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 as a direct result of overcoming a trauma or crisis.
It points to the positive changes in the person that have come from the stress, angst and pain of the challenge. Often the way the person thinks is different, their level of self-trust increases.
Post traumatic growth and suffering will often coexist, they are not mutually exclusive.
When I was 13, I was in a bad 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. Even now, I am not afraid of death.
My younger sister had 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. From around this age I took on more of a leadership role within our family unit. I think this trauma made me feel more capable, like I could do big things.
Of course, it is not essential to experience trauma in order 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 is this applies to you.
Tedeschi, R.G., & Calhoun, L.G. (2004). Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence.