Life threw me a curveball recently that was the size of a watermelon. I didn’t see it coming and it hit me square in the heart. As the news sunk in, I found myself declaring “I am resilient.” I’ve had other events in my life far worse. Experiences that built my resiliency muscle day after day for years.
When bad things happen our first reaction is often to literally or figuratively fall to our knees. We’ve run into a huge barrier and don’t see a way forward. The mental load of the experience and its repercussions drain every last bit of our energy. We tell ourselves a story about how small we are compared to the heftiness of the challenge. We might even tell ourselves a story that casts us as the victim. During my divorce, I had visions of huge ocean waves crashing on top of me. Step by step and breath by breath I moved forward. I learned I can do hard things.
How do you respond when a gigantic curveball comes your way? What story do you tell yourself? What if the curveball involves a child? We want so badly to protect our children from pain (it’s written in the job description, right?). But, it’s not possible. Their resiliency muscle needs a workout too.
Healthy, resilient people adapt to difficult or challenging life experiences. They overcome adversity, bounce back from setbacks, and can thrive under extreme, ongoing pressure. The most resilient people recover from traumatic events stronger, better, and wiser.
When bad things happen, resilient people tell themselves a story about the future turning out well. They rely on themselves to cope and learn from the experience instead of responding like a victim.
Are you a resilient person?
Al Siebert, Ph.D. developed a quiz to assess the strength of a person’s resiliency. Over 30 years of research helped him clearly understand human resiliency and how it develops. According to Siebert, highly resilient people show 13 similar qualities, such as childlike curiosity, self-confidence, and strong relationships.
When I took the quiz, I received a score of 89 which put me in the very resilient category. While I had no choice in the recent curveball, I did have a choice about how I responded. I chose my response to be aligned with my values of honesty, kindness, and loyalty. I have no regrets about my response. My resiliency muscle is getting a workout and strengthening. I can do hard things. My future is bright.