6 Keys to Understanding Resilience

Resilience is the ability to withstand and rebound from crisis and overcome life’s challenges, strengthened and more resourceful. Froma Walsh

purple iris

What transition or trying time are you experiencing? Where you wonder if you can make it through? Life includes hardships – short and long seasons that take us deep into thick jungle valleys, far from the spacious delight of mountain tops.

Excerpts from my journal these past months read:

woman holding her head with one hand“I am bone weary. Shoulders sag, heart is heavy.”

“I feel like giving up… walking away… checking out of life for a while.”

“One crisis dissipates and another replaces it. Let me catch my breath- I haven’t recovered from the last one yet.”

“At night, my mind ruminates a stew of thoughts, unable to sleep. I cry out. Where is God? Has He walked away, given up as well?”

Six Keys to Understanding Resilience

1. There is no resilience without challenge. Resilience strengthens through stress and challenge. It expands through transition and change, adversity and chronically hard environments. A ball doesn’t have the momentum to bounce back until it first is slammed onto the floor (rock bottom). 

2. Resilience is not the ability to escape unharmed. Resilient people have scars because the road to resiliency involves considerable emotional, spiritual, physical, mental and relational distress. 

3. There is no scientific formula to resilience. Don’t we wish? Something like:

A + B – C (d3) = Resilience

It would be easier and more attainable. No, resiliency is more of an art, meaning it can be learned and cultivated.

4. No two people have the same ingredients for resiliency. Genetics are somewhat involved within attributes and characteristics that allow resiliency to come easier. For example, those with a positive outlook – glass half full rather than half empty – find the journey less full of potholes because of their perspective. However, we all have a different combination of attributes/characteristics that lend to resilience as varied as our fingerprints! 

5. Bouncing back takes time. Sometimes we picture the rebound being short and sweet. Depending on the impact of the experience and the meaning it has for thoswhite bubles against black backgrounde involved, resilience takes time and effort. In fact, bouncing back is really lots of little bounces along the way. Resilience needs to be seen along a continuum of time. 

6. Resilience is achievable. The human spirit has been created with an incredible capacity to thrive. As you, your children and family are supported and resourced, it is an achievable process. Masten states in “Ordinary Magic: Resilience Processes in Development”: 

“What began as a quest to understand the extraordinary
has revealed the power of the ordinary.
Resilience doesn’t come from rare and special qualities,
but from the everyday magic of the ordinary,
normative human resources in the
minds, brains and bodies of humans…”

 No matter what you’re facing, there will be days of bouncing up and down. This is part of the overall process in our capacity as humans to come back to a sense of equilibrium. 

little white dog bouncing with a blue ball

From my journal these last months are also these writings:

“I sense inner strength as Perfect Love to sustain me. I choose to go on.”

“Checking out as a mom isn’t an option. I will be a source of healing love to my children.”

“I am learning much about myself, family and God. Together we are one formidable force!”

Resilience includes strength in weakness; plodding in the valley; and hope eternal. 

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