Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls, the most massive characters are seared with scars. Kahlil Gibran

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress – such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.

The five pillars of resilience are self-awareness, mindfulness, self-care, positive relationships, and purpose. If we strengthen these five pillars we strengthen our capacity for resilience.

Clinical psychologist Meg Jay in her book “Supernormal” shares essential tips on how we can become more resilient.

1. First, recognize that your struggle is valid, no matter what you’re struggling with.

Don’t be ashamed of what makes you stressed. “A lot of people say, ‘Well, I wasn’t in a war…’ They have to learn what the most common adversities are and see those as being legitimate chronic stressors.”

2. Then realize the ways you’re already resilient.

“You may not have alcoholism or drug abuse in your home, but I’m guessing you’ve been through something. Think about, ‘What were the three toughest times in my life? How did I get through those things?’ You probably already know something about being resilient.”

3. Don’t wait for the situation to fix itself.

“Resilient people tend to be active copers. They say, ‘What am I going to do about this?’ versus, ‘When will I be released from this?’ It may not be solved overnight, but every problem can be approached somehow.”

4. Know your strengths and use them.

“In general, resilient people tend to use the strengths they have. For different people, those are different. Some people have a great personality. For other people, it’s smarts or some sort of talent or a real work ethic. They use that to grab onto, to get through whatever’s in front of them.”

5. Don’t try to do it alone…

“One of the biggest predictors of faring well after an adversity is having people who cared. One thing that resilient people do is they seek support. It doesn’t have to be a therapist; it could be a best friend or an aunt or a partner. Resilient people actually use other people — rather than not let themselves need them.”

6. …but know that it’s okay not to tell everyone.

“Increase the number and quality of your relationships however you see fit. For some people, that will be, ‘There are two people in the world who know all of what there is to know about me.’ For other people, they’ll want to be known by a bigger community. Love is very powerful, and love is love. The brain doesn’t know one kind of love versus another. It just processes when it has a positive experience with another person. Get out there and feel like there are people who see you and understand you and who care – that’s it. It doesn’t matter where you’re getting that.”

7. Find your favorite way to take a mental break.

“Many people use fantasy or books, or dive into their hobbies, or hang out with their friends to take a mental break from a situation that they cannot solve overnight. You may not be able to fix that problem, but you can protect yourself from feeling overwhelmed by it. As an adult, you can do the same: read a book, pick up your Frisbee, hang out with your friends, turn off the news alerts on your phone. There’s a lot in the world right now that feels overwhelming. Resilient people fight back where they can, but they also learn to take a mental break.”

8. Be compassionate with yourself and realize all the ways adversity has made you strong.

“People who face some adversity in their lives become stronger. Of course, it depends on a lot of other factors — how big is the adversity, how much support do they have, how did they cope — but by learning to cope with stress and having that experience, we gain confidence and we gain preparation. I think sometimes we forget that. You see how you’re broken rather than how you’re strong. Focus on the resilience and see yourself as someone who is even better prepared for life than the average person because you’ve already lived so much of it.”

A good half of the art of living is resilience. Alain de Botton

I like her ideas, there is nothing new in them but then there isn’t much new about life. We cope with what people have always coped with and we struggle with what people have always struggled with.

Businesses are started and end every day. Relationships are started and end, people are born and die. Even though we don’t like tough times it might be the tough times that bring out the best in us. Lots of us would say, we don’t need to be that great, we don’t want to challenge “The greatest generation” for resilience, perseverance, and courage. We were comfortable not facing any remarkable challenges like war or pandemics. Other people have faced great challenges already in their lives but many of us born in peace and plenty have lived lives privileged by our prosperity.

We all hope we will be resilient enough to deal with what happens in our lives. We hope we will continue to improve ourselves, our outlook, and our contribution to our family, community, and the world. Family is the most important group in society and many people believe our society rises and falls with the strength of the family. When we are resilient we teach resilience to our children who teach it to theirs and on down the generations.

If we aren’t resilient, do we also teach that? Resilience doesn’t mean we won’t fail, we won’t make mistakes or bad decisions. It means we will rise seven times when we fall six. We will keep on keeping on and if at first, we don’t succeed we will try and try again.

Is resilience a trait, something we just have, or is it something we develop?

When we learn how to become resilient, we learn how to embrace the beautifully broad spectrum of the human experience. Jaeda Dewalt

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good. Elizabeth Edwards

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Supernormal: The Secret World of the Family Hero Paperback – Jan. 15 2019

by Meg Jay  (Author)4.8 out of 5 stars 108 ratings

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

by Belynda Wilson Thomas  (Author)5.0 out of 5 stars 2 ratings

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