Resiliency involves the ability to recover or bounce-back. Every person encounters challenges; it could be accidents, abuse, death, job loss, breakups, or illness, to name a few. Resiliency is the power to recover; it’s the strength to move on.
Canadian poet Atticus wrote, “I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past.” I think he means we are not born with resiliency, but attain it as life happens. John Dewey’s vocational education motto “Learn by doing,” also speaks to the best teacher, experience.
Imagine a band of elastic. You can stretch it to its maximum, hold it there for a long time, and when you release it, it goes back to its original size. The elastic mimics resiliency in life. With resiliency, after a tragic event, one is capable of returning to a new normal; a future capable of joy and hope.
One needn’t look far to find someone who demonstrates resiliency. My sister was run over by a car at the age of twenty-four. Today, she can barely walk, has weekly wound care appointments, yet laughs at life and plans a long future. She learned and earned resiliency.
I visited with a woman with breast cancer who had a double mastectomy involving two separate surgeries. She then slipped on an ice cube, broke her femur, and had a rod put in her leg. This week the doctor said her thyroid was abnormal. Somewhere she learned resiliency because she maintains relationships, and plays golf and MahJong through pain and worry.
Loss is usually at the base of traumatic events, and even with resiliency, memories are vivid and painful. Moving emotionally forward means you have skills to face the mirror every morning and search for good in the day.
Envision an apple pie cut into five pieces. A healthy life involves a balance between physical, cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and social segments. When sick, your physical needs earn priority, when faced with a crucial exam, cognitive needs, etc. Healthy balance suffers during a tragedy, and it takes time to up-your-game in the unattended, out-of-balance areas. With knowledge and desire, a return to a sense of routine is possible. Remember the band of elastic; it is possible to bounce-back.
I build resiliency through conscious moderation of colorful food, adequate sleep, good friends, walking, biking, writing, reading, and praying. If I maintain a relative balance of those activities, my resiliency is more available when life passes me a curveball.
A wise person said, “Storms make us stronger” It’s called resiliency.
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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