How well do you bounce back when life throws you a curve ball… or hits you with a sledge hammer?
Do you find yourself out of action for awhile on the couch, watching Friends reruns, eating ice cream and nursing your wounds? Or do you get up, plant both feet firmly on the ground, face forward and start moving again in the direction of your dreams?
Either way, there’s no judgment here. Quite frankly, I’ve done both myself (ok, not the Friends part, I’m more an Alias girl myself!)
But what I’ve come to learn is that those who get back up and keep moving forward are those that achieve more of their grand desires, they tend to live fuller lives, and on the whole they are happier, more positive people.
WHEN LIFE KNOCKS YOU DOWN DO YOU CHOOSE ROCKY ROAD OR RESILIENCE?
Resilience is a real buzz word at the moment. I know schools are hiring people to teach their students how to develop the quality and work places are running workshops on it to help their staff be more flexible and adaptable.
It is a quality that allows you to absorb the blow, heal quickly, and get back on the horse quick smart.
Even though it sounds simple, I know it doesn’t always feel like it in the moment.
When you break up with the love of your life, ice cream calls. If you’re made redundant, the shock can leave you catatonic on the couch for awhile. Missed promotions, failed businesses, losing your house, can all knock you for six.
So can being sent to prison.
I’ve recently had the privilege of coaching young men in prison through a charity I work with called Spark Inside (check out the amazing work they do over here).
Whether they’re on remand (waiting for trial), or they have been sentenced already, being locked up for 20+ hours a day, no longer having personal freedom, and feeling uncertain about what the future may hold, could crush anyone’s spirit.
But some of the inspiring young men I worked with simply wouldn’t let it. They are resilient to the core.
So what qualities do these young men have that help them bounce back from such difficult circumstances, and that can help you to do the same when the going gets tough?
Resilience = Acceptance + Hope + Positivity + Action
You can only move forward from exactly where you are.
So first, you need to accept where you are so that you can release yourself of all the tension from thoughts such as “I shouldn’t be here” “I don’t want to be here” “I hate being here”.
All they do is keep you swirling around in despair and stuck in negativity. I worked with an amazing coach last year who shared this simple statement which has helped me A LOT.
“I accept that this is what’s happening right now and I allow it to happen. I acknowledge that this is temporary and it’s not going to be true forever.”
You need to believe that things can be and will be better. Don’t give up. If you need evidence that things will get better then draw on events from your past where things were dire, yet they improved. Don’t allow those little mind gremlins to keep you stuck. You can do what you need to do. Life will get better again. You will feel better.
If you struggle to be hopeful, ask a friend or family member for help and get them to regularly remind you that things will get better, you are stronger than you think, and you can get through this.
- Stay positive and look for the good.
This is the one where the young lads in prison blew me away. Many of them actively look for ways to make the best of their situation.
They asked themselves:
“What can I learn from this?”
“How can I grow from this?”
“How can I use this experience to help other people?”
Resilient people are those who seek to use struggles to their advantage. They look for the gold nuggets in the sh*t heap and dig those babies out!
When you’re ready, there is nothing like small steps in the right direction to move you out of an emotional or mental funk after being blindsided by life.
No matter what you want in life, most of the time it will require some action on your part to make it happen.So the quicker you set your sights back on something that you want, and start taking incremental steps toward it again, the quicker you will bring it into existence.
Plus, taking action lifts our spirits, bolsters our self-esteem and gives us back our sense of self-determination. Three pretty good reasons to take action – even if it is just putting the ice cream back in the fridge before you eat the whole tub!
One final thought. Pretending you haven’t been hurt and that you are perfectly fine when you are not, is not resilience, it’s simply acting.
Resilience is an inner strength that enables you to absorb life’s blows, to accept where you are at, to look for the silver lining and take action.
You are strong. You are resilient. You can handle this.
Are you a naturally resilient person? What has worked best for you turn things around after a difficult time? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and found it useful, please share it around (there are some lovely sharing buttons below). Particularly if you know someone who is struggling right now, and could use a little inspiration and encouragement.