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  • Writer's pictureJoshua U.

The Healing Journey, Part 2: Nothing Is As Bad As It Seems

We’ve all heard the phrase in the title before; often times right after we’ve just endured something... less than ideal.


Perhaps you’ve just lost your job, or have just broken up with your partner. Maybe it’s something further down on the scale of seriousness, such as your car running out of gas & breaking down, inconveniencing the remainder of your day.


Maybe you’ve unfortunately had to hear the aforementioned phrase in the face of tragedy, such as losing a loved one.


“Nothing is as bad as it seems.”


Easier said than realized.


Our minds are naturally conditioned to focus more on the negatives of our lives than the positives. It is literally natural human tendency. It takes great effort & a real upheaval of habits to reverse, but it can absolutely can be done.


In any one person’s healing journey after experiencing trauma, one of the most important steps to follow is to recognize the manners in which it’s affecting your life. Making everything as concrete as you possibly can is paramount for your journey.


As far as the behavior of viewing the majority of the happenings in your life as much worse than what they actually are — let’s define exactly what doing this is called:


Catastrophizing is a mental health term defined as when “a person fixates on the worst possible outcome and treats it as likely, even when it is not.”


A closely related mental health term to describe this behavior is ruminating, which is the act of being in a compulsively-focused cycle of negative thoughts.


Habits breed results. It’s one of the central facts of life. Good, consistent habits can propel a person to great things. Poor, insidious habits can hasten one’s downfall.


In the case of mental health, this direct relationship is the same when it comes to our thoughts. A consistent pattern of good, positive, growth mindset thoughts put yourself in the best positions possible to succeed & live a happy life. Adversely, a consistent thought pattern full of catastrophizing from situation-to-situation & ruminating on the past breeds sadness and depression.


Another constant in life: we’re going to hit roadblocks, especially mentally. Our mindset decides whether we work around them or stay stagnant in front of them.


I mentioned the term growth mindset earlier; it’s a term coined by renowned Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck. For the intents & purposes of this message, it’s the belief that the events that happen to you are only learning experiences, meant to teach you lessons and feed improvement. It’s the opposite of a fixed mindset, which is a self-limiting mindset that will have you using the negative things that have happened to you as a referendum on your life as a whole. It’s essentially optimism vs pessimism.

I cannot stress how important it is to adopt a healthy mindset in the face of trauma. Your mindset can make or break your journey before it even fully gets underway. Before we do or say anything in life, it starts with a thought.


Telling yourself “I’ll make it through”, “I’ll survive this”, “this doesn’t define me”, and the et ceteras — that’s all cultivating healing. You’re planting the seeds and making your roots strong in betterment. That way, when further adversity arrives, you’ll rest assured & stand secure in trust of your healing journey.


It’s easy to catastrophize, ruminate, and drown ourselves in negative self-talk until we completely lose sight of who we are. It’s frightening how easy it is. It feels like a scam of sorts; how doing that takes no work at all, but healing and forming good habits takes so much effort.


The best things in life are to be worked for, though.


And working out of the right mindset is often the very start of that work.


And it’s often the difference between letting your trauma and pain define you & hold you back, or using it as a springboard for better & more bountiful.


So, yes. Nothing is ever truly as bad as it seems in the moment. Life is comparable to warfare at times. We may lose battles and suffer trauma & pain along the way. But the war is still there to be won -- if and only if we're willing to battle through adversity for what we deserve: happiness, joy, peace, and healing.



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