Resilience is the ability to bounce back after life dumps on you. Think about the elastic in a fitted sheet, waistband, or swimsuit. It springs back into shape after it’s stretched; it’s called resilience.
I had the opportunity to hear Christian Moore, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and author of The Resilience Breakthrough: 27 Tools for Turning Adversity into Action. His challenging life taught him to flip a switch and use his pain, anger, disappointment, etc. to fuel improvement. He designed a program for schools (Why Try) to develop kids resilience, therefore reducing the number of suicides, delinquents, and bullies.
Following are a few examples of people with resilience skills: Parents, students, and teachers of school shootings, Auschwitz survivors, veterans, families after natural disasters, farmers with years of drought and low commodity prices, individuals with chronic or acute pain, or people with a terminal illness.
Building resilience happens with experience. Imagine the following scenarios: Someone makes fun of you, or criticizes your work; a friend calls you nasty names; a family member tells lies about you; a trusted friend doesn’t return your calls; you break your leg before vacation; you lose your job; your spouse cheats on you; you have a car accident; or someone you love, dies.
Resilience develops while moving through life events.
What has helped you through past trauma? Who have you talked with? Who needs you? What has motivated you to try again? Where do you store strength? When have you used pain to fuel productive action? How have you found the energy to put your feet on the floor and begin a new day?
Answer those questions, and you have a personal list of skills to help you in the future. You know they work for you because they helped you in the past. Write them down.
Imagine the light switch inside your back door as holding your resilience skills. Your house is dark, and you feel for the switch and flip it on. Voilà.You now see clearly and find your way. It’s the same with resilience. We often have little control over life’s tragedies, but if we know where to find our switch and how to turn it on, moving out of the darkness is possible.
How do YOU bounce back?
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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