Life happens. We deal with a lot of unexpected and unwanted events throughout the years. These include the end of an important relationship, death of a loved one, health or financial challenges, trouble with our family or losing our way in life.

We have all been there. One day everything in our life is fine. It is stable, predictable, and we are content. Then suddenly, we find ourselves dealing with a major upheaval or personal tragedy.

It is a threshold moment in our lives when this happens and we have a choice to make. We can choose to go on and thrive, or we could stay unhappy and upset, and give up.

 
 

The first stage always includes experiencing the emotions and the pain that come with life-changing events. We don’t choose to suffer that way; we just don’t have an alternative. We must go through this process to get to the other side of sadness.

We find ourselves trying to deal with it. We try to pick up the pieces and get our life back on track, and, more often than not, it seems unbearable.

But when we get through it and come out the other side, there can be joy in our life again with newfound meaning, a renewed sense of passion and purpose for life.

For those of us in the Sixty and Me community who are going through a personal tragedy, there is some good news: It won’t always be like this.

Dealing with Adversity: The Post Traumatic Stage

We often hear about people who have gone through a major life adversity, and their life is never the same afterward. The event has somehow diminished the quality of their life. The experience is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Yet most people don’t get to that kind of state. Rather, the experience turns out to be a springboard to something new and meaningful.

We not only cope with the tragedy, but we relate to the world differently. Our attitudes and beliefs change. We are different, stronger and have a greater capacity for life. This is called Post Traumatic Growth.

People who experience this transformation find that they have:

A Greater Appreciation for Life

We know that life is not predictable, that it is fragile, and it is a gift. We learn to value the joy of an average day or the smile of a friend. We are grateful for the world around us.

Changed Set of Priorities

Not everything in life is important. We all know that, but often we spend so much time worrying and coping with things that have no value to our lives.

After a setback, we are better in touch with those things that are meaningful and fulfilling to us. We learn to say “no” to things that are no longer good for us. We get rid of our “shoulds” as well as the toxic relationships.

Warmer and More Intimate Relationships

We let go of anger, unrealistic expectations and the need to control others. We forgive others and ourselves. We enjoy our friendships and family on a much deeper level.

Also, we cherish the ordinary times doing ordinary things. We come to accept people for who they are and truly appreciate their uniqueness. We have a need to connect on a different level by just being together.

Greater Sense of Personal Strength

Overcoming a traumatic season helps us realize how strong we really are; that we can endure and accomplish great things. We learn self-reliance, we trust ourselves more, feel our power and the significance of our place in the world.

Recognition of New Possibilities when Dealing with Adversity

We live in the world of new possibilities, which makes us optimistic about our future. We learn to create new things in our lives, to reach out in a way we hadn’t done before.

There are limitless options before us, including becoming very involved in our communities, starting a new hobby, starting a new business or meeting new friends.

What do you try to do when life gets rough? What thoughts or actions give you the strength you need to go forward? What would you recommend to a friend who is dealing with adversity? Please leave a comment below.

Terry ArztTerry Arzt is a life and transition coach. She is the author of the eBook, A Definitive Guide for Starting Over, which is available as a free download on her website. She works with women who want to, need to or have been forced to go through a life transition. Terry gives the support, confidence and inspiration they need to move forward and to create a life they want or desire.

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