By Ileana Hinojosa – MLA, LMFT, Rachel Ann Dine – LPC,  Rebecca Frank – MA, LPCC, NCC, Brooke Campbell – MA, LCAT, Ashley Davene – Relationship Counselor, Michelle Farris – LMFT 

How To Build Resilience

“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.”

~ Rupi Kaur

The greatest glory in life lies not in never failing but in rising every time we fall Nelson Mandela Quote
Ileana Hinojosa

Resiliency is defined as the ability to recover from adversity.

This can be a situation which we find difficult to overcome such as depression or illness. It can be a life changing event that forces us to adapt and change in order to overcome the adversity.

Suffering is an opportunity for transformation.

Adversity teaches us that we are strong and that we have the capacity to overcome difficulty in our lives. It teaches us that we have the grit to push through and move forward despite what happens to us.

When it comes to resiliency, failure is not an option.

Let me explain. Failure is essential to developing resiliency because “failure” is a matter of perception. Failing allows you to practice and learn from your mistakes. It helps you to build your confidence so that you know what you need to work on. 

Practice makes you better because if you really want it you will work harder to get it. Practice teaches you humility and how to appreciate your victories because of the effort that you put into your goal.

Confidence is forged from trial and error.

You need to have a vision for yourself. No one else needs to know where you are going or what you are doing except you. You don’t have to explain yourself nor do you need anyone else’s approval. You just need to stay focused on you and where you are going. 

Be persistent, consistent and steady. It takes courage to forge a path that is yours. Your recipe for success depends on you. It is like no one else’s because it is uniquely yours.

This courage comes from doing your work around your insecurities.

Everyone struggles with insecurity. I repeat: everyone struggles with insecurity of some type or another. No one else can do the work for you. When you put in your work you learn what you are capable of. You learn what you are made of. 

Be proud of your bumps and bruises forged from the battle with yourself to be the best version of you.

Know that you put in the work and no one else. Acknowledge those that helped you along the way and thank them for their support. Give yourself credit for the small things. 

It took small steps adding up along the way to get you where you are now. 

It is okay even if you limped and crawled some of the way. You earned it so believe in yourself and remember how you got there and what it took to get there. Reflect on all your accomplishments and even the smallest victories are meaningful.

Define yourself.

Don’t let others tell you who you are. You are the expert in your life. Look for validation when you need it. Therapy can help you process whether an area of your life needs some work. 

Be bold and take chances. 

You never know what you can do until you try. The worst someone can say to you is “no” and then you find another way. Be your own champion. Know that you have Grace in you. Remember that you are worthy of believing in yourself.

Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT –

Rachel Ann Dine

Resilience. A very powerful word and an even more powerful concept to live by and develop. 

Have you ever noticed how someone who goes through a traumatic or negative event is able to bounce back or remain optimistic in the face of their misfortune? 

I can almost guarantee you that this person has cultivated a practice and mindset of being resilient.

Being resilient can best be defined as the process of “bouncing back” and or not allowing misfortunes in life to change who you are or bring you down to an irreparable state. 

While there are some people who may have a more natural predisposition to possessing resilient thinking, the good news is that everyone is capable of achieving resilient thinking by continually practicing a more positive, self-compassionate mindset. 

Sometimes when negative experiences occur, your first instinct—maybe your way of rationalizing the situation—may be to engage in blaming the people around you or even worse, blaming yourself for what has occurred. Maybe you did have a role to play in the situation, but self-blame/persecutory thinking after a bad situation will do nothing but stunt the healing process. 

If you find yourself engaging in self-blame, start the process of developing resilience by shifting your thinking. 

  1. Recognize that the self-blaming thoughts are occurring and 
  2. Start to replace the “I deserved what happened because I did this or I’m that” type thoughts with thoughts that are more self-compassionate and promote learning versus persecution. 

Let’s say you are let go from your job because of an error you made. 

Instead of viewing this situation and creating the story that you are a failure, ask yourself “What can I learn from what happened? What can I do better next time?”

Shifting your mindset into one of learning from hardships can be a tough thing to do, especially when you are in the midst of the hardship. However, the sooner you are able to recognize what you can learn from what has occurred, the sooner you will be able to move forward and live your life in a more confident, empowered way. 

When you get stuck on the proverbial hamster wheel of persecutory thinking, it can cause you to stop trying to be better, to think you deserve less in life, to prevent you from reapplying for the next job, asking your love interest out, trying to start your own business or insert whatever hardship is occurring. 

Developing resilience in the face of adversity and hardship is key to living your most empowered life. 

There will always be setbacks in life and it becomes up to you to decide how you will do better next time and how you will mentally handle a situation. A concept I constantly strive to live by personally as well as promote professionally is that the only person/aspect of your life you can control is YOU.

I encourage you to reflect back on personal negative events that have occurred in your life and recognize that 

1. You are still here and that in and of itself is meaningful and 

2. Understand (and internalize this to your core!) that you are stronger than you may realize. 

Humans (you included!) have the remarkable capacity to withstand hardship and then decide consciously how to handle that hardship. 

Always remember that it’s okay to reach out for help in your time of need. 

A good therapist will assist you in cultivating a more self-compassionate, learning-from-life mindset but you can also start at home by taking a mental step back from the situation and writing down key experiences, what you’ve learned from them, and how you can handle the situation in the future.

We are more than what we’ve been through in our lives. 

The experiences you encounter have the capacity to help you grow and be better, or will have the propensity to view yourself in an unkind, less deserving light. It’s always up to you, and you alone, to choose the mindset you will adopt and how you will choose to be resilient and live your most empowered life. 

Learn from life, and free yourself from self-blame. 

Practicing self-compassionate, open-to-learning way of thinking, and recognizing how your own mind works will always be the more proactive way to aid in your “bounce back”.  

The one constant within your control in this ever-changing life is YOU and how you will view a situation and more importantly, view yourself. 

Rachel Ann Dine, LPC –

Rebecca Frank

When failure knocks us down the hardest part begins. We have to pick up and fight to move forward. Each circumstance allows for us to come out a different person than we walked in. This is so much easier said than done.

I want to look at failure from two sides: how failure is bad and how failure is good.

Failure is bad

  • Emotional toll
  • Other’s opinions
  • Judgments
  • Confidence killer

Failure is good

  • We are pushing ourselves
  • Motivation
  • Growth opportunity
  • Options to choose

When we look at the bad we can see that there is a lot to deal with internally when it comes to failure, but the same is also true with the good.

We are given the opportunity to grow even in the good and bad of failure, because when you look at the bad those are hard things to deal with but they are opportunities for us to grow and prepare for what lies ahead.

Failure is not Fatal

“Success is not final; Failure is not fatal; it’s the courage to continue that counts.”-Winston Churchill

Many people see failure as devastating, and yes I believe it definitely feels that way sometimes. Failure is hard on us emotionally and socially, and it makes us feel vulnerable.

The key in failure is to remember that we are given special opportunities to learn through failure.

We have the choice to make sure that failure does not have to be fatal: we can choose to let it hinder us or we can choose to take it and learn from it.

Failure can be seen as a stepping stool.

Without failure or disappointment, we would never be encouraged to move or grow. We would become stuck in a mundane cycle with little purpose, meaning, and zest in life. If we didn’t have failure in our lives we wouldn’t be challenging ourselves enough or taking necessary risks in life that give us meaning and purpose. 

Failure motivates us to change, grow, and pursue life in a different light. 

Encountering failure gives us the opportunity to see that we are pushing ourselves and we are striving for excellence in our lives.

Failure is Fantastic

“Fantastic” may be a little over zealous when talking about failure, but the truth is failure is determined by your mindset. 

If you go into failure with a defeated mindset, failure will take that form. If you walk in positive and with your mindset as an opportunity, then failure will take that form. 

If we are able to harness the positive power of failure, we can build resilience in a way that will leave us with a different kind of power to overcome what we are going through. If we never fail, we are probably never trying hard enough.

When we start looking at our obstacles as opportunities we set ourselves up for growth and a character of resilience.

Instead of letting failure win, we can look back at the choices we made and track how to redirect new choices for a better outcome. With that ability we are able to move forward with new knowledge knowing that we have the power to change our future for the better. 

This gives us the opportunity to make new choices, and cultivate a greater understanding of how our choices affect our outcome. 

As we take this idea and move forward from failure we are given this opportunity to take control of the choices that we make therefore putting us in control of our own outcomes and becoming more resilient.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”-Henry Ford

Learn From Failure to Build Resilience

The definition of resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Failure helps us practice our resilience, but how do we build resilience from failure. 

Resilience is not a skill that is learned over night, resilience is something that must be practiced, nurtured and built upon.

Some of the key factors according to Brené Brown are: 

  • Resourcefulness and problem solving skills 
  • Seeking help when needed 
  • A belief that there is something that can be done to manage feelings and to cope 
  • A social support system 
  • Connection with family and friends, and spirituality.

Each of these keys are vital in growing from failure. 

We all must learn to problem solve in order to grow from failure and when we learn the art of problem solving we are able to develop other areas of our life that are key in living a fulfilled life.

When we fail, if we are able to learn to problem solve, talk to trusted people about the failure (and what can be done), and lean into our loved ones for the support we need we can cultivate resilience from our failures. 

We have to let up on ourselves and remember that failure is not who we are, it is a behavior we did.

Many of the most famous people failed numerous times: Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, J.K Rowling, and the list could go on.

Some would argue that if you want to be great then you are going to fail on your way to becoming great. 

Each of these people learned to master the art of resilience in a way that led to greatness. They were able to fail, learn, and recover quickly. 

Accepting that failure is a healthy part of life because it allows us to grow and build upon what we are passionate about and create something greater than we could have imagined.

Rebecca Frank, MA, LPCC, NCC –

Brooke Campbell

“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

People fear the unknown.

We tend to like what is comfortable and familiar. Change is elusive and contains elements of the unknown. Human beings are creatures of habit. We feel at ease when we have a routine and our lives remain the same.

We could perhaps become stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed if change enters our lives. 

What happens when life throws us a curve ball? How do we then respond to change?

Resiliency is an essential skill and quality to possess in order to thrive in life.

Are we able to recover quickly after a challenging time? Or do we tend to feel defeated and are unable to recover from a hardship?

The ability to embrace change is one important strategy to develop resiliency.

If I am able to welcome and accept change in my life, then I am adept at being flexible and am not rooted in any expected outcomes.

Embracing change is connected with our need for flow and growth. Seasons do not remain stuck and stagnant, but organically transition when the time comes.

We need to surrender control in order to fully embrace change, moving us toward resiliency.

Let us consider the image of the lotus flower, breathtakingly beautiful, growing from mud and darkness.

A lotus flower is nature’s symbol of true resiliency.

We are always able to rise from the darkness in our lives and grow more beautiful from the experience.

Let’s not fear change, but embrace it.

Let’s jump outside our comfort zone and take a safe risk and decide to blossom into the individuals we were placed on this earth to be.

Brooke Campbell, MA, LCAT –

Michelle Farris

Everyone has challenges, but it is the ability to bounce back after those challenges that ultimately determines your success. This attribute is called resiliency. It’s a life skill that can impact how well you do in work, relationships, family, and especially in your goals and dreams.

One very important aspect of building resiliency is managing emotions.

Knowing how to navigate them effectively makes every facet of life more manageable.

Most of us learn about feelings from our family.

They are our first teachers. 

For instance, you may have grown up dismissing your feelings because they weren’t heard or validated as important. Or, if your feelings were too much like a parent’s rage or severe depression, you may have learned that emotions caused problems and should be avoided.

Children are sponges for learning. 

They cannot decipher what is good or bad behavior, so they either follow what they see or do the opposite hoping to “never be like them.” In these situations, resiliency is replaced with destructive behaviors like people pleasing, care-taking, and addictive behaviors.

Learning how to manage emotions takes practice.

Noticing the bodily sensations that accompany your feelings helps. 

For instance, anger is felt in the back of the neck, head, and shoulders. Sadness is experienced in the throat, chest, and belly. Joy is a spacious, expansive sensation. Identifying emotions is the first step in handling them effectively.

The key to managing emotions is to catch them early. 

A helpful tip is to rate your stress level from 1-10. 1 is considered minimal stress and 10 is out of control. 

The more you pay attention to emotions, the more your awareness increases. See if you can identify a feeling at a 2, and figure out what you need, yourself.

People handle emotions in different ways. 

An introvert might need time alone to read or just be away from the chaos of large groups. An extrovert might need to connect with friends or do an activity. 

Many people find that journal writing provides a time for reflection that increases awareness. When your thoughts are expressed on paper, they become clearer than if they just stay in your head.

Others find that talking to a friend or joining a support group gives them the emotional connection needed to reach a resolution.

When you know how to handle emotions, you are more successful at work and your relationships are easier. 

You trust that no matter what happens, you can cope reasonably well. Being able to deal with what life throws at you is the true definition of resiliency.

Michelle Farris, LMFT –

Ashley Davene

Resiliency by definition is the ability to “bounce back” after “falling”.

If we think of this life as a journey, a video game if you will… and as we advance in our personal growth in all levels, mental, physical, emotional, spiritual… we advance to higher levels in the game… we could call this attainment.

Now, through this process there will no doubt be setbacks, you will no doubt fall down a few times or many times even along the way, run into King Koopa, slip on banana peels and/or turtle shells. 

And not to sugar coat it… there are times when the pains we endure in life will feel unbearable and we will want to give up, to quit the race, give in on our dreams, etc etc. and that, my friends, is completely and totally ok. In fact, I would say it’s actually totally normal….

Perhaps our journey is to learn to truly believe enough in ourselves and in our reasons for “WHY” we are going to get back up i.e. our purpose.

  • Is it to be a strong role model and example for the little ones in your life? Your future children, nieces and nephews, children you work with, future generations, etc.
  • Is it to dig deeper in and touch the lives of those around you on the highest level?
  • Is it for your parents who assisted you and you love?
  • Is it for your husband or wife? For their love for you and yours for them.

What is your purpose? What is your WHY? If you remember why you are shooting, you will never miss your mark and you will have one / many reasons to get back up.

The things that we do are not our purpose…. The things that we do are a side effect to our purpose. 

For example mine is:

To deepen the capacity to give and receive love on the planet starting with my own heart

I am a writer as an extension of that purpose but being a writer is not my purpose. I am a counselor as an extension of that purpose but that is not my purpose. Does that make sense?

So for me, fulfilling my purpose on a daily basis could be something as small as sharing a genuine compliment and lifting someone’s spirits, being gentle enough with my own heart to know when to unplug, recharge, and go to the beach, etc.

Knowing that my ultimate purpose is to serve love in the highest way gives me a reason… many reasons, to get back up when I fall down.

That purpose is what I tether my rope to in times that I do lose sight of where I’m going, etc. 

I remind myself that I don’t always have to know, or understand even but I can move forward and grow, and every time I open my heart deeper and get back up i.e. accept and love more, I become more in alignment with my authentic self.

This is true for you also. 

Discovering what your purpose is, is something that will fully emerge over time which you can study more in depth. I took a course on purpose taught by NY Times Author Mastin Kipp which was very insightful. 

Here is a little exercise I created from some of the things I’ve learned to help you understand your purpose if you don’t already know.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you love to do?

Example: I love to cook

  • Why do you love to do it?

Example: I enjoy learning about where foods come from, preparing healthy meals I know are good for my body and I love cooking food and sharing it with friends.

  • How does that make you feel?

Example: It makes me feel really relaxed because I enjoy it, good because I’ve shared sustenance with others and also in harmony with a sort of flow and rhythm as I bring together the ingredients to a finished creation.

From reading that you could deduce that this person’s purpose had something to do with bringing people together, sharing and being really mindful and in harmony with nature and the world around them. 

Once you get an idea of what your purpose is, ask this question:

  • What else can I do / What can I do more of to be in my purpose?

Example: Plan a dinner party this weekend, share my home made vegan recipes online, go to the local farmers market and bring a friend.

Know what your purpose is and you will have what it takes to be resilient and maybe even be able to relax enough to just enjoy the ride from time to time. 

Much Love.

Ashley Davene, Relationship Counselor –

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