The Human Struggle
We all face hardships and adversity in our lives. It’s part of what we sign up for in our human experience. Some people grow and become stronger from their struggles, while others collapse and struggle to get fully back up.
Lessons From My Grief Recovery Class
When my husband passed away from cancer, I attended a grief recovery class. The first meeting I sat in a room with 25 other people. We went around the room and shared why we were there. Only a few of us were suffering a recent loss. Many of the others were dealing with loss that had occured years, even decades before. Some shared how their loss had been a shadow over their whole life and so they finally decided to deal with it. One 60ish year old man said he just didn’t feel like himself. He was short tempered and angry with his spouse, which wasn’t usual for him. He wanted to finally address the loss of his brother. His brother’s death was 50 years ago!
I was stunned! He and so many others had lived years of their lives, broken, not fully whole. My heart ached for them.
Dealing With Adversity
Adversity comes in varying forms. Sometimes it’s simply getting passed over for that promotion. Other times it may be a difficult divorce. Perhaps it’s dealing with a rebellious teenager. Or maybe it’s coping with an illness, either your own or someone you love.
How we handle these challenges can also vary. Some people struggle though, barely holding it all together. They often end up depleted and exhausted on the other side. Others find ways to manage and cope, they tap into their strength and deal with the challenges as they come up. These people are the one we label as resilient. They are able to bounce back after hardship and often come out stronger because of their struggle.
What Is Resilience
Google defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness” and “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.”
People who are resilient may get knocked down when something bad happens. But they also get back up. They find their mental reservoir of strength to call on that carries them through without falling apart. They work to maintain perspective, even in the worst of it. They look for things to be grateful for even when all seem dark. They ask questions and seek help. As a result, they get through it stronger, wiser, and more resilient.
Why It’s Important
While most of us would just elect to bypass our hardships, we usually don’t get that choice. When life puts an accident, or disease, or some other difficulty in our path, there is little enjoyable in it. However, how we view these challenges in the first place can help set us up for using them to become resilient.
Here is the thing, adversity provides the classroom for building our resiliency! When we start viewing our challenges as the path to becoming stronger, we will shift to a mindset of growth. From there, we will find ways to marshal our strength and not just survive in the face of hardship, but grow and eventually prosper.
Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.Nelson Mandela
In my experience, when becoming a caregiver for a spouse with cancer, there are two key skills to building your resiliency: managing your mind and processing your emotions. These are both skills we aren’t taught in life, but become critical to being able to stay strong in the face of your challenges. This is exactly what I teach my clients.