Trusting Resilience

I have no interest in sky-diving. My internal free-falls are enough excitement for many lifetimes. I collapsed at the news that my cat had to be put to sleep about 20 years ago. I’d known the grief of losing people and pets prior to that point in my life, but never had I completely lost all strength in my body then fall limply to the floor. I guess the time in 4th grade when I was de-throned king of the mountain was similar. I hit the ground hard, and stood back up only to pass right out. I awoke to a circle of kids and a teacher surrounding me. Falls are part of life.

I don’t even like heights due to my fear of falling. I am fine at the top of the space needle until I get too close to the windows. Then I have this irrational fear that a vacuum will suck me right out of the window. Fear is part of life.

I collapsed at the news of my sister’s death in 2005. I still remember Officer Nate teaching me to breath as my sweet husband caught me before I hit the floor. My memory of it feels like Officer Nate was somehow literally describing the steps of inhaling and exhaling, but that probably isn’t totally accurate. I just remember the act of breathing feeling impossible and his voice. Loss is part of life.

Covid-19 feels like a societal free-fall. I’m an eternal optimist and know good will come of this. There are gifts in everything. Falls, losses, grief, and life’s difficulties build trust in our resilience. We don’t always trust our own resilience. Covid-19 is giving us personalized experiences to help us trust in our resilience. Apparently this pandemic is now just part of life.

As I write this, someone I love is in the hospital. It is not Covid-19. The doctors are not sure what precipitated an extreme health decline. My own levels of fear, worry, sorrow, confusion, and exhaustion would break me if I had not had all of my prior opportunities in life to trust my resilience. Tragedy and trauma are a part of life.

Where does resilience come from? How do we grow it? Mental health professionals and school personnel talk about resilience a lot these days. There is a whole jargon for it. You can attend conferences, read books and check out webinars on the topic of resilience. But, resilience in my opinion is a given. You don’t get it, earn it, or grow it. You have it. You are it. You just may not trust it. You only grow your trust in resilience through practice, lots and lots of practice. When the level of trauma is too much for the level of trust you have in your own resilience, you lose trust. When you trust your resilience, the trust grows. Resilience is a part of life. Trust it.

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2 Replies to “Trusting Resilience”

  1. Marguerite Bryant says:

    I love this: “resilience in my opinion is a given. You don’t get it, earn it, or grow it. You have it. You are it. You just may not trust it.”
    I never thought of resilience as a given, but you are so right! If we’ve made it this far in life, then we have certainly been through something that brought us low. If not for resilience, we would not have made it through. But we did! AND WE WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THIS, TOO!
    Thank you for this uplifting perspective!

    1. stephanie says:

      Thank you for sharing in the uplifting nature of our resilience! As you say, “We will make it through this, too.”


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