Navigating trauma and adversity and allowing it to grow you, mature you, and propel you toward your purpose vice allowing it to break you down into bitterness and anger is probably one of life’s greatest lessons. Healing from traumatic experiences is a vital process that if left unaddressed, will have generational impact. You must be aware of whether or not your legacy will be generational blessings or generational curses.
We area all impacted by childhood trauma and we will all continue to face adversity in our lives and how you deal with it often determines your course in life. We can have grandiose goals, but if you do not have a clear purpose and a healthy approach to dealing with trauma and adversity, self-destructive behaviors will likely overpower and minimize everything you do in life. Below are 6 steps that govern my approach to trauma and adversity:
- Know Who You Are (Identity). Many situations that will rock you to your core, largely stem from someone or something trying to hijack your truth and distort it in ways that will leave you feeling less than – that is, if you let it. I can recall as a kid being called stupid, or ugly, or a problem child. I can remember as an adult while at work someone telling me, “I am going to sit down and work like the indentured servant I am.” I can recall being called a lot of things by a lot of people, but one thing is for sure, the negative words or labels of others had minimal impact once I learned who I was and what I was made of. Once you know who you are, no one on this earth can distort that truth!
- Know Your Why (Purpose). Everyone has to take time to understand what drives them – you must understand your purpose. “The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but life without a reason. It is dangerous to be alive and not know why you were given life” – Dr. Myles Monroe. Aimless pursuits are dangerous. If you don’t have a powerful life driving force, your time, energy, and money will get hijacked by people and things that do not serve you well. You have to know why you are doing what you are doing and that why has to operate in alignment with your overall life’s purpose. For example, if you want to save or invest money and generate wealth, you have to know why and that why needs to align with your larger life’s purpose. If you want to be married, but don’t know why, chances are you will not recognize the purpose or value of the marriage and take it for granted. I could go on and on. One of the most powerful words that exists is ‘Why’ … Know your why, own it, and align everything you do to it. My why is built upon the legacy that was passed to me by my mother. I am a natural leader and a humble servant that seeks to educate and empower people, families, and communities to not just exist, but to live abundantly. What is your why?
- Expect Adversity and Prepare for it. You have to tend to past traumas and prepare for future adversity. Having good processes in place to deal with trauma and adversity pays dividends. I had learned over the years to not make decisions out of hurt or anger. I had to learn those lessons young, because as a kid, I had dealt with too many traumatic experiences that left me hurt, angry, and engaging in self destructive behaviors that had to be addressed. Having a good support system and healthy routines that can relieve stress and regulate you is paramount. My daily routines include: prayer, meditation, reading, and stretching. I also do deep breathing exercises and talk things through with my small circle of wise counselors when I need to gain clarity as I navigate a difficult situation; I realize that hurtful situations often distort your perception. I also love to hike. There is something about being in nature that is calming, reassuring, and self-regulating. How do you rebound after being homeless and being traumatized in the foster care system? How do you rebound and feel safe when witnessing death on almost daily basis as a child growing up in the projects in Chicago and on the North side of St. Louis? How do you rebound after the pain and stigma of having a child at 15? How do you rebound after being broken in a painful relationship? How do you rebound after being called an indentured servant by a coworker and the processes that are supposed to be in place to guard against that type of behavior fails miserably? Well, let me be the first to tell you that rebounding after trauma or adversity is hard and they often leave scars. For me, part of my process for overcoming adversity was the determination to not be defined by my trauma and let it dim my purpose. But in order to do that, you must know purpose and be steadfastly committed to it. Commitment to YOUR purpose is YOUR superpower.
- There is a Purpose for Everything, Even Adversity. The reason for the difficult situations you face may not be readily apparent. But as I reflect on the adversities in my life, they all eventually served a recognizable purpose. The experience with homelessness propelled me toward real estate investing. Coping with a mentally ill parent spurred my interest in reading and education. My difficult journey following my experience in foster care humbled me and allows me to deal with people who are struggling with their own traumas with a level of care and grace that can only come from experience. The grace and care that teachers showed me as I navigated my tumultuous years in school, propelled me to pay it forward through my own education foundation. Early setbacks in my career as a Naval Officer only served to propel me to heights unimagined in the latter part of my career. There was no way that I could have ever understood how some of the trials I faced would have turned out while going through them, but I can definitely say firmly today, they all served a purpose that has helped me to grow and mature into a better person and be positioned to make a much greater impact.
- Stay Positive, Remain Hopeful. There is a crossroad that you come to at every trial – they can make you bitter or bigger. I am grateful that my adversities made me bigger. Tremendous spiritual, emotional, physical, professional growth came out of it because I allowed myself to remain positive and not get discouraged. But, let’s not trivialized trauma or adversities – IT WAS HARD. I focus on my blessings all while trying to be aware and attend to my traumas when they surface and manifest themselves in ways that I did not anticipate. Do be fooled, traumas are shape shifters. If you struggle with negativity, chances are, there is something in your past that needs to be addressed. Negativity will kill, steal, and destroy everything you are working hard for.
- Share Your Story. Your past experience is a part of who you are. Own it and do not be afraid to share your story. You just may encourage someone who shares a similar struggle. There is power in your story. I grew up spending half my childhood in Robert Taylor Projects on the Southside of Chicago and the other half on the Northside of St. Louis. My family was poor and homeless for a time. My mother struggled with mental illness. My siblings and I ended up in foster care and experienced abuse in the system. I became an angry teen who was constantly in fights. I became a mother at of 15 and a welfare recipient. Talk about adversity! Somehow, out of all that and by the grace of God, I would go on to graduate from high school at the top of my class, go to college on a full ride and graduate with a BioChem degree at the top of my class and would continue my education and earn a PhD. I joined the Navy and have had an extraordinarily successful career. I have been blessed with enough resources to pay it forward through a nonprofit foundation that provides financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs to students. I own a commercial real estate investment company through which promote financial literacy and generational wealth creation. Even with my humble beginnings, I realize that I inherited a rich legacy and purpose that I commit to every day and I reinforce with my daughter and grandson … that legacy is based on perseverance, education, and service. There is nothing more beautiful than knowing who you are, why you are here, and what you are made of and then operate in align to it!
If you want more information on building legacy heath and wealth habits, commercial real estate investing, or need help with creating a legacy wealth budget for your household, please do not hesitate to contact me for help.
Charleese Hasan, PhD, The Budget Dr, Health and Wealth Consultant, Qualified Sales Coordinator – JuicePlus, Accredited Commercial Real Estate Investor – OH Charlie LLC: firstname.lastname@example.org