When I introduced resilience as a group topic recently, women in the group responded with some personal stories and a lot of head nodding and “mm-hmm”s of agreement. Most of them had never heard the word “resilient” and couldn’t define it but recognized how they’d been resilient in their lives. They were excited to have a word to describe their life experiences of survival and perseverance.
I define resilience as the ability to bounce back from a setback, challenge or difficulty. A resilient person finds a way to keep going in the face of what seems impossible.
In my discussions of resilience, I acknowledge how much we have already overcome and survived to get to where we are now. Physical or emotional abuse, bullying, domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, disappointments, illness, poverty, harassment … Life can be a struggle for many. Honoring our strength to get through it shifts the focus to what we have done instead of what we have failed to do.
“I really needed this,” Monica confessed at the conclusion of the group. “This came at exactly the right time for me. Resilience is pretty much the whole theme of my life.”
Monica left empowered to learn that she already had skills to change her life. She just needed someone to believe that she could, to give her courage to believe in herself. She needed someone to name her Resilient.