Build Your Resilience and ‘Keep Going’

Build Your Resilience

Every challenge has an opportunity wrapped up inside of it if you can learn to build your resilience. One of those opportunities now is to build your resilience and strengthen our ‘keep going’ muscles. Now, I will admit that some of us need this particular opportunity more than others. I am learning that people of color have been facing significantly more challenges than I as a white woman can fully comprehend. I just want to acknowledge that, and offer my respect for that resilience.

Overcoming Hardships:

In trying to think of something from own life that felt hard, it would have to be my ninth grade year. My mom and her husband divorced and my grandfather died. For these reasons, my mom and I moved from our home in Oklahoma to Alabama, where my grandmother was living, now on her own. We actually moved into her house, three generations of single ladies, all of us in mourning for different reasons.

On top of that, the switch from the arid climate of Oklahoma to the semi-tropical one of coastal Alabama triggered my allergies in a huge way. For the first three months we lived there, I was extremely congested which caused my voice to become very nasally. My new classmates teased me about that and about being a yankee, (Even though Oklahoma isn’t exactly the northeast, but hey, what’s accuracy to a 14 year old?). Every morning before school, I did not want to go. At all. Ugh, it was brutal! I can look back now, though, and see that it taught me a ton about weathering unwanted changes, learning how to adapt, and making friends. It helped build my resilience. 

Building Your Resilience over Resistance:

I can tell you from my own experiences that there’s definitely an initial stage of change where it doesn’t quite feel like your feet are beneath you. It’s off putting, but it’s also a little exhilarating. It’s like being on roller skates that you’re not very good at managing and going a little too fast on. You can almost feel your hair blowing back and you don’t have a lot of time to think about your situation–you’re just trying not to fall down. (In my case, I was trying desperately to grow out my feathered mullet that was so cool in Oklahoma and bulk up my preppy wardrobe of polo shirts and add a bead necklaces as fast as I could!)

With Corona, for me, that fast and furious period came in March and April when it felt like reality was changing every day. Then, at some point, it settled in that this change is sticking around. And that is a big invitation to have an attack of resistance. You know, when you think “no no no,” and “why me?,” and “how much longer”? You get irritable, sullen, maybe pissed, maybe even feeling sorry for yourself. All forms of resistance, which means an unwillingness to accept reality. I’d say that’s pretty  much where we are now.

How To Build Your Resilience:

But here’s the real opportunity. When you keep moving forward despite your resistance, it’s purifying. Now, if you’ve ever gotten a facial where they squeeze each pore to extract whatever gross stuff might be living in there, you know that purification can feel pretty unpleasant, but it will pass. Maybe not as quickly as you or I would like, but it will pass. We can count on that, because nothing sticks around forever. Keep thinking of how good it will feel when we get to the other side of this. Whenever we get to the other side of this–when you’ll know you persisted despite discomfort. May we all uncover a resiliency that perhaps we didn’t know we had. We’ve all got reserves that we generally don’t think too much about. Consider this your chance to discover what else you’re capable of.

One of my favorite quotes that always helps me reframe my thinking on unwanted challenges is from Swami Kripalu, whose followers founded the Kripalu retreat center in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts:

“IT is proper to welcome struggle. Its arrival is always auspicious. It transforms an ordinary human into a spiritually awake person.” 

Daily Tiny Assignment:

So your tiny assignment for the day is to head over to Youtube or Spotify and pull up your favorite “keep going song”. Maybe it’s “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson, or “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree. It could be “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, or “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child. Or heck, “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, for that matter. And then blast that sucker. We’ve got this! And we will be so much stronger on the other side. 

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