At some point in life, we may be betrayed by a friend in unimaginable ways and feel very vulnerable and wounded. Sometimes a routine visit to the doctor may turn out to be very distressing news about someone we love. These are the challenges I am facing currently.
It has been said that resilience is a process consisting of positive adaptation when facing significant hardship, or the capability to rebound from adversity, and conquer circumstances that pose a threat to us. It can also be a dynamic set of skills when facing a difficult situation, encompassing a range of thoughts (eg. positive outlook), feelings (eg. sense of humor) and behaviors (eg. capacity to utilize social support).
Examine your life periodically.
“The unexamined life is not worth living”, said Socrates at his trial where he chose death rather than exile from Athens or perpetual silence.
I have noticed that I get upset with my family over too many things. I increasingly use the unproductive “once this happens, I will…” approach to cope with stress – such as, next month after I get that workshop done – things would be easier.
Turn adversity into resilience.
In today’s dizzying, fast-paced world, we face unreal demands. As the yiddish proverb goes: “Sleep faster… we need the pillows.”
Resilience isn’t about just overcoming the day-to-day burdens and hassles; it is also about thriving, becoming a stronger, healthier, a more flexible person. Resilience is viewed as a skill that we all need and everyone can develop in dealing with the stresses of life. It has to do with being flexible, adaptive and being able to regulate our emotions. Stress is part of life for all living things and those that are adaptive thrive. We human animals have evolved to be adaptive as we have become the dominant animal on earth. We are pretty resilient, having developed communication skills and empathy as well as to reflect on our action.
“When a person has learned – not merely on paper – how to remain alone with his sufferings, how to overcome his longing to flee, then he has little left to learn.”
– existentialist writer Albert Camus
Build resiliency thru self-care.
There is the old aluminum foil advertisement, claiming their product is “oven-tempered for flexible strength”.
Self-Care is about taking intentional actions to care for your long-term physical, mental and emotional health. Authentic self-care is not a quick fix – it is a lifestyle choice.
The stories we tell ourselves are “this period will pass. I am just busier right now.” We need to recognize and deal with these denials. My beloved husband frequently refers to my line “This is a great book. Another to read when I retire!” Or “I will start my shoulder exercises tomorrow”.
Trust the power of your heart and its intention to wake up through any circumstances or whatever is going on in life. As the Bodhisattva’s aspiration goes – may this serve the awakening of compassion and wisdom of all beings.