We all go through tough times in our lives. Unfortunately, we have to experience the bad to be able to appreciate the good. Difficult times are very personal to us because of our own perception of the experience, so what might seem tragic to one person may appear trivial to another.
The difficulties may take the form of relationship problems, work issues, health concerns or situations that are very much out of the ordinary and change us forever. It can be a one-off event or a succession of trials, but resilience is what gives us the faith to keep going and adapt when faced with adversity.
First of all, it is important to remember that we all have resilience within ourselves. It is just a question of how much, finding it and believing we can improve the way we react and adapt to challenging events.
Some argue that the way to get through it is to have a positive view of yourself and a strong network of people around you. Whilst it is undoubtedly important, the truth is that when you are in the midst of it, it won’t be enough. The strength will have to come from within, there is little point in looking to others. Even the most positive person can feel beaten down and it is all too easy to lose faith or confidence when everything seems to go wrong and collapsing around you.
Having gone through a number of difficult times myself, especially in the last year, I would like to share some of what helped me, so here are my tips to help you become a more resilient person:
First of all, accept the situation. There is no point trying to bury your head in the sand. The quicker you accept what has happened or is in the process of happening, the quicker you will be able to deal with it. Fighting it won’t change things, just prolong the pain.
Once you have acceptance, face up to it. Sit in silence, with yourself and your thoughts, without distractions. Cry or scream or both or whatever you need to do.
Be self-aware. Listen to your body, mood and self-talk. Know what you need and what you don’t, trust your gut instinct as to what needs to happen next.
Surround yourself with people who are also resilient as opposed to ‘life victims’, as this will inspire you to keep going. Remember that as long as you are accepting, facing up to the issue and taking action, your suffering is only temporary. It is not always easy to see the wood for the trees but it will not last forever. Think of a wheel; it goes down but then it will go back up, it’s quite simply the law of physics.
Allow time. When we are hurt, our brain goes into shutdown mode because we need to process the information and the pain. It can’t be rushed. Allow yourself to feel the emotions as opposed to masking them with what I call ‘false positive thinking’.
Reframe the situation. What other context or meaning could it have? Remember that things genuinely happen for a reason, either for us to learn a lesson or to confront a problem. The reason may not be clear yet but it will.
The key is to have faith and to keep going. Your life will never be the same now but who says it is for the worst and not the better? It is often the most difficult paths that lead us to the most beautiful destinations…