“It is only when we get kicked down that we see what we are made of. It is easy to be positive when everything is going well, but the heart of all great endeavours is the ability to stagger back to our feet and keep moving forward, however grim it gets”. ~ Bear Grylls
This is one of the most difficult and yet necessary skills to learn and master. Resilience is defined as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. It is through moments of adversity that our resilience is tested and gets developed. Without adversity, there is not room for resilience. The great news is that we all have the innate ability to rise up from challenges; the question is how deep within are you digging to reach this strength to overcome the difficult times.
My resilience was put to the test during the long illness and ultimate passing of both my parents. This period lasted for exactly two years. It was the most difficult time for my family and I. There were moments where I felt that I was going to break but my siblings and I stuck together and fed each other with strength in those weak moments. During this time I had to tap to the higher power, in addition to the support from my siblings, relatives and friends. I had to see the light and silver lining amidst the dark cloud that was hanging on our lives. I had to have courage to carry on with life when the two people who had always been there for me, carried me, fed me, sacrificed for me, loved me, cared for me and would deny themselves so that I can have, could no longer physically do that for me and my siblings. I had to trust that I can be able to do all these things myself, without them. I had to cut all dependence from them and tap into my inner strength. I had to stand firmly on my feet and keep moving forward. In hindsight, going through this hardship was necessary for me to do that which I was born to do. I had to endure the pain, to learn how to let go of the people that I mostly treasured and to also trust the process. The irony is that as I’m writing this, I’m going through another phase of adversity in my life; a different kind of adversity. I’m reminded of this past experience and only hope that this is yet another opportunity for elevation.
Resilient people are often admired by others. People would ask questions such as, how does she/he do it? How do they manage to keep on bouncing back? Well, I’m here to tell you that it can’t happen without going through the difficult, uncomfortable process and being stretched. It is their ability to endure the process that makes people resilient. They don’t let adversity define them nor define their destiny and they have scars to show their experiences. They don’t allow the difficulties to paralyse them. Instead, they use it as an opportunity to re-evaluate themselves and seek growth opportunities.
How can you use your scars in a positive light? How can you turn those storms into rainbows? I believe that the storms happen for a reason. Don’t let those experiences go to waste. Don’t just survive adversity and go through it in vain but transform and triumph through it. Granted, the process is not easy and it is not fun at all. But the key to this transformation is persevering. Having tenacity during the difficult time will bring meaning to the experience and in the process you will have a sense of accomplishment. You need to commit to making an effort and to take small steps, as long as you are moving forward.
Thato’s nuggets on building resilience:
- Actively remind yourself of the strength you have and continuously harness this inner strength
- See the effects of adversities as temporary rather than permanent
- Build the spirit of gratitude; every day, find things to be grateful for
- Always have positive thoughts and images of the future; let this push you to do more
- Completely get rid of the victim mentality!
“It is through adversity that our resilience is tested, that we get renewed, that we grow and that we get prepared for the next phase in our lives. Adversity is necessary and cannot be avoided”. ~ Thato Dineo Belang