We will all be hit with the unexpected, the unwelcome, with tragedy at some point in our lives. It is not if but when and how often. It is then that we are faced with our hardest and most crucial choices. How do we come back from this? How do we get back up when Life delivers some of its hardest knocks?
These are the unwanted assignments which life presents to us. A job loss, a marriage or relationship ending, a disabled child, a crippling injury, a diagnosis, a death.... All of these, and so many other circumstances, can leave us reeling, feeling untethered and adrift. It can feel like there's a mountain to climb and we just don't want to get out of bed, or put down the drink, or speak to anyone. In all of this it can be hard to see, but vital to realize, that you need to show up for your assignment. This assignment is only yours and you, truly, have all that you need within you to meet its demands.
Resilience is the activation of all the inner resources needed to meet the demands of your assignment. It's a muscle you activate through action and which strengthens with repeated use. Patience is its ally.
Action. It doesn't have to be a superhuman forward leap, just forward motion. There is always something that you can do, however small. One of the best questions to ask yourself when something negative occurs in your life is;
"What does this experience make possible?"
Now, I know, that's a huge mental shift in the wake of a major life event. But, that doesn't make it less valid. Grief, resentment, anger, disappointment and sorrow all have their time but....as human beings we want to feel happy and fulfilled. So, if we can be as efficient as possible about how long we spend in those depleting emotional states, surely that's beneficial.
I know of so many people who were devastated by a mid-career job loss only to find incredible fulfillment a few short months thereafter as they stepped into new and exciting opportunities they never would have dared leave their previous job to pursue. Ask that question with an open mind; What does this experience make possible? Quiet your mind. Meditate on it. Let is marinate in your mind. The answer will come.
Vision. When we find ourselves in places we don't want to be, to get out, we need a clear view of where we want to be. If we've suffered a loss we need to grieve it of course but, to avoid it consuming us, we need to be able to see beyond. You'd never just board a flight at an airport with no idea where it was going. Many of us are without a clear view of where we want to be in life. We're drifting, distracted by the day to day demands of life but we're not at the helm, navigating.
Having a clear vision of where you want to be, where you plan to be, is an enormous part of resilience. With this clear vision, when things do go wrong not everything is thrown into disarray. Your vision is larger than that one incident. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts so to speak. Even if what life throws at us means we have to change that vision and make a new plan we have done it before. It is something we know we can do again.
So, if today you find yourself without that vision. If you've been reacting to what life throws at you rather than responding within the framework of your well-crafted plan, it's time to build that vision.
Choice. We don't choose these assignments but we do get to choose how we respond.
We live in the aftermath of our choices.
To move forward we need to choose a destination. How clearly we have constructed our vision of our desired future is incredibly important here. Most people spend more time planning their annual summer vacation than they do their future. Resilient people, however, do construct a clear view of their destination. They can feel it and taste it. It has the "pull power" that enables them to take the action, make the choices that, little by little, day by day, propel them forward. It enables them to go through the discomfort, the heartache.
Taking a view that life isn't merely happening to you is a choice and there is power in that choice. It is an act of the will. Some people might venture so far as to say that, not only is life not happening to you, it's happening for you. If you look at your life from that perspective, if you discipline yourself to make that choice, life becomes immeasurably more enjoyable.
Our vision for our life, coupled with the directed action of daily choices, sprinkled with patience and self-love is how be forge resilience.
Everyone can be resilient. It is not bestowed on some chosen few but available to all.
We own our power through our choices
It isn't easy, but with self-discipline you can cultivate the habit of owning your power. Don't give up that power by ignoring it. You are infinitely better than that! Claim it and begin the work. You deserve to be happy.
About the Author:-
Eimear Zone is an entrepreneur and co-founder of social enterprise, PEBBLE + ROSE. She writes on feminism, entrepreneurship, and mindset management. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and IG @emtczone