This post, we welcome guest blogger, Michelle Waters.
We’d all like to be more resilient. We’d like to be the people who bounce back from anything, always smiling, always thriving, never a tear or a harsh word. Resilient is the gymnast who bounces gingerly on sprained ankles. Resilient is the child who scrambles up with bloody knees and takes off running. Resilient is the divorced friend who immediately starts a new business.
This is who we want to be. This is what we mean when we say we want to be resilient.
When we hold ourselves up against these ideals, we fall short. We shove our hurt feelings, our painful memories, and difficult realities down farther and measure ourselves again. We are still short. Why?
The secret is this: Resilience is not what we think it is. Does resilience exist? Yes, it does. It really does. And yes, you do already have it.
Resilience is our natural, human ability to bounce back from hard places. In the examples above, I would guess that those individuals used grit to push forward. I would suspect that they pushed down their pain, denied the difficulty, and left their bodies, in a way, in order to carry on. That’s determination. We might admire it as a culture, but it comes at great cost and doesn’t carry the reward we’re expecting. When people achieve their goals this way, they still carry a locked box of pain and secrets inside them.
True resilience is natural. It comes from the strength to sit still and feel and notice, really fully notice all that is going on inside us and around us. It comes from recognizing that the world is different today. We are different today. Do we have the strength to confess that not everything is good? Everything is not okay. True resilience is honest.
Our modern cultures and families have taught us to fear these dark places. These dark places feel like sinking. They feel like the wrong path, the wrong direction. It doesn’t feel like resilience to be sad, anxious, depressed, or apathetic. I’m here to be the one voice that says, my friend, true resilience is down this dark path. It is. We really are created to be able to go into dark places and naturally spring back out again. That is our very nature.
When it has been our pattern to avoid our emotions and when we feel stuck in one emotion, that’s the time to ask for support. As human beings, we were designed to do this “emotions” thing together. We are designed to be resilient together.
Life is harder now. We do need each other. I also really, really want you to know, you are already resilient.
Michelle Waters, MA, RCC, CCC
Michelle is a registered clinical counsellor, specializing in trauma in South Surrey, BC. She helps people put the past behind them at the neurological level so that they can live more fully in the present. Her absolute favourite thing to do is to help people discover the resilience that is already within them. Please visit www.michellewaterscounselling.com, and www.instagram.com/michellewaterscounselling.