When You are Knocked Down
From Surviving to Thriving – “Becoming the Author Again”
Bad things happen. People are victimized. It happens to almost everyone at some point in their lives – sometimes more traumatic than others, but significant victimization nonetheless.
Trauma and major setbacks can come in many forms and each individual will experience them in their own way. For example you can be recovering from:
- Sexual or physical abuse
- The ending of a key relationship
- Major injury or sickness
- Failures of various kinds and degrees
You’re going to get knocked down. Everyone does – yes, everyone. But the inevitable victimizations that happen do not mean that you have to remain a victim. In fact, in many if not most cases, it’s possible to use getting knocked down to actually accelerate your journey to becoming a successful young adult.
It’s not likely that you were the author of the trauma, but you can become the author of your response. There are several critical questions that come naturally and can determine the path following the trauma:
- “So, what am I going to do about it?”
- “Will I stay a victim or recover and fight my way back?”
- “How can I use this experience to accelerate my journey to young adulthood – or will it hold me back?”
- “What place in my life will this trauma have?”
Safety comes first. Safety may come in the form of places where you feel safe, people with whom you can connect and feel safe or organizations that can provide safety.
Then comes the opportunity for accelerated growth. Once safe you can begin to use your recovery from trauma to accelerate your growth on your journey to young adulthood. You can use your motivation to learn and grow faster than normal as the impact of the trauma begins to recede. That growth may be on any of the normal levels of growth on the journey – physical, intellectual, emotional, social or spiritual.
“Being the Author.” You have been knocked down. The key is to recover and become stronger and wiser and more resilient in the process. That means working to become the author of your life vs. letting life happen to you. If you are recovering from trauma, then life has happened to you and not in a good way. Now it’s your turn to get back in the author posture as much as possible.
Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.C. S.
It’s not easy becoming the author and, depending on how badly you have been knocked down – and how much you have been hurt or diminished – your timing and pace on your journey will differ. You might experience several – or even all – of the following statements before your recovery is complete:
- “I’m paralyzed or powerless and can’t help myself at all.”
- “All I can do is get through the day.”
- “I can now take a little bigger step each day.”
- “I can now balance having been knocked down with coming back pretty well – the tide has turned.”
- “I’m now stronger than I was before I was knocked down – and I will just keep going and keep getting stronger.”
If you can't fly, then run If you can't run, then walk If you can't walk, then crawl But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forwardMartin Luther King,
Why the Heroic Journey Matters – Your Power
It’s your story. The heroic journey matters because it tells the story of the journey that begins when you are knocked down.It lays out what to expect and what you can do to manage the journey. That is power.
Everyone is thrown into a developmental heroic journey as a teenager and has to figure out how to be the author of their life. That’s the heart of the teen heroic journey – the journey from dependent child to independent young adult. When you experience a trauma, you are thrown out of whatever author role you have been able to achieve. The challenge then is to get back in the author role. It’s tough enough being a teenager. When you get knocked down, it gets tougher.
The Power of the Story. There are several ways that knowing you are on a heroic journey can help you recover from being knocked down – becoming stronger than before the trauma.
- It lays out what’s normal and natural on the journey – what to expect.
- It provides guidance about what to do – how to manage your journey
- It is a journey shared by all teenagers, so you know you are not alone on the journey
- It provides a lot around which to connect with others – there is a lot to talk about with others and there are a number of ways to support each other
Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.Steve Maraboli - Life, Truth and Being
Part One: 5 Things to Know When Knocked Down – “Power of Knowledge”
- The journey is a rollercoaster
- It can affect all three core teen challenges – crafting an identity; developing relationships; and building competencies
- The three key tests will be in play – letting go of old ways; mastering new ways; and dealing with “inbetweenity”
- You may be tested and have a chance to develop on five levels – physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual
- Support is critical – you deserve it – and it’s available
Part Two: 5 Things to Do When Knocked Down – “Power of Action”
- Craft your identity
- Develop your relationships
- Build your competencies
- Develop a support web
- Draw on and develop your courage, persistence and resilience
Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.Marie