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Resilience and How To Build It

By Tracy Kopp, Fearless Leader

Resilience is an absolute baseline for humans who want to grow.

When we talk about resilience, what we’re actually talking about is a learned capacity to get up, dust ourselves off, stick a Band-Aid on our bruised, frail human bit, and ‘keep on truckin’.

This DOESN’T mean we ignore our feelings and press on. It means we open a gentle inquiry within ourselves to explore what we feel and the energy behind the feelings. The goal is to deepen our understanding of ourselves and our responses. By understanding ourselves better we may hold our hurt part with greater presence and care.

The opposite of resilience is collapse. What this looks like in real time is a combination of these things:

    • Playing the victim
    • ‘Poor me’ stories on repeat
    • Blaming others
    • Not taking responsibility
    • Playing it safe and never taking any risks
    • Staying stuck in familiar territory

Humans are shifty, too, and we often trick ourselves. We may notice that we are stuck, or that our stories are making us miserable, but without resilience, it’s easy to convince ourselves that it really is someone else’s fault, or that we really can’t do it.

If you’re on a growth path, all of the personal development seminars, workshops, coaches and trainings are a total waste of your energy and money unless you’re first willing to build your resilience muscle.

Resilience is your baseline.

Nothing happens without it.

That’s because all of the mindset and energetics work that has to be done in order to align yourself with your purpose and all the magic of the cosmos takes effort and repetition.

If you don’t have a strong resilience muscle, forget it.

Thankfully, there are a few simple practices we can do to build our resilience.

    1. Stop saying ‘sorry’

Take ownership for your words and your choices. If you are impacting someone else, that’s okay. You’re meant to take up space. You are a living breathing organism, just like trees and other animals. Your being is supposed to imprint the world around you.

Trees do not say sorry to the soil they displace as their roots grow deeper.

If you truly feel that someone else has been impacted by your behaviour, consider first whether you can say ‘thank you’ as a way of recognising them?

‘Thank you‘ is gracious to the self and the other. ‘Thank you’ is positive and uplifting, it is sweetness for the soul.

‘Sorry’, on the other hand, is denial of the rightness of everything that is. When we use it against ourselves, or to minimise our desires, we are telling The Cosmos that we don’t believe we are deserving.

My advice? Fake it til you make it.

Never before has this phrase been so useful. Whoever came up with it was not kidding.

At first, you may feel yourself shrinking when instead of saying sorry, you keep silent or you say ‘Thank you’. You may feel like the other person is thinking you are a jerk.

This is the moment to fake it till you make it.

You are not a jerk, and if someone else is thinking that then it’s likely they have some internal work to do. You keep on your path. You hold the line that you are grateful for what comes your way. You remind yourself that you are as deserving as the next person and you remember your divinity, even if you don’t feel it yet.

It will come. Remember and repeat.

    1. Stop using ‘always’ and ‘never’ as descriptors

There is very little (if anything) in the whole damn Universe that IS universal. Not much ALWAYS happens, and NEVER is pretty unlikely, too.

When we use sweeping generalisations like this, we are reinforcing some bad habits that do not serve us.

Generalising is a way of manipulating the truth. It allows us to lazily slip into stories that comfort our hurts and forgive our righteousness.

“Suzie NEVER cleans up after herself!” you may exclaim, exasperated by Suzie’s giant pile of washing up for the fourth time this week. Sure, Suzie’s acted selfishly on this occasion. But it serves neither you nor Suzie to speak about her actions so generally.

By reinforcing a story about what Suzie ALWAYS does in your head, you project onto Suzie a quality of hopelessness, of someone who cannot change and never will, of someone not to even be bothered with. If Suzie is a person who’s important to you, is it not better to recognise in her that she often does the sh*t thing, but once or twice you’ve noticed her do the thing that helps you? That perhaps a conversation might be useful? By teasing out the truth in what’s going on, you get to determine how to move forward based on reality and not on a false concept.

When we speak about people or situations in this way we give ourselves a false sense of hopelessness or righteousness.

If I believe I’m ALWAYS being forgotten by my friends and I tell this story on repeat, I’ll continue only looking for evidence that I’m being forgotten.

This is called a ‘confirmation bias’, and means that we only see what we’re looking for.

Make extra effort in your life to untangle the threads of what’s happening, and attribute things to ‘sometimes’ and ‘often’ and ‘rarely’ piles instead of using ‘always’ and ‘never’. Making this tiny, consistent commitment to shifting your awareness will open up a huge amount of space for your stories to change their shape.

Be committed, always, to truth over comfort.

    1. Forgive yourself

Oh, beloved, human, I know.

I’ve cried these tears, too. Freakin’ rivers of ‘em.

You cannot change it and there’s nothing to be done.

You did it this way for so long because nobody showed you how to do it differently. And you made such a mess. But that was then. I know it’s challenging to expand yourself. It can be hard to find, then remember a new way. But you can do it.

The first step, dear one, is to quietly forgive YOU.

When you feel the pang of shame, here’s what to do:

    • Close your eyes, even for a brief moment
    • Bow your head a little in reverence of that past, unknowing version of YOU, who did the best they could with what they had
    • Take a breath in, then, LET IT GO. It is done.
    • Open your eyes, raise your head. Accept the new version of you who knows better
    • Move forward from this moment

Forgiving yourself is a practice. This means you don’t simply do it once and it’s finished. You get to keep forgiving yourself over and over and over. You forgive yourself a thousand times until it is done.

Do it gently, in your head, EVERY time Present You feels shame or guilt or sadness or anger for Past You.

If it feels authentic, you can do it out loud, too. As you strengthen your ‘Forgiving Yourself’ muscle, you might like to talk with someone important in your life about how you’re making a practice of self-forgiveness. This offers a different lens through which to consider what part of yourself is being acknowledged and why this is important. And… teaching someone else about a thing is a sure-fire way to really anchor your own understanding.