Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.- C.S. Lewis
Each person regardless of demographic location, race or religion will be faced with stressful and at times, traumatic life events. These may include abuse, loss, illness, war, poverty, addictions or any other challenging life experience, each leading to overwhelming emotions and at times, uncertainty. Whatever the circumstance, these events happen to us and are often beyond our control. Resilience according to the American Psychological Association, “is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, threats or significant sources of stress such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means bouncing back from difficult experiences.” Bouncing back requires flexibility and balance, support and compassion, understanding and hope. Hope derived from positive past experiences, positive current experiences, faith, love, and belief that you have the inner strength to see through to a better tomorrow. That yes, you will rise above and not sink below. Acceptance of what is.
I have often wondered how it is that as we grow and leave the world of fairy tales and magic kingdoms, we are not taught about resilience in life. Yet, we all will require resilience to cope with our lives. So what does it mean to be resilient, flexible and balanced. Hillary Clinton tells the story of her mother who was abandoned as a child, sent to live with abusive grandparents, left home at age 14 and found kindness in her employer where she worked as a nanny. Because of the kindness shown to her by just this one individual, she overcame the obstacles of her own childhood. There are endless, beautiful stories of resilience that span generations and eras. The common thread in each and every story is a message of hope and an experience of love where each felt valued and worthy despite their traumatic event. It took just one single person, animal, or experience to turn around the life of someone who previously found the ladder to difficult to climb. Stories of resilience provide us with inspiration and help us to realize we are not alone.
Teach your children that strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t. – A Fine Parent
Somewhere deep down inside of our souls is the knowledge that we matter and we are here for a reason. Other people and circumstance may try to take that knowing away, strip it from your soul, pluck it from your heart. They are the energy vampires that suck everything good, pure of heart, innocent, simply to fill their own dark vessels of loathing and lack of self-worth. They prey on the weak looking to establish power and control. They have a never-ending need to be right and all-knowing. They are the ones with overpowering needs of their own and therefore lack the ability to love or be loved.
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Kahlil Gibran
According to Elizabeth Edwards, “resilience is accepting your new reality, even if its less good than the one you had before.” Resilience is creating your new landscape with clouds, rain, storms. sunshine and warmth. It is getting back onto the playing field of life, limping, sore, tired, and yes smiling. Smiling because despite the hardship and stress, you made it through to the other side. You have no doubt learned many new lessons, left some people and relationships behind, made new friends, look at life differently. See beauty where once there was a faceless being. Perhaps you even tossed your rose-colored glasses. Whatever you lost or found along the way one thing is for sure, you found your resilience. A most necessary ingredient for life and living. A hidden part of your spirit and soul. A vital part of yourself. Wear your resilience with pride and share your stories of strength with others. Become the wise sage understanding the deeper meaning of life. Meditate, grow from the crisis, embrace your supports, be tolerant, be compassionate. Be love. Be all you were meant to be. Despite the odds, seek and fulfill your purpose, the calling of your soul.
At the end of the day, and days of my life I want to know and share my stories of resilience. These are the stories of strength, hope, faith and love. These are the stories where values, ideals and beliefs stand the test of time. These are the stories that change our legacies and embrace new visions of the future. These are the stories of change. These are the stories of me, you and every living thing on this planet. Live a resilient life.