The Magic of Resiliency

We live in a world that does not teach resiliency; doesn’t encourage it; doesn’t value it. Why does this matter? Because it’s how we get through ‘this thing called life’. We need to fail, get up to try again, fail or succeed, and learn that the failure doesn’t define us. 

YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM

I try to work that statement into my first couple of sessions with a new client, and then repeat as necessary. Our current culture, fueled by social media, creates a constant drumbeat informing each of us of our victim status. 

You may have been victimized at some point in your life – and perhaps you are in a situation in which you are continually victimized by a partner, boss, or friend. This does not mean that you ‘are’ a victim. It does mean that you face a very challenging situation that requires you to act to end the abuse. The only way to end the abuse is to act as a victor, not as a victim

YOU ARE NOT FRAGILE

Again, we have that steady drumbeat of how the world is so threatening that you need a place to retreat to for safety. No! You are NOT fragile! Take a minute and consider your life experiences. Some of them have been rough, while some have been a cake-walk. In some cases, it’s the cake-walk portions that have conspired against our confidence and efficacy, leaving us ill-prepared to face the challenges of adulthood and intimate relationships. Still, this doesn’t mean you are fragile. It means you will be required to do hard things, especially when you find them uncomfortable. Doing ‘boring’ and ‘hard’ will not break you. It WILL be boring and difficult, but as you do these things you will discover your skin getting tougher. A tough skin is necessary in this world – it always has been. Yes, this world we live in is unbelievable puzzling and difficult, but is it really harder than living in a world without antibiotics while common illnesses like strep killed your kids? Is it harder than getting up before dawn to feed the animals in the freezing weather, coming back to the shack for a snack of porridge and then going back out to check the traps for game? No. You are NOT fragile, and you are made of the same stuff your ancestors were!

YOU ARE CAPABLE

Going back to social media, that crap requires a lot of maneuvering, cunning, planning and checking. It’s a ruthless environment that will eat you alive, emotionally, if you don’t stay on top of it and manage it well. And look at you – you have. You have also learned how to get through situations IRL (in real life) that called for a different set of skills. Interacting with people online verses IRL demands an ability to switch from one mode of thinking/behaving to another. What you might say IRL may or may not be easily translated into social media language, and vice versa. These are small examples to demonstrate to YOUR brain that you have capabilities that you have only begun to explore. You may have begun to believe a lie that you aren’t capable, but I’m here to tell you that that’s all it is. A lie. 

YOU CAN TAKE CHANCES

So many people – of all age groups – have decided that taking chances is simply too dangerous. What they have, as pathetic as it is, feels sufficient. They are missing out on living lives of real happiness, adventure, and true safety – but the life they are living is ‘familiar’, and requires no exposure to uncertainty. Our lizard brains are programmed to avoid uncertainty when possible. They are wired to see all uncertainty as inherently dangerous. “There is a lion or a bunny behind that closed door. How do you prepare?”. Your brain will prepare for the lion – the bunny requires no preparation (unless it’s a Monty Python and the Holy Grail bunny – but that’s a pretty exceptional bunny – and it’s fiction). 

You also have a non-lizard brain that uses language and logic to predict the outcomes of situations. If I ask someone what they LOGICALLY believe will happen they might answer ‘nothing’, and then when asked what they FEEL will happen they express intense fear of what they do not know. This is a classic case of acting on feelings and not what we know to be true. We have an epidemic of this all around us!

FINAL THOUGHTS

As I was writing this, I realized I’m not writing about ‘ya’ll’. I’m writing about US ALL. It wouldn’t be fair to give you the impression that I’m somehow above all of these pedestrian troubles that the peasants have to deal with. No. We’re in this together. I might have a bit more insight because I have the advantage of working with people who report the same worries (though in different words). Sitting in my chair is illuminating. It’s painful to watch so many wonderful, engaging people who are crippled by beliefs that are rooted in their ‘feelings’ and not in ‘reality’. 

Of course, their current issues are very often rooted in experiences from childhood, but also in just living life. My job is to help you figure out how to incorporate all the lessons learned from all those experiences, so you can take advantage of the lessons while setting aside the fear, pain, and anger. It can be done. You can show up, for yourself and those who need you, as a strong, victorious, capable person who is willing to take chances. You will NOT always come out on top, but you will be better prepared to tolerate losses, recover,  and continue on. You will be more … resilient!, 

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