In troubling times, when we feel the weight of darkness or despair, we need more than ever to be able to recover whatever it is that can bring ourselves out of this place. When we lose ourselves in the chaos of the world that is falling apart around us, what can we do to find our way back? We need more than ever to find the tools to help us through the fumbling and stumbling to a place of safety where we can feel the ground beneath our feet. To feel supported and strong is what we may be looking for, but how do we find this in the midst of overwhelming defeat?
Only when we are BRAVE enough to explore the darkness will we discover the INFINITE power that is our light. Dr. Brene Brown
There are some common ways to build resilience that are not too difficult. But this, as in every skill that we learn, takes practice. We may need to be intentional in finding the discipline that practice takes. Some people are naturally more resilient, although we can all achieve some level of this.
Gratitude. We can be thankful for the things we have, the people who support us, and those on whose shoulders we stand. We tend to lead complex lives and indeed these are complicated times, culturally speaking. But simple pleasures are always present if we open our eyes and our hearts. The sunshine, the beauty found in nature, the sunset, the puffy clouds that form a picture in the eyes of a child. A gentle breeze, a toddler’s laughter, a connection made with eye contact over the mask of a stranger. We can go farther and be grateful for our health, a matter we often give no thought to until something in our body alerts us something is wrong.
Patience. We can cultivate a culture of patience against a backdrop of instant gratification in this world of wanting immediate satisfaction. Access to on demand features, and instant pleasures can give us false expectations when some truly good things in life simply take time and a slow process. We must sometimes be patient in waiting for a new opportunity to arise, or to think our way through a difficult situation. Sometimes answers come over time, or something new will develop, and show itself in an unexpected way.
Humility. Looking for a lesson or a reason I’ve landed here is something I’ve personally found very helpful when needing to rebound from hardship. What is it that can be gleaned from this challenge? How can we learn from a mistake? The first thing might be to develop an amount of understanding that helps to remind us we are only human. We make mistakes. Others also make mistakes. Things often happen beyond our control. And, is there something we might do differently next time when faced with a similar situation? If we always look outside ourselves and think this has happened to us without taking any responsibility for playing a part in it, we may miss a valuable lesson that could lead to new growth.
Self-compassion. The ability to admit we are vulnerable to making mistakes and finding that soft, gentle way of looking at ourselves is absolutely necessary. This goes without saying. When we are hard on ourselves and we beat ourselves up over something that has already transpired it is not productive. Part of this is loving that fragile self as much as we love a dear friend. Would you berate a good friend who made a mistake? Probably not. You’d probably work hard to help that friend feel better about things. After all, what good does it do to wallow in self-pity? Not a bit of good. Have a good cry, if needed, but then look at what can be done to help that fragile feeling of injury.
Hope. This is the huge turning point. There can always be light found at the end of the tunnel. How do I know this? Because nothing stays the same. You can’t stay in the darkness for ever. Change is the one constant. Even if you stay in one place, the world is turning and the sun comes up the next day. Light always overcomes the shadow. There may be a better plan for your life. How can you take the lessons learned and move forward with hope? How can you not? Now you are armed with more experience, with a new lesson, and new insight. Self-compassion has helped nurture that wounded spirt and we are now ready to move forward with faith and confidence.
Resilience is built like anything else, one step at a time. With gratitude, patience, humility, self-compassion, and hope in the future.
All shall be well. In time.