When we think of losing something we feel a void or absence. For example, when we lose our car keys, (which frequently happens to me), we try to retrace our steps, revisit possible places they could be and all the while we endure an intense panic in fear that we may not find them – maybe
Loss is defined as a ceasing to have or a failure to keep. Reflecting back on how we came to view ourselves today, it can be said that contributing elements include how we were raised, the emotional climate in our family of origin, life experiences to include trauma, spiritual beliefs, genetic factors and environmental or societal influences. Success in these areas contributes to the building blocks of our personal esteem; particularly when it comes to trauma we may have experienced in our life.
Trauma can be any emotional, mental and/or physical experience that shakes our foundation, shifts our paradigm and ultimately changes our worldview. If the stress from trauma goes untreated properly, one can suffer from post-traumatic stress symptoms. The symptoms can be extremely severe and long lasting.
After trauma, our mind automatically is programmed to try to make sense of the event. Our mind will keep revisiting the event consciously or subconsciously (dreams) in an attempt to “store” it somewhere.
No sense can be made out of trauma. It is not normal. Normalizing trauma is one of the most destructive ways to destroy our self-esteem. Self-esteem is built through successes. Self-esteem is broken down when negative experiences are not dealt with in a proper mentality. We can then pass on destructive coping patterns to our children to whom we are their family of origin.
Envision a self-esteem balance sheet with pluses one side and minuses on the other side. The pluses would represent positive and affirming experiences, and conversely the minuses would represent negatives and trauma. While the traumatic event itself will remain on the minus side of our personal balance sheet, we can discover post-traumatic growth from the trauma and add the growth to our plus side.
We may have lost what we once knew as normal because of trauma but that doesn’t mean that we cannot grow emotionally and mentally from it. To help you further with building self-esteem, contact therapists in your area. Some even offer Summer seminars.