What’s been so fascinating as I’ve opened up & shared my story, & in turn heard so many stories back, has been learning that what may be “no big deal” to one person, can be processed by someone else as a major event in their life. The term “traumatic experience” does not apply only to “major” life events or calamities that can consistently be measured from one person to another.
One great example comes to mind. I had a convo a bit ago w someone who is an extremely high performer in their industry. Upon first talking, they revealed that at the age of 8, they jumped in a pool to go swimming, could only manage their best attempt at a doggie paddle, & were made fun of mercifully by their friends.
To this day, as a result of that experience, they’re afraid to jump in the pool or ocean in front of others. This person has had to perform in high profile positions in front of groups of coworkers & clients & has come across like a polished professional. But put them in a casual backyard barbecue setting w friends, & they are terrified of going near the pool.
Different experiences we have for the first time, or even any time, often shape our reactions to similar situations later in life. This is especially the case if no one was there to support us when one of these bad experiences occurred.
This is why airplane travel can feel like the end of the world for some, yet actually enjoyable for others. It’s why some people can’t wait to get together w family for holidays, whereas others dread the reunions for weeks.
While there are practices like TSRR to rewire our brains/bodies away from the negative feelings associated w various events or memories, we do have to be very sensitive to the fact that our perceptions of the world are each unique. Likewise our sensitivities are at different levels.
It’s for this reason we can’t just look at each other’s life experiences & say: “well so & so never went through a lot of pain, so things must be fine & dandy for them.” We all struggle w some things. It’s what makes us whacky. It’s what makes us uniquely weird & it’s what makes us All A Little “Crazy.”