If I ask you, “how’s life?” what would your answer be today, right now, in this moment? For 99.9% of you, even if the answer has a positive spin to it, there is a “but” or condition. I get it. Mine too. “Life is great, well it will be once I get to July 1st and have packed and unpacked a gazillion boxes and am sitting on the deck of our new home.” “Life is pretty good, well it is for the most part but with all the craziness of moving I have not been able to spend the time I’d like on my new business this month.”
I grew up living life in the fantasy of Winnie the Pooh. The book, the cartoon, all of it. Please don’t get weird on me here…I really did just like the story, as written, without symbolism. And I absolutely loved Tigger, the lovable, hyper, glass-half-full always, happy Tigger. Tigger jumped right in, bounced right back and saw the world only in its best light. When something got me down, made me sad or hurt me, I just put on my Tigger attitude and kept on going. Tigger was resilient.
Resilience has certainly played a variety of parts in my life at different ages, different stages and different life experiences. After I had two babies 22 months apart, I sought the resilience of my skin and it’s pre-pregnancy elasticity and firmness. After some female surgery 3 years ago, I sought the resilience of my body, which immediately post-surgery, felt like it had aged 40 years. After the traumatic occurrence and memories of over 11 years ago, many of which I have been forced to revisit in my “cleaning out my house” of 22 years, I sought a variety of mental and emotional resiliencies. Some moments, I just wanted things to “go back the way they were before I found out” about my ex-husband. Other moments were filled with impatience, wondering when I would “feel happy again” or “when my smile muscles would work again.” Sometimes, it was as simple as, “when will this stop hurting so much.”
When I was writing this, I came upon a loose definition in a post in Psychology Today. Resilience is the ability to change course and soldier on. A soldier changing course. Was that what I was and had never really realized it? Being a soldier is a lot of work, takes a great deal of courage and seems so, well…HARD. While I have let so many of the hard moments go, I look back and this resiliency-thing doesn’t seem so hard at all. Or maybe I was so busy “soldiering thru” and being true to my “Tigger-self” that resilience, in my thoughts, my actions, my attitudes just…happened.
I have many times quoted the beautiful Maya Angelou in my Keynotes: “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. It may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.” Resilience, my SHE-friends, seems to be a part of the evolution; The evolution of you; The evolution of me; The evolution of SHE.
Did I just hear you ask how this concept of resilience works? My “answer” is a tough one – I don’t have the answer. Maya reminds me, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” I can tell you, from my own stories of resilience that, yes, time does play a part, as does having something to work towards or for (in my case, it was my young children who relied upon me 100%). But, your attitude is key. Many times I have asked myself, “WHAT will it take for me to put one foot in front of the other and move forward? WHEN will my glass be half full again? WHERE are my rose-colored glasses???” Please don’t misinterpret this message. I am not saying that you should try to escape the painful feelings or thoughts or experiences you have in that moment. Sitting with our pain in solitude, in the now can actually be the most effective way to find resilience. But is the pain winning or are you staring it down, willing yourself to face it and move thru this moment? It is my willingness to move forward, my desire to have the water poured back into my glass and the passionate search for those red glasses that is the formula for my personal resilience.
What is YOUR formula for resilience?
So here is my attitude: If my cup runneth over with this thing called resilience because of the more difficult moments in my evolution, bring it on. Because in every one of those moments, I am also learning something new and, yes, changing course. Maybe not a sharp left , right or U-turn, but every course change counts. Sometimes, resilience comes from just driving off the road for a few moments to be with yourself, be with that thing that has emptied your cup, and re-charge your battery.
My life is a pie and every slice is a different flavor. Some of the slices I don’t really care for, but I keep a nice, warm cup of resiliency nearby to wash it down with so I can move on to a far more delicious piece. One thing I know for sure: this SHE-Tigger loves pie and is not afraid of the flavors I don’t like. Eat on, SHE-friends!
Note from the SHE files: Resilience goes a long way in the pie of life!