I have been thinking a lot about resilience lately. Mostly because I haven’t been feeling very resilient. It was far from the worst thing that I’ve ever had to deal with, but ever since my car was crunched by a garbage truck at the start of the year, I’ve had a hard time bouncing back. It just felt like one wrong thing too many after a string of strikes and failures. For the past few months, I have felt more bitter, more negative about everything. It’s not who I am and I don’t like it. I want to be more resilient.
So, I’ve been doing some research into resilience, the hows and whys, and trying to come up with some sort of action plan for feeling better – bouncier. I’m still working on that, but in my digging, I came across this fascinating video from The Stockholm Resilience Center (yes! there’s actually a center devoted to researching resilience – fascinating!). The video gives the best explanation of Resilience that I’ve come across.
What I found really profound, however, is this statement from Brian Walker near the end of the video:
The way you maintain the resilience of a system is by allowing it to probe its boundaries. If you never burn a forest, the species in that forest that are capable of putting out fire eventually are out competed and disappear. The only way to make a forest resilient to fire is to burn it.
So often when I have conversations with people about being a single parent of four kids, or they find out about how my husband left me pregnant and on bed rest, they’ll say something like: “I have no idea how you do it. I could never do that.” And I guess that’s why this statement struck me as so relevant. I couldn’t do it either, until I had to. I am becoming more resilient not in spite of the fire, but because of it.