Through trauma and loss, people can lose their sense of meaning, lose their feeling of identity or place in the world, and develop ongoing depressive, anxiety, and relational problems.
Mindfulness is the first crucial step in being able to step back from your reactions and do something healthy when trauma issues get stirred up. It’s one step in moving away from trauma and back into your life, and it’s relevant to everyone, whether or not they are survivors of some particular trauma.
The way to deal with pain and suffering is to work through traumatic experiences instead of avoiding them, as opposed to pushing them away, just as we know that the way to get over a spider phobia is to undergo some form of contact to or exposure with spiders.
However, exposure to spiders doesn’t mean walking into a room and, without any warning, throwing a spider on top of the person who fears spiders. That approach, in fact, is bound to reinforce the fear of spiders instead of reducing it.
Similarly, we know that the way to reduce suffering associated with one’s trauma is to be able to work through the original pain of the trauma in a careful, gradual way, where you maintain control over the what, how, and, importantly when.
Part of this process here is, therefore, to build a safe foundation, through increased awareness of what is going on inside and outside you, so that you can do this very difficult work.
Some people with trauma histories never learned some of these skills in their early years. But this increased awareness, or mindfulness, is the opposite of avoidance and can be the foundation for effectively living a life you truly love.