Does aging enhance or diminish our
The dictionary definition of
resilience goes something like this: the capacity to recover quickly from
difficulties; toughness; the ability of a substance or object to spring back
into shape; elasticity.
As we age, we need to develop our
resilience to meet the challenges we face. We do experience difficulties we
have not faced before. We experience more losses, diminished capacity, reduced
finances, and on and on.
Yet what we do know from our gained experience and wisdom is what the renown Buddhist Nun Pema Chodron says: “No feeling is permanent.” Now we know that this too shall pass.
But how can we create a sense of
resilience when there are times when we just don’t feel we have the capacity to
recover quickly? It doesn’t just happen because we want it to.
Resilience is a practice just like
meditation or learning a new skill. We can’t just summon resilience whenever we
need it. It becomes part our inner voice that tells us we can come back
In my life, I have faced many of the challenges
that we all share. I have lost loved ones – my parents, my best friend, my
sister. I have had financial problems. I have had things just not go my way for
a variety of reasons, and most likely so have you.
How long can we put it all on hold? Do
we sit, do nothing, mope, berate ourselves and immerse in self-pity? NO!
I think resilience is also found in
the process of getting from one set of circumstances to another. I love the
quote and podcast from entrepreneur Marie Forleo, “Everything is figureoutable.” So
let’s figure this out!
Here are my 7 keys to becoming
Begin with a clear perception of the
situation. Ask yourself the tough questions and answer honestly. What role, if
any, did you play in the difficulty?
Become more self-reliant. Others can
help and support you, but the real work of resilience is counting on your own
strengths to bounce back.
Offer support to those who are in a
similar situation. The more others need your strength and support, the more you
will need to develop your own resilience.
Find your motivation. You need to
develop the ability to take charge of any problem that arises. Stand up
and do whatever is necessary to get back on course.
Resilience is creative. With
resilience, you can look at a situation and creatively determine the best way
out. You are enterprising in
your approach toward starting over.
A resilient person has humor. You may
cry until you start laughing, but a sense of humor
is so important when turning your life around. You’ve got to take your
goals seriously, and you’ve got to take yourself seriously. But at times,
you’ve also got to be able to laugh at yourself and your situation.
A resilient person has a strong sense of morality. Whatever you do to get back on your feet, make sure it’s consistent with your moral values. Make sure that your upcoming success is of service, and not at the expense of, others.
The more obstacles you face and
overcome, the more times you falter and get back on track, the more
difficulties you struggle with and conquer, the more resilience you will
naturally develop. If you are resilient, there is nothing that can hold
“Adversity is a fact of life,” I read
on Psychology Today. “Resilience is that indescribable
trait that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back at least
as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties or failure overcome them
and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.”
So, according to psychologists,
resilient people have common traits that keep them on their feet. These include
“a positive attitude, optimism, the
ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of
Optimism, though sometimes we
underestimate at the concept, softens the influence of stress on both our mind and body, allowing
us to rise above stressful situations. As a result, we can think more clearly
about our circumstances and consider the steps we need to take to turn the odds
in our favor.
Resilience may sound like a
supernatural quality, but there’s nothing magical about it. Simply put, resilience
involves hard mental work that helps people change a gloomy life situation
toward a more favorable one.
So, let’s all practice resilience and
learn to come back from our adversities.
“The wound is the place where the
Light enters you.” — Rumi
How often do you have to be resilient?
What was the last time the odds weren’t in your favor? How did you deal with
the situation? Was it easy or difficult to summon resilience and conquer your
circumstances? Please share your story with our community!
Let’s Have a Conversation!