March 15th, 2013
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Being Proactive Can Strengthen Your Resilience
The subject of resilience totally fascinates me.
Resilience is being able to bounce back after being tossed around by life.  Trying to figure out why one person bounces back from a life trauma and another person breaks from the pain tells us something about the human condition don’t you think?
It’s a roll of the dice. It’s the $64 million question.
The ability to stay on track and keep your focus, the ability to develop an inner strength in the face of adversity is inspiring to me and in turn I draw strength from other people’s stories of getting through a serious illness, a financial setback or the loss of a loved one.
When I read or hear about other people’s experiences with life’s hardships, I am always curious about what they were thinking as they went through it and what kept them going.  Sometimes it strengthens my resolve and I think to myself, “If they can do it, then so can I.”
After my husband died, I searched everywhere for stories about widows raising children and read all the stories about it that I could find so that I might figure out what I was going to do.  The best advice I read was this:  don’t ignore your problems or try to wish them away.  Take each day as it comes and if you can’t bear to look past 24 hours or even an hour, then don’t.
Try to break the moments down into manageable blocks of time.  Sometimes that’s only 10 minutes but that’s okay.  Often I would go from 10 minutes to the next 10 minutes and then the next 10 minutes until I found I had gotten through an hour and then I continued to slowly work my way through the time of pain.
I think it’s good to know that the bouncing back part doesn’t always happen immediately.  It takes awhile to figure out what’s going on, put yourself somewhat back together and start following your usual daily routines.  During this time, reaching out to family and friends for support is key.
There is no way to predict which adult or child is going to find the determination and inner resolve to dig down within himself or herself and overcome the bad/stressful/unfair situation that life has thrown their way.  You might think that it’s the person who has been given much in terms of material wealth and privilege but it’s not always that way.
Sometimes the person who shows incredible amounts of inner strength is the person who has nothing.  No material goods and no parent.  Or the person has a parent but it’s one that’s an alcoholic or drug addict.  Or no job and no insurance.  Or no spouse and no idea what the future will bring.
If you have nothing or the one thing in life that you loved was taken away then you can as if you have nothing to lose and that in itself is a kind of resolve.
Resilience isn’t all about being tough and toughing it out, but more about opening yourself up to life and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and reaching out for support.
You can’t change what has happened but with courage, support, and a hopeful attitude, you and I can look toward the future and whatever it may bring us.
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