DIG Insurance & Business Magazine Fall 2020 - Page 22



In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning . — Viktor Frankl

Most people say they don ’ t like adversity . If you ask , many of us would say that this COVID-19 situation , right now , sucks . And the last thing we want to hear is , “ You ’ ll grow from this .” Please . Don ’ t start with that .

Yet history is littered with stories of triumph and growth through adversity . Van Gogh was tortured with madness . Beethoven went deaf . Roosevelt suffered from polio and paralysis . Victor Frankl was imprisoned in Auschwitz , his family murdered by Nazis . More recently , I was reminded of Michael J . Fox , who has advanced Parkinson ’ s Disease , and yet now his foundation has become the largest donor to Parkinson ’ s research – over $ 650 million thus far . Frida Kahlo suffered through polio , a near-death accident and chronic , unrelenting pain , yet found solace in her art . Our world religions of Hinduism , Buddhism , Islam , and Christianity all have stories of the transformative power of suffering .
But what ’ s the path to enlightenment through crisis and trauma ? Is it as simple as waking up one day in the middle of a crisis and just creating art and meaning ?
Well no , it ’ s not that simple . But there is a path we can follow .
Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun have done years of research on how people deal with traumatic events and crises in their lives , and how some people successfully grow and thrive , while others merely cope , and some fold under the weight of psychic trauma .
They define “ posttraumatic growth ” as an increased appreciation for life , more meaningful relationships with family , friends and community , positive shifting of priorities , and a more meaningful spiritual life . They also point out growth isn ’ t a binary choice , it ’ s a journey .