I have been called “strong” as long as I can remember; however, these remarks often perplexed me. What is it about me that appears so strong? I certainly don’t feel strong! If they only knew how afraid I was they wouldn’t be saying this at all. Inside, I am a frightened little girl waiting for the next traumatic event to befall my life.
What is it about my behavior that compels people to speak this over me time and time again?
These thoughts and questions swirled in my head for decades. Always leaving me as perplexed as the time before. I just didn’t get it.
Then one day, it became clear.
By definition resiliency is: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
Strong is just another word for resilient and resiliency was a definition I could identify with. Funny how a simple change in nomenclature made sense out of years of confusion.
I’ve written many articles on resiliency and each piece took on a life of its own. There are many ways to achieve resiliency just as there are many paths to God or spiritual enlightenment. But today I’m going to focus on one piece. It’s the piece that was modeled for me so distinctly by the most resilient woman I know, my mother. And that piece is:
To keep going no matter what.
No matter if it was my father’s adulterous affair, the tragic death of my brother at age 16, the illness and subsequent deaths of her parents, my parents’ divorce, her cancer diagnosis or her double knee replacement, she always responded the same way – with resiliency.
She kept going no… matter… what.
I believe because resiliency was modeled so powerfully in my home, it became part of who I am. There were no words spoken to me about it, no cheerleading, it just was. This is how we handle times like this. This is how we do heavy. This is how we keep going when we are frightened, sad or shattered.
Even though I had a tremendous role model, it does not mean it came easy.
Resiliency is a choice. A day to day and sometimes minute by minute choice.
- The choice to rise up as a victor instead of adopting victimhood.
- The choice to see the blessings in the mire instead of suffocating under its sludge.
- The choice to reposition the heavy weight rather than giving up and quitting.
This might come as a shock to some of you, but a couple years back when I was first asked to write a piece on resiliency, I had to look up the definition. Prior to that, I had no clear idea of what it really meant.
Simply by discovering the word and its definition, I was able to identify a force inside myself that I had not yet been able to label.
Resilient. I am resilient. I choose a forward path. I keep moving forward no matter what. I refuse to be anyone’s victim. A setback is not the end of my life. There is more life to live. Other’s bad choices are not a reflection of my goodness and worth. I get to choose how I view and handle my own life. This is my personal freedom and my right. Bad things are going to happen and I cannot stop them, but I can sure choose how I will respond to them and…
I will keep going no matter what.
Unfortunately, not many of us have resiliency modeled for us in our youth and even if we do, our personality may choose a different response to our situation.
What my mother didn’t speak, but probably understood was that no difficulty is forever. It passes eventually. Life is a series of events challenging us to step into our higher selves – to evolve into our richness and destiny.
No “thing” out there can beat us unless we allow it.
By no means am I suggesting we emotionally bypass the pain that comes our way. That is not resiliency, it is rug sweeping and numbing. It is a grand gesture of avoidance that will only repress the pain and fear for a little while. Eventually we will have to meet it again face to face.
Resiliency is about feeling the feelings, letting them out, talking about the situation to a trusted friend, then choosing your next best step.
It’s about releasing attachment to the future by funneling all your energy into the present moment knowing God is leading you one tiny step at a time.
Resiliency is to keep going no matter what.
Kristen Brown, Author and Certified Empowerment Coach – www.sweetempowerment.com
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.
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 – www.themindfullife.net
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
Failure is good
We are pushing ourselves
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.”
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.”
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 Brene 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 - www.courage2connect.com
A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.
- Stephen Hoeller
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The only people who can hope to avoid falling are those who never try to accomplish anything.
We’ve all heard these things over and over. We want to get it right. Our ego depends on it. It’s easy to enjoy success. It would be wonderful if that was all we ever experienced. Truth be told though, we wouldn’t not be the strong souls we have become if we hadn’t been challenged, struggled, failed, struggled some more, learned what not to do and maybe, if we’re lucky, what to try next.
The stories of failure embarrass us, make us feel inadequate, and come back to haunt us again and again – often leaving us paralyzed to act on the next challenge.
Immediate problem solving mode isn’t yet equipped to kick in, and the old, automatic reaction is not helpful, to say the least, chiefly because we haven’t applied new perspective to our stories.
We can start now as we accept the reality that our life’s depth and fullness depend on the integration of our failures along with our successes, and that our resilience is dependent on giving ourselves at least the break we would want from others, let alone on loving ourselves and accepting ourselves with an open, compassionate heart through it all.
What is your “pet” failure story?
You certainly suffered, didn’t you? Things didn’t go as expected, or you truly screwed up. Notice, and curiously be with whatever suffering and emotion arises there.
Now turn toward it and take your ego out of the picture. Did you survive? If you pull focus and look at it from a perspective of distance, what have you taken away from the objective truth of it? There are surely key lessons there that you could use or have already used to engage with the world in a new, consequently stronger way.
Acknowledge the suffering with self-compassion AND recognize how you’re changed by it, giving yourself credit.
There is new growth and wisdom there. It is human nature to have empathy for someone else who is suffering, yet we beat ourselves up when we need compassion the most.
When was the time you felt the maximum level of dignity and respect? You were so proud and satisfied. Allow that feeling to return and flow through you. What were the circumstances? Who else was holding you in high regard? Were you being recognized by someone else? How were you standing in response? Was your posture affected? How did that feel in your body? What did you do next? What kind of energy went into that next move? Could you have been that successful if you hadn’t recovered and grown from earlier failures?
We often feel alone and isolated in our suffering.
We think, “Why me?” and we get so focused on our pain, inconvenience, and ruined plans or pride that we forget that all humanity suffers, and that we are connected to everyone. Who do you know who has never suffered? This is exactly how things are supposed to be for us to grow.
We are in process, individually and collectively, and our resilience depends on our care and compassion as we continue to suffer, learn, and grow.
As you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and prepare to get back into life with your new perspective there are many things to consider, and one major factor is to be as healthy as possible in body, mind, and spirit.
We are much like rechargeable batteries and do need to plug in to what gives us life and energizes us.
Many of us forget, many feel guilty, and many feel selfish around what just needs to be done for basic competence. Other people still find success, happiness, and relaxation by taking time for themselves and you are just as important as they are.
Take care of your body by putting healthy things into it, exercising, getting a little pampering and enough sleep, as well as by making wise choices.
Take care of your mind by doing things you enjoy, learning, and keeping clear boundaries. Take care of your spirit by honoring your passions and acting on them, being in community with people you admire, and putting your self-compassion first. Next time, you’ll be ready!
Loving Kindness Meditation is one of my favorite ways to build resilience. Here is my version.:
- May I/he/she/we all be safe and protected.
- May I/he/she/we all be healthy and strong.
- May I/he/she/we all be happy and joyful.
- May I/he/she/we all live with grace, peace, and ease.
Laurie Curtis, CPPC, CiPP – www.curtisease.com
Resiliency involves many different pieces. One of those pieces that I believe is paramount is optimism. For if you do not believe that things are going to be positive and that you can get through situations then how could you possibly be resilient at all?
I have several tools I use on a regular basis that help me get through the really tough times and stay optimistic at the same time.
1. Throw a 2-minute pity party with a twist: This may sound funny or silly but is a tool that we use in our house regularly.
First you allow yourself a timed 2-minute pity party to feel whatever sad or tough emotion you are dealing with due to a situation. (Someone can time you as well, kids love doing this for us as parents).
Then you apply the twist, you must list all the positive things in that situation and what steps you are going to take to better the situation. It is surprising how just allowing yourself to feel the rough emotion and then turn it around works. I believe it works because we don’t shove the emotions or frustrations down but actually experience them in a positive way and then focus on the bright side to move forward.
2. Engage support in the positive: Meet up with a friend or colleague that you trust and that has a great ability to see the positive. You tell them all the details of the negative or difficult situation you are going through.
After they have listened to all the details, they list back for you all the positives you didn’t say about the situation. It is amazing when we get a positive perspective from others how it allows us to use that optimism to our advantage.
3. Thought reversal by the second: Every single time you have a negative or hopeless thought about the tough situation you are in, you stop, breathe and reverse the thought into an optimistic positive one listing the amazing outcome or pieces that are present.
By practicing this optimistic switch every time we have a negative or hopeless thought, we start the process of being optimistic all the time. Before we know it, we are going straight to the optimistic thought without the stopping and breathing.
4. Breathe in Optimism and Breathe out Negativity: This tool helps us with positive thinking as well as calming. As you are feeling overwhelmed with whatever it is you are dealing with, you take each one of those stressors and breathe out as you verbalize them. Then as you breathe in for each one you change it to a positive solution to the stressor. Your body calms down and your focus becomes optimism.
5. Practice your optimism daily: As you go through your day, make a serious effort to express the bright side to everyone you meet especially when they meet you with negative. This tool does two things it helps us to not be stuck in our situation which allows us to be resilient enough to move through. It also has the nice side effect of changing someone else’s day, moment, thought etc. A little optimism never hurt anyone.
Resiliency is really about getting through the tough times in a way that allows us to grow and build skills. When we use optimism, it allows us to face any situation manned with tools and positive emotions so we can truly not only survive that situation but grow from overcoming it.
Neesha Lenzini, MS - www.relationshipsinneed.com
Resilience requires the practice of self care which includes a daily regimen of mental, physical and spiritual strengthening.
It is important to discover a plan that you will do and will be self motivated on in order to ensure that you will practice every day. There are no vacations on maintaining resilience, a minor slip here and there, but the reality is, resilience is a daily practice and if done right, does not seem like work, in fact it becomes part of your daily life routine.
The basics are to get exercise for your body.
Make sure you have muscle, endurance and strength training in your routine, eating for nutrition and mood, make sure you are eating for your mind and body, practice some kind of spiritual work, learning how to get in touch with your connection to all things and identify a way to look to something other than yourself when times become more difficult than not, and ultimately practice the idea of reality acceptance, meaning meet reality on reality terms versus what you think reality should be.
Give up the resistance that a tantrum or pouting can change your life, because it doesn't.
Keep a healthy mental attitude by guarding your thoughts against negative influences including mood altering substances and people. Keep in mind that people may be well meaning, but learn how to discern as to who is healthy for your resilience strengthening and who is not.
And, celebrate your success, enjoy your hard work and take time to feel grateful and treat yourself.
Lisa Bahar, MA, LMFT - www.lcbahar.wix.com
Everybody has failures, setbacks, and falling on their arse.
The difference between those who slide into a state of being stuck with even depression knocking at the door and those who are resilient is in a few key aspects. Though, the lesser known of these is to take a pause. It is assumed that the resilient folks are just made of rubber and bounce back naively into the great dangers f life. Taking chances, working hard, and ready to be hit hard with another failure. Recent research, though, reflects a different outcome.
The resilient DO NOT BOUNCE! They pause.
They take heart the loss, failure, and assess the wounds. Taking time to allow full feeling and thought of the failure and hurt allows us to understand and to fully be part of the happening. Ignoring and deflecting the pain only asks for it to revisit later, when it may then get in the way of our actual goals and current ventures. By allowing yourself to process the hurt, you allow yourself to be ready to let it go.
Take a breath, a few hours, a few days, or even months depending on the loss.
The loss of a great parking spot or ticket to an event may need only a deep breath with mindfulness that yes, that hurt. The loss of a great opportunity may need a few hours or even a day. The loss of a friendship or role in life may need longer.
The difference is to allow what is needed to feel bad, feel hurt and process this hurt and loss.
If you are in a situation such as job hunting, losing out on getting a job may hurt, though allowing yourself to process for months may lose you your financial stability and thus home. It is important to keep the processing of hurt to be appropriate to the event as well as the ongoing events in your life.
Take time to recognize what feelings are coming to the surface.
What do I think this said about me? About other’s involved? How does this really affect my life now and in the future? Does this change how I think about myself or others after all this settles down?
Then once you feel connected to the hurt, what will it do for me to let this hurt go or to hold it in my heart? What do I choose to do at this time?
By processing through all of these questions, you are able to understand and hopefully grasp the situation to then work through the hurt.
Letting go of the hurt is not required, some hurt needs more time before we are ready to let it go.
If the situation is small, this will take but a moment. If the situation is more impactful, it can take a while. Resist the urge to brush it off, let it have its moment.
So, the next time you find yourself hurt from anything in life, take a pause to connect to your feelings and to feel and understand why it hurt, what it means to you, and that it is ok to hurt, before plowing through to the next endeavor. The understanding will help you be clear of pain and ready to venture forth. Your future is then not marred or directed by the hurts and the unresolved feelings; it makes you stronger, not weaker, to examine and feel your hurt.
Dr. Chelsie Reed, PhD, LPC - www.drchelsie.com
“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 - www.creativekinections.com
When we’re feeling miserable or we feel like we’ve made a mistake – when things aren’t working out for us and we feel responsible for everything – the first person we typically want to blame is ourselves, and that never does us any good!
When you learn how to stop beating yourself up, you can start organically moving towards the life you want, instead of staying stuck where you are in the moment.
Here are some things you can say to yourself when you're going through a difficult time to restructure any negative thoughts and start turning things around:
- Things are ALWAYS working out for me.
- Since things are always working out for me, there must be value in this.
- The way I feel does not need to be tied to the current set of circumstances.
- I have complete control over the direction of my thoughts. I can choose increasingly better-feeling thoughts - thoughts of hopefulness and positive expectation.
- I have the ability to change my mood right now.
- There's no rush. I have plenty of time.
- I don't have to figure it all out this minute.
- I no longer have to "defend" where I stand.
- When I feel frustrated, discouraged or overwhelmed, I only focus on the solution (rather than staying "stuck" in the problem).
- It's going to get easier and easier for me.
- It's natural for things to turn out well for me.
- Things are unfolding exactly the way they’re supposed to.
- This is exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.
- I know all of the answers are inside of me.
- I am safe and secure - and my needs will always be met, now and forever.
- I believe, know and trust I am loved.
- When I focus simply on how I want to FEEL, the universe always responds by sending me everything that will support that feeling.
- I trust the timing of my life - and I trust MYSELF more than anyone. This allows me to make the best decisions for myself, which ultimately benefits everyone around me.
- All of my dreams and desires are inevitable, I only need to allow them “in.”
- My only job is to live a happy life NOW.
I hope these affirmations were helpful, let me know which ones resonated with you!
Helena Hart, M.A. - www.helenahartcoaching.com
“The greatest glory in life lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
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. As 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, that you can study more in depth and I personally did, I took a course on purpose taught by NY Times Author Mastin Kipp, that was very insightful. But in the meantime 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.
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I chose to become.”
– Carl Jung
Ashley Davene, Relationship Counselor - www.ashleydavene.com
Most of us are familiar with the saying,” whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Anything to find comfort in the face of sorrow and pain can be helpful to make sense out of the senseless events that often occur in life. As most of us have heard, the only certainty in life is uncertainty. Few individuals escape this world without setbacks, crises, and unpleasant surprises. Since life does not come with a money back guarantee, we must always do what we can to learn resilience and how to cope with change, disappointment, tragedy and loss.
After someone has been hurt, or experienced loss, he or she tends to do whatever it takes to avoid experiencing that pain again. We want to run from it, escape it, spiritually bypass it, anything to claw our way out of the darkness that can suffocate us in times that feel so precarious.
But what is real resilience? How do we discover and hone it in times of suffering?
One of the coping mechanisms people often resort to when life feels out of control, is developing false beliefs to keep them safe, and alleviate the anxiety we suffer knowing how little control we do have.
Sometimes, people believe that if they are only good enough, or do everything the right way, that nothing bad will happen to them. Feeling like you have to be perfect in order to be worthy of receiving love, success, and all you desire in life, is extremely unhealthy. Right at this moment, if nothing else ever changes about you, you are worthy of all you desire.
Accepting ourselves with all our flaws, mistakes, bad decisions, and regrets is one of the keys to genuine happiness, healing, and resilience.
You don’t have to be perfect. You never will be. No one is. Give it up. Set goals for yourself. Do your best. Then, love yourself exactly as you are in this moment, with all of your beautiful imperfections.
What if happiness is a choice? What if after you fall apart, you decide that no one has the power to break you, and you put yourself back together again?
There is a force inside of us that is greater than our problems. This force has allowed others, who have suffered and lost everything, to keep going and to try again. It is called resilience. And it is inside of you too.
Both happiness and resilience are all about perspective.
Perspective is the story we decide to tell ourselves about what happened to us. After a crisis has happened, of course we will need time to grieve and heal. This process is going to take some time, and we need to be gentle with ourselves. But, at some point, we can decide that perhaps we have felt sad long enough, and want to allow more joy into our lives. We can let go of that fear and pain, trying to keep us safe, and realize that if we allow our happiness that the other shoe will not drop. This is when we start to put what happened in our lives into perspective.
Allow yourself to be inspired by others who have endured so much more and came out to the other side thriving. You can choose to be that inspiration for others someday too. What happened to you is over now. Will that define you, or will that be the stepping-stone to the rest of your life and the enfoldment of your greatest potential realized? You decide your story.
Here are some action steps to cope.
1. Develop a daily spiritual practice.
You can be religious, or an atheist. It doesn’t matter. This is about connecting with your true essence everyday. Whether its through prayer, meditation, long silent walks, visualizations, yoga, or something else, this is essential now more than ever to return to balance when in emotional turmoil. Take a class or read about it online if this is new for you.
Cardio is so important now to get those endorphins flowing and help your brain stay positive. Also, strength training, like lifting weights, can help you subconsciously to feel emotionally stronger as well. This might be a great time to try self- defense classes or kickboxing too to help give you a physical outlet to process your anger.
3. Book a spa day
Give back to yourself and be kind to you now. Explore holistic treatments, or massage to help you relax and feel good. Try to visualize yourself feeling great and being over whatever happened while you are relaxing on the table.
4. Go on an adventure!
Whether it’s a quick night on the town discovering new places, picking up a new hobby, or an exotic tropical getaway, there is nothing like the empowerment and fun of adventure! You will need support to develop your resilience. Lean on your friends now and ask for help. Get out of your comfort zone together and have fun as much as you can. Just remember to be there for them when they need you in the future too.
5. Commit to your own happy ending
Even when you are lost in a dark place, or overcome by emotions, you need to find your inner strength, that part of yourself that remains healthy and whole, and connect with it for yourself, your children, and your loved ones. Seek counseling when you are going through a hard time! You do not have to bear it alone.
Allow yourself to receive help from experts and experienced therapists and practice self-care. But, everyday, you need to write, visualize, pray and dream about who you want to be in this next chapter of your life. Then, take steps to make it happen. This could be a great time to find a creative outlet or start a new business that you feel passionate about. Put your energy in it, and over time you will not only heal, but also realize that only you have the power and responsibility to create your own happy ending.
Dr. Alisa Ruby Bash - www.alisarubybash.com
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. Your relationships are easier because you can say what you mean without saying it mean. 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 – www.counselingrecovery.com
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