Building Resilience – A Lifelong Construction
You ever wonder why some people seem to achieve their goals effortlessly, while others struggle? Or maybe you’re someone that gets really close to the finish line but always seems to come up short and fall back into previous patterns. The changes you continually struggle to make just don’t seem to be lasting.
So what is it that keeps some of us from reaching our goals while others flourish no matter what challenges arise?
The answer lies deep beneath the external layers of our human being. And one word that defines this, is Resilience.
What exactly is resilience?
It is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s the ability to cope in spite of setbacks, barriers, or limited resources. It is also, your emotional strength.
The use of the description “emotional strength” was tough for me to write. I spent the majority of my life feeling like I was emotionally weak and fragile. I cry easily, I take words and criticism to heart, I struggled to bounce back from rejection and, and I easily created dramatic false stories about myself, others and the situation in my mind. And all that was compounded by a belief that having big emotions about my life equaled weakness. I would never before have said that I am an emotionally strong person.
The Emotional Strength Workout
When I started learning about the mind and how it works, about memories and experiences that set the gps for your life’s navigation system, I was actually really excited. Learning this meant that I in fact wasn’t just born emotionally delicate, but rather the sum of all the negative life experiences plus my lack of awareness about building my emotional strength CREATED my fragility. Don’t mistake me here though, emotional strength doesn’t mean hiding feelings by “staying strong” and wearing tough armor in the face of emotional situations. Rather it means having awareness of your feelings, control or your emotional expression, strength to gain perspective and let go of what doesn’t serve you, as well as the personal strength and confidence to fully express emotions vs bottling them up, whether positive or negative, in an appropriate manner. This really sums up what having resilience means. The ability to be aware of difficult situations, to find new perspective, to grow from negative experiences, to see obstacles as opportunities, finding personal power and self-trust to move through adversity and to get support when you are struggling.
Not as Easy as Lifting Weights
Building physical muscle is a bit more straightforward than building emotional strength and resilience. It is an ever evolving growth process that will continue to challenge all of us our entire lives. But it gets easier the more we learn and the more we grow and practice resilience. And the best part is that we are all capable to developing it. We are all built with the capacity to grown and build our emotional strength. I can recall a time when the smallest negative experience or criticism would take over my existence. It would become the truth of my reality and would run my every day and would eat me alive inside. It developed into a deep fear of putting myself in any position where potential negative feedback or criticism was possible. Because of that fear, I developed an armor that kept me in my safe zone and never allowed me to step outside. This armor made me chose tasks and activities I knew I would perform well at to avoid making mistakes. I call it my fake confidence suit. I would put it on in all professional situations, but it was an act. But… Awareness is the first step to making change and I am working to dissolve this armored suit and let people know me for me, and all my many imperfections and mistakes.
10 ways to build our resilience.
- Make Connections & Rally Social Support: having healthy relationships as well as recognizing limitations and accepting help and support will strengthen resilience. Joining groups or organizations as well as assisting others in their time of need can also build hope.
- Avoid Seeing Crises as Insurmountable Problems & Become Aware: stressful situations are inevitable but we can change our response to them. Being aware of our emotional responses and our triggers can help us to then choose a different coping strategy. Try to evaluate the present problem and gain a positive perspective on how this will impact your future.
- Accept that Change is a Part of Living: There are always going to be certain situations that interfere with attaining certain goals, but accepting that there are some things you cannot change and focus instead on modifying the things you can, will motivate you to persevere. Understand that you are the driver of your life.
- Move Toward Your Goals: develop small and realistic action steps that will allow achievement and success that ultimately is moving you towards your goals and building your self-esteem.
- Take Decisive Actions: instead of just wishing away and trying to avoid adverse situations, take decisive action right away and face adversity head on. You can only sweep things under the carpet for so long before it comes back to haunt you.
- Look for Opportunities for Self-Discovery: every obstacle is an opportunity for growth. Many people find that following adversity they see their life through a different lens. This in turn strengthens relationships, builds their self -worth and personal power, and accesses deeper spiritual connection and appreciation for life.
- Nurture a Positive View of Yourself: Developing confidence in your problem solving ability and building self-trust in your instincts allows for quicker resolve following difficult events. Also keep a sense of humor about life. Being able to laugh and smile in the face of challenges immediately helps change our perspective.
- Keep Things in Perspective: consider the situation at hand in a broader scope and avoid blowing it out of proportion.
- Maintain a Hopeful Outlook: visualize what you want and maintain optimism that good things will happen in your life. Try not to focus on the fear, worry and doubt. Changing your thoughts will change your reality so instead direct your focus on positivity and what you desire for your life. And don’t give up! We have endless opportunities in life to practice resilience so keep moving forward always striving to learn and grow.
- Take Care of Yourself: Pay attention to your own needs and feelings to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience. Exercise and spiritual practice are included here also.
Clear Out Your Blocks
As an addition to these steps, I believe that getting support for the deepest fears and thoughts that you experience is an important step to building that self-trust, self-worth, and personal power to overcome and grow from challenging situations. Sometimes what a person needs is an unbiased guide to help them grow their awareness and help them to identify the blocks that are the deep fears, and then provide the assistance to overcome them. There are a variety of modalities and professionals that are trained to help support individuals with this including counselors, psychologists and wellness coaches who specifically support individuals on this path, such as myself.
My Resolution Technique of Choice
A very simple process I have found useful is the Aroma Freedom Technique. Developed by a psychologist, this technique allows us to dissolve the negative emotional charge associated with challenging memories and experiences that have created the fears and doubts that are guiding our lives. As an Aroma Freedom practitioner, I am trained to facilitate this process with individuals to help them access the deep core issues that are keeping them from living the life they desire free from these fears and limiting beliefs, a key step in building resilience. If you would like to learn more please read the FAQ here and book your Aroma Freedom Session https://wellness360coach.com/sandra-payne/contact/
Read the full APA Article on building resilience here https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience