How often do we hear or say, “It will get better,” or, “You’ll bounce back from this.” Maybe something like, “You’re a strong person! You can handle anything!” or “One day at a time, keep breathing.”
Do you notice these words can be easier to say than put into practice?
Resilience is ‘the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress’ (APA). Resilience can be a character or personality trait; it is also a practice – a choice each of us has when faced with pain, disappointment, frustration, and a myriad of triggers or events we experience every single day.
Does that mean if I am wrestling with change within my workplace or home life I am not practicing resilience? If I am experiencing a season of depression or anger through a trying health condition that I am less resilient than my counterparts?
Each of us has a varied response to what may seem to be similar circumstances; however, each of our lives have subtle and significant differences that influence our responses and outcomes. I encourage you to be patient and practice compassion toward yourself in stressful or difficult times – have your ‘toolbox’ or ‘bag of tricks’ readily available to use when you need some extra support. When life seems to be going well, continue to practice using your resiliency tools – perhaps even seek out and try some new ideas: Meditation, coloring, volunteering, baking a favorite recipe, journaling, coaching, training for an event, book club, weekly walk with a friend, massage, . . . the list is endless!
I also encourage you to recall a time when your perception of a circumstance differed than someone else’s – neither person may have been right or wrong, but other factors (family, heritage, health, support system, education, experience, etc.) play a role in how an individual responds to a situation and, in the case of resilience, how an individual recovers or heals (“bounces back”) from a set-back.
And tell me your thoughts – do you think a person can recover or practice resilience one way in one circumstance, and the next set-back or challenge may have a completely different resiliency strategy and outcome?
“Disappointments are inevitable. Misery is optional.” –Joel Osteen