“That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” “That which doesn’t kill you, almost kills you.”
Two sides. Same coin. Two truths. Same experience.
Would you ever choose to live through the same traumatic experience again? Of course not. Would you recognize that you survived and became a stronger human being as a result of the traumatic experience? Of course. In fact, a resounding yes. Because the deeper truth is that survival by necessity contains growth. You would not be who you are today without your experiences behind you.
I am told that as a child, I was fearless. Determined. Undaunted. Great qualities, right? But what happens when fear comes knocking on your door. You are so young that you don’t recognize it. Your fearlessness is your innocence. And then someone assaults you. And now you are no longer fearless. Your innocence has been stolen forever. That was my first traumatic experience, and it changed the trajectory of my life.
You see, trauma changes you. You are not who you were before. You are not lesser, but you are different. You become a different person than you would have been had you remained untouched. You learn a different kind of strength born of the pain. But you still wish that it never happened. And that’s where the two sides of that saying, of that coin, will always stay with you.
I don’t know who I would be or who I would have become had I not experienced trauma. I can tell you that it took a long time to heal and that I am still healing. I can tell you that I remain open enough to love deeply and that I have learned when it is safe to be open and when it is not. I can tell you that I am a nurturing mother and that my career choice has been to work with children. I can tell you that I am an empath and that I recognize it is my gift and my calling.
Trauma. Resilience. Two sides of the same coin.