Resilience is my favourite human characteristic.
Resilience is the ability to rise back stronger than ever following a setback or challenge. Rather than let failure, unexpected changes or stressful situations affect them negatively those with resilience have the ability to bounce back, adapt and rise from the ashes.
How do children learn resilience?
The hardest thing as a parent is letting our children make mistakes. This ranges from bumping little heads on coffee tables as they learn to walk to failing a class because they did not study enough.
I see many parents try to protect their children from failure, mistake or pain. Some would like to wrap their kids in bubble wrap so they never get hurt never fall or bump into that coffee table while leaning to walk or doing homework for them to ensure they get good grades.
I have tried to teach my children that there are no mistakes, only lessons. Shit happens and how we choose to respond to challenges is more of a testament to our character and personality than the actual event or situation.
Is resilience a natural trait?
I don’t think resilience is natural in children. How we educate our children to respond to adversity and how we model our own reactions and responses is what teaches resilience in children.
The human experience is one of challenge and we all get knocked down at times by life, love, illness, and stress. Resilience is important as it helps us maintain balance during difficult times. It is what we need to do when faced with life’s inevitable difficulties
There are times, I have found when the pressure mounts, the number of challenges seems multiply rather than add up in singular file.
I have had a recent bout of unpleasant accumulation of life challenges. I am not going to discuss them all right here; some are confidential family issues, not mine to share.
What I will say is that I kept soldiering on balancing work, family, sick child, new grandchild, travel, and health issues. While I was in the middle of superwoman mode,my co-worker Megan,was one of the few who knew what was going on in my life and how many knives I was juggling. She asked me “How was I functioning?” I responded truthfully ‘”Adrenalin and coffee”
On an Adrenalin high
My overzealous determination to remain resilient became an adrenalin high.
This is not resilience. This is a recipe for burn out, compassion fatigue and depression. I gave myself all three.The list of others needs outweighed my own and I crashed and burned. I am a strong resilient person but despite all best efforts could not juggle all the needs.My resilience became frayed, it wavered.
I had one important work goal to complete, which I did. Then I took a few days off. I went back to work the following Monday. It felt like I was wading through golden syrup, my concentration was shot my care factor was Zero. I had run out of fucks to give.
The black dog
I turned around and went home to bed and stayed there.
The black dog joined me.
My point in sharing this is that resilience while still my favourite characteristic does not work in isolation. To remain resilient, to me, means remaining physically and emotionally healthy functioning human being regardless of life’s challenges.
Where had I gone wrong? Apart from going to full time work and adding a one hour commute at each end of most days:
- I had stopped exercising
- Ate at my desk
- Ate crap = feel like crap
- Drank too much coffee
To heal and repair my physical and mental health and function again I have had (once I got out of bed) to dig deep, get real and go within to figure out why I burnt out.
I have come up with the following evaluation
To be resilient one must also have their own needs met, attend to self-care and as the adversity hits or life challenges mount up we must increase our self-care not let it slide to fit in room for everything else. As it is said “You cannot pour form an empty cup”
I love creative pursuits. Being creative turns off my busy work brain and quilting, knitting, cooking, gardening and writing all feed my soul. I physically did not have time with work and the family issues at the time.
It’s not an excuse. It is just how things were.
My partner and youngest daughter were my rock over that past 6 months.
I do think however I should have sought professional support earlier to debrief on some life issues and recognise how close to burnout I was earlier.
Getting real can be scary. Part of my healing has been to take a good hard look at a few core issues I have left unresolved. Actually they are not yet resolved but with professional support I have made a start of dealing with some issues I have pushed away.
Writing for me is helping to clarify some key points and sort my values, goals and plans moving forward.
I think a lot about this and have come to the conclusion I am actually thinking a bit too hard. Rather than life purpose, my lovely psychologist Andrea says “There is no meaning to life; rather there is meaning IN life” or words to that effect.
Links to references
This article is intended for general information and discussion only. It is not intended to be, nor does it provide you with a professional opinion.