“I can’t be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou
Resilience is being able to experience trauma, loss, high levels of stress and uncertainty, such as problems with health, financial security or work related overwhelm and have the ability to bounce back and continue to move forward in life rather than allowing these experiences to take them down a rabbit hole of despair and hopelessness. I was inspired to write about resilience recently because I have been impressed with several people I know that are demonstrating resilience and may not even be consciously aware of their strength.
One of them is struggling with long term health issues, suffering a lot of pain and limitations, but powers through each day with determination and grit. My friend demonstrates resilience in the same ways that Rolbieki et al (2017) described in his patients who suffer with chronic pain and they are:
Instead of feeling “life is not fair”, my friend is proactive in making her life more manageable and tolerable by educating herself in what could improve it.
I have to give credit to my daughter’s resilience. She is only in her early twenties, recently moved to the opposite side of the country in the US for work after College. Red tape relating to the rental of her new apartment in New York resulted in her moving from Airbnb to Airbnb every few days for a Month. All of this resulting in a big expense, along with dragging cases from one accommodation to the next, not know how long issues with her rental would last, and all the time keeping up with her work schedule.
New York is a fast paced, stressful place at the best of times, not knowing where you’re going to stay every few days only multiplied the stress. When I would ask how she was doing, she would just say “it is what it is” and understood it was a temporary problem. She did not express suffering but acceptance of the problem. In order to cope with the high stress, she immediately explored the new neighbourhoods she found herself in, and what they had to offer – being a Journalist Grad, coffee shops and book stores were her favourite. She found the upside to being unsettled and found her adventurous side come out.
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
Resilience helps us balance when we express our emotions or set our emotions aside to better focus on what needs to be done. This flexibility allows us to take stock of the situation, reserve energy for the task at hand, and remain solution focused versus problem focused.
Building resilience that works for one person might not work for another. We don’t all react the same way in stressful situations and demands. Here are a few suggestions:
When you develop resilience, you can handle the unexpected, the tragedies, losses and fearful changes in the world much better.
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