If you look up the definition of Resiliency, this is what you’ll find:
- the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched
- 2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like
I am going to boldly argue with this standard definition because in my opinion, that is only half of what this word encompasses. Resiliency is a very powerful, important characteristic that is much more than “returning to the original form” or the “ability to recover from an illness” etc., because if you have ever been in a situation that requires resilience, than you know there is no returning to the original form or recovering completely as if nothing happened.
Situations that require resilience will forever change you. You will not be the person you were before the event or situation took place.
This is what I know about Resiliency:
- It comes from being BRAVE and sticking it (whatever “it” is) out
- It comes from looking FEAR in the face and KICKING it
- It comes from FEELING that FEAR, embracing it, and still KICKING it in the face
- It comes from LEARNING who you are
- It comes from discovering what you are CAPABLE of
- It comes from NEVER giving up
- It comes from STRENGTH
- It comes from WITHIN yourself, even if it’s buried deep
I have had A LOT of situations happen in my life that have required me to be resilient, as most people have. Since situations that conjure the need for resiliency are quite a common occurrence in everyone’s life, you may be thinking – Than why the hell is she talking about this? What make her the resilience expert?
What does she know that I don’t?
My response to that…is nothing.
I BELIEVE that every single person is born with the ability to be resilient, to look that difficult, heart-wrenching situation in the face and say I’VE GOT THIS. I CAN DO THIS.
So again, what do I know that you don’t know? Nothing…but I do believe that resiliency is a choice and you can choose to harness that resiliency from within or you can choose to break down, to bury that power inside you and never let it free.
It’s a mindset. It’s a choice. It’s a decision.
Some people seem to be born with the innate ability to harness that resilient power and flourish. I am NOT one of those people.
That’s right…I wasn’t born with that innate ability… BUT… I, just like YOU, was born with it inside me. I just had to LEARN how to use it.
I had to WORK at it. HARD. And of course, I’m not perfect. I still struggle. BUT I am proud of how far I’ve come.
I am a military wife. We have to be resilient! (It’s in the job description!) We have to be independent! We have to be strong and brave. I was none of those things ten years ago. I had all of those things in me, I just hadn’t found the key to unlock it yet.
Now, after everything I’ve been through, I can surely say I am ALL of those things!
There have been MANY things military and non-military related in my life that have required resilience and I struggled and clawed my way through them, not having the coping skills or the knowledge I have now.
Let me give you an example:
In 2008, 2 weeks after I married my husband, after I had just moved in with him, to this new town and this new apartment, he left to go to training for 2 weeks.
I didn’t know anyone.
I didn’t know where anything was in the town.
All I had for company was my little white fluffy dog.
I didn’t have a job. (I had just graduated from my Master’s program)
I didn’t have anything to do.
After he kissed me and closed the apartment door behind him, I fell down on my knees. And I cried. I cried because I was alone. I cried because I didn’t know what to do with myself and I cried because I had never truly been on my own before.
Talking about that now, it kind of seems ridiculous to me. What was I so upset about? It was only 2 weeks! He was just in training! He wasn’t in a combat zone or in any danger!
Fast forward to…
My husband recently left for a 3 week trip to Japan. He kissed me and the kids goodbye. He closed the door behind him and I turned around, smiled at my two babies, and said “Who wants to have some fun?”
Do I still miss him when he’s gone? Of course! Is it hard when he’s gone? Of course!
BUT I have learned that I will be OKAY. That my kids and I will be OKAY. I have learned that I CAN do it on my own – that I am strong, independent, brave and capable! I can take care of myself and the kids while he’s gone. I can go to work, cook healthy meals and continue to exercise and socialize.
We have been through 3 deployments. My parents got divorced during our first deployment. I have raised my daughter on my own for 8 months straight while my husband was in a combat zone. I had my son (with no drugs by the way – not by choice) while my husband was away at training. I have traveled with the kids, by myself, to Texas, to California, to the Dominican Republic.
I have learned how to enjoy myself, how to like myself and how to be on my own. I have learned that I don’t need to fall on my knees and cry every time it gets hard -although sometimes, I will admit, I do. But the difference is I get up and carry on whereas before I just stayed down. I have learned that I have the tools and strength within me to be the person I want to be, to do the things I want to do and to live the life I want to live.
That, my friends out there in cyberspace, is RESILIENCE.
I LOVE that you are reading my blog but I would love it even MORE if you would share this link on all of your personal, social media pages! AND I would LOVE it if you would comment below and tell me about a difficult situation you’ve encountered and how you handled it!
Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings Paperback –by Kenneth R. Ginsburg MD
Developing Resilience: A Cognitive-Behavioural Approach by Michael Neenan