How we cope with major stressors in life can determine: whether we succumb to psychologically negative effects, or experience post-traumatic growth. We go through a process of transformation, for better or for worse.
But it's not like we WANTED or SOUGHT out such crises. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depends how you see it- though our perspective of our tragedies can change over time), life has other not-so-nice plans for us.
We cannot control many external circumstances in life. We sometimes find that things 'happen' to us.
Tragedies and traumas tend to occur beyond our locus of control. Furthermore, we may also find ourselves in an environment, and a history that we may not have much role in constructing.
We did not decide where we grew up,
who our family members are,
what religion/ doctrines or culture we have been raised in...
There are so many things about ourselves, our identities, that we did not actually choose, we just find that we are thrown into our circumstances.
And when we finally grow up and begin to have some form of agency- it is only then, we can start to manipulate our lives on this Earth - according to what we think we want, or what we decide would benefit us.
So when terrible things 'happen' to us, we would have acquired different faculties of resilience, and would be presented with various resources to cope.
Grief and loss are always experienced in one form or another in the face of a life crises- and navigating such trauma effectively lies within two major factors:
(O'Leary & Ickovics, 1995)
Environmental Factors that promote Post-Traumatic Growth:
Teachers or guides
Personal factors that promote Post-Traumatic Growth:
Many of us will not have all these factors to manipulate for post-traumatic growth. We may not be in the best of health, or have much self-confidence. We may be isolated from loved ones, or may not have the financial means to seek professional support. But... there may be one... or maybe two things from these lists that we can draw upon as a coping resource...
Shit happens. Such is life. The question is, what can YOU do about it?