Survivor Corps, Cofounder
The morning papers and nightly news are filled with reminders the world can be an unpredictably dangerous place. Earthquakes in China, cyclones in Myanmar, tornados in the heartland, war in the Middle East and gang violence in our cities. There are fundamentally three types of threats to human survival and security: disasters, disease or violence. The third is the most disturbing—deliberate victimization and cruelty.
We are at war, and the number of people engaged in violence is growing daily. At the moment, there are 39 armed conflicts raging, and more than 80 percent of those injured and killed are civilians, not soldiers. To stop this man-made epidemic, we must work together. No one survives alone.
I've wrestled with the issues of how to overcome crisis and suffering throughout my life. When I was 20, I stepped on a landmine while hiking in northern Israel. I lost my leg, and spent months recovering in an Israeli hospital, learning firsthand what it takes to overcome. I wrote about what I have learned about survivorship and resilience in I Will Not Be Broken: 5 Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis.
There are five basic steps a person must undergo in order to complete the cycle of recovery from trauma. First, we must face facts: this awful thing has happened and we can't turn back the clock. Second, we must choose life. It is still worth living, but we must actively choose and hope for a better future. Third, we must reach out – isolation will kill us; we need each other. Fourth, we must get moving – no one else can do our physical or emotional rehab for us. Finally, we must give back. Turning around to help those who are struggling alongside us will boost our serotonin levels and complete the cycle of our own healing. Givers, not takers, end up thriving.
It’s hard to read the papers and watch the news at times… tempting to turn the channel. But empathy is key to our personal and global survival. Only by recognizing the pain in ourselves do we begin to see others in pain as our brothers and sisters. As we work through our own pain, we find it satisfying, and even healing, to reach out and help others, replacing the cycle of violence and suffering with one of growth and peace.
–Jerry White, cofounder of Survivor Corps - a worldwide network of people helping each other overcome the effects of war and violence—and author of I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis. All net proceeds from sales of I Will Not Be Broken benefit Survivor Corps programs to help survivors recover worldwide.
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