Every child has heard their parent or family members attempt to teach them a lesson by sharing personal stories with invaluable life lessons. Most of us write off these well-intended suggestions, believing our circumstances are unique. Sometimes they are, and sometimes we end up with our tail between our legs—facing the “I told you so.” look on their face. As we mature, we listen a little closer and start being more strategic in our approach when facing similar situations. Now it is time to take things to the next level, to gather wisdom, insight, and compassion by way of pre-traumatic growth.
What Is Pre-Traumatic Growth?
We are all familiar with post-traumatic growth. This is when we experience tragedy, loss, or a major life lesson—that over time and with lots of challenging interpersonal work, we walk away from with wisdom and growth. However, pre-traumatic growth is the type of growth gained without the tragedy or loss. It goes beyond listening to someone’s experience, to mindfully considering something you never would have. It requires you to take the time to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and to feel. To learn. To grow. To walk away with a new perspective and new approach and level of empathy for anyone who has experienced something similar—or who might be on the same path.
Even when speaking of an experience you could never imagine yourself in the midst of, if you had asked the person who you have gained pre-traumatic growth from—they would have once said the same thing.