Finding time to recover, whether from an illness or a life event that has thrown you off track is key to your resilience.
And what is resilience?
Well, the definition, according to Merriam-Webster (on-line version) is:
1: the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
I also found the Wikipedia definition of Psychological resilience interesting, and in particular this passage:
In all these instances, resilience is best understood as a process. It is often mistakenly assumed to be a trait of the individual, an idea more typically referred to as “resiliency”.
It is especially important to remember that resilience is a process not a character trait! Indeed, the last thing you need when going through a tough time is to feel that you are somehow flawed because you are not bouncing back fast enough!
What you DO need to enhance your resilience and recovery are these 3 Keys:
- Acceptance: Start right where you are. Accepting reality is your first step in beginning to bounce back. Until you reach that point of acceptance, you will be at odds with yourself.
- Compassion: This relates directly to the ‘process’ part of your resilience. If you are greeting yourself with empathy and an open heart, you are much more likely to find your way through. Walking your path with compassion will ease AND speed your recovery process. That’s because compassion allows you to find the right pace for you. Without compassion you are likely to try to move too quickly – and your process will come to a halt.
- Gratitude: Whatever comes your way, a grateful heart produces a transformative alchemy every time. As you move through your difficulties, thank yourself for each and every step. This energizes you and reinforces your efforts. As George Colman, the 18th century English dramatist beautifully said: “Praise the bridge that carried you over.”
Bonus Fact: One of the things about our human resilience that I find most wonderful is that we don’t simply ‘bounce back’ to the same shape that we had before. We are changed by the process and come out of it with new insights and a deepened sense of self. Not only do we survive … we thrive!
© Copyright 2012 Paula Eder, Ph.D.