What’s your definition of trauma?

In March of 2015 I attended The School for The Work where Byron Katie spoke about her definition of trauma. I am going to call it the trauma scale.

Trauma is anything from a one to a ten – Byron Katie

For me that meant that it doesn’t matter how small something is, if it causes me stress or suffering, then it is trauma to me.

Why is this the case?

There are times when I have felt deeply stressed by something small.  For example when I lent my pen to my husband to sign a form and he misplaced the pen. I responded angrily toward him in that moment. It felt like a big issue for me. He lost my pen, was the thought that created my intense emotional response.

I would grade this a number one on the trauma scale, in the normal sense of the word ‘trauma’.  I didn’t suffer any physical harm; it was a blip on the radar in a normal day of being. And yet for me, on that day it felt like a seven out of ten. It caused me an extreme amount of suffering, because of what I was believing.

You think that something at ten on the trauma scale is something serious, life threatening,  or physically and mentally damaging.  And yet in reality trauma occurs each and every day in the zero to five range due to your thinking. Way outside the standard definition of trauma.

[Tweet “Trauma is anything that causes us suffering in our daily lives”]

I can also see that if I am a person who lives my daily life in the zone of being very anxious, or perhaps suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), then the slamming of a door unexpectedly can be a major trauma event for me.

So, anything that causes you suffering can be questioned using The Work.

I questioned my ‘he lost my pen’ scenario and found that I wasn’t sitting in my own integrity, my own truth at the time in lending my husband my pen.  This was new to me.  I hadn’t realised this, before doing ‘The Work’ on this situation.  This showed me the power of doing ‘The Work’ on the tiniest things that create even that split second of annoyance in me.

The fact that I have any reaction at all, is enough to cause me stress, and have me feel angry, confused or disappointed.  Feeling this way rather than peace, shows me that there is something of value for me to look at and question.

Next time you are triggered by even the smallest annoyance in addition to noticing, consider putting your thoughts on paper. Complete a Judge Your Neighbour Worksheet, and take it to ‘The Work.’

I have personally found the value in it.


About Karen Cherrett

Karen has trained as a Certified Facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie and is also a Holistic Counselor. She wants to be of service to you to improve your love of life and all its experiences. Karen supports individuals, businesses and practitioners.

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