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8 Universal Stages of Healing Trauma & Personal Growth

Understand the stages, discover what must happen in each of them to move on, relax and move forward. Nothing you're experiencing now is avoidable and you're exactly where you need to be.

Do you feel lost or confused as a result of distress in your life?

Do you feel you're not fully in control of how your life is evolving?

The struggle of overcoming your past habits, trauma, and conditioning can get overwhelming.

That's why I want to show you the 8 Stages of Personal Growth. Everyone goes through them. When you understand how the stages follow and what must happen in each of them to move on, you can relax and move through it much more easily. You will also understand that nothing you're experiencing now is avoidable and you're exactly where you need to be.

1. Stage: TRIGGER

Something happening in your world is triggering you into a survival reaction, where you have access to neither your authentic self-expression nor your ability to logically resolve the problem. It comes repeatedly in times of emotional tension OR it comes suddenly as an extremely intense emotional event.


  • You are unable to relax around women because you're too anxious and you experience repeated rejection.

  • You are experiencing an anger outburst when your girlfriend does something you hate and you're ashamed of your reactions.

  • You are beating yourself up for being unable to stay consistent with your goals and you feel like a failure.


Typical by asking a question: "Why me?" The trigger has happened enough times for you to see that it's a consistent pattern, but you don't yet understand why it's happening - to you.

(You don't yet understand the underlying repressed emotions and/or past trauma that is asking for your attention through the trigger.)

It just feels crappy and there seems to be no explanation. You might have never thought about the trauma, or repressed emotions, these concepts might be foreign (or so improbable in the context of the trigger that they're forgotten).

There is a lot of isolation, and loneliness as it looks like no one else is facing that problem.

Shame comes up: "What's wrong with me?"

Self-pity becomes a cheap substitute for self-love. Even though it feels better than the void and emptiness of shame, it creates addiction and will ultimately prevent you from moving on.

The next stage happens when "Why me?" is not asked from self-pity, but from genuine curiosity.

3. Stage: Emotional Experiencing

The trigger has revealed and reactivated repressed emotions. A person with high enough Emotional Intelligence can feel them directly in the body. The person with less insight into their body will recognize them through their thoughts:

  • Shame: "I'm wrong, broken, not good enough."

  • Sadness: "I feel lonely and I'll never be really happy"

  • Fear: "What if I lose control? What if I get invalidated?"

  • Apathy: "Nothing makes sense anymore. What's the point?"

  • Guilt: "I screwed this up. This was SO wrong."

  • ...and so on.

In this stage, you do not know how to deal with these thoughts and emotional experiences, and therefore you mostly:

  • suppress them (forcing them NOT to feel),

  • run away from them (work, alcohol, drugs, sport, prostitution, ma$turbation, etc.) while being unable to fully enjoy the escape activities or

  • project them on others ("I'm not angry, you are!").

The biggest problem of this stage is, that because the person does not know how to process these thoughts and emotions, he will feel as if his mind and body were betraying him: "Why do I have all these thoughts? Why do I have all these experiences?"

This will create the impression as if their Mind and Body are their enemies (self-hate). They will not want to experience what's coming up spontaneously, because it feels too painful, but that paradoxically will keep all that garbage in place.

"What you resist, persists." is how legendary psychiatrist Carl Jung summed it up.

Some people get stuck in this stage for 30 years. It never hurts bad enough to ask for help, but also the pain never really subdues enough to feel fully alive and enjoy life.

The next stage begins when the person realizes, that all these sensations have a positive intention - to release the emotional pain stored in the body, which processes past trauma and integrates the disowned parts of the Self.

4. Stage: Discovering the Cause of the Pain

The emotional charge that your body stores in your nervous system is not resisted anymore. Your nervous system is allowed to feel it, while the brain is gradually decreasing the intensity of the survival reaction.

It still hurts, but you don't resist the pain anymore. Instead, you're consciously processing the pain through your body, and it gradually decreases.

The body is not being punished, judged, and fixed anymore, instead, it is used as a vehicle for releasing the pain.

In this stage there are three options for what can happen next:

  1. The emotional tension is too big to process and you will move back to the previous stage and comfort yourself with self-pity.

  2. You discover the trauma, dig deeper and release all emotional charge, you'll experience immediate lightness and move into the next stage.

  3. The trauma driving the pain was so minor, that the pain is released and you move into the next stage without even getting to know the trauma.

5. Stage: New Understanding of the Past

Once the emotional charge was released, you are now able to look at the situation with more objective eyes.

The emotional charge prevented you from doing that, for example: "My dad was a selfish, egotistic prick, who only cared about himself and I'm fuc*ed because of him."

That's not objective reality, but anger speaking. Objective reality, in this context, is what two people can agree on. Therefore the only way to see the situation objectively is to look at it through your dad's eyes.

Once you let go of the emotional charge (or tension stored in your body) and you FEEL that nothing was really taken away from you, you can see the experience with fresh eyes: "My dad was desperate and in extreme pain and he never received from me the recognition that he believed he deserved." (an example)

You know it sucks, but because you also know it couldn't have been any different, you created space for Forgiveness.

Be careful, though! This is not done from an intellectual level "I think so because Maros wrote it in a Facebook group," but you feel it deeply in your body and it becomes your own new permanent Truth.

This stage usually comes as insight, the a-ha moment.

The next stage is the direct consequence of this stage.

6. Stage: Reaping the Rewards of Emotional Releasing

Once you let go of the repressed emotion in your body, you release its internal tension.

The body is freer of internal tension and becomes more resilient to external tension, your ability to handle and enjoy tension increases WHILE your relationship with your body and yourself improves.

Because your body and nervous system are not in agitated mode, your mind has more space. You think less and your capacity to be still, create and improvise increases.

The combination of these two increases your ability to handle and enjoy the tension, which directly increases your ability to Lead in conversations with men and women and it gives you more space to express yourself genuinely.

That's the essence of Natural Masculine Confidence

Because this did not happen through intellect, but through your body, it's not a temporary mental high that lasts as long as you remember the concept that created it. It happened through releasing the emotional tension from your nervous system, which makes it grounded in your body.

And because it didn't happen through some magic pill or anything external, but YOUR own work, it's coming from the inside.

Not only does it last, but it also motivates you to work on yourself further: setting bigger goals, staying consistent, and challenging yourself.

7. Stage: Newfound Trust in the Mind & Body

This stage first comes as a sudden insight, but then it becomes gradually strengthened.

It's a shift from seeing your Mind and Body as your enemies (Self-hate) due to your lack of control over them to having compassion and gratitude for the Mind and Body (Self-Love) because they helped you to process all you've gone through. Also, they've been with you ever since the beginning of the journey.

You're feeling more and more alive, which makes you want to continue the healing journey, though not out of necessity due to pain, but from a genuine desire to be better, and more useful in the world and to deepen your participation with All Life.

This creates space for the next stage.

8. Stage: Ancestral Healing & Living Your Purpose

You start asking the same question: "Why me?"

But it's not out of self-pity, like in the 2nd stage, or a curious desire to overcome pain, like in the 3rd stage.

This time, it's coming from a genuine desire to get insights into who you really are at the deepest core:

  • How did your cultural, social, and parenting circumstances create the person that you are?

  • How did all you've gone through created strength that goes back to your ancestry?

  • What is the core essence that is exquisitely unique to you and you only?

  • And how does this essence fit in the world? Where is it needed?

This, really, is what lies behind the question: "Who am I?"

But not as an escape mechanism from emotional pain, a spiritual bypass, just because Ramana Maharshi said, you'll get enlightened if you do it hard enough (and that ends all your discomfort forever).

That's an escape mechanism.

You ask "Who am I?" when you feel good already because you want to grow and live, you don't mind more triggers coming up, because with each one that you process you feel a bit lighter, you love yourself and the world more and you want to give more.

You want to participate in life more because it all makes you feel even more alive.


Be aware that these stages are not always linear. Very often, especially with complex and deep trauma that is covered with years of conditioning, moving forward can be a "two steps forward, one step back" journey. Therefore, what makes the difference is not the short-term intensity of the work, but long-term consistency: creating habits that will make the work automatic.

The sooner you do that, the better.

And then when you get triggered as fu*k and you start all over again, it will never be the same hard journey as it was the first time. Because you now have not only the confidence and experience of navigating your mind and body successfully but also the habits to navigate the situation successfully.

The whole cycle gets shorter and shorter.

From years to minutes.

Eventually, you fall in love with it.

You'll process stuff, and feel lighter and more alive WHICH will make you dream bigger and create bigger goals. You'll use goals to create your dream life WHILE bringing more stuff up so you can process it and feel even lighter.

A mutually supportive Yin-Yang relationship that never ends, it just gets better and better. Naturally, you will feel more and more gratitude, you will lead more in your family and community and you'll be an inspiring example for others of what's possible in life.

That's the 8 Stages of Self-Development.

You're never really lost.

You're just somewhere on the path.


I'm a coach helping men to build confidence grounded in strong mental health. I help men grow the amount of emotional tension they can handle and enjoy using Masculine Core Integration in their dating lives, relationships and business world. To learn more about my work, join my FB group and get my best free content in e-mail.


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Absolutely brilliant, thank you. I'm currently moving around steps 5-8, and you're right it's not always linear and it's certainly not easy but it is always worth it, getting ever closer to that ok-ness.

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