find a new normal, from here we can start to re-build our life.
A is a home and job. B is no home or job. C is a new home and new job.
So how do we move to C swiftly?
The fastest way to move into healing is when we accept what is happening. We need to accept what is happening and be present with the feelings. Being present in trauma lets us mourn and move on to place C. We realise, we have the inner strength to come out the other side.
To do this, the first thing is to be totally present with yourself and others. Present in a heart-centered way. It’s important to be able to feel trauma, to experience fear, loss, shock and pain.
We don’t want to fix the pain. We don’t want to minimise the way we feel. Just thinking positive won’t work, we must move through it. Animals shake after trauma to let the energy pass through. As humans we need to feel it in a safe place, one that allows us to feel. We need to be quiet and feel. It may be difficult to feel it alone – sometimes we need someone with us.
It’s important we don’t judge ourselves. Sometimes the mind wants to jump in and make a story around it. It jumps in to minimise the pain as a survival mechanism. We need to go through the feeling and come out the other side; that way we can acknowledge that we have had the strength to come through.
With others, listen to them versus trying to fix them. You can say: “I understand you are in a lot of pain”. Listen with an open heart and no judgement – this can be healing for others.
If we notice an uncomfortable feeling, we need to implement self-love and compassion. Then we can begin to listen to ourselves. Ask ourselves, ‘what am I feeling in this moment?’ We can then check what we need. Our mind wants to give us an escape from what is unpleasant, but if we learn to become present with the feelings, the feelings start to dissipate, the feelings will shift. It’s important to remind myself we are all on a journey and at any moment I am always doing the best I can.
Sometimes another part of us has not yet healed, so it’s important we have forgiveness, compassion and self-love. This is key; I need to give myself as much love as I would give a friend.
Whilst listening to others, just listen and if appropriate ask them something like, “what is it you need right now?” When in trauma we are very vulnerable and dis-empowered, so it’s important we ask others what they need, rather than tell them. This re-empowers them. We are allowing their inner wisdom to come up with what is next for them, with what will help stabilise them.
During a trauma, healing takes place step by step. By asking what is needed right now, what is most needed will come up. When that is met, we can then move onto the next step. It maybe we, or they, just need a hug.
This intuitive wisdom is present in all of us. When we become quiet and listen, we will get to the next step. This is something we need to practise in ourselves because we are more trained to fix things. The mind wants to jump in with solutions. If we do jump in with solutions for others, we negate their inner wisdom and their learning lessons of trauma, which they can use to create their new normal.
In trauma we can feel like a victim. To flip this and feel strength and grow from the situation, we must take the steps ourselves. Others can help, a support system is important, but some of our support systems may have gone. Our support systems need to help us through, help us build a new place of stability. Help us get to place ‘C’.
How we fair can depend on age, children for example are much more vulnerable to trauma. And if there are past traumas, a new trauma can trigger old ones, especially trauma we buried. Sometimes we buried the trauma so deeply to survive. If this is the case, find a safe place with safe people and open up about that trauma. Maybe we buried it because it was too much at that time, if we feel we have support now, then it might be good to feel through it. Often, it’s still buried because we have not found a safe place to heal.
Sometimes we stay missing place ‘A’ and don’t let ourselves feel though the trauma. We long for what was and can’t accept place ‘B’. Acceptance, feeling through it and the right support around us is crucial. Without these we can’t restructure our life. Acceptance and feeling allows us to become present and create an environment that enables us to look for solutions. When present with whatever we are feeling, the feeling moves through us very quickly, allowing us to keep moving and growing.
Through trauma, we can change the belief in ourselves, we can come out with a different sense of who we are. It can make us more compassionate and empathic; give us new understandings and deepen our trust in humanity, especially if there’s a lot of true support around us. We find inner power and withstand what we thought we couldn’t.
To help you turn trauma into growth, look at some of the Tools available on our website.