You don't become what you want you become what you believe
September has often been a time for new beginnings, positive changes and it feels like that for me both personally and professionally.
I have been quiet on the blog for a while and I am in a very reflective mode myself. It felt an appropriate time to share a part of my own personal journey of growth through adversity and beyond.
One of the questions I have been pondering is what the term post traumatic growth means to me?
PTG is positive psychological change as a result of challenges, adversity to experience something greater or different or both. The term “post traumatic growth" was developed by psychologists Richard G. Tedeschi and Lawrence G. Calhoun at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the 1990s.
As a carer for both my parents and in the last few years more so for my father through a traumatic illness so life was pretty hectic, challenging and I did not really realise it till his passing quite a whirlwind. My father passed away in July 2018 very peacefully with his family around him which was magical. My mother had passed away over a decade before after seven years of fighting to live. She had had a severe stroke, paralysed and fed through a tube and sadly in a nursing home at a young age. As an only child doing so much of this alone I was scared, lonely and often very overwhelmed over several decades however the good news is I really did learn so much about myself, the universe and what it means to be a human being.
I now have a greater appreciation of my own life with significant transformation and growth and that will definitely continue. A year on through grief, sadness, joy and laughter I feel very grateful that I was able to be present to love, to care and so much more. Now there feels a greater need and hunger to adjust to my new reality and explore the world.
So what are the changes I have experienced, of course these can happen many years after an event or experience or can happen sooner, for me they look like this occurring in three key areas:
Change in your sense of self - this showed in a conscious decision this year to focus on my own self care and wellbeing. In a slightly more compassionate and kind way not least because I had more time to do that. Of being authentic and real! This has invigorated me to turbo charge my life and find my tribe and community. To engage with new things. Often I still think I can’t go away but slowly realising I now can and that gradually feels very exciting.
Change in relationships - being able to connect at a deeper level with like minded positive people who get life, are authentic and real. Some people may walk away or find it challenging to see someone going through grief, being a carer when it is not something they know anything about. That is ok. I have also found it wonderful to meet new people along the way who get it and Me! Key message for me was - Your tribe they really are all around.
Change in philosophy of life - with a focus on positive engagement, community and fun. No time to sweat the small stuff, I have spent so long in nursing homes, hospitals and hospices - we are ultimately in control of our own life, wellbeing and our own reactions.
There are five dimensions in PTG everyone will experience this differently and maybe not all of them just one or none. Interestingly I feel I have experienced all in one way or another my further reflections include:
Greater personal strength - I feel I have grown through so much from teaching my Mum to speak a few words again to being able to hold my Dad’s hand throughout his illness and so much more. Often I felt weak but now I realise how strong and resilient I was. I am different bolder, more confident and stronger.
Closer relationships - through this I have really discovered who my true friends are and met some new wonderful ones along the way who are authentic and real. Less time for the BS!
New appreciation of life - as I mentioned above and for how brave my parents were for so very long gosh it was inspirational and so much more! Now I’m very grateful to be alive and to explore this beautiful world with my family, with friends and solo - it’s very exciting.
New priorities and possibilities - this is particularly true with my work and exciting developments at Helen Gormley Wellbeing.
Regarding spiritual development - I took my lifelong love of yoga to the next level and undertook teacher training which have been life changing - I wanted to move out of my own head and help others.
In summary, this is not about minimising the impact of the trauma. As I have found growth and distress occur side by side. For me it almost felt like coming at things for the first time we call beginner’s mind’ in mindfulness and indeed my life and being able to be more fully present with my own family and our beautiful eight year old daughter. A rebirth, a new freedom! For me growth is as a direct result of my own struggle with my new life and my reality of not now caring for my wonderful parents. There is a gap and it is and will take adjustment but everyday I am grateful and also mindful of really living life.
Today I am so grateful I have been very fortunate to I have worked with so many wonderful clients through transformational change and through my own personal trainings, experience and journey over many decades it has equipped me to do this even more.
My Wellbeing offer now has the added dimension of yoga which has been very exciting and wonderful for corporate groups and individuals alike. I empower my clients to achieve transformational change through Wellbeing, Positive Psychology and Yoga.
With the right tools and resources, you too can find yourself emerging into many more new possibilities, opportunities and transformation.
Let’s put the wheels in motion today.
Book you free 30 minute telephone discovery call today and let’s explore how we might work together