It only takes a moment for something treasured to break. Once it’s broken the item will never be the same again. You possess a special gift, choice. You get to choose what to do with this broken item. Do you throw it away and replace it, or do you attempt to piece it back together? If you opt to reassemble the object, do you showcase, use, or hide it? This is similar to people who face trauma like sexual abuse. We have made the choice to continuing existing, but are we really able to live in our new skin? How do you interact with this new you? Are you showcasing your strength, interacting with the world with various masks on, or are you trying to keep in the background still feeling broken?
One term associated with the transition from Survivor to Thriver is Resiliency. Merriam-Webster defines resiliency as the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress. This speaks to the ability to adjust after trauma. Continuing the transformation from Victim to Survivor to Thriver one is able to reclaim direction and strength.
Frequently, resiliency can make an object, person or community tougher than before. Since the 15th century, the Japanese have celebrated an artform known as Kintsugi where broken pottery is mended back together with lacquer and powdered metals like gold or silver. This process highlights the imperfections and allows for the object to be both stronger than before and usable again. What would life be like for you if you chose to honor and reinforce your cracks and imperfections? How would use this newfound power to better yourself, those around you and the world around you?
Becoming a Thriver makes me think of a lighthouse and its caretakers. A lighthouse guides ships through storms and welcomes them back to safe waters. Yet, the real heroes were the lightkeepers. Those brave men and women who faced tempests and pelted rain head on to ensure the beacons stayed lit. They lived in a world of both darkness and light, always moving forward and steadfast.
If survivorship is centered around processing and perseverance, then thrivership is finding the courage to accept and move beyond trauma. It’s finding comfort living with both the darkness and enlightenment you gained. It’s being brave enough to surrender to the fact you will never be the same person you were before the incident(s). You have the ability to be a stronger version of yourself and an inspiration to those you encounter. As a thriver you can find a profound sense of wholeness and inspiration in the quieter moments.
When transitioning from survivor to thriver you may begin to feel like you are no longer just “alive,” but you are finally “living.” With your new strength and ability to find peace, you will gain the ability to see multiple perspectives. Your reclaimed voice and purpose keep you moving forward in your life goals. You understand it is natural that some situations will cause you to revisit moments of victim or survivor thinking. Yet, you increasingly possess the ability to live in a world of shifting transitions. You find comfort with duality of one’s experience by honoring your strength and tending to your inner light to guide your through those tricky waters.
We at Survivors to Thrivers want to celebrate all your accomplishments and insights. Feel free to post any comments, email us or engage with us on our social media channels. We want to know how you are being a lightkeeper in your community. Go forth and shine your light into all corners of darkness you find. You are powerful and an inspiration. Thank you for being a part of this uplifting movement.