How to Be Part of the Solution to Healing TraumaMay 08, 2023
Pain, trauma, and personal tragedies are, sadly, a part of life. Now more than ever, we are acutely aware of how tragic the world can truly be, with huge events like the outbreak of COVID and multiple subsequent lockdowns impacting people all over the world. In this ever-evolving modern present, tragic news travels fast, and it has an emotional impact on people first-hand and second-hand.
Communal trauma makes communal healing not just necessary, but essential. Trauma affects the psyche, which then determines how a person will be impacted by it. Trauma can lead a person to become angrier, more distrustful, more withdrawn, and more upset. All of these emotions isolate the individual and have the potential to develop into insidious mental health disorders, like depression or PTSD.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if, at the moment, it seems very faint. It's possible to find a purpose in your pain and reconcile yourself with traumatic events to come out the other side of trauma, emotionally and psychologically healed. You can then use this newfound sense of purpose to help others on their own journeys toward a healed future.
Sometimes, that purpose may be to help others. After struggling for a long time, it is incredibly rewarding to help other people improve their mental health and go on to live healthier, constructive lives.
My podcast “It's Your Story to Tell” was designed to do exactly that. When people have a platform on which to share their stories, they have a new voice and an audience to listen to them. Trauma transformation becomes communal, uniting people from all over the world as they work to heal.
How Can We Find Purpose In Pain?
Going through any sort of pain, be it physical, emotional, or psychological, is one of the worst feelings imaginable. Things feel hopeless, you lose the strong sense of identity that you had before and people might view you differently afterwards. With all of that going on, it's understandable to want to hide away and detach yourself from the rest of the world.
However, life will always go on, and it's important that nobody gets left behind. If they do, that pain will continue to control them and eventually ruin their entire life. Of course, it takes time, but it is possible to find purpose in pain and live a life after trauma. Most often, rekindling a sense of purpose is what inspires people to conquer the thing that caused their pain and take back control.
This doesn't mean that you should force positive emotions and ignore your negative experiences. Doing that will only invalidate the pain that you went through and cause the negative thoughts to fester at the back of your mind. Instead, you should confront them and work through them until your positive emotions restore themselves naturally. Patience is key.
How Can You Use Your Pain To Help Others?
As Sigmund Freud was once quoted, "we are what we are because we have been what we have been". It goes without saying that our pasts shape our presents and our futures, especially if those pasts have been difficult. Our experiences teach us things about ourselves and about the world around us, and they make it possible for us to design new purposes for our own lives.
To have a purpose means to have motive, to have a role to play, to be determined to achieve something. Your pain does not define you, but it can be turned into purpose. Ask yourself how you can take action in the aftermath of trauma and figure out what motivates you. All the things that helped you to heal can also help other people.
Lots of people find solace in helping other people. World famous pop star Lady Gaga, for example, has been open about being diagnosed with PTSD and describes wanting to help other people "overcome their shame and feel free". She founded the ‘Born This Way Foundation', which works to offer people suffering from PTSD "the help and support they need to recover".
Part of taking back control of pain is not letting it define you. It's impossible to find something positive in every part of the pain, but healing from it and letting go of the things you cannot change will allow you to find a purpose. If your trauma was caused by a loved one's illness, for instance, you could choose to donate to a charity that works with others suffering from the same illness.
When you feel comfortable enough to use your own painful experiences to inspire, aid, and guide other people who have not yet been able to heal, you will have found your purpose.
Is Healing Trauma As A Community The Solution?
A lot of therapists and psychologists promote self-healing and self-care in the aftermath of trauma, and while it is wise to work on yourself, you should take care not to cut yourself off from your community. If you want to impact the world, first begin with those around you.
There are many benefits to healing trauma as a community:
People Feel Comfortable Sharing
It's natural to feel embarrassed about sharing deeply personal feelings with other people, especially if those feelings are dark, sad, or debilitating. However, it's important that we work to eradicate any sense of shame so that people feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with others. Working together is the best way to do this because if people can see that others are going through the same troubles, they will be more inclined to share.
Nobody Is Left Alone
Working through your emotions in your own head and evaluating how they make you feel is a good thing to do, but it can be isolating. As well as working on yourself, it is beneficial to work with others to enjoy a sense of communal support and share in the healing journeys of others. Communities full of people who have healed from their own traumas will have better ideas, resources, and approaches to provide for other people.
People Are More Likely to Seek Therapy
I developed my coaching practice to encourage people to evaluate their traumas and work on transforming them into something new. By working through the negative emotions with professional help, people are more likely to seek further support and guidance. By coaching with a focus on trauma transformation, people are able to generate a sense of purpose and use it to aid them on their healing journeys.
It Destigmatizes Mental Health
The stigma around mental health is what has long persuaded people to stay silent about their struggles with trauma. Slowly but surely, people are becoming more accustomed to publicly sharing their struggles in the hopes of getting help and inspiring others to do the same. Destigmatizing mental health is crucial when it comes to impacting how the world views trauma and the resources available for healing.
It Creates New Communities
Communities do not simply have to be people who live physically close to one another. They can, in fact, be made up of people who have never met. My podcast acts as a virtual community, uniting people from lots of different places who have never met but can relate to each other. Some people do not feel comfortable sharing their trauma with people they know well, so cultivating new communities to enable healing is a solution.
What Does This Mean For The Future Of Healing?
The future of healing trauma is looking brighter and brighter with every day. People are more open to sharing publicly and mental health is no longer something shrouded in shame, but this doesn't mean that the fight is over. In fact, now is the time to become part of the solution to continue facilitating positive change.
Oprah Winfrey, one of the most famous women in the current world and a sufferer of childhood trauma, advocates that you "turn your words into wisdom". Being older and wiser provides unbridled potential, allowing you to move past your pain and the restrictions that it imposed. There is strength in admitting your trauma without letting it define you.
Helping others who are suffering as you once suffered is one of the most selfless things you can do. It might be more comfortable to shy away from trauma once you have healed to avoid going back to where you were, but once you have conquered your past, it will no longer control you. Instead, it will have given you purpose.
The future of healing trauma in your community has the potential to impact the world. Communities across the globe working together to heal will only continue to emphasize how important it is to combat mental health disorders and the trauma that they stem from. Charity does not need to be monetary; it can also be giving your time, lending your ear, and showing kindness.
Your sense of purpose is unique to you and nothing can take it from you, especially the painful pasts that you are working so hard to overcome. Take back your power and embrace the healed version of yourself that will inspire other people in your community to similarly heal themselves.
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