By: Jess Hall
Sometimes, what we need isn’t what we want; in fact, sometimes what we need is what we run from. There’s a strange predicament we can find ourselves in, especially after experiencing trauma. By nature, trauma can influence how we view the world, people, social interactions, and family dynamics. Examining the healing process, it’s beneficial to surround ourselves with stable environments. However, often, the very thing we need to learn and grow is what makes us the most uncomfortable.
For instance, returning to the start, if we didn’t grow up with a warm, loving, nurturing family, spending time in that type of setting might lead to a few things. You might feel extremely awkward because you’re unsure how to navigate the communication, care, and support that are “normal” in a healthy family. You might also feel grief reflecting on the things you lacked as a child. Watching a loving mother and father being attentive, involved, and genuinely interested in their children’s lives might be challenging. Being in such an environment can trigger a knee-jerk reaction to pull away, get angry, or become overly hostile seemingly for no reason.
If you’ve experienced a dysfunctional relationship, being around couples who intentionally care for, serve, and want the best for each other might induce inner turmoil, cynicism, or skepticism. You might wonder about the authenticity of their interactions or what’s really going on beneath the surface, searching for signs that may not exist, simply because people can’t be genuinely kind and selfless. Learning to trust that people can be good and genuine might take time, particularly if you’ve faced abuse or exploitation in a past relationship.
Is putting yourself in these situations comfortable? Absolutely not. Will it likely bring up emotions that are tough to deal with or seem overwhelming at times? Definitely. However, enduring the discomfort of placing ourselves in challenging situations and around people who challenge our perspectives is part of clarifying our view of what healthy environments look like. It’s a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Tackling tricky emotions and facing overwhelming situations is all part of building resilience. Through this process, we’re not just figuring out what a healthy environment looks like; we’re shaping the kind of lives and relationships we truly desire. Every step we take in pushing through the tough stuff is a stride toward a more genuine, fulfilling, and resilient way of living.