I have been called “strong” as long as I can remember; however, these remarks often perplexed me. What is it about me that appears so strong? I certainly don’t feel strong! If they only knew how afraid I was they wouldn’t be saying this at all. Inside, I am a frightened little girl waiting for the next traumatic event to befall my life. What is it about my behavior that compels people to speak this over me time and time again?
These thoughts and questions swirled in my head for decades. Always leaving me as perplexed as the time before. I just didn’t get it.
Then one day, it became clear.
By definition resiliency is:
the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness
Strong is just another word for resilient and resiliency was a definition I could identify with. Funny how a simple change in nomenclature made sense out of years of confusion.
I’ve written many articles on resiliency and each piece took on a life of its own. There are many ways to achieve resiliency just as there are many paths to God or spiritual enlightenment. But today I’m going to focus on one piece. It’s the piece that was modeled for me so distinctly by the most resilient woman I know, my mother. And that piece is:
To keep going no matter what.
No matter if it was my father’s adulterous affair, the tragic death of my brother at age 16, the illness’ and subsequent deaths of her parents, my parents’ divorce, her cancer diagnosis or her double knee replacement, she always responded the same way – with resiliency.
She kept going no… matter… what.
I believe because resiliency was modeled so powerfully in my home, it became part of who I am. There were no words spoken to me about it, no cheerleading, it just was. This is how we handle times like this. This is how we do heavy. This is how we keep going when we are frightened, sad or shattered.
Even though I had a tremendous role model, it does not mean it came easy. Resiliency is a choice. A day to day and sometimes minute by minute choice.
The choice to rise up as a victor instead of adopting victimhood.
The choice to see the blessings in the mire instead of suffocating under its sludge.
The choice to reposition the heavy weight rather than giving up and quitting.
This might come as a shock to some of you, but a couple years back when I was first asked to write a piece on resiliency, I had to look up the definition. Prior to that, I had no clear idea of what it really meant.
Simply by discovering the word and its definition, I was able to identify a force inside myself that I had not yet been able to label.
Resilient. I am resilient. I choose a forward path. I keep moving forward no matter what. I refuse to be anyone’s victim. A setback is not the end of my life. There is more life to live. Other’s bad choices are not a reflection of my goodness and worth. I get to choose how I view and handle my own life. This is my personal freedom and my right. Bad things are going to happen and I cannot stop them, but I can sure choose how I will respond to them and…
I will keep going no matter what!
Unfortunately, not many of us have resiliency modeled for us in our youths and even if we do, our personality may choose a different response to our situation.
What my mother didn’t speak, but probably understood was that no difficulty is forever. It passes eventually. Life is a series of events challenging us to step into our higher selves – to evolve into our richness and destiny. No “thing” out there can beat us unless we allow it.
By no means am I suggesting we emotionally bypass the pain that comes our way. That is not resiliency, it is rug sweeping and numbing. It is a grand gesture of avoidance that will only repress the pain and fear for a little while. Eventually we will have to meet it again face to face.
Resiliency is about feeling the feelings, letting them out, talking about the situation to a trusted friend, then choosing your next best step. It’s about releasing attachment to the future by funneling all your energy into the present moment knowing God is leading you one tiny step at a time.
Resiliency is to keep going no matter what.