The Road to Recovery from Reputation Injury and Trauma
Knowing how to specifically respond to trauma after our reputation has been deeply hurt is a challenge. The perceptions, emotions and beliefs must be juggled and managed before clarity, healing and recovery can occur.
Regaining poise, developing a wise plan of action to successfully respond and exhibiting resiliency, while much more difficult than we might ever imagine, is possible and likely.
It’s a worthy discussion then to converse about how to overcome injury and trauma to our reputation and learn how to conduct healthy stress management, access clarity, exhibit sustained courage and carry ourselves in a manner that stimulates resiliency first and healing, second.
Overwhelm is common and not necessarily a sign of weakness. Our natural human inclination to it thought can lead to aggressiveness inspired by fear, hurt and anger or shutting down emotionally. Neither however are ideal or helpful to recovery.
Mastering our stress response therefore is a giant first step towards regaining our poise, ability to think clearly, dousing or replacing negative impulses with self control and smarter decision making for the purpose of moving forward. Do that and we are far more likely to skillfully navigate the experience and harm done.
“The most important thing to do first is focus on processing those thoughts and feelings in a constructive way,” says Patricia Celan, M.D. and a postgraduate psychiatry resident at Dalhousie University. “Oftentimes, that means working with a therapist to make sense of what happened but it can also mean discussing your reaction with supportive friends and family who can look at the situation objectively and can offer helpful suggestions on how to proceed.”
Seeking out trustworthy people who not only have our best interests in mind but also are objective and known for making wise decisions can act as a protective layer against either rash responses or getting lost in depression.
“Whenever you have an impulse to be reactionary and make negative statements that can damage you further, connect with your therapist or supportive community to cool down,” Celan says.
When reputation injury and trauma has occurred, pain can become all consuming, leading to excessive self criticism or shifting of blame, resentment and rage. It is easy to see how a mind full of such thinking can make smarter responses, healing and recovery such arduous travel.
“Working with a therapist can help you heal from the pain of reputation trauma; you will work on understanding what happened, why (it happened), how to prevent recurrences and how to integrate this negative experience in your life narrative in a constructive way,” Celan says.
This is done through examining, identifying and dissecting the communication chatter in our minds that is often running in a loop.
“By finding meaning in the experience as part of your narrative, you can recover and let go of some of that anger. Consider mindfulness meditation to live in the peace of the present moment rather than finding yourself replaying the past,” Celan says.
Resilience and recovery for our ego and sense of healthy self can be accomplished and there might be more help already present or available than a person realizes.
“While resilience is a personal trait that you can develop by learning coping skills, it is also highly dependent on having any supportive people in your life who will listen to you and continue to believe in you despite your reputation trauma,” Celan says.
The process can be difficult and painful yet the approach is not as complex.
“Recovery from damage to our reputation and the ensuing impact on the ego and sense of self depends on a person’s ability to understand what happened, integrate it into a positive personal narrative to find meaning and growth and let go so that we can keep moving forward instead of being held back,” Celan says.
The road forward can be “hard” yet it is the one that promotes resilience, healing and recovery from injury and trauma.
Michael Toebe is a reputation specialist who helps individuals and organizations. He writes Red Diamonds Essays and Reputation Specialist Essays (both on the Medium platform) and analysis and advisory for online publications: Chief Executive, Corporate Board Member, New York Law Journal, Corporate Compliance Insights and Physicians Practice. He also publishes on LinkedIn and beBee and is the voice of the Red Diamonds Podcast.