"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.