I want to talk about resilience. Resilience isn’t found in the articles about stress or pursuit of happiness. It isn’t thought of as something we strive to improve like fitness or a healthy balanced diet. We don’t actively think about how resilient we are until we look back at challenging moments in our lives and marvel at the fact we made it through.
What is resilience?
Imagine yourself as a giant walking forwards against the wind. At times the wind lessens and you can move with ease; at other times you are head down battling to move even just a few steps. On this journey you are also pelted with pebbles of varying size and sharpness. Most bounce off, some leave small bruises or graze the surface, whilst others bury deep into your skin. You can deal with one or two cuts and bruises but it takes internal strength, something raw and inextricably human, to cope with the pain, and keep moving. This is resilience.
Can we become more resilient?
We’ve all heard the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and it’s usually said to us when we feel that nothing could be further from the truth. It’s the answer when there are no other easy answers, when we’re at rock bottom and there is no simple way back up. I’m not convinced we’re made stronger by getting ourselves out of that place but it helps us discover our potential, how resilient we can be when it really comes down to it. The reassurance of knowing we can survive is what makes us feel stronger.
Where can we find our resilience?
I think the unyielding metaphor that resilience and strength come from within is interesting. We know that biologically our emotions are controlled by different chemicals in the brain however, the romanticism of language continues to dictate that emotion comes from our core, our heart and soul, our sense of being. Resilience, like emotions, is an abstract concept however you don’t experience resilience in the same way you might anger or love or pride. Resilience seems even deeper within us and it takes over when we’re numb to emotion and we chose to give up.
An unsatisfactory conclusion
Think back to the giant walking against the wind and the onslaught of stones. Now consider the story of David and Goliath. Whilst both stories depict physical pain, it’s really emotional pain that I’ve touched upon in this post. R.E.M put it very simply when they sang “everybody hurts, sometimes”. We all have a vulnerable spot that can be punctured deep beyond emotion, to a place where only resilience can save us.
I’ll leave you with a poem…
Resilience waits behind your tears
She’s quiet in dreams and thrives on fears
She’s the strength that will carry you; she’s deeper than love
She’s comes to the rescue when you chose to give up
She’s the roar of the engine as you start to revive
And by the time you’re aware that you’re going to survive
Her work is done! She’s won you this fight,
And left you a note that says, “You’ll be alright”