What is resilience?
Resilience is the capacity to adapt successfully in the face of threats or disaster.

It’s such a cliché to say that resiliency is the capacity to bounce back from adversity. Absolutely, this has credence and we can all relate to this analogy. It’s just that, resilience and the ability to harness this much sought after internal capacity goes so much deeper. Ever hear the term “It feels like it’s raining hammers”? Being resilient doesn’t mean going through life without experiencing stress and pain. People feel grief, sadness, and a range of other emotions after adversity and loss. The road to resilience lies in working through the emotions and effects of stress and painful events that we all encounter. When we suppress these emotions, life’s events often find a way of presenting an opportunity for us to once again process through them…

Resilience is also not something that you’re either born with or not. Resilience develops as people grow up, gain better thinking, more knowledge and self-management skills. Resilience also comes from supportive relationships as well as cultural beliefs and traditions that help people cope with the inevitable bumps in life.  Resilience is found in a variety of behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed across one’s life span.

How do we improve on our capacity for being resilient? To better adapt and overcome risk and adversity when it strikes?

You build resiliency before you need it!!!

Every thought you choose to give energy to shapes and influences the way you show up. Every single thought of self-doubt or self-criticism is like a pebble of sand added to your karmic backpack. So too is every thought of self-appreciation, love, and compassion, except that these thoughts create lightness of being. When we can see ourselves as resilient and purposeful rather than as a victim, we are building new pathways of thinking and developing a resiliency mindset.

Some thoughts on what resilient people have in common:

1. They work hard to cultivate meaning in their lives
Without a sense of encompassing meaning, people just fold in on themselves and collapse when suffering hits. It is for this reason that we need to work hard to cultivate meaning in our lives — especially in ADVANCE of difficulties, so that we can have some sort of spiritual, ethical or psychological framework to lean into. Resilient people understand their role in the universal flow of life.

2. They practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to your life on purpose. Mindful people monitor the thoughts that come through them. Instead of reacting to their negative thoughts, they observe them like a storm that is passing through and learn how to be their own observer in the background. Additionally, they pay attention to what is right in their lives. They give it strength and value, thereby turning up the volume on the good that surrounds them.

3. They don’t compare themselves to others
They don’t spend their time feeling sorry for themselves. They realize that every soul has a different journey and therefore it is pointless to compare the path of your life with someone else. They are continually trying to be the new and improved version of themselves. And as long as they are better than they were yesterday, they know they are on the right path. They are their own measuring stick of success.

4. They believe that the trials and sufferings of life can teach, shape, and even improve them
They realize that they are a part of a divine cycle of life and death. In this understanding, they have learned how to lean on their values to remain centered. They are able to pull back from drama and be witness to the swirl around them. For with all ups, there will be downs and whenever they are feeling knocked down they know – in their heart of hearts – that the opportunity for transformation is upon them.

5. They do not try to control their lives
They learn how to surrender to the flow of life and let go of attachments. They appreciate the difference between striving to reach a goal and digging their heels in. The world will continue to change and at the center, is their mind, where there is acceptance and calm. They know that controlling their controllables is a mindset in service to their own happiness, joy and peace in life.

6. They build a community of trust and belonging
Resilient people seem to be those who have built a loving community around themselves. They pay attention to the little things, like birthdays and special events in the lives of others. They take the time to focus on others and their needs without the expectation of anything in return. After all, if you never speak to your neighbor until the day you need their help in an emergency…well, that’s going to be a bit of a problem.

People that have overcome hardships, tremendous obstacles or disease often feel that once through, their lives have transformed or perhaps, better said, they have transformed. They have often turned up the volume of good and beauty in their lives. They know that practicing mindfulness is fuel for their soul. They stop comparing themselves to others. They believe that they can be a better version of themselves. They stop trying to control the events and outcomes in their lives. The have learned how to say, “I need help, please” and have the trusted relationships around them to lean on. And, last but not least, they believe in themselves, are resilient, and do their best to remain open to life’s many experiences.

My greatest wish is that we can all learn how to be with and process these difficult energies in service to becoming our most resilient selves.

Circle of Life

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