Let’s talk about resilience:
When most people hear resilience, the first thought that usually comes to their mind is “bouncing back.”
Throughout this pandemic, I have been hearing people say, “I can’t wait for things to go back to normal.”
Well, I’m here to tell you that there is no bouncing back, and there is no going back to normal.
Let me tell you why:
Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity or significant stress. It is about change and growth while remaining rooted and true to yourself.
It doesn’t mean that problems and struggles don’t exist and that they don’t impact us because, of course, we are. And, of course, I have been. It’s about how we relate to the problems and struggles we’re faced with—how we choose to proceed (or not).
Think of a tree, for example—more specifically, a deciduous tree. Trees go through all sorts of different “stressful” events in their life.
They go through changing seasons, cold winters, superhot summers, thunderstorms, and maybe lightning strikes. They get pecked by woodpeckers, sh*t on by animals and birds. They may lose a limb here and there. Their bark might get ripped off.
Yet, they remain.
The leaves fall off, and they are bare, but the bare tree is still a tree; it is rooted and full of life. And it’s not only that. Next, beautiful flowers grow; the leaves return lusher, renewed, and stronger.
So, what does this mean for us?
Yes, I know we are not trees, but we can adapt like the tree. We can decide not to fight what is happening around us—what we can’t control. We can find our “new normal,” we can learn from the experience, and we can become stronger, brighter, and better.
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the only thing constant is change. So, if we fight it and keep trying to be what we were before, we will be “stuck,” unhappy, and tired. We will lose sight of who we really are and look to external forces to help us feel “us” again—to help us feel happy again.
And this is when suffering happens.
So, just like the trees have lost their leaves, we, too, have lost our “normal” way of functioning. I’m here to tell you that things will never be the same. But knowing this, can you find a way to blossom, just as the trees do?
Here’s how we can do this:
1. Start by recognizing that we cannot change what is happening around us.
Acknowledge that things will never be the same. There is no “bouncing back” to normal because that normal doesn’t exist anymore. It’s like saying, “I wanna be 18 again.” That’s never going to happen.
2. We need to recognize that the only thing we can change is what is within us.
How can you adapt to your new normal? What skills or tools do you have inside of you to make that happen?
3. Acknowledge and believe that you can do this!
Think back: what has gotten you through change before? (Don’t say you haven’t changed because change is inevitable.) We’ve all changed.
So, how did you get through it? How did you grow? What did you learn? What helped?
4. Remember that this change does not change who you are; it does not change your divine being.
Remember that the tree’s roots remain rooted, but they grow—get deeper, and stronger.
So ask yourself: what is important to me? What values do I hold that stay the same? What beliefs do I have that stay the same? What’s my passion? What are my strengths? What am I looking forward to? What makes me me?
When we bring attention to our truths and the divine qualities within ourselves, that’s when we can truly adapt in the face of adversity or significant stress.
When we learn to focus on the present, it makes what’s happening around us (the external process) just what it is—not something that we allow to control us.
When we allow the external world and events to control us, we are not allowing ourselves to adapt, grow, and blossom.
Finally, remember that it’s okay to ask for support. We are all going through this together.