Week Four: Rebuilding Resilience
The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all. —The Emperor, Mulan
Well, it happened. That thing you feared, or that thing you never saw coming, or maybe even that thing you honestly never thought would happen to you. And now here you are, looking around at the pieces of your life, wondering how you will ever get through this. How you will ever put the puzzle back together the way it was. Maybe you’ve realized that it’s not going back together the way it was because too much is broken.
Adversity comes to all of us in one form or another. Resilience is the art of moving through adversity in such a way that instead of burying you, it gives you wings. This is not to minimize your struggle, your pain, your loss, your challenges, your fears, and the scars you may have on the other side of this experience. Those are real, and, in fact, those are the path right now. Traveling the path with resilience is what will turn them into benefits in the long run.
The Japanese have a cultural practice of putting the pieces of broken pottery back together with a lacquer that contains gold, silver, or platinum. In translation it’s called the “golden journey.” Every tool we’ve introduced this month is designed to help you approach your circumstance with resilience. For this final week, we will be highlighting the main components psychologists have determined are essential to resilience, which is essential to rising up from the ashes and creating a new and beautiful life.
Think of it as a roadmap for your own, very personal “golden journey.” As you complete each day’s task, look back across the month to see which specific exercises might fit under that category, so you can see how far you’ve come and how your journey is progressing.
Day Twenty-Five: My Resilience Story
Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again. ―Nelson Mandela
One of the ways adversity can cripple us is by convincing us that we are not up to the challenge. We get discouraged. We get tired. We forget that we have been here before, that we survived it, what strengths we built, what positive outcomes resulted, and how resourceful we were when it happened. We lose faith in ourselves.
But that is adversity talking. It’s not the truth about us.
Your current circumstances might feel much bigger than any adversity you’ve ever faced before. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have many, many stories of when things were hard and what you did to move through and overcome your challenges. Even small moments of challenge contain valuable lessons.
Today, look back and choose a moment in your life when you were faced with hardship, big or small. It’s clear that you’re on the other side of it, right? Because it’s in the past. Tell yourself the story of what happened, how you responded, how you overcame it, who and what helped you, what you learned, and in what ways your life has improved because of it.
Be as detailed as you can. And take special note of what helped you. What choices you made. Because that will show you what resilience tools serve you best. And you can add to them this time.