Suffering Can Lead to Positive Changes

The concept that suffering can be a source of positive personal change is referred to as Post Traumatic Growth (PTG). The first researchers, Richard Calhoun and Lawrence Tedeschi, more than two decades ago (Calhoun, L.G & Tedeschi R.G,1995) stated that two criteria must be met to satisfy their definition of post traumatic growth: 1) the individual must struggle with a life changing event; and 2) that struggle then leads to profound growth and change.

A recent 2016 study titled “Post Traumatic Growth in Women Survivors of Breast Cancer” found that PTG was evident in varying forms through positive changes in the women’s perspective towards life, a better understanding of self, closer and warmer relationships, and richer spiritual dimensions of life. Study participants had an increased appreciation of living life in the present to the fullest capacity and in looking after one’s own negeds in making one’s self a priority while engaging in meaningful activities. The women in the study had an increased ability to empathize and shifting perspectives about the role of destiny.

Some people may find, after enough time has passed, that living through or with cancer has helped them to make some positive changes in their lives.

Barthakur, MS, Sharma, MP, Chaturvedi, SK, Manjunath, SK. Posttraumatic growth in women survivors of breast cancer. Indian J Palliat Care. 2016 Apr-Jun; 22(2): 157–162.