anessa K De Luca wrote about resilience in the May 2016 Essence magazine, ‘Letter from the Editor’. “When life knocks us down, we need to take a minute to understand the situation, the role we may have played in it and what our lives will gain now that we’ve grown. This is the very heart of resilience. This is how we get back up.”
After reading, I thought, wow, I have certainly fallen a few times and boy have I grown. Heck, I am still growing. I am literally scraping my knees now and they are sore. But what does resilience really look like? Not that I disagree with Vanessa, but I am wondering.
So I began by looking up the word…
Merriam-Webster defines resilience as the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens. Also, the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc. But wait, if I am to grow-learn from the bumps and bruises, do I really want to return back to my original shape or do I want to be better? So I kept looking.
Wikipedia, while some find the resource non-credible, notes its definition as Psychological resilience-an individual’s ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity. Stress and adversity can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workpace and financial worries among others. Now I must adapt to my problems? Adapting suggests that I must accept, maybe even conform to the stress and adversity. That’s not growing. So I still kept looking….
Psychology Today defines resilience as an ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Wow, now that sounds about right. That’s what resilience is to me. To come back stronger than ever is growth. That means I am made better by my circumstances or my storm. Psychology Today also identified some of the factors that make someone resilient like positive attitude, optimism and the ability to regulate emotions.
The last six years have been crazy. Crazy-I have been through some storms-knocked down by life. But today, although I’m still overcoming some things, I am much better than who I was back then. I am made better by the storms I’ve weathered. They-these storms- have shaped me, molded me, caused me to rise from the ashes. I feel accomplished. I am resilient!
I do believe the definitions omitted something. In order to be resilient-rise from the ashes, become stronger by your circumstances, better as a result of your storms, one must be HUMBLE. To go through stress and adversity to become stronger, you must stay humble. If you are deep in the midst of your storm and you have the ability to remain optimistic and have a positive attitude you have to be humble, yes? I believe so…..I certainly didn’t come out of my storms on the other side feeling any other way than appreciative, and blessed for surviving….being resilient!