Being an adult is not always easy. In fact, it is rarely easy, but the way we carry ourselves and move through times of struggle is based wholly on resilience (ie. our ability to stand and weather the storm when we would rather have a full on head-shaving-Britney-Spears-moment).
I believe that resilience is something that we inherently do or do not learn in childhood. Our learning (or lack there of) of how to deal with challenges in a positive way often carries forward into our adult lives, and we may find ourselves coming up against a brick wall, as the tactics we learnt as children no longer serve us. Luckily, we can retrain our brains, and constantly seek to apply new ways of moving forward when life gets us down.
I am a very goal oriented person, so staying focussed on my overall aims in life/for the year/for the month is what keeps me going when I am feeling low. Having the solid belief that the universe is ultimately a friendly place also helps me to stop that niggling “why me?” thought that the ego tends to favour when life is putting you through hoops.
Adopting an attitude of acceptance and grace, which to me is ultimately resilience, is not a straightforward process, but it can come with practice. Taking steps to foster resilience does not have to be overly complex, but it does require dedication. Here are some key insights that I use to try and hold myself in strength and with acceptance when the negative side of me would rather become a blanket burrito:
Practicing gratitude. When life hands you a big pile of crap, do your best to avoid wallowing. You can feel the anger, annoyance, sadness, or whatever pops up in the initial period following the challenge, but do not let yourself pitch a tent in Sooky Town. Whining to others only gives this negative situation more power over you, and wallowing will only make you feel WORSE, and does literally nothing to move you past whatever the challenge/disappointment may be. Keep your eyes fixed on the good stuff. The things that you DO have, the things that ARE going right. Remember that in all the rough, there is a gem of hope/change/wisdom to be found, if you work through it.
Don’t be afraid to analyse yourself. If something bad happens, or even if something mild happens and it flips a switch in you and your reaction is fairly comparable to Krakatoa, unpack why that is. You may not be able to do it right in the moment in which you are triggered, but soon afterwards, think about why you reacted/behaved the way that you did. Was that a reaction to the actual thing that happened, or did the situation poke an old wound and bring up a whole bunch of stuff from the past? We all react habitually depending on what we have previously experienced, and through reflection we can work to change these reactions to more positive ones. Being self reflective is a massive strength. Remember that not one of us are perfect, and that’s okay.
Be clear, and tight with your boundaries. Having a strong understanding of what you do or do not want, and what you will and will not tolerate is crucial to being resilient. Knowing that you have the strength and the integrity to stand your ground when somebody crosses a boundary with you is essential. If you are clear on your boundaries and something comes up and it is crossed, you will be equipped to react in a more collected way if you have been clear from the get go. For example- someone treats you poorly and you have been very clear with them about this being a deal-breaker in the past= you are standing on more solid ground in being able to say “I am not okay with this, you knew that I would not be okay with this, and I need to take some time away from you to decide if I can re-enter this friendship/relationship/etc.”. A much more resilient response than flying into a rage and being angry at yourself for not having made things clear before, and angry at someone else for not guessing what you would or would not expect of them.
Take it day by day
Remind yourself that each day that passes is a step further away from that bad thing, and a step closer to the positive future you are working towards. Moving from day to day is sometimes the only thing that we can do when life beats us down, but that in itself is a positive step and an act of resilience.
Be gentle with yourself, always. If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, be damn sure that you do not say it to yourself. We can be our own worst critics most of the time, and retraining this internal dialogue will allow you to be more resilient as your life progresses. Be kind to yourself, and remember that you can only truly love someone else if you first love yourself. Self love sets you up to be a resilient, fierce, compassionate, loving, amazing boss bitch- so above all else do not skip working on that.
I’d love to hear how everyone else manages to stay resilient when things happen your lives! If you have any tips or tricks, or favourite self care activities that keep you strong, please pop them in the comments and share the love!