Resilience is defined as the ability to adjust to, or recover from, misfortune. Within this there are two parts; your immediate reaction to the misfortune and the way you manage yourself afterwards. We need to be resilient in “moments” (like when your boss says you can no longer have Friday off) as well as during longer life events, like health circumstances and relationships. Resilience is important to cultivate because we don’t control a lot of what happens to us in life, we can only control ourselves.
Resilient people continually work on these five things to build, and maintain this competence. Take a look, there are likely some you are working on too, and others that could use some love. Here is the good news, working on any one of these items will ensure you have more resilience at your fingertips.
Resilience is consistent when you have strong and healthy relationship with yourself. This includes having a healthy degree of self-confidence, living a “big life plan” (providing you with long-term meaning and purpose) and being able to identify your emotions as they emerge, allowing you to choose how you respond when “life” happens. Don’t worry, no one has them all figured out all the time. What is key here is understanding what kind of relationship you want to have with yourself, and actively working on it, so you are there to support yourself when you need it most.
Resilience is present when you can be your best self, living and expressing your values and principles. This is how resilience shows up when you interact with others, including how you express yourself (words, tone, body language, etc.), how assertive (note this is different from aggressive) you are when you need to be, and how independent you are when there is a lot of emotional pressure to do/not do something (at work or at home). How are you experienced by others? This is all about self-awareness, understanding how you are perceived by others and having the good sense to know what to change, and what is working just fine (even if others may not like it).
Resilience is accessible when you can lean on the relationships you’ve built around you (both personal and professional). We all need people to lean on, and to celebrate with. Resilience here involves being able to put yourself in the headspace of another person, listening to what they are experiencing (without adding your personal view or story) and being there in helpful ways, even when it may not directly benefit you. This one is about both leaning in, and giving back, to the community of people you interact with every day. How much do you let others in? Having a support network consistently present in your life can help you enjoy the good times, and overcome the bad times.
Resilience is actionable when you trust and use your intuition. Everyone makes hundreds of decisions in a day; it’s feeling confident about how we solve problems that allows us to feel resilient. This involves accessing objectivity, looking for the “what else” that is important to consider before acting. It also involves a degree of impulse control, allowing us to be responsive, rather than reactionary (keeping ourselves from doing something that just makes things worse and we will regret).
Resilience supports us when we are suffering. It allows us to be our best selves, even under trying circumstances, giving us the mental breathing room to take a few moments and gather our thoughts, allowing us to be flexible so our minds leave room for options. These things also maintain our ability to be optimistic, trusting that when we do our best with good intentions, it will all work out in the end, which supports our well-being.
You don’t have to have these all figured out. Continuing to be aware of what supports your resilience, and actively working on what will benefit you in building this competency, is exactly the right step. In reading this, you are right where you need to be.
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving; we get stronger and more resilient.” Dr. Steve Maraboli.
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving; we get stronger and more resilient.”