The last few years have proved, for many of us, our most painful experience of needing to find and exercise real meaningful resilience in our lives.
The threat of job loss perhaps, or a restriction on promotions, or perhaps pay increments; finding new engaging employment; redefining the product or services we supply. The list of things can feel fairly endless.
Additionally, many of us have been touched by the need to reach beyond the ordinary and become resilient as we face just the normal trials of life.
But how do we reach resilience and recognise it as a skill and not just us sticking stubbornly to the same behaviour hoping for better results? How do we manage to get up and try again after we fall or fail?
There is some truth that much of our ability to get up again is due to our personality but it does not mean that we cannot learn to be more resilient even if it is not naturally in our character.
Exercises in psychology show that when we are knocked back, we often start to believe that we will not succeed in other areas of life. Then we are more likely to withdraw from trying other things as we start to expect the worst in other areas.
Logic, when we can call on it, says that just because one aspect of life is particularly challenging or disappointing, does not dictate that this will become our universal truth. But sadly the neanderthal in all of us reaches out and makes us feel more fearful than we ever need be. It is accepted that the fear of adversity is often more distressing than the challenging events themselves.
There is a concept called adversity growth. The belief that it is in these times of adversity that we have the potential and reach greater happiness that was previously available to us. Along the same lines, I suppose, as the Nietzsche principle that whatever does not kill you makes you stronger.
I have always despised that statement on the basis I have no desire to go through adversity in order to get tough enough to cope with it!
However, recent studies are proving that although adversity can make you stronger as Nietzsche suggested it also make you happier!
Understanding that we do usually come out of these bleak times allows us then to reflect back on how much we learnt, how we still managed to find small enjoyments and how it forced us to look for alternative answers and avenues to success.
Now more than ever we need to understand that perhaps things will not come so easily but they will be all the more cherished for the determination you showed to get them.
Often we can feel anxious that we will not measure up, that we will not be recognised for the value we bring, and so step away from the challenge and try to look for an easier route to success. However, in darker times when we have no other option but accept that we must make things work; when there is no choice of giving up, we are often rewarded by reaching far beyond our anticipated goals.
A deep breath and screwing of courage achieves amazing results more often than not.
Sending off that application, picking up the telephone, facing that tricky conversation suddenly starts to reap rewards and we feel brave enough to step forward again.
If we understand that when faced with adversity we have choices – we can accept this as a negative and buckle complaining or alternatively look for how to look how we might benefit and how we must get up and try another approach.
Consider times in your life where things have looked bleak but that with hindsight you can reflect how much you’ve learnt, how pleased you are with how you withstood the problem and how often life seemed even richer after the event.
Your level of resilience to cope with life will have grown considerably and you may a good deal happier and more confident than ever before.
If you need some help to see the light – well, just call.