Have you ever thought about the power of resilience? It’s something that I’ve been exploring myself lately, as I navigate a path towards living more harmoniously with chronic illness.
You see, I used to think of reslience as the ability to bounce back and get on with life, but now, I’m not so sure that there is any ‘bouncing back.’
That’s one of the reasons I’ve found much solace in Eric Greitens’ latest book, Resilience’. He writes:
If we limit our understanding of resilience to the idea of bouncing back, we miss much of what hardship, pain and suffering offer us. We also misunderstand our basic human capacity to change and improve.
Life’s reality is that we cannot bounce back. We cannot bounce back because we cannot go back in time to the people we used to be. The parent who loses a child never bounces back. The nineteen-year old marine who sails for war is gone forever, even if he returns…
You know that there is no bouncing back. There is only moving through.
Fortunately, to be resilient we don’t need to go back in time.
What happens to us becomes part of us. Resilient people do not bounce back from hard experiences, they find healthy ways to integrate them into their lives.
In time, people can find that great calamity met with great spirit can create great strength”.
A-freaking-(wo)men!! That’s powerful stuff right?
The power of resilience
Now I’m not sure how many of us are adept at embracing the struggles that come our way (especially when we’re right in the thick of it), but perhaps we can begin by looking inwards and acknowledging the potential benefits of struggle?
:: The coping skills we’ve developed from having experienced something like *this* before.
:: The confidence gained when we demonstrate how we are able to handle challenging situations with a hint of grace.
:: The growing awareness that there will be times when we’re quite masterly at rolling with stormy waters and times, where it takes just one small thing to topple our resources and reserves (and learning to be ok with that).
:: An understanding that setbacks are to be expected and that you have the abililty to face whatever challenge you find in front of you. (How many times have you proven that already?)
I know a lot of people who have endured unbelievable hardships and unfortunately, many of us them do this with limited support and zero training.
Yet when we look inwards and reflect on our struggles, we can also see our ‘resilience muscles’, slowly forming.
Wellbeing and resilience are linked. We need a certain amount of toughness to get through life – to survive, let alone flourish.
Pain can break us or make us wiser. Suffering can destroy us or make us stronger. Fear can cripple us, or it can make us more courageous. It’s resilience that makes the difference.
We can be ambushed by our own pain, or we can practice being our own best friend, by feeling our feelings, (but not getting completely bogged down by them), and by kindly picking ourselves up, as many times as it takes.
I’m choosing resilience today and I’d like you to join me.