“Supersurvivors”: Resilience Beyond Trauma

Amazingly, even in midst of trauma, people continue to smile, to love, to celebrate, to create, and to renew. In making this observation, we absolutely do not mean to belittle the impact of traumatic times or the suffering many have endured and continue to endure. Suffering is real, but resilience is also real. It is an incredible and encouraging fact about human nature that, contrary to popular belief, after a period of emotional turmoil, most trauma survivors eventually recover and return to their lives. They bounce back. Supersurvivors.com

Although much has already been written about the ability of people to get better and then thrive in the aftermath of trauma, this year’s Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success by David B. Feldman, a psychologist, and Lee Daniel Kravetz hikes this up a notch by showing us we might be able not only to survive—but actually to “supersurvive.”   

As defined by the authors, supersurvivors “are those rare individuals who, in the aftermath of great tragedy and turmoil, reassess their priorities, redirect their focus, and accomplish extraordinary feats—they break records, win awards, and meet the seemingly unattainable goals they set for themselves.”

According to the publisher, the work of Feldman and Kravetz has led to a book that will help readers “discover why certain delusions can be healthy, why forgiveness is good for the body, and why reflecting on death can lead to a better life. And, perhaps counterintuitively, we learn how positive thinking is not always a strategy toward the good.”

You can watch the book trailer below:

What are the five factors that most serve to help trauma survivors experience “post-traumatic growth”?

  • hope
  • personal control
  • social support
  • forgiveness
  • spirituality

Publishers Weekly elaborates on some of these traits and the authors’ belief that they can actually help all of us: “[Supersurvivors]…believe in control over one’s own destiny; acknowledge the past, forgive, and let traumatic experiences go; have realistic expectations; and recognize their own mortality while making the conscious decision to live life to the fullest. ‘We intended to write a book about how a few extraordinary people had survived trauma,’ the authors claim, and ‘with the help of supersurvivors…we ended up writing about how every one of us can live more fully.'”

Some reviews emphasize that whereas the book may be short on analysis, it’s long on true-life inspiration. Kirkus Reviews, in fact, concludes that Supersurvivors itself is(h)ope for the endurance of the human spirit in the face of tragedy. Artfully described…intensely powerful…riveting…uplifting.”

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