I found this little nugget whilst gutting closets the other day. At some point in my life, I thought it meant I was resilient. Come to learn, it merely means I like keeping sweat off my face with food-related mantras (more posts on that later).
What is resilience anyway?
Is it the stiff upper lip?
Is it puppy dogs and unicorns?
Is it "walking on sunshine" on the outside when everything on the inside is a discombobulated pile of mysterious crap?
Is it some tough guy/girl arrogance with an impervious facade?
I'm not sure anymore.
Let's circle back to resilience. Life happens. Curveballs happen. Bitchslaps - sledgehammer style - happen.
The funny wondering I have is, we try so hard to "teach" our children resilience. Parents, teachers, grands, extended family members, community leaders, clergy, coaches. You name it. We're here for our kids. The world's not fair. We need to teach them how to be tougher, right? It's only recently dawned on me how futile this noble endeavor is.
Who would want their kids experiencing abuse issues, be it substance, verbal, physical, sexual, or [insert abuse malady here]? Who would want their kids dealing with absentee or neglectful parents? Who would place them in harm's way to satisfy their own ambitions and/or egos? Who would ever think it's okay to let our kids experience cyberbullying, or playground bullying, or any other form of bullying? No one I can think of anyway. Funny thing is, is that in order to be resilient, we must experience some pretty harsh junk. We can't learn it or be taught it...until we're dead center in the middle of a life smackdown. The same goes for our kids. What can we do? Simply and sadly, all we can do is share our experiences and model resilience.
Resilience comes from, and only from, experience. As people who want the best for the next generation, we spend our lifetimes devoted to ensuring our kids DON'T experience some of the struggles we did growing up. What does that do? How on Earth does that prepare them for dealing with authentic, real life struggle? We can't possibly take into account, or pre plan, for what next generations will encounter. How can we ever plan for the tragic death of a loved one? How can we possibly prepare for an obscure, life-threatening illness? Miscarriage? Divorce? The texting driver swerving over the centerline into oncoming traffic? The bigotry and blatant racism we've all somehow gotten sucked into recently? How can we possibly be ready for any of this? Thing is, these things happen every day...and how we encounter and react to them varies with each one of us...some more destructive, or productive, than others.
I believe it was Oprah Winfrey who said, "Where there is no struggle, there is no strength." While none of us put out a welcome
mat inviting struggle into our lives, it shows up and crashes our perfectly planned life party. And let's be honest, when most of us wail, "The struggle is real," it's really first world problems we're dealing with. Yep. Guilty, as charged.
I've been reflecting (i.e. wondering) a great deal about all of this over the year we're calling "The Reset Year." Suddenly, all the "struggles" I thought I had disappeared. I stopped obsessing over them. I stopped lamenting about them. They faded to black to the point where I don't even remember what my big, hairy, greasy "struggles" were in the first place.
Resilience jumps at the chance to say, "Alrighty then. This is where we are. So what? Now what?"
Resilience makes you curious for solutions, for answers, for relief.
Resilience helps you smile when you need to and allows you to cry when you have to. Resilience is pinpoint clarity about all things important. (And the crap that isn't.)
Resilience drops all the other stuff off the highest rooftop you can find and watches it go *SPLAT* on the pavement below.
Resilience is dirty. It's messy. It doesn't come in neat, colorful packaging. It's ugly. It's truth. It's liberating.
Resilience, or the best definition I can come up with for it, is accepting things over which we have zero, zilch, nada control and taking a painful yet necessary look in the mirror and screaming at the top of our lungs, "Suck it up, Cupcake!"...
...so, hang in there, smile (or not) and get back to this beautiful thing called living. 😁😁