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  • Writer's pictureMaria Alda Gomez Otero

How to be positive about trauma

When facing a challenge, a #trauma (or just a common cold), there are always two possible interpretations one can take, and probably more than two. One of them is to think of the challenge, trauma or cold as a negative experience that is impacting on your life and does not let you move on with it or fulfil your dreams. Another interpretation is to view the challenge as an opportunity to exercise your intellect and skills, a trauma as a chance to learn about yourself, your body, your brain and your emotions, a cold an invitation to a time of rest and reflection. Whatever interpretation you choose is acceptable, as there is no guidance on what is better or worse in our lives. However, our internal feelings will vary depending on our choice of interpretation. You could experiment with these two interpretations when facing a difficult experience.

There is no right or wrong

First, think of the experience, imagine yourself living it fully and see it from a negative point of view. Notice what sensations and feelings that evokes inside. Pay a lot of attention. Be curious about what is happening inside. Do you feel anxious or joyful? Do you feel jittery, tight, collapsed, numb? Or expansive and open? Then, try to look at the same experience, living it fully, and look at the positives in the situation. Notice what is happening inside. Notice your sensations and feelings. Does it feel light or heavy? Better or worse than before? Tight or relaxed? Collapsed or expansive? There is no right or wrong. Just be curious and observe what happens. You may or may not learn something from this experience. It is all fine.

You need to practise

Our interpretation of reality is often muddled by our past experiences. You might want to take the second position, and yet it feels inside as if it is impossible. It may be habitual for you (as it is for most of us) to opt for the first interpretation. The second one may sound better and yet it may feel better to you to interpret things negatively, as negative thoughts feel more familiar, more comfortable to you. Unfortunately, they may keep you stuck in a cycle of self-destruction, as negative thoughts often do more harm than good. To become more familiar with looking at things from a positive angle, you will need to practise so that this interpretation of reality becomes more habitual and natural to you. If you feel that you get stuck in this process, maybe it would be a good idea to book an appointment with a trauma counsellor. If you live in Devon, there are many fantastic trauma counsellors in Exeter and other areas.

Maybe the following poem might bring some relief to your experience. I am sharing it in the hope that it will.

The Guest House


This being human is a guest house

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

Copyright 2019 @ Alda Counselling - Exeter and Teignmouth

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