April 16th, 2012
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Resilience is having the ability to bend with change and when I am working on building emotional resilience within myself, I am reminded of Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous serenity prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

I have found it best to start in small ways.  Almost every day, I try to examine what has happened and why.  Not in an overly analytical way, but in a way that makes me more aware of my responses and behaviors.  One way I deal with the frustration of certain situations is by telling myself that I cannot control what happens to me.  I can only control my response to it.

Whether an event is good or bad, happy or traumatic, I tell myself that there is always an opportunity to step back and teach myself something about problem solving rather than looking at a problem as something that is bigger than me and therefore unsolvable.  Even though a problem can feel like a personal attack, it isn’t.  Problems are just part of life.  They happen to all of us.

If I find I am constantly struggling with something, I can feel the stress building up within myself.  Usually it’s because I am repeating the same action over and over and getting the same result.  It feels as if I am hitting my head against a brick wall.  Obviously, I am stuck.  I have a talk with myself and really try to see what’s going on.  “Why isn’t anything changing?   “Why isn’t this working?”  “What is my role in this situation?” And depending on the circumstances of whatever is happening, it takes me awhile to get to a solution.

There are many times that I just never figure out what is going on and I just have to make peace with it.  But other times, I find when I slowly change my response to a situation — the way I talk to someone, the tone of voice I use, my body language — then sometimes; sometimes mind you, not all the time; small changes do come about.

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