Daily Reads

Is This Trauma Really Necessary?
Written by: Audrey Jones

Many of us may start to see the light at the end of the COVID tunnel, but many of us are still in the dark with no light. To many individuals, the COVID-19 outbreak has been perceived as a straw that broke a camels back or a catalyst for more crisis. So what does this mean for us?

Very recently, I started reading the book The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt and this morning I came across something that I just couldn’t let go.

How beautiful this time of crisis has the ability to be. It might sound crazy but after I reflect on Haidt’s readings, here is what I learned from him in the seventh chapter The Uses of Adversity:

Posttraumatic stress… these are words that are so common. Typically, in the military community but it is also common in victims of natural disaster and other various forms of trauma. But what about the ideas of posttraumatic growth?

In these times of stress and crisis, it may seem so impossible to look at our experience through a lens of possibilities or positivity. But what our crisis can do, it can teach us something about ourselves that we didn’t know existed. Haidt explains, “None of us knows, what we are really capable of enduring” (Haidt, 2006, p. 138).

A lot of people are struggling right now. Businesses are in a panic, there is a lot of loss surrounding families, and isolation takes a toll far grater than people like to give it credit for. But what does the crisis have to offer? In my interpretation of Haidt’s words, I have learned that this is a time in which we can ALL learn something from this. Maybe this is the time you rise above something that you thought would kill you at one point in time. But if you are reading this, guess what? You are still alive. And I am happy you are here.

I hope you understand that these words are not to undermine your experience that you may be having. It is a lot easier said than done (trust me, I know). But in this present moment, we can find grace somewhere in our lives, even if it is small. But it is up to you to find that grace and to harness it, because we are not our trauma and we have the possibility to transform victims to victors.

Reference: Haidt, J. (2006). The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. New York, NY: Basic Books.