When I see a worm, I think of my son when he was young. He would use them as bait to catch fish at the cottage. These are heartwarming memories.
For my grandmother, they were a symbol of a healthy garden and the joy she felt when her flowers were in full bloom.
For someone else, they might be a symbol of the mystery of the universe, given that they can be cut into two and still function fully.
For others, worms might evoke a fear response if they have previously had negative experiences with them; for example, an older sibling who tormented them by throwing worms in their hair.
A rainy day and the surfacing of worms can provoke widely different reactions. None of us can truly know how any given situation affects another person based on our own experiences.
Similarly, trauma is intensely personal. Bumping into a friend who seems down on a rainy day, I might assume that they are troubled by the weather. What I might not know is that the weather could be triggering a difficult memory from their past.
Even when a number of people experience the same event, each is uniquely affected by it.
The only way to truly understand the meaning of an event for someone is to ask. This month, our educational campaign centers on supporting those who are caring for loved ones who are injured. Strategy five in our caregiver resource touches on the importance of asking rather than assuming.
If you are already on our email list, we’ll be sending to you this resource at the end of the campaign. If you are not on our email list but would like to receive this and other free educational resources, please feel free to join our virtual community.