This week my oldest child turned 13! 🙀 There are so many changes and emotions involved as our kids grow into a young adults. Navigating it is just hard, for the child and the parent. I just wish I could do a Vulcan Mind Meld and transfer all the strength and resilience of my 41 years over to him. Wouldn’t that be nice? 😆
Of course, everyone has to take that journey on their own. But it got me thinking, can resilience be taught? How can we make ourselves more resilient? Are there tools that can help or things that hinder us from developing resilience?
And so a blog post was born… 😉
While we all wish we could avoid pain, there is something powerful in the human spirit that makes us grow stronger through hardship and discomfort. Of course, many people have experienced extreme trauma, which rewires the brain in different ways that can be quite devastating. I would never want to discount the severity of such situations. If you have been through something like this, it will take a lot of work to get through it, but you can. Don’t give up, brave friends. 💗
For right now, we are going to talk about accessing our inner resilience and making ourselves stronger for every day life. I don’t have it all figured out, but I would consider myself to be a strong and resilient person. When I thought about it, I knew there were some things that helped me access the resilience that we all have inside of us. Here are my tips, I’d love to hear yours as well.
#1: Embrace Emotion
In our society, we are masters of avoiding feeling. We have a million ways to tune out of life, from compulsive shopping and television surfing, to alcohol and the psychiatric drugs that one in six Americans are taking. (source) Only you and your doctor can decide if you need medication, and that’s none of my business. 😉 We aren’t talking about mental illness, just the difficult emotions we all have. With all the escape mechanisms available, a lot of us have forgotten how to feel.
We neglect to see that painful emotions are a protective mechanism and they are trying to tell us something. If we always find a way to avoid feeling, our emotional growth is stunted. I know it’s not fun, and sometimes painful, but try to tap into what your emotions are trying to tell you. Talk to a trusted friend or journal it all out on paper. It’s not an overnight process, but I believe that learning to co-exist with emotions is a huge part in accessing our inner strength.
(You may want to save this article on why we need emotions to read next.)
#2: Use Discomfort as a Springboard
This suggestion flows from the first. Our emotions are trying to tell us that something isn’t right. To get relief we need to take action. Yes, sometimes a tragedy has occurred and we can’t change it. 💔 Still, many things in life are within our control. We need to use our pain points as a catalyst for growth.
Whatever the problem is, always be looking for a solution. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and hope things will magically get better. We have to make them better. If you don’t feel like you have the knowledge, skills, or resources to change things, equip yourself. You have so much more power and potential than you give yourself credit for. Start accessing that power, and you’ll begin to realize how strong you really are.
#3: Push Outside Your Comfort Zone
There is no way around it, growth is uncomfortable. Strong people do not get that way by hiding in their cozy bubble. 😉 You should always have a goal that gives you the heebie jeebies. If it doesn’t stretch you, it isn’t a big enough goal.
Failure is a huge part of this process. If you haven’t failed at anything you aren’t trying hard enough. 💡Every time we fall down and get back up we are building resilience. One of my favorite books on this subject is John Maxwell’s Failing Forward. If the idea of failing makes you want to hide under the blankets, you need to read this book. It will totally shift your mindset. I will shamelessly give you an Amazon affiliate link for it here. 😜
A further challenge: To really build your resilience, push yourself both physically and mentally. Health permitting, try a new exercise program or a cleanse. I often hear people say “I could never do that”, and it’s like, just in regards to giving up cheese for 2 weeks. Friend, you are strong enough to undergo far more than the loss of cultured dairy products. 😂 And I totally understand if you don’t want to part with your Camembert, but be careful about labeling yourself as weak by saying “I can’t!”
Try little things that push you to be more disciplined, and then you’ll know that you can. Whether you want to is your decision, and deciding is what strong people do. 💪
#4: Believe in Something Bigger
I know I do not get all my strength from my own power. Some of you may poo-poo this idea, and I wish you the best sticking with the first three tips. 😜 For myself, I know I couldn’t handle my emotions as well without the peace that comes with prayer. I don’t know that I would always have the wisdom to know what action needs to come next without asking for guidance. In fact, I’m pretty sure when I try to go it alone, I really mess things up. 😆 There’s just something about knowing that the most powerful person in the Universe has your back that makes you feel incredibly strong. 🙏
Those are my four tips for cultivating resilience. Do you have anything to add, my strong, brave people? Drop a comment so we can all learn from each other!
More articles in The Happiness by Design Series!
Why is it always 4 Ways? I have no idea, it just happens like that. 😅 Check them out now or Pin for later:
For confidence: 4 Ways to Crush Self Doubt
For ditching Crazy-Busy: 4 Ways to Live More Intentionally
And for getting what you want: 4 Ways to Move Past Fear of Success