Have you ever wondered why some people who experience adversity are able to rise above it while others are not? If each of us would think back we can likely remember when the anticipation of a new life experience outweighed any fear of danger, hurt, or disappointment that we might be exposed to if our plan did not play out the way we hoped. Over time, however, some, if not the vast majority of us, have let the bumps and bruises of life increase our apprehension to risk-taking and the thrill of a new experience. I have witnessed friends, family members, acquaintances, and others experience loss, heartbreak, career set-backs, health challenges of their own and/or family members’, etc. I have also had my share of life’s “hard knocks.” Some bounced back. Others did not. When pondering what separates the resilient from the non-resilient, I have found that those who overcame possessed what I call “The Resilience Factor” by being able to:
- Believe in a higher power – Resilient people acknowledge that they are not in control of anything, but are empowered by something or someone greater than themselves. When you surrender to your spirituality you experience peace and strength that is not possible via any other source;
- Stay calm – Our natural inclination is to end the hurt as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this often causes us to make irrational decisions out of desperation which could further complicate our circumstances. Resilient people breathe deeply, take a step back, and analyze the situation to determine the possible repercussions of any available courses of action. They also recall instances when others made irrational decisions in the face of adversity and ask themselves if that decision-making approach improved or complicated that person’s situation;
- Speak and think optimistically – I know that it sounds cliche’, but many things are mind over matter. Resilient people know how important it is to keep themselves in the right state of mind. If doubt is ever given a chance, it will take up residence and be almost impossible to evict from your thoughts. Resilient people also do not allow themselves to speak negatively because they know that spoken words carry great power. This is why resilient people tell themselves that, regardless of the circumstances, they can overcome. If you have ever tried it, you know that it is true. When you think and speak optimistically you begin to gradually feel better and your determination grows;
- Maintain or take back their power – Each person’s circumstance has its own unique characteristics, so another person’s solution may be a potential disaster for you. Resilient people take loved ones’ advice into consideration and react respectfully…expressing their appreciation for their loved one’s concern, but they exercise their right to go in a different direction. They also sometimes seek unbiased professional help to aid them in making the best decisions about what they are facing. This way they avoid involving family and friends before they are ready to do so. Remember to take advantage of benefits available through your employer. Many offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) which have access to innumerable resources to address personal and professional challenges in an confidential, unbiased setting. Employees’ use of the service is treated like any other protected health information, so the Law prohibits the providers from reporting back to employers which of their employees take advantage of the service. They report numbers only and sadly, most employers report year after year that not enough of us utilize this valuable benefit. Where there is a need, counseling services are administered by licensed, trained professionals. The benefits are sometimes free and often extend to immediate family members who reside in your home. Psychology Today is another great resource. Visit their website at https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/resilience for more information.;
- Block the noise – Resilient people do not allow others to pressure them to live their life based on others’ expectations. Even well-meaning family and friends will sometimes give advice based on their personal experiences. Remember that, ultimately, as an adult you will have to live with the outcome of your decisions, so don’t be so concerned about others agreeing with your decisions about your life. Resilient people enjoy greater self confidence and even greater self-respect for having acted in their own best interest.
- Envision a better day and have a “don’t quit” attitude – Resilient people remind themselves often that nothing earthly last forever. Each day that you wake up is a new opportunity to positively impact your or another person’s existence. Resilient people help others to overcome their difficulties instead of harboring a victim mentality, so they never give up because they want to inspire others. It is perfectly okay to stop, take a rest, and regroup when necessary, but you must get back up. Remember that some of the most beautiful success stories have come about after serious adversity…in some cases, repeated episodes. Resilient people know that if they quit, they will definitely not overcome, but as long as they continue to push, they just might emerge victorious.
We all have our turn at facing difficult situations. When our respective time comes we must not passively let the difficulty consume or defeat us. Apply the resilience factor and you, too, will become an over-comer. Each time you fall, get back up, no matter how hard the fall. Be resilient!
Originally published by Cynthia B. Okonkwo on Linkedin.