What is resilience?
To me resilience comes about when something knocks me down. I stay there a while and feel whatever emotion comes; pain, sadness, disappointment or rejection. After a while this feeling is replaced by an inner strength within me that say’s ‘get back up.’ It comes in the form of solutions, a way forward and a determination to keep going. At times I really doubt my resilience, or really feel that whatever I’m going through is too tough, too much. It’s in these moments that another voice comes in and says “remember what you’ve come through to get this far.” It’s an empowered place within me that can focus on the strength I have to keep heading for the life I want.
“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.”
― Steve Goodier
Why you’re already resilient
Chances are, if you’re reading this you know only too well what it feels like to struggle. You might be struggling daily and wondering how on earth life can be any different to how it is at the moment. Yet each day you get up and complete whatever it is you need to, to survive. To face anxiety, depression and poor mental health day in day out yet still keep going takes enormous courage and strength. As does reaching out for help, even when you aren’t sure if it will help. Inner strength is not created from living a life of ease with no struggle, but facing life and all the struggles it brings.
When we aren’t feeling mentally well it is all too common to slip into only noticing the negatives, understandably. But my goodness when I think of what my clients have faced, past and present I am in awe of how they continue on. Battling their way through what they are experiencing. Often holding little hope for the future.
How to improve your resilience
Feel it all
I believe that resilience can only kick in when you allow yourself to feel your emotions, fully. When you are able to validate and honour what you are experiencing you can more easily move beyond it. Unfortunately a lot of us are unaware of our conditioning to not allow our feelings to be recognised. Most of us were all too often told not to cry, not to feel sad, not to worry. Basically not to feel. To push ‘negative emotions’ away. The opposite of what we think will happen happens when we face our emotions fearlessly head on. If we allow the depth of pain to be felt, in the moment that it first arrives it will pass. We have to move through it. Once through resilience is there to pick us back up. It has our backs, reinforcing the inner strength and ability to keep going.
Express what you are feeling to others to get support and understanding. It’s important to chose people who will validate how you feel, therefore encouraging you to accept your feelings. People who will remind you of who you are and what you’ve achieved already. Every single one of us needs someone else to lift us up when we feel low. It’s amazing what some encouraging and heart felt words can do to change our take on a situation.
Learn from it
Use the set back or disappointment and learn from it. Figure out a new way forward or a change in direction. Struggling with mental health concerns can leave us feeling too exhausted to keep trying but we must. Just because something doesn’t go to plan doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Each time I stumble I am able to have a clearer picture of how to get back up again and move on. It’s too easy to believe that something didn’t work out first time because it’s not meant to be, or you’re not good enough. Given my own experiences, I don’t think that’s try at all. To succeed at near enough anything you’re going to find set backs along the way. Don’t give up. Take some time out, reevaluate but don’t give up.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison