“Oh no! This is not happening! There’s been a terrible mistake! Please tell me it isn’t true!”
When disaster, failure, setbacks happen, what do you do? When life’s changes come so fast and each change increases the anxiety you already feel, how do you react? Imagine a loved one dying; losing your job; your business closing; having to leave school, college, university before graduation; homelessness; unexpected divorce; betrayal. Those are the circumstances of one person’s life.
Setbacks and hardships are inevitable. No-one escapes some measure of misery in their life. The person, whose circumstances, I shared, understood that truth. We fall many times as we learn to walk. Each challenge teaches us our limitations. Resilience is a skill we can, we should, we must acquire. Wealth may disappear and health may vanish in an instant of time. Without this skill we will not recover from misfortune. Instead, we will slip between the cracks, forgotten and dismissed, or worse, we will spiral uncontrollably into despair, abandoning all reason to end in hopelessness and indifference.
Children understand success. When the square block goes into its’ square slot a child is happy without an explanation for why. Children experience loss of a friendship. They feel frustration and disappointment while learning to tie shoelaces and brush teeth. As we help them to cope with these trying situations we are encouraging children to build resilience. As they persevere, the satisfaction and pleasure of success dims the memories of failed attempts. Remember that they are watching us live our lives, all the time learning by example. When we make a mistake, do we blame others? Do we make fun of others when they make mistakes? Hopefully they are learning what it is to apologize, to take responsibility for their actions. How do we handle the unexpected challenges in life? They will learn to accept reality, remain positive, set new goals and face the future with optimism, not surrender to false bravado, anger and negativity if and when we do likewise.
Resilience-1 2 3 1) Do not panic. Setbacks are like stop signals. The difference is that they are on our schedule. They last as long as we let them. They cease to be an obstacle when we adapt and continue forward. They are not reflective of our self worth. In all instances there is a lesson to be learned. We need only learn it and put it in our toolbox.
2) A resilient person does not dwell on past errors or failed attempts. They understand what it means to face adversity, yet remain committed to their purpose. Loyalty includes being true to their own self. They do not view themselves as victims, but rather as survivors.
3) As important as it is to hone our resilience, the social supports we create are equally as important. Much depends upon the type of adversity being faced. However, there is a mountain of proof behind the belief that the emotional support that good friends and neighbors provide when hardship occurs combined with the aid of a caring and considerate community where the value of empathy is stressed, is one of the major keys to resilience. Forming and maintaining connections within the social structure in which we live and work is therefore vital.
Mankind has withstood trial after trial, test after test only to have emerged victorious time and again. Find a sure source of wisdom and strength. For some it exists within themselves. .For others, it has been found in the above and beyond. From wherever or whomever comes your support, may your connections be firm; be enduring; be real.