Resilience is like a muscle–the only way to really develop it is to use it. Likewise, the more we exercise resilience, the more resilient we become. So the question is: where do we begin? In the difficult moments of our lives–when we need resilience the most!--we often struggle to discover the resilience within ourselves. While we could spend hours discussing tips and tricks, today we’re going to focus on three simple reminders that can help you peel away some of the internal distractions that often get in the way of your ability to recognize your own resilience.
Let go of the impossible feat of fixing the unfixable, and you’ll discover the resilience you need to face even the unimaginable.
1. Fix It or Face It
There are certain things in life we can fix--but a lot of them we actually can NOT fix. And we waste a lot of time and energy trying to fix those unfixable things--when we really only need to focus on being able to FACE them. When you feel overwhelmed by everything in life you can’t fix, take a step back. Give an honest evaluation of the situation: Could you really fix this? Is it possible? Is it your place? Or is this trial something you simply need to FACE because the “fix” isn’t yours to give?
Removing the expectation of "fixing" everything in our own lives or in the lives of those around us frees up the energy we need to be able to face whatever comes our (their) way. Let go of the impossible feat of fixing the unfixable, and you’ll discover the resilience you need to face even the unimaginable.
2. Living In The “And”
AND is a powerful word, and yet we tend to live in a world full of "OR" thinking. We assume someone is happy OR heartbroken. Strong OR sad. Overwhelmed OR capable. The truth is: real resilience is found living in the AND's of life. I can be devastated that my husband is deceased AND still live a beautiful, forward-thinking life. I can be self-reliant AND willing to ask others for help. I can be strong AND vulnerable, etc.
Just as we need to let go of the false notion that we have to fix everything, so too must we let go of the inclination to force ourselves (or expect others) to choose between emotions in difficult times. Real resilience isn’t found in any of the “OR”s of life; it’s found when we learn to live in the “AND.”
3. The Rookie Principle
No matter how much experience we have in life, we really are all rookies each and every day. No two situations are EXACTLY alike--and so we don't need to beat ourselves up when something is hard or presents a struggle to us--even if it's something we've already struggled with or overcome before. Think about what a genuinely promising rookie does--no matter how good he/she is at the given sport or task, that rookie is willing to be coached. A wise rookie asks for help and seeks out mentors. A wise rookie doesn't beat him/herself up with any self-imposed expectations of immediate perfection or fear of the sometimes-inevitable failure.
Give yourself a break! True resilience is found in letting yourself be the Rookie. Learn to embrace the newness each situation brings, and give yourself time to grow into your own life’s journey. Furthermore-what if we treated everyone ELSE like rookies? (Not in a disrespectful way, of course, but in a way that allows them the room and grace to make mistakes AND improve, to grieve AND to grow.
Jennie Taylor is the wife and Gold Star Widow of Utah Army National Guard Major Brent Taylor, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in November of 2018 while on a leave of absence from his position as Mayor of North Ogden City, Utah.
Major and Mrs. Taylor are the parents of seven children. She is the founder and director of the Major Brent Taylor Foundation, a founding member of Follow the Flag—North Ogden, and an active volunteer in her children’s public schools.
A former secondary educator of history, government and psychology, Mrs. Taylor has a passion for helping today’s youth prepare to become tomorrow’s leaders. She currently serves as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for the State of Utah.