Resilience, what it means to me
Updated: Jul 15, 2019
"You cannot prevent the birds from passing over your head, but you can prevent their making a nest in your hair"
- Chinese proverb
To me, resilience is accepting what is happening and accepting this is how I feel in this moment. Acceptance is not the same as resignation. Acceptance allows a sense of being grounded and gives me the thinking space to formulate a way to deal with whatever has manifested. Clear thinking can then formulate coping mechanisms to see me through and stop catastrophising thoughts and/or feelings of being overwhelmed.
Having these inner resources of self belief in my ability to ‘ride the storm’ and having my mind free from the ‘flight or fight’ response allows my neo-cortex to process strategies, formulate answers and fixes to issues or problems; previously these would have seen me paralysed in a state of anxious inertia.
The importance of tapping into these coping strategies cannot be under-estimated. When I feel I can cope I can adapt my behaviour and modify thought processes allowing me to grow both in inner and outer strength – more able to cope when life bowls me a googly.
Acceptance sees me cast my anchor into the sea, where it attaches a firm hold to the sea-bed. Feeling grounded is paramount and allows me the head space to formulate strategies and fixes. One of the most important is being kind to myself during what may be a difficult time. Feeling in control of my thoughts, feelings and actions is a sign to me of inner resilience. Knowing that ‘this too shall pass’ stops the awful sense of seeing no way out or that things will always be this way.
As I cope with the flotsam and jetsam that life brings my way I grow stronger as a person, I learn more about myself – I am able to rationalise my thoughts by asking ‘is this true for me?’ and either accept these thoughts or disregard them as negative or unhelpful thinking.
A lack of resilience sees me living in fear. Fear manifests itself in many guises – anxiety, depression, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-loathing and self-neglect. Feelings of unworthiness swell and I feel abandoned by all. Isolated and feeling alone it’s almost as though I have abandoned myself like a discontinued project not worth pursuing.
Mindful meditation gives me room in my head to observe my thoughts and the feelings that arise from these thoughts. I am learning to let them go if they do not serve me. Resilience to me is accepting my true self just as I am, not just the Wendy that dons a mask every day to hide her fear. Accepting me for exactly who I am and believing I will find a way through this life that doesn’t deny my inner spirit. It is freedom to know I am good enough, worthy enough to ask for help, say no and nurture my inner self.