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.
I think that’s 100% true. You never think you can do something incredibly difficult.. until you have to. I have a list a mile long – a 3000 mile long distance relationship, moving continents twice, infertility treatments.. those are the big ones on the list, but there are plenty of others.
My grandpa used to tell me, “Nothing worth having ever came easy,” and I try to remind myself of that when things get really hard. I have found it to be true on many occasions. My husband, my kids, the life we have.. none of it came easy, but it is OH so worth having.
Keep strong, friend!
I completely agree!! Only by testing out limits, can we be stretched and become more “bouncy”. Going through difficulty really does make us stronger and less likely to run when things get hard. I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. Know that I love you!
Being able to look back and see where we were helps us see how far we’ve come and how strong we were and are. How powerful that clip is in showing us so much about ourselves not just about forests.
This got me really thinking. I have had many times in my life where I have had people say that they could not do what I do. I feel like those were things I might have at point said I could not do too, but here we are!
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13