Anyone involved in the mental health field knows how important it is to understand trauma.

But what most don’t recognize is how this focus often limits the potential of so many people.

In recent decades, there’s been an increased focus on trauma research and innovative techniques to recovery. Our science and understanding is getting more mature, but unfortunately there seems to be an increased focus on trauma as an injury rather than an event to grow from.

If there is no benefit to an injury then some part of you will always resent it having occurred no matter how much you’ve “healed” it.

In essence, you will always view it as a scar.

And if you have resent you will not be able to reach your highest potential, because you will experience a loss of power to the person or thing that you resent. In this way, you will view the scar as a limitation.

Very few people think of trauma as one of their greatest opportunities for personal growth and transformation.

Typically, traumas are thought as something horrible and we pray for it not to happen, right?

Well, obviously nobody is wishing for a traumatic incident, but maintaining that traumas were only bad is a huge trap.

Think of a trauma you had in your life…it doesn’t matter how big or small it was.

Were you bullied a lot as a child?

Did you get in a car accident that has left you in fear?

Do you have a boss that sucks and is constantly mean to you?

Were you ever assaulted?

Did your parents emotionally abuse you?

How about physically abuse you?

Our list of small and big traumas in our lives are usually quite extensive.

When you think about and feel the traumas from your past what do you notice?

Does it trigger a traumatic response in your nervous system where you go into a fight, flight, or freeze response?

If you do there is probably still more to heal in your body around the event.

Do feel any charged emotions such as sadness, anger, resent, aversion, disgust or have thoughts of revenge, spite, overly forgiving, or anything in between?

This type of emotional baggage actually disempowers you in your life.

Many people will consciously or unconsciously blame their traumas as reasons why they are not wildly successful in their careers, relationships, family, friendships, etc.

The issue is not the trauma itself. If that were the case anyone who has ever experienced significant traumas would never be able to move on with their life.

Do you think in the 27 years Nelson Mandela was in prison he didn’t experience any traumas? My guess is there were so many he lost count.

But even though he lived a life filled with traumas he became one of the most inspiring, influential leaders in the history of humanity.

So how do you help a person see that the traumas they experience is actually a part of their history that can propel them to be more fully themselves?

Traumas can disempower you, leaving you feeling fragmented and less of what you’re capable of becoming in the world. When you view trauma as an enemy, you will view a part of yourself as an enemy, because it’s in your history.

However, when you view your traumas as huge challenges from the past that can motivate you to become more powerful and fully yourself, you’ve won. You’ve reclaimed any loss of power from the person or thing that traumatized you.

You’ve strengthened your commitment to yourself and to your purpose. Ultimately, you will find that you can be more in control and empowered in reaching your goals in your career, because there isn’t emotional baggage weighing you down.

You deserve the career and life you want. There’s no reason to blame a trauma for why you don’t have it.

Use the trauma, however, horrible, unjust, or unfair it was as fuel to reclaim your power and get everything your heart desires.

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Keith Kurlander

Keith Kurlander is the founder of Higher Practice, a company dedicated to helping therapists achieve their highest potential in private practice. He has two decades of combined experience in business administration, group facilitation, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level, yoga instruction and as a licensed professional counselor in private practice.