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How To Overcome The Impact Of Trauma

self-confidence self-development self-mastery Jan 06, 2024
Self Reliant Way Men's Program Benny Wills
Benny Wills


Horrible things happen to people. All the time. No one is exempt.

We've all been victimized and traumatized at points along our journey.

A problem in our world today is the overemphasis of personal trauma. To the point of indulgence.

Our culture has come to relish victimhood. It celebrates it.

The mainstream loves reminding people to remind themselves of their trauma.

You are damaged. You are broken.

(If you think you are, you are.)

Why does society encourage the victim mentality?

  • So we remain subservient? Always bowing to and worshiping (parental) authority?
  • So we stay stuck in a perpetual cycle of blame?
  • So we always have a justification for our current less-than-ideal circumstances?
  • So we're directed away from self-ownership?
  • So we don't realize our personal power and potential impact?
  • All of the above?

I don't know. I'm honestly asking.

What I do know is that many people allow their trauma to be the defining characteristic of their identity. The highlight in their bio.

The reason why they do or don’t do things.

The reason why they can’t face or overcome certain fears or obstacles.

Their trauma is their crutch.

Too often, trauma offers a convenient excuse for why or why not.

Listen, I get it; we can’t always control our circumstances. But we can control our reactions, actions, and behavior.

Trauma is used as a shield against personal accountability.

Your life changes the moment you accept, “It’s my fault.”

To be clear, it’s NOT your fault you were abused, neglected, or subjected to something awful. But it is your fault if you continue to let it define your current reality.

Holding onto trauma makes you a slave to your past.

I’m not suggesting you pretend like it didn’t happen. You have the power to control the narrative. Your story is not written. You are writing in real time, every minute of every day.

Wear your scars with your head held high. Don’t hide behind them.

The key to freedom is not an overthrow of government. It’s accepting full responsibility for your life and present situation.

A traumatic experience is something that happened. And things happen all the time. Life happens.

It’s your job to keep going, keep moving, and keep progressing in spite of the wounds you have endured. To find strength in weakness. Resilience in defeat.

Another common problem:

Claiming negative thoughts, emotional states, and poor habits as your own.

  • “My anxiety.”
  • “My addictive personality.”
  • “My chronic stress.”

None of these things ARE you. But they will continue to plague your experience if you think they are.

Personal problems are more addictive than drugs.

There’s a silver lining in everything that happens to us. Lessons are available everywhere. 

Think of people you admire. Their stories are inspiring because of what they overcame. Because of what they accomplished “against all odds.”

Transcending trauma helps others find the strength to transcend theirs.

Life Is But A Dream

"Row Row Row Your Boat" might be my favorite song. I have small children, so I’ve probably sung it at least a hundred times in the last three years. It's profound in its summation of the human experience.

Life IS but a dream. Memories are like dreams. They're fragmented. Splotchy. Just like dreams.

It's hard to recall much about the day in which a memorable event, moment, experience, or conversation occurred.

What you do remember is how you felt.

We forget the details of our days almost instantly. This is probably for the better. It’s good to acknowledge the past but not dwell on it.

In hindsight, the highest highs and the lowest lows are what stand out the most.

Remembering trauma is to remember something impactful that happened. In an otherwise (mostly) forgettable stream of experiences.

Transmute anger, resentment, pain, and sorrow into gratitude and wisdom. Something significant happened to you.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What did I learn from the experience?
  • What’s the lesson I can glean from what happened?
  • How can I make the most of it?
  • How has it made me stronger?
  • How can I help others avoid similar situations?
  • How can I help them find the strength to carry on like I did?
  • What can I extract from that moment to advance my life or the lives of others? 

There is always a silver lining, if you decide there is one.

Your decision to make the most of everything that happens to you is your key to greatness. And to becoming the ultimate version of yourself. The potential YOU that's woven into your DNA.

Evolution should span a lifetime. But too many people throw up a white flag the moment the going gets tough. They declare to the world and to themselves,

“I can’t because ______.”

Thus, a nail is driven into the coffin of what could be.

Then they blame their way through the rest of their unfulfilled and mediocre lives.

Only to be forgotten immediately upon departure. Just like a dream. 

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Seriously, don’t.

Be mindful of how you react to trifling annoyances. The little things that piss you off. When “shit happens.”

How you react to the little things defines how you react to all things.

There is no such thing as “bad luck.” Your interpretation makes it so. Again, things just happen.

I have three boys, ages three and under. I’m blessed, honored, and madly in love with them. And it’s a challenging situation for my wife and me. At times, it’s maddening.

I’m wise enough to recognize that it’s also accelerating my growth. Exponentially. 

In my 20s, I was searching for meaning and avoiding responsibility. I wouldn’t admit that at the time, but it’s clear in retrospect.

I convinced myself that I was “finding myself,” but what I was really doing was escaping. Every chance I could.

  • I smoked pot daily for almost 20 years.
  • I dropped acid at Burning Man. Not once, but several times. Seven years in a row.
  • I’ve eaten magic mushrooms and “rolled” on ecstasy. Separately and at the same time.
  • I participated in 13 Ayahuasca ceremonies.
  • I even did mescaline in the Amazon rainforest.

I see now that most of those experiences were unnecessary. I was side-stepping.

Nothing is hastening my development, spiritual or otherwise, more than being a father to my three sons.

Almost every day, I’m presented with an inconvenient set of issues to deal with.

I’ve developed the habit of telling myself in the moment that it’s no big deal. Messes, spills, toddler meltdowns—it is what it is. Minor disturbances in the grand scheme. Annoying and frustrating, yet ultimately unmemorable. If my emotions get the better of me, it only adds an extra wrinkle of difficulty to the situation.

Choose neutrality when it comes to the little things. Equilibrium will then be more accessible when faced with bigger things.

When one of my boys is behaving unpleasantly, it’s not his fault if I can't keep my cool. He is not to blame. I am.

Blaming is a bad habit. One that many people won’t admit to having.

When I was younger, I didn’t want to figure out how to make money. Instead, I chose to blame the government, the Federal Reserve Bank, and “the system” in general.

I shirked responsibility in the name of "Truth."

“The system is rigged. Money is debt. We shouldn’t have to pay to be alive!”


Yes, there is some truth in that assessment.


I ran away from responsibility for the first 10+ years of my adult life. And suffered through being poor the whole time.

Knowing “the truth” about the financial system added zero value to my life.

Then I realized a sobering truth. By choosing not to figure out how to make money, I was living a selfish existence. I thought I deserved everything in spite of offering very little in return.

The malice of poverty is to have nothing to give.

- Emmett Fox

Money and riches should be a reflection of service and contribution.

Money-making is a skill that you can learn.

Being poor is a choice.

Trauma as the main plot point of your story is a choice.

I recognize that my stance is a contrarian one.

I support people healing themselves and the work required to do so.

As long as that healing process or modality doesn’t become another crutch. 

In my experience, the best way to overcome trauma, depression, anxiety, heartbreak, failure, disappointment, betrayal, or humiliation is to prove to yourself what you’re capable of.


Establish a specific goal and set out boldly to achieve it. And don’t stop until you’ve reached it.

And then, don’t stop.

Keep going.

Focus your attention and your thoughts on your objective. Construct a game plan. Prioritize the necessary tasks. Some will get you closer to your goal, some won't. Identify what's not working and adjust along the way.

To my mind, this is what we, as human beings, were intended to do: to go through life from one achievement to another and to finally come to the end of our road here on Earth still reaching, still working toward a new and better plateau on which to stand. For this is to live and live completely, to know as much as we can know, to serve as much as we can serve, to accomplish as much as we can accomplish.

- Earl Nightingale

If you can learn to control your mind, you can control your time.

With control of your time comes control of your circumstances.

(Barring the unexpected and inevitable things that just happen.)

The majority of society will never understand this.

Only a true, non-conforming individual can become the architect of his or her life.

Clarity and specificity in your goals are the only ways to ensure success.

Otherwise, confusion will reflect in your life and in your environment.

You, and you alone, hold the power to call your own shots.

This is The Self Reliant Way. 

He who knows that power is in the soul, that he is weak because he has looked for good out of him and elsewhere, and so perceiving, throws himself unhesitatingly on his thought, instantly rights himself, stands in the erect position, commands his limbs, works miracles.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I teach all this and more in my program.

I will be announcing the next phase of SRW later this month. So stay tuned.

If you’re still reading this, thank you.

If you’re interested in working with me one-on-one, book a call with me. I'm ready to help.

Make 2024 your best year yet. It’s possible, regardless of your current situation.

Until next time.

Much love,



I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more, 
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;
Life is a just employer.
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages, 
Why, you must bear the task.
I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.
- Jesse Rittenhouse

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