What is the meaning of being resilient? What makes a person resilient?
The dictionary definition of resilience is stated as the power or ability to return to the original form after being bent, compressed or stretched; ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity or the like; buoyancy.
I’m sure you must have heard the saying that goes, “ If life throws lemons at you, make a lemonade.” Well, the process of making a “lemonade” and actually developing a mindset to make a lemonade whatsoever is resilience.
What I’m trying to imply is that we, the living beings, face several challenges in our way of life. The metaphor “lemon” indicates all the possible hurdles like tragedies, deaths, traumas, etc. that we are thrown with every now and then. And “making a lemonade” is analogous to recovering gradually from the situation and trying to gain something out of it.
“This lady seems to be obsessed with lemonade”, you might say. Well, I’m not! I’m just trying to give the simplest example to clarify the meaning of this term because more often than not, we struggle because of misdiagnosis or the inability to detect what’s really going on in our mindset. And trust me, knowing the problem brings us one step closer to its solution.
Several thousands of people deal with difficult events once a while. The challenging times of uncertainties demand us to react with emotional distress.Howsoever, it is evident that most people cope up with stress in an applaudable manner, which of course, requires an enormous level of time, effort, adaptation and help from the people around them.
I’ve written this article in reference to the article published by the American Psychological Association and as the article suggests, I intend my readers an insight regarding what resilience really is and what are the steps that someone can take to build it.
The American Psychological Association defines resilience as, “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, 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.”
It suggests that resilience is an ordinary and an attainable quality. It is a learned behavior rather than an inherent one. If a person is resilient, it doesn’t mean that the person is free from stress and anxiety. It simply means that the person is well acclimatized with the customary levels of stress associated with a situation or the likes, and has developed coping strategies that again require time, patience and persistence to be put into practice. One of the examples of resilience would be the courage which the nationals of my country showed by mustering the courage to restore their lives after a devastating earthquake that occurred a couple of years ago.
Building resilience is a personal journey, as mentioned in the article itself. And I agree with what it says because not everyone has the same reaction mechanism. So what suits one might not suit the other. But there are many factors that everyone can associate with, namely the need to develop self-confidence and self-care and esteem post the tragic incident. Others would be journaling and take note of what’s on your mind and venting to people who are close and loyal to you.
Whilst “to each, their own” is what would generalize the power and ability of people to develop resilience, there exist several steps that everyone can adopt in their journey of coming out as a resilient person on the other end of the line.
Here I’ve enlisted 6 such steps and I’d be delighted if you could take a reading.
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1. Make Connections
To begin with, we, as social beings, need to be associated with the people who we can rely on and whom we confide in.
Making connections is an important step towards the process of building resilience. Share how you feel with your family or a close member of your extended family. Friends would be of great help too if you believe that they are trustworthy. Well, to me, all my friends would be trustworthy and loyal to me because I don’t believe in befriending people who I can’t trust. Trust is the foundation of friendship or any other relationship for that matter.
To add to it, you could join a support group aiming to achieve the same purpose. I believe that it would help you immensely if you are determined to build resilience within you.
2. Don’t See Crises as Insurmountable Problems
When you are alive and breathing, like the times of success and happiness, failures and upsetting moments are bound to occur- which we label as crises. And more often than not, we have a rigid opinion that once a crisis occurs, there’s no way to move beyond it and carry on with the way of life. But that’s not correct at all.
No matter whatever the situation you are in, you should always have faith that things will get better. Always have in mind the saying that goes “This shall pass too”. Life is a journey towards an unknown destination. So, live in the moment and make the most out of it while you can.
3. Accept That Change Is a Part of Life
Facing adversities in life is normal but what’s not normal and unfair is being hard on yourself because of your rigidity. Whatever goals you set for yourself, make sure that they are realistic and flexible. You can’t plan to move a mountain or drain water out of an ocean in the matter of a day.
Go along with the motion but gain control over your rigid behavioral patterns. It will not only aid in building resilience but will also help you in taking a different route if and when a hurdle abstains you from going through the predetermined route.
4. Nurture a Positive View of Yourself
Positivity is an important tool for survival. An optimistic attitude takes you to the places where you’ve never been ever before. I’ve often noticed how almost everyone is so kind and generous whilst dealing with others but as soon as the time comes to deal with themselves, all they have to offer is brutality.
You can come off as being an epitome of justice and kindness to the entire world but until and unless you practice the virtue whilst overcoming your own shortcomings, you’ll never be perceived as a kind human being in the eyes of the higher power.
Being positive plays an important role in developing resilience because that’s where the power of self-confidence and hope evolves from.
5. Take Care of Yourself
I’ve always emphasized on the vitality of self-care and affection. And I remember writing somewhere how one can’t spread the light of love if they don’t have it in them.
Taking care of yourself means honoring your body, mind, and soul. It means practicing the art of self-discipline and consistency religiously to an extent that it becomes a habit and thus, your way of life.
Meditating and connecting with the higher power, reading positive affirmations and exercising regularly are some of the most important things that you could integrate into your daily schedule. And it will not only help you become a better person physically, mentally and spiritually but will also aid in your journey towards resilience.
6. Take Decisive Actions
Being able to make logical decisions in a short span of time is important for our survival in the world of today.
But even whilst taking a decision, you ought to take control of yourself and not get drained by the negative emotions.
If you carry your heart on your sleeves and are often guided by intuitions rather than facts and logic, you will most likely get hammered by the negativity breeding in your subconscious.
Being in control of yourself and having a grip on your mind will help you overcome the indecisiveness you face on your way of life. And it’s yet a remarkable way to develop resilience within you.
7. Move Towards Your Goals
By this, I don’t mean to suggest you to plan your entire life in a piece of paper and obsess over it.
All I mean to advise is for you to set daily goals and be consistent with it. Don’t think 10 years ahead of time. Think of today. Think of now, for now is the time to make an impact, now is the time to touch lives and make a difference. Now is the time to serve your purpose.
Deal with things chunk by chunk. It will help you in developing short-term strategies and the cumulative effect of succeeding in your short-term goals is likely to benefit you in the long-term.
The overall effect of marching towards resilience would be making self-discovery somewhere during the process.
Knowing who you truly are and keeping a track of how much growth you’ve made in your personal life in terms of spirituality and emotional intellect will help you seek for further growth and develop strategies for the same.
Each night of darkness brings a morning of sunshine and the crack of dawn. If you are facing an obstacle now or have faced it at a certain point in time, know it in your heart that you are beyond your fears and the traumas. You are a masterpiece. You are extraordinary. All you need to realize is the essence of positivity and the happiness that comes along with being gravitated towards positivity.
I am affirmative that the higher power will shine the guiding light on your soul towards your journey of resilience. I will keep you in my prayers. May God bless you in all your endeavors.