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What Is Resilience? Hint: It’s not just “bouncing back”


We’ve collectively been having an unprecedented year, with challenges thrown at us like never before. Barely does one situation end when another arises. With stuff coming at us so fast, being resilient has never been more critical.

But what is resilience? We think it is more than its dictionary definition “to recover size and shape after deformation caused by stress; to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change,” or its colloquial equivalents, “being elastic,” or “bouncing back.”

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”

Being resilient doesn’t merely mean riding out tough times. It also means doing so with a positive outlook and a laugh, learning things along the way, and being a more robust, better person coming out of the tunnel than you were when you entered it.

In seemingly never-ending tough situations, it is okay to take a break or rest if you need to recharge your depleted energy reserves. But then you must charge forward on full power once you’ve regenerated them. That’s what’s resilience is: pushing forward, onward, and upward into the unknown, believing in your ability to climb out on the other side.

Here are five ways to grow as an individual and be genuinely resilient no matter what life throws at you:

1. Opportunities are still around. Actively look for them.

Never be so bogged down by the negativity around that you lose the ability to be curious and attentive to the world around you. Something just might pop. It might be a chance to try something that you’ve always wanted to, or something brand new that just captures your imagination and puts you on an upbeat track. Being open and receptive is the key.

2. Declutter:

Declutter your home, your head, and your life to welcome new energy and breathe the proverbial breath of fresh air. It really works! You can always take the stuff you don’t need around to a charity. But if you can, take the extra effort to remember specific people around you who will get joy and good use out of the items you no longer need for yourself. As they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Offer your books to a neighbourhood collector of old suspense novels. Consider getting rid of all of the household stuff you don’t need, and resell clothing and accessories.

3. Cherish your family time

Give thanks for those who are in your care at this time, and know that this is an incredible opportunity to bring the family closer. Resolve issues and make a fresh start. Since this is the first pandemic in a tech-driven era, we are not as cut off from friends and relatives as we might have been a hundred years ago. Share laughs through memes and everyday situations to lighten the mood. Teach children values and life skills. This might just turn out to be the most resilient, socially aware, and self-reliant generation in recent times.

4. Be there for employees and coworkers

Let your people know that you have their back, even though you may not be in the same workspace anymore. Share within limits, but let them know that you, too, are only human, but you are trying your best for them. Likewise, this is a unique time where we all have the opportunity to rise above when we can, and a listening ear is all that people need to feel better. However, do ensure that you protect your energies first as one can never pour too long from an empty cup.

5. Remember your victories

Sometimes we simply forget that we can meet new challenges with the same grit that we met old challenges, in the past. All it takes is to remember the person you were back when life threw you for some random loop, and how you handled it.

“If you're going through hell, keep going.”

If possible, maintain a journal of all the times you were successful and reference it as often as possible. Catch the mental movies you play to yourself and give them a positive spin!

Most importantly, don’t forget to be vulnerable. If all you need is a good cry and a sign, so be it. Do not set out to accomplish wonders during this time, because your only job right now is to look after yourself and be in tune with your needs.

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