One thing you can count on is life being a mix of good times, bad times, joy, and sorrow. None of us can predict what tomorrow will bring.
Consider the tragedies our nation, communities, and families have experienced in the past years: 9/11; Katrina; Sandy Hook. The people affected by these unexpected events didn’t plan for the pain and sorrow they would experience, and yet they had to find a way to make it through the day and each day thereafter.
What is it that gets us through tragedies and everyday adversities? It’s not the size of our bank accounts, or our jobs, or our possessions; it’s an entirely different resource more valuable than money, available to all of us, all of the time.
It is resiliency.
Resiliency springs from our innate desire for life. It helps us persist through the bad times until we regain our footing and are once again productive, positive, and hopeful. Although we all possess resiliency, the strength of our resilience only grows as much as we nurture it—by making daily deposits.
Think of a savings account. Every day life presents us with small and large challenges, all of which withdraw resiliency from our account. If we don’t, in return, make deposits, we might find ourselves lacking the resiliency needed to keep our spark for life bright.
Here are a few ways, or daily deposits, you can make to your resiliency account. When you encounter an unexpected adversity, you’ll be grateful to know your account is full.
Just say no to the negative voices:
There is a part of your brain that acts as a safety alert system designed to warn you of suspected danger. It also reminds you of past negative experiences, hoping to make sure you avoid similar experiences moving forward.
Sometimes, though, this makes us feel incapable of learning from the situation and trying again with confidence. Though your brain thinks it’s doing you a service—trying to keep you from feeling pain again—know when to say “no” to negative talk.
Simply say, “Thanks for your concern, but I’m not going to listen to you for a while. I’ve got important work to do.” Give yourself the room and permission you need for your positive voice, because it wants to help you heal. “This is a rough period I’m going through,” you might say, “but I know I’ll make it. I’ll be stronger.”
Build your circle of fans:
And I don’t mean through social media. You need to build a close circle of friends that are honest, vulnerable, and helpful, and that participates in an equal give and take (of time, opinions, ideas, and so on). Nothing takes the place of face-to-face contact, either.
Make sure you add at least one of the following to your circle:
· Someone with whom you feel comfortable sharing your most honest thoughts and feelings.
· Someone who will give you a good kick in the behind if they see you’re not taking the action needed to get to
where you want to go.
· Someone who will listen and offer his or her honest perspective.
Push and be compassionate:
Moving through difficult times is never easy, and it is natural to want to retreat and avoid anything you think will be difficult, burdensome, or over stimulating. But resiliency doesn’t mean retreat.
Whatever might be weighing you down, whatever roadblocks you see before you--push. Keep moving. Get thoughtful, creative, and simplistic in your approach. Take small steps, start over, or try another route. Whether or not you meet your end goal, you will have added a dose of resiliency to your account.
Most importantly, use this time to practice patience and compassion with yourself. You are as deserving of your own understanding and acceptance as anyone else.
Practice your smile:
In times of adversity or sorrow, it’s easy to be overcome with pain and doubt, and to let these thoughts tinge our view of the world.
When you can, find things worth smiling about: a cute kitten, a joyful child, a funny comedy clip on television. Make it a point to point out what’s nice in life, even if it’s one small thing every day.
These small positive moments ultimately lead to positive changes in our thoughts and feelings. When smiling feels the hardest, that’s when you need it the most.
That’s when your deposits will be the largest, though they may seem small.