Stress and adversities are inevitable in life. In this volatile world, it is by no means a difficult task to find a piece of negative news or pick up a disparaging remark from someone on the streets, an acquaintance or even from your loved ones. It can be so easy to drown in a pool of constant negativity. There is emerging research that suggests that individuals are more likely to be drawn to negative and precarious news from the media due to our cognitive biases, as impending threats of danger are things that grab our attention due to our need for survival. It is undeniable though, that surrounding ourselves with negative news in the long term can change our attitudes and mind-set for the worst.
Do you know anyone who is constantly angry, unhappy and completely jaded in life? Chances are, they too, have been through severe negativity and hurt in their lives, but emerge from the experience as a bitter and cynical individual. Being jaded and constantly guarded is an unhealthy characteristic. When a person’s heart is completely hardened to the core and is totally void of positive emotions, it creates a string of negativity. The opposite of love is hate. You would want to impact someone in the best way ever, and not spread hate and negativity in their lives, for they may do the same to others one day.
In the book, Positive Psychology in a Nutshell (2008) written by Dr Ilona Boniwell, she stated that while stress faced in our day-to-day lives are unavoidable, a more severe form of stress such as trauma and several devastating events can affect us in many ways. It can either shatter our depiction of what the world is like, or emerge from this experience having gained something from it. She calls this phenomenon, “post traumatic growth”, whereby individuals gained valuable experiences from their trauma, such as an increased confidence and appreciation, stronger relationships and a heightened sense of compassion for people who are in similar situations.
Six-time Grammy award winner Lady Gaga is one of the best selling musicians all of time. Though well known for her hit records and musical work, Lady Gaga’s active work as a philanthropist and in social activism has gained her immense praise and acclaim. Having battled with bullying as a youth, Lady gaga set up the Born This Way Foundation in 2011 to help promote a “braver, kinder world” for youths and also to promote anti-discrimination and anti bullying. Lady gaga has also incorporated her experiences as a victim of bullying into her lyrical work in songs such as “Born This Way”.
"I knew that it affected me deeply but it wasn't until a little bit later that I realised how much it affected me and how much it was still very present," she said. "I think it took me to get to know my fans and to see similar struggles in them to access that wound in myself."
Attaining growth from traumatic experiences aren’t easy, they require work, determination and faith. We can grow from the hurt, challenges and obstacles that we have encountered in our lives. In times of adversities, we can either mature into a bigger individual or even inspire others to do the same or let the bitter fire consume us. Remember to spread love today and always stay positive!