Finding Post-Traumatic Growth through Adversity

As we move into a time of destruction and regrowth, it is important to recognise the strength that we can take from adversity, the transcendence that can come from the darkness and the conscious understanding that can come from loss.

It is important to see the gift and beauty within our struggles and to understand that we are now being given the opportunity to collectively heal by looking at that which holds us under.

This leads me to introduce Dr. Matthew Welsh J.D., Ph.D, and founder of Spiritual Media Blog as he brings us this guest post on Post traumatic growth in adversity:

According to Tedeschi and Calhoun (2004), researchers and developers of the Post-traumatic Growth Inventory, 
post-traumatic growth is: “the experience of positive change that occurs as the result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances”.

Examples of post-traumatic growth may be a greater appreciation for the value of life, increased belief in knowing that you can count on people in times of trouble, an enhanced sense of closeness with others, a greater belief in one’s ability to handle difficulties, putting more effort into relationships, being more compassionate on yourself and others, and having more meaningful interpersonal relationships (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004). Examples of highly challenging life circumstances 
where post-traumatic growth may occur include the death of a loved one, job loss, ending a romantic relationship, serious illness, or an unexpected accident.

3 required components of the phenomenon include:

  • Struggle
  • Highly challenging life circumstances
  • Experience of positive change

Interestingly enough, the experience of positive change would not be possible without the struggle or highly challenging life circumstances. I am not trying to diminish the significance of highly stressful events and the pain they can cause. While going through a death of a loved one, job loss, or end of a romantic relationship, it is normal and understandable that we would experience pain, hurt, and deep sadness. Grieving these losses and acknowledging their pain and hardship puts us in touch with our humanity; and allows time to feel how important these people and events are or were to our lives. During this time of feeling our sadness, pain, and grieving the loss of what was; or what could have been, we should nurture ourselves and trust ourselves that we are doing the right thing. We should also give ourselves permission to feel whatever emotion or pain we are feeling or experiencing without judging or resisting that emotional experience or personal struggle. There is 
nothing wrong with you for experiencing these ‘negative’ emotions, pain, or struggle. Further, it does not make you a weak or soft person.

Moreover, the struggle we go through during these incredibly difficult times can have value. That struggle can add meaning and greater understanding to our life. Further, the struggle that occurs during highly challenging life circumstances is also capable of helping us develop qualities, capabilities, and desires that would not be possible to develop in the presence of easy or comfortable conditions. For example, that struggle can help us develop an appreciation for life and what is has to offer. It can also provide us empathy and compassion for other people and ourselves. Moreover it can help us develop internal 
strengths that are not possible to develop without struggling. We can then use this strength in the future to help us develop confidence to take on other challenges in life, realize we are able to tolerate emotional pain, and that we can handle difficulties. Additionally, we may also be able to use our struggle  and newfound strengths to help other people who are going through similar difficult situations. Our struggles may also give us the contrast, desire, and motivation to create new experiences and circumstances so we do not experience certain circumstances in the future.

It is also helpful to realize these benefits are often subjective and intangible. For example greater appreciation for life, intrinsic motivation, spiritual growth, inner strength, compassion, self-acceptance, and empathy are all intangible and subjective. Often, society over-emphasizes external, objective, or tangible results. However, these internal and subjective experiences are what makes life worth living and often provider far greater purpose and meaning than any external measure of success or happiness.

Finally, Post-traumatic Growth is not a new concept. It has its roots in spiritual texts. For example, Romans 5: 3-5
states:

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope…And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

Peace,
Dr. Matthew Welsh J.D., Ph.D
Founder of Spiritual Media Blog

Spiritual Media Blog is a website that features guest posts, articles, interviews, and reviews about spirituality, psychology, and 
inspirational entertainment. Please visit http://www.spiritualmediablog.com for more information.

Dr. Matthew Welsh J.D., Ph.D. is the founder of Spiritual Media Blog. After graduating from law school Dr. Welsh created Spiritual Media Blog to be a source of inspirational content, media, and entertainment. He began his career in Hollywood working for an entertainment agency, the William Morris Agency, and then as a trial lawyer for the Department of 
Child Services in Indiana. He realized that he was not happy working as a lawyer so, he quit his job as a lawyer to pursue his calling to become a psychologist and obtained his PhD in Psychology. He now works as a full-time psychologist and life coach. His hope for Spiritual Media Blog is that it provides people with content that is practical, inspirational, and entertaining.

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