Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Anniversary Sensitivity

Eleven years ago today, an unspeakable tragedy occurred in New York City, Washington, DC, and a field in Pennsylvania. The shock and sadness of that day still reverberates from those communities to the rest of the country and around the world.

For people who have experienced trauma, anniversaries can be difficult days. Often, the marking of the anniversary of a tragic event in a person's life can trigger uncontrollable feelings and emotional reactions to seemly "normal" moments and situations.

September 11th is an anniversary that we who experienced that day and the challenging months and years that followed all share. We should speak softly and calmly about this day with others to avoid triggering difficult issues for family, friends and colleagues who may not have addressed or recovered from this public traumatic experience.

Beyond 9/11, we should always try to be sensitive to others every day. We don't know everyone's history and what traumatic experiences they may carry. Paying attention to verbal and nonverbal cues during conversations and interactions can help you navigate the waters of lived experience and avoid those triggers that can be so painful for trauma survivors.

What better way can we honor those who perished on this day eleven years ago than by being better, more sensitive people and helping others work through their trauma to become better, more whole people as well.

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