We’ve all had something happen to us beyond our control that has been emotionally and/or physically devastating. When these events unfold, we cope with them in different ways. Some of us tuck it neatly away and never try to think about it again. Some of us let the tragedy become us and the reason why we cannot move on. Some of us choose denial, which is different than compartmentalization. The latter involves moving an issue to the far-reaches of our mind while still acknowledging it, while denial is the act of denying the issue altogether. This is the most harmful decision of the two, for it forces you to deny a part of who you are and what happened to you. Compartmentalization can be healthy if it allows a person to move on in the near present. Although we could choose to go down many of these paths, many of us pick either one of two options: we either choose to let it become our excuse, or we choose to grow directly because of it.
No decision is innately wrong, but the most healthy choice is to decide to see what happened as a learning experience. We must realize we always have a choice and we can choose to remain stagnant or grow. When we are stagnant, we are more prone to unhappiness, but if we see life as chances to grow and change, we suddenly see opportunities to be happier. It doesn’t guarantee you happiness, but remaining stagnant will ensure depression. Sometimes, we don’t realize the options we have and think we are limited because of that. However, there are always options whether you realize it or not. Every day, you make the decision to be where you are. Once you see that you do have control of your life, you’ll recognize that your options are endless.
We can never change the past, but we can change how we feel about it and what we can do about it. We have to see that these events have shaped us into who we are today and we wouldn’t have the vision we do if we didn’t endure these things. We know things other people who did not experience them do. We can choose to see these defining moments in our lives as excuses that hold us back or the reasons why we succeed today. Tragedy is not what happens to us, but what we continue to hold on to. This is the real tragedy in life, for we have never really escaped it mentally. I’m not saying it’s as simple as saying you are over a situation, but it starts at the very simple act of just acknowledging the trauma and letting it either change us or changing because of it.