In his touching dedication to the victims of hurricane Katrina, rap artist Lil Wayne with the help of R & B singer Robin Thicke opened the song ‘Tie My Hands’ with these commanding lyrics; “Some say tragedy is hard to get over. But sometimes the tragedy means its over.” Often we don’t attribute enough praise and support to the art of surviving trauma. We tend to focus more on the items or people lost instead of the beauty of living to see another day. Long before we are prepared to take another step towards our dreams we must first acknowledge that we’ve survived. That in itself is a miracle.
If you were to pass a microphone around in any social setting and ask; ‘has anyone been through anything tough?’ you could have an instant Dr. Phil moment. Everyone has bad experiences in their past. The difference for some is how they learned to deal with it. Often in families there’s the teaching to sweep matters under the rug. They use the old motto ‘what happens in this house stays in this house.’ That only serves to create an environment where you are not free to express any feelings and certainly not pain. The illusion of healing is there because everyone is too busy keeping the family secrets. I’m not saying to go around telling every single detail of your past to strangers, but find a safe outlet with a friend or professional where you can have true expression.
Between what happened and what needs to happen next is called a transition. When we enter this stage of our journey it can become difficult. This difficulty exists because we don’t know how to handle our periods of uncertainty. A tragedy can rob you of who you were. But the beauty of ‘today’ is you can redefine who you desire to become. You do not have to enter your next level of life dragging the outdated memory of what was. You can cross with confidence knowing there’s something better for you after your loss.
Here are some great ways to manage a tragedy:
- Own your story: We all have come from different places. Society sometimes attempts to categorize everyone by a set of labels. This literally robs us of our individuality. Your journey has costs you your life, at least you can tell your story your way.
- Since it’s your story, hold the pen for yourself: The worst thing you can ever do is have someone else write your next chapter for you. People will tell you what to do based on their past, not yours. Be open to advice but in the end, if it is meant to be, it’s up to you
- Don’t allow your tragedy to define tomorrow: Stop telling yourself it didn’t happen. The first step to healing is accepting the truth. You were hurt. You did suffer. But the story never ends there! The next question you should be asking yourself is, ‘what’s next for me?’ When you answer that, you have your next chapter.
Nothing is more demoralizing than to see a person’s story minimized. Even in the court of law you have the right to tell your side of the events. We live in a world that’s often too busy to listen anymore. But none of that means your journey is any less important. There are scores of people out there waiting to be liberated by the tale of your overcoming. To deny them access is to leave them in shackles. The fact that you had the guts to get up today and be ‘you’ is proof that you cannot keep a great person down. You are a living testimony that there is life after tragedy.