Have you had a traumatic experience, which was painful and complex, and at the same time been aware of your inner self growing, or having grown substantially from the experience? If you have, this 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 stress, angst and pain of the challenge. Often the way the person thinks is different, and their level of self-trust increases.
Post-traumatic growth and suffering will often coexist, but they are not mutually exclusive.
When I was about 11, 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 a concussion, my dad had to be cut out of our mangled car, and my mum panicked, thinking he was about to die. I was the only one who seemed okay, physically, mentally and emotionally. I took on more of a leadership role from around this age within our family unit. This trauma made me feel more capable like I could do big things.
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?
Reference: Tedeschi, R.G., & Calhoun, L.G. (2004). Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence.