Imagine that your healing journey is like a lotus flower. A lotus, though buried in mud, has the capacity to rise through, bloom, and thrive above the surface. Its seeds can lay dormant for hundreds of years but still experience “rebirth” when placed in just the right conditions. Similarly, working through the struggle and difficulties of trauma can lead to unexpected growth and strength on the other side. This is called post-traumatic growth, which are the positive changes that occur as a person works through their healing journey after trauma.
Sometimes this growth isn’t easy to appreciate or see in the moment, but as you cultivate self-compassion, you’ll be able to more easily recognize your strengths and growth. By noting your triumphs, ways you’ve grown, and healing actions you’ve taken amidst your struggles, you can shift your focus away from perceived flaws and failures and towards your successes and capabilities. This acknowledgement can, over time, help to build up your sense of self-worth and self-kindness, which will make it easier to see yourself in a compassionate light.
As a survivor, you already have strength, but this activity will help you explore other ways you may have grown on your healing journey so far. Take a look at the lotus flower below. On the roots of the flower are examples of struggles someone might experience. On each of the petals are examples of strengths that can be developed through those struggles.
Consider areas in which you may have grown (or would like to grow) as you worked through or are working through the challenge. Write these down on the petals of the lotus flower or onto each of your sticky notes.
Below is a list of potential growth areas you can consider if you are struggling to get started. This list isn’t comprehensive, so feel free to add your own!
- Personal strength
- Connection with others
- New possibilities
- Spiritual change
- Appreciation of life
- Emotional regulation
- Treatment of others
- Enhanced family closeness
- Sense of belonging
- Life satisfaction
- Will to live
- Greater belief in self
- Increased faith in people
- Stronger boundaries
- Lifestyle changes
Positive affirmations are sentences you say to yourself to remind you of your value, how far you’ve come, and how capable you are of continuing your healing journey. They can serve as an anchor to this moment, as well as a tool to nurturing self-compassion.
So let's begin.
Select an affirmation from this list or choose one of your own.
- I am enough.
- I am learning to love myself.
- I choose happiness.
- I am moving forward on my healing journey one choice at a time.
- I have strength and power to take whatever comes my way.
- I can do challenging things.
- I am grateful for this day and the many possibilities it affords.
- I deserve compassion, kindness, and understanding.