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Updated on April 27, 2011
Rainbow in Mililani
Rainbow in Mililani

"The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists"-Japanese Proverb

MayoClinic defines resilience as "the ability to adapt well to stress, adversity, trauma or tragedy."

How is it that some people do better than others when it comes to dealing with stress and difficult times? What drives someone to take his/her own life, rather than 'face the music', remain standing, go through life's storms, and overcome?

I remember going through a string of difficulties and one close friend said to another, "It's too bad that she seems to be running to so much bad luck". It pricked my heart and i felt more sorry for myself. And i thought, "Yeah, why me?" It was a long drawn season of trials, i didn't see any way out. But, God sustained me and kept me from actually caving in, many times. When i didn't know how or what to pray for, i relied on the Psalms and cried like David did before God. "How long, how long?" I asked. I never doubted the promises of God, but there were days when i wavered and wondered if they were meant for me.

Life is unpredictable and full of surprises. It doesn't always turn out the way we plan it all the time. Resilience can be learned. Some of us are naturally more resilient than others, perhaps because of a tendency to be optimistic thinkers. But we all can learn to be more resilient with practice. How we perceive things is an important consideration in overcoming adversity. Life experience tends to show us that most of the negatives of life are transient. Like losing a job, moving on and finding another. We may lose a relationship, even cry, but eventutally enter into a better one. We make bad decisions and suffer loss. But if we learn from it, then we will make better choices in the future.

“Don't ever let someone tell you, you can't do something. Not even me.”-from the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness". Based on the true story of Chris Gardner, actor Will Smith convincingly portrays the character of this struggling single father and his journey from failure to failure. Mentally tough, he shows resilience selling high priced scanners that he has pre-purchased with his life savings. He tells his son “You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something? Go get it.” .

Someone said, resilient people are like trees bending in the wind. They know how to bounce back. It is not how hard you fall but the capacity to bounce back when knocked down that counts. This too shall pass, is a good phrase to keep in mind when negative events intrude. Research tells us the results of negative events are seldom as severe as we expected them to be. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall "- Confucius

Here are 10 ways to Build Resilience byThe American Psychological Association:

1.Maintaining good relationships with close family members, friends and others

2. To avoid seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems

3. To accept circumstances that cannot be changed

4. To develop realistic goals and move towards them

5. To take decisive actions in adverse situations

6. To look for opportunities of self-discovery after a struggle with loss

7. Developing self-confidence

8. To keep a long-term persepctive and consider the stressful event in a broader context

9. To maintain a hopeful outlook, expecting good things and visualizing what is wished

10.To take care of one's mind and body, excercising regularly, paying attention to one's own needs and feelings and engaging in relaxing activities that one enjoys. Learning from the past and maintaining flexibility and balance in life are also cited.

To be resilient means to have the ability to keep going when things get difficult. It means ‘bouncing back’ when faced with life’s difficulties, and persisting when others pack it in. You're a cut above the rest when you decide to be tough and committed to what you set out to do. You’re the last person standing. While others are hoping against hope, trying to achieve independence by wasting money on lottery tickets, you're using your God given creativity to find your freedom.

My Second Wind

I was 49 years old when my husband's business collapsed. For close to 20 years, i was running the company's communications department, along with some very talented people. But when we closed shop, i realized i didn't even know how to use the computer. I was more than happy to leave the corporate world, but i wasn't ready to retire. I was restless and frustrated with myself. I wanted to write and design, take a computer course, but i thought i was too old to go back to school. I deliberated for while, then i did it. I was happy that i took the step. It completely revolutionized my life, and that was how i rediscovered my passion for photography and art. As a young student, it was my dream to be a photo-journalist. Somehow, i ended up doing everything except that which i loved. It took a lot of missteps, mistakes, derailments, and heartaches to come to this point. I'm not saying that all was wasted. As resilience would teach us, there are lessons in life valuable to making us better, wiser, if not stronger.


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    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      10 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you Katrinasui!

    • katrinasui profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice hub with great advice.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      11 years ago from Hawaii

      Hi Multifunction. I am very curious about the "Three Idiots". Thanks for visiting.

    • multifunctions profile image

      Sanjay Sapre 

      11 years ago from India

      your story is inspiring. it connotes to a famous movie in India. " three idiots" you will be able to relate to this .

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      11 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for your spiritual input Deborah! "We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us", that's for sure! Blessings to you too for being such an encourager.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      11 years ago

      Island Voice, Wonderful hub! Great advice! We are "more than conquerors through Jesus Christ!" Be encouraged as you encourage others! And yes we are resillient, and we can Always "Bounce Back" We get better and not bitter! Thank you for sharing, Blessings!

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      11 years ago from Hawaii

      Truth, we can all use some reminders how to cope during difficult times. I'm glad you got some inspiration. Best to you!

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 

      11 years ago from Michigan

      Great advice, at a time when most people are going through some economic difficulty, along with the normal problems of everyday life. Your story has inspired me.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      11 years ago from Hawaii

      Hi James. I think we all face challenges that will test us and our ability to bounce back. One day we're up, one day we're down. We are assured by our heavenly Father that we will not always be down, but that His plan for us is GOOD! Thanks for visiting.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      11 years ago from Chicago

      Great Hub and outstanding advice. Your story is inspirational and makes for fine reading. Thank you for this message of hope.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      11 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks Sandy.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      11 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Great advice.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      11 years ago from Hawaii

      G, we're fighters! We may get knocked down every now and then, but we know how to get up and stay in the race. You know i'm preaching to myself when i write this stuff! The best is yet for you and me, ha!

    • GPAGE profile image


      11 years ago from California

      VERY positive hub IV! I do believe that "resilience" is what has brought me to this point in my life. I do believe in NEVER giving up! Thank you for your very nice message here. G

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      11 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks HPR.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      11 years ago from Guwahati, India

      Patience is the courage. Don’t lose faith on God. Thanks.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      11 years ago from Hawaii

      Much thanks M.Rose!

    • M. Rose profile image

      M. Rose 

      11 years ago from Orange County, CA

      IslandVoice, thank you for spreading around this great advice! You are so brave for starting over and taking on new challenges, even though you were afraid to. Resilience at its best! I love that you have facts and your own opinion in this hub, it makes for a lovely read.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      11 years ago from Hawaii

      Go for it Dohn dear! I'm getting those vibes myself, and you bring it up a notch higher somehow. We're gonna make it awesome fella!!!

    • dohn121 profile image


      11 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I absolutely enjoyed reading this hub, IslandVoice! There's just so many good vibes and great advice packed in here. I feel as if I could take on the world after reading this. Wellington Mara, the owner of the New York Giants of New York Giants Hall of Fame Linebacker Lawrence Taylor during his induction speech: "It's not how many times you fall that counts. It's the number of times you get back up." This hub reminded me of exactly that. Thank you!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Trust in the Lord just like David and He will see you through. There is no one else like the Lord God. Hang on to Him for dear life.


    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      11 years ago from Hawaii

      DiamondRN: I am with you. How tough is is to do without our faith. Thanks for coming by and sharing. God bless.

      Hello Hello:You're very welcome!

      BK: You are soooo right on. I love that you can help me get more perspective, and esp. with this one. Much thanks.

    • BkCreative profile image


      11 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Too old IslandVoice?

      Ah, but then the wisdom of the ages kicks in. You had all the ability and experience and desire already there - from a young age. You had your path, it's shown to us at such a young age - but perhaps you followed someone else's. Unfortunately, women have long been taught, even relegated to doing this, to put all her dreams on hold - for a husband, always for children - until we can no longer remember them. But like the bamboo, you were able to bend - but not break.

      Thanks for sharing such a lovely journey of strength.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      11 years ago from London, UK

      At the moment I know exactly what you are talking about. Thank you.

    • DiamondRN profile image

      Bob Diamond RPh 

      11 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      My faith that God is totally in control gets me through life's tough times - keeps me optimistic that everything will be OK on the other side of any crisis. At 65 years of age I have seen and experienced His faithfulness many times.


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