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Resiliency: Fact and Fiction

written by Erin Garwood, M.A.

It may go without saying that this year has been an ongoing string of difficult experiences that may have truly tested your ability to keep motivated and moving forward. A powerful concept that may contribute to your ability to keep moving forward is resiliency. There are several common misunderstandings about what resiliency really means. Below are some of the most common facts and fictions of resiliency to help you understand; what it is, why it is important, and how you can use it in your life.

 

Resiliency IS: Adapting and bouncing back

Resiliency is the principle that you may grow in your ability to adapt or bounce back from difficult experiences. This includes the necessity for you to be in tune with yourself and when you need time and space to rest, heal, and recover. Better understanding how you can care for yourself will allow you to work through difficult times with confidence in your ability to get through.

 

Resilience is NOT: Working nonstop through pain until burnout

You may find when confronting a difficult experience that your gut reaction is to continue pushing yourself harder and harder to “just get through it.” This desire to push yourself nonstop does not represent resilience and may instead contribute to feelings of burnout. Resilience includes knowing when you need to take breaks and following through by taking those breaks to care for yourself. The more you are able to take these recovery moments the more you will be able to be resilient through difficult experiences in the future.

 

Resilience IS: Built up like a muscle over time

Feeling confident in your ability to be resilient will not happen overnight. It will take practice and repeated rounds of learning how to care for yourself. You may find yourself getting frustrated with what feels like setbacks or times when you struggle to practice self-care. This is completely normal! Allow yourself some grace in learning to better understand your own process.

 

Resilience is NOT: Always being happy

You may think that if you are resilient you will be able to weather every storm and always feel good. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You will still have ups and downs. You will still struggle with difficult events in the future. Resiliency, however, may help you to feel more confident in your ability to get through those difficult experiences to the other side. You may be able to be more compassionate to yourself when you are struggling. Remembering that it is ok to not be ok, is a form of resiliency.

 

Resilience IS: A Complex Combination of Components

Increasing your resiliency will require several different aspects built up over time. Your resiliency may come from any combination of the following: healthy relationships, overall health and wellness, helpful and flexible thought patterns, intentionality, and allowing yourself to recover (not just to rest but to recover).

 

Understanding more about this flexibility and adaptability can help you to tune into your process and know when you may need to rest, heal, and recover. Being able to care for yourself in this way will lead to more lifelong practices of resiliency.