Every word in the English language has a definition, a connotation, and a goal. The definition is the literal, objective, and agreed-upon meaning of that word while the connotation is the subjective, more personal understanding of a word. For instance, in the 1980s the word bad meant "good." The literal definition of the word bad is not good, but the connotation of the word was good. Additionally, the purpose or goal of the word bad, in the context of the 1980s, was to express approval for something trendy or attractive.
I bring this up so that we observe how difficult communication can be. We all have our perspectives and experiences which shape our understanding of the world. These varying perspectives often lead to conflict. Simply look at "cancel culture." Once widely acceptable ideas and perspectives are now viewed as unacceptable or primitive in the light of newer information. Wait, isn't that how science works? Maybe we should cancel science! Relax, I jest...
I say all this to preface a quite controversial question. What is trauma? As an educated, trained, and licensed professional, I can humbly say, I both know and don't fully know. I pose this question because trauma is subjective in nature and is defined by two things: 1) The socially acceptable range of behaviors and events that are typically experienced regularly, and 2) An individual's subjective experience and reaction to their experiences.
Trauma cannot exist without the tainting of at least one of these two factors. If you reflect on these two aspects in light of your own experiences, you might find that some undesirable qualities, habits, or behaviors you exhibit might be rooted in some underlying trauma you have not yet acknowledged or fully processed. Although, this is not always the case. Some of our behaviors are simply rooted in our natural internal cognitive processes which interact with the external world. Counterproductive solutions may arise for seemingly unsolvable problems.
As you explore your own mental landscape, you may find you have reached an impasse and need help navigating these issues or problems. This is what a mental health professional does. They help you navigate these daily complex problems and issues and also help you better understand your mind on trauma. The best part is that mental health professionals are trained to communicate in a way that bridges the gap between multiple perspectives and helps create resolutions to long-time conflicts.
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