A Recipe for Resilience

Lindy Luchowski, Gamma Zeta, Northern Illinois University
Lindy Luchowski, Gamma Zeta, Northern Illinois University

With the end of the semester just out of reach for most of us, we all know how hard it can be to power through strong when you’re just feeling burnt out. The idea of “giving up” isn’t anyone’s ideal situation, but after we have been beaten and worn down from a long semester of hard work, it actually starts to not sound that bad. The most common phrases I hear from people around this time include, “I’m done.” “I don’t even care anymore.” “I can’t do this anymore.” “I’m not even enjoying what I’m doing anymore.” So I started looking into the idea of resiliency. Resiliency is a skill that takes years and years to perfect and it is often forgotten, but in my opinion, it is 100% the most important skill we can have. For those of you who don’t know what resiliency is exactly, my explanation is it is your ability to bounce back strong from difficult situations. It is your ability to pick yourself back up after you’ve been hurt, discouraged or knocked down and keep going.

 

It’s no secret that life is tough for everyone in its own ways. Have you ever heard that expression, “Life is tough, get a helmet?” Well resiliency is like your own personal built in helmet to protect your head, heart and spirit from the times that life full-on superman tackles you to the ground. You would never go play tackle football without a helmet on, and the same goes for trying to get through life without resiliency.

 

I thought about the most resilient people in my life and what they all have in common. It wasn’t much, some were old men, and some were young college women. Some came from very well off and wealthy families and others came from next to nothing. Some were outstanding shining stars in life that everyone admires and others were people who have only a very small circle of close friends. However, after thinking long and hard, I came up with 10 things that all of the resilient people do to be successful in their life.

 

  1. They begin with the end in mind. These people set goals for themselves. Even if they don’t know HOW they are going to get there quite yet, they set a finish line for themselves and don’t stop until they get there. They are “big picture” thinkers. If something happens, they look at the situation with the question “How much does this actually affect my ability to get to the finish line?” Often times, in the big picture setting, many situations seem like a big deal in the moment but if you step back and look at the grand scheme of things, they are only tiny speed bumps in the road.
  2. They stand up for themselves. These people know the importance of maturely expressing to others when they feel they are being mistreated. They have self-worth and know that they are important enough and deserve to be treated with respect. In turn, these people treat others with the same respect they wish to be given. They don’t let people push them around or lower their self-esteem. They see everyone as equals and deserving of happiness and compassion, including themselves.
  3. They know how to recharge. Whether they recharge alone or with other people, they know what they need to do to avoid hitting that “low battery” feeling on a daily basis. They do not wait for all of the pressures in their lives to build up and break them. They recharge in small amounts every day to elongate their battery life. They know how important taking time to make yourself feel good is and how it pays off in the long run.
  4. They are grateful. Instead of seeing what they are missing or what else they want in life that they don’t have, they only see how incredibly lucky they are in the present time. They make themselves feel rich and fulfilled every single day by focusing on all the things that ARE going right in their life. They don’t think about what they need to get to be happy like many people do. Many people think “If I could just make more money I would be happy,” “If i just had that cute dress I would be happy,” “If I had a relationship like that other person has, then I would be happy.” Instead, they make themselves feel rich by what is already in their lives. These people count their blessings and are happy with whatever number that is without comparing it to anyone else’s blessings.
  5. They accept that the world isn’t fair and don’t expect it to be. These people don’t keep score. Life isn’t about who has the most points on the scoreboard, it’s about the experiences you had that got you there. They don’t expect anything out of life and don’t feel like the world owes them anything. They work hard for what they attract into their lives.
  6. They focus on what they can control. There are A LOT of things in life to worry about. However, these people can look at a worry they have and immediately decide if it is something they can change or not. If this factor is uncontrollable, they don’t waste any of their energy worrying about it and instead channel their energy to putting a plan of action together for what they can control.
  7. They are their own number one fan. They are their own cheerleader. They don’t expect anyone else to hold them up, they can do it on their own. They constantly praise themselves and give themselves pats on the back when they feel they have earned it. So often people are waiting for someone else to tell them, “you did a great job,” or “you’re a rock star” and when they don’t hear those words of affirmation, they feel depressed or like they are not doing a good job. People with resiliency say “I’m not going to wait for someone to tell me I did a good job, I’m going to tell myself.” However, this does not mean they don’t know when they have room and opportunity for growth, they are just happy and confident in themselves. They do not care what other people think of them as long as they are content with the person they are. You’re never going to make everyone happy so you might as well just make yourself happy.
  8. They don’t HAVE emotions, they CHOOSE emotions. Instead of saying, “I feel frustrated today,” or “I’m so angry today” they say “I am choosing to be frustrated over this situation” or “I am choosing to be angry about this.” They are in control of their emotions, their emotions don’t control them. This doesn’t mean they don’t let themselves have a good, long cry every once in a while though! They just think about why they are feeling a certain way and what they can do to feel the way they want to be feeling instead.
  9. They are 50 shades of grey thinkers. No, not related to the book series. These people refuse to think in just black and white. They don’t see only two solutions to every problem. They get creative when problem solving and utilize communication and compromise to find the best way out of a situation. They think outside of the box and are not afraid to try something new.
  10. They know “The Secret” and how to use it. Now this may frustrate you, but I am not going to just tell you what the secret is. It’s WAY too good to just tell you. You have to look for it and find your own understanding of it. If you have no idea what this “secret” is, go do some research. On Netflix. #firstworldprobs. Go to Netflix, type in “the secret” and watch that documentary. There is also a book if you prefer to read. This secret is not something that can just be told but once you understand it, it will change your life. I was first introduced to “the secret” when I was in 7th grade and over the years have definitely come to have my own understanding of it. For me, the secret is the power of positive thinking. Find your own secret.

Building resilience takes time, effort and patience. My favorite part about resiliency though is that it looks different for everyone. You can’t just give someone a magic formula that if they follow these steps they will be resilient. It’s a trial and error process that you don’t have to go at alone. Ask other people how they deal with problems and recharge. Ask other people for help and advice. Once you find your recipe for resilience, nothing can stop you from living the life YOU choose for yourself.

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