Do you assume you’re not resilient too?

My assumption is that I’m not resilient, especially in comparison to others that I know.

If I were coaching me, I would ask if that assumption was true and this is where I get stuck.

I do have evidence that it’s true:

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  • I cried nonstop for 30 hours on a trip from London to Wellington to try and see my Nan before she passed
  • I saw a therapist twice a week for 6 years because I couldn’t cope with life and then had to go back when I was being made redundant because everything felt so hopeless
  • I was stressed out most days for almost 3 years, planning a wedding from the other side of the world, unhappy in my job and buying a house
  • I have low stress tolerance and coping skills according to the EQi2.0 and Hogan psychometrics

So yeah, I’m not a resilient person.

But resilience expert Dr Carole Pemberton has a another point of view. She describes resilience as:

“The ability to remain flexible in our thoughts, feelings and behaviours when faced by a life disruption or extended periods of pressure, so that we emerge from difficulty stronger, wiser and more able.”

It leads me to wonder, do I feel stronger, wiser and more able?

And also maybe resilience is something you don’t feel in the moment, it’s something you have with hindsight. Like, I know a lot of what causes my difficult times is when I’m inflexible. For example:

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  • Going into a meltdown because I couldn’t find a wedding dress for the price I had in my head
  • Or threatening to walk away from a house purchase because the sellers would not come down to meet my price

So when Carole talks about the ability to remain flexible, I get what she means and I’m working on it. There has only been a couple of minor meltdowns in the past few years so maybe it’s working?

It’s true that I don’t feel resilient and it’s also true that I might be developing resilience.

And the evidence I have for that, is during each period of difficulty I would keep telling myself ‘this too shall pass’ and it has. Not to say there won’t be more difficulties in the future, just that I have evidence that they too shall pass.

And then that brings me back to the question, do I feel stronger, wiser and more able?

Yes I think I do.

PS: Next week I’m going to share Dr Carole Pemberton’s resilience recycling technique that helps you use hindsight to grow your resilience.

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