• Daisy Chow, LMHC, NCC

Your Trauma Does Not Define You

Updated: Sep 4, 2021


The person you are is so much more than the trauma you’ve experienced. You may still be hurting and trying to heal from past wounds. Recovery is a long and painful journey, but the past does not define who you are. While it may seem hard to believe, you are a stronger person now because of what happened to you.

Traumatic events have a quirky way of making us feel like it has totally defined who we are. The past may shape us as individuals, but that does not mean it has to define us. If you are struggling to cope with overcoming old wounds, you are not alone. Below, here are just a few reasons why your trauma does not define who you are.

You Made It Through

Whatever you did to get to the other side is what defined you. Your ability to have experienced rough waters and still found it in yourself to move forward and thrive is what defined you. Your survival was filled with bravery and courage. You came out of impossible things with a clearer understanding of your life and what matters. Your survival is why you’re stronger and all the better for hard things ahead. Your trauma can significantly impact you and your being, but the way you coped and grew from it is what impacts you even more.

You Grew From The Experience

Research says that after trauma, there’s a growth inventory that occurs. Developed in 1996, trauma results in positive progress in 5 principal areas of life:

  • Appreciation of Life

  • Relationships With Others

  • New Possibilities

  • Personal Strength

  • Spiritual Change

You may have new insights in these areas that you haven’t even recognized yet. The personal growth that comes with trauma is what defines you so that your trauma itself doesn’t. Allowing yourself to focus on and tune into these components of your life will only help you in the long-term, and are the reason that you’re more resilient and powerful in your gain of perspective.

What Can Result

Trauma is often seen as an inherent sign of weakness and failure. It comes with distress and suffering. But being able to confidently overcome these struggles rather leaves you with open opportunities to grow. It can rather result as a sign of survivorship and a renewed definition of life. You can have a better core representation of who you are and who you want to be. Understanding trauma is different for every individual that experiences it. But understanding yours can help you lead a more impactful and fulfilled life. Whether forced or not, humans have the power to adapt to their circumstances. Those circumstances can empower you instead of further damage you.

How Can Trauma Be Defined?

Trauma is the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event. It overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope and move forward. Trauma causes feelings of helplessness and often diminishes a sense of self and ability to feel a full range of emotions and experiences. Trauma can come from anything in one’s life. It often leaves an individual left feeling confused, lost, betrayed, abused, and helpless.

However, these experiences can be overcome. As emotionally challenging as they can be, conquering them is possible. Trauma may affect every part of our lives, as it’s physical, mental, emotional, psychological and more.

But you can continually focus on improving your mental health. You can heal from the past and you have the power to keep growing. There are so many resources to utilize as you get better. It takes time, and it’s a long process, but it’s possible. Build a self-care routine and stay consistent. Working with a trauma counselor can help you move on from the past.

Your life can have so much more meaning as you work through these difficult trials. Because your trauma doesn’t define you; you have the power to overcome it.