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Growth Mindset ‒ 3 Ways To Shift From Self-Pity To Self-Compassion

Written by: Dr. Khalilah Johnson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


A traumatic experience can change your life in a dramatic way and permanently affect how you see yourself, others, and the world around you. Let’s face it the world as a whole is going through a collective traumatic experience with the pandemic threatening our health, economic uncertainty, and just the constant bombardment of day-to-day tragedies that fill our timelines.

We may not understand fully how we’re being affected but we know we are affected. Some symptoms may not be apparent for several years, but we can become proactive in how we choose to receive and perceive how we internalize the negative.

Over time, however, you can learn to see these challenges as growth opportunities that push you to your limits and allow you to see what you’re truly capable of achieving. This article explains how to turn your negative experiences into advantages by approaching them with a growth mindset and practicing emotional intelligence skills.

How many times in your life have you felt hurt, offended, or disappointed? Did you say a lot? Or maybe even all the time? While these moments can seem unbearable when they’re happening, they could also be one of the best opportunities to learn about yourself and what you need in order to grow as a person. With the right mindset and some intentional growth, we can turn a disadvantage into an advantage, and even allow trauma to become our greatest teachers in life.

Ways Negative Experiences Can Turn into Advantages

  • They can fuel your ambition.

  • They can help you become more empathetic.

  • They can help you be more resilient in stressful situations.

  • They can make you more creative in problem-solving

  • They can build growth mindset traits such as hard work, persistence, and resilience.

  • They may lead to a deeper appreciation for life and all it has to offer.

  • Some of us have even embraced our deficits as a blessing that led us on an unexpected path of personal growth or professional success we may not have found otherwise (e.g., Steve Jobs).

  • It can empower you to help others who are struggling with similar issues.

  • It can inspire those around you who witness how strong and successful you are despite obstacles; people will respect your tenacity, willpower, courage, etc.

My top 3 ways to turn disadvantages into advantages are as follows:

1. Shift from Self-Pity to Self-Compassion

Self-pity is one of those self-destructive mindsets that won’t get you anywhere. It means feeling sorry for yourself, and it helps no one. Self-compassion, on the other hand, is much more helpful—and research shows that it can cause you to become stronger after trauma... Shift from Should Thinking to Learning: Focusing on how you should act isn’t an effective way to live; what people do and how they feel may never align with your expectations. Learn from negative experiences by practicing mindful compassion toward yourself; ask why and what, rather than berating yourself for not living up to expectations. When bad things happen, let them be signals to grow stronger instead of turning into feelings of regret or self-flagellation. Comparing Our Past Selves to our Present Selves: Yes, there are some differences between who we were yesterday and who we are today—but there aren’t many people who haven’t gone through life’s challenging changes.

2. Take Advantage of Personal Development Opportunities

Though it might not seem like it, bad experiences can help you grow and develop as a person. If you’re able to learn from those events, they can be extremely beneficial in helping you attain your professional and personal goals. When something negative happens, take some time to reflect on what happened so that you can ultimately use it as an opportunity for growth. One of my favorite quotes is by Oliver Wendell Holmes: The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. So be positive regarding these situations, focus on improving yourself instead of complaining about problems, and try your best to take advantage of any opportunities or lessons learned from adversity.

3. Become a Solutionist

The growth mindset suggests that it’s not just our abilities and talents that are malleable but also our personalities, intelligence, and even our emotions. It’s hard to truly change one of these traits in a fundamental way, but we can certainly take small steps in a positive direction every day.

If you're called to be a solutionist, problems become opportunities to perfect your craft. Your pain becomes the purpose, after seasons of difficulty - lifelong wisdom remains.

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Dr. Khalilah Johnson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Khalilah Johnson , is an Executive Coach, Communication Architect, and Trauma & Resilience Expert with a multi-generational trauma history. After years of suffering severe trauma starting as early as adolescence , she struggled with deep depression, sleep deprivation, and detrimental memory loss; leading to her being diagnosed as permanently disabled. She went from being locked inside of her own mind and limited in speech , to today, being an award-winning powerful Inspirational Keynote Speaker, International Best-selling Author. She is the CEO of Redefined Unlimited Executive Coaching Firm, Brazen Nation Media Digital Marketing Agency, and Power After Trauma LLC. In pursuit of a breakthrough for herself and others, Dr. Johnson, is now a distinguished member of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, in collaboration with the National Center for Crisis Management, and a Licensed Interfaith Chaplain. Her professional training includes over 40 specialists’ certifications in the areas of holistic healing, psychology, trauma , marketing and business. Dr. Johnson, teaches the same methodology she used to break free from a life sentence of a disabling, mental, and emotional prison , through her signature program, UNPACK 2 IMPACT; The 5 E’s of Effective Generational Transformation. In this program, she has taught students that span over 97 countries ,how to clear blockages of limiting beliefs, identify, and break intergenerational trauma patterns, turn purpose into profit and go from invisible to influential. Her story has inspired millions globally and has been shared on Fox, NBC, CBS News, Chicago Tribune, Authority Magazine and Thrive Global. Her mission: breakthrough barriers, build better businesses ,and become bridges of hope, to future generations.



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