If reflecting on your year (or your whole life) brings some past hurt to the surface, this is for you.
This post is based on a conversation I had with a friend a few months ago. As we were talking, I mentioned how some of the worst things that happened in my life (my brother's suicide, my father's death) shaped who I am today. Naturally.
She asked me, In what ways? How specifically were you changed?
That question had me thinking for months.
Here's one way you might grow after trauma, too... and morph into (become) who you've always been, deep down...
Thoughts on Growth After Trauma + the Beauty of "Becoming"
The death of a loved one, chronic illness, a mental health crisis, abuse, a breakup, any near-unbearable ending or rough beginning -- these are seeds with built-in potential. You can grow from and through these things.
It's hard. It hurts. You probably won't want to at first, or ever. But still, they're seeds. And growth comes in every color, looks very different from person to person, doesn't always look like you thought it would.
How you grow doesn't have to be how "they" grow, or how I grow.
But after what you've faced, you might:
Muster the courage to live your life in a new way.
Gain a level of awareness that was absent in your past life.
See what's not working anymore and have enough awareness and courage to strip away those things, and start something new.
Whatever's flipped your life upside down this year (or a long time ago), now you're here. You've been planted somewhere new; actually, something new has been planted in you.
And you can decide how you nurture it, water it, weed it, let it root and bloom. You get to decide, here and now, how it unfurls and how you grow with it, through it, because of it.
No matter what you decide:
You're experiencing another version of yourself.
You become a beginner all over again, and beginners always have plenty of room for growth. The work of beginning is the work of becoming -- of leaning into who you've always been.
Your growth is actually you coming into your own. Discovering yourself like you never could, never dared to before. Caring for yourself. Speaking up. Softening. Opening up. Putting more YOU into your life.
It's the work of being your own rescuer.
You'll enjoy some parts of growing and becoming. You'll despise others. You're a complex being, and so is your trauma, so is your grief, so is your healing.
There's a lot of work to do. There's a lot of beauty to see. There's a lot of loss to grieve. There are breakthroughs that only come after the breaking of your heart, and the crumbling of your life as you knew it.
Once you have those breakthroughs, it's easier to be grateful: maybe not for the trauma itself, but for the beauty you grew from it.
You don't have to be grateful for the worst things that happened to you.
But you might learn to be grateful for the paths you chose in the wake of that heartbreak. You might learn to be grateful for the constellation of your life, the complexity of your own being here.
The gratefulness you feel for what you choose NOW inches you closer, ever closer to an acceptance of what happened.
In that acceptance, in that forgiveness, there's freedom to lay claim to your life as a whole -- and not leave any pieces of yourself behind.
This self-discovery, this recovery doesn't happen overnight. Of course.
Healing takes time and effort, miracles and patience, trial and trust, tears and a sense of humor, questions and the courage to love again. Let yourself experience the process of discovering yourself all over again, or for the first time ever.
There's time yet to water the seeds of what you hope to bloom into.
For this new year coming, this is my prayer for you, for all of us:
May all your weeds be wildflowers... eventually.
. . .
What here did you most need to read today? Or, how have you grown after what you've been through?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one and I'd love to know.