Do you ever look at your friends or family and think, “How did I get so lucky to have you in my life?” I don’t know how I would survive without my family and friends. The most overwhelming and daunting aspect of moving to New York was feeling like I was moving away from a huge chunk of my support system. Even with the accessibility of face time, Skype, text messaging, email, and phone calls it’s not the same as being able to be with someone in person. When I moved to New York I was immediately welcomed with open arms by our Fairy Godparents Deb and Larry, best friends of my Aunt Becky and Uncle David. Deb and Larry are my security net here in New York.
Deb is one of those special people who is not only incredibly intelligent, successful, and self-made but really and truly cares about your well being. She is one of the most resilient women I know and gives invaluable and insightful career and life advice. Debs experienced loss like we have so talking to her about grief or the frustrating gray areas that accompany it is invaluable. Deb recently shared this article titled “The 5 Characteristics of Incredibly Resilient People” by Smita Malhotra, M.D.and I wanted to share it with all of you.
What is resilience and why should you care? Resilience is "the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness." Unfortunately we all have to deal with loss, setbacks, trauma, hardships, and changes both big and small. It could be losing a loved one, losing a house, going through a divorce, or having a fight with a loved one, being unhappy at work, or having your children go off to college. There are many different degrees and unless you take steps towards becoming a resilient they can overwhelm and consume you. Life’s hard and this article is a must read because it’s a reminder that no one is born resilient, resilience is attained by taking proactive steps.
The article lists the five characteristics of resilient people,
“1) They practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to your life on purpose. Mindful people monitor the thoughts that come through them. However, instead of reacting to their negative thoughts, they observe them like a storm that is passing through. Furthermore, they pay attention to what is right in their lives.”
Sounds impossible, you receive tragic news and you are somehow able to find a way to focus on what is right in your life. Yes it’s trying to see the glass half full when you want to throw the glass against the wall. But it isn’t immediate, resilience is being able to take a second to sit and breathe. Sometimes you don’t know what to do or all you want to do is sit and cry. But it’s imperative to know that taking a second to cry can be a step forward. Letting the moment happen and being able to get up and keep going when it passes. And most importantly, knowing that tomorrow will come. Then tomorrow will come, and then tomorrow will come. It may not feel like it and you may not want it to come but you will be able to see clarity through the storm.
“2) They don't compare themselves to others”
You can’t compare yourself and your hardships to somebody else's. The grass is always going to greener, always. You can’t “spend [your] time feeling sorry for [yourself].” Comparing will get you nowhere. You know what I think? I think sometimes people get dealt shittier hands than others. It doesn’t make sense, it’s not fair, but it is what it is. We all have endless amounts of joy available to us despite our hardships. Resilience is a result of “continually trying to be the new and improved version of [yourself.] And as long as [you] are better than [you] were yesterday, [you] know [you] are on the right path.” Find your loved ones and the things you are passionate about and let them keep you afloat.
“3) They understand that after every big setback is an even bigger transformation”
When you are in the thick of it, this is extremely difficult to comprehend. You have to have the drive to fight but you also need to understand and believe that “difficulties [are] stepping stones to a transformation.”
“4) They find humor in everything”
“Laughter, in its very highest form, is a spiritual practice. It connects us to the part of our soul that heals… Resilient people look for reasons to laugh. They find humor in the mundane. They understand that paying attention to the ordinary is what makes life extraordinary.” All you can do is laugh. Let yourself laugh. Please god, don’t stop laughing.
“5) They do not try to control their lives”
“People that have overcome hardships, tremendous obstacles or disease often feel that life goes from black and white in the before to many beautiful colors in the after. The have turned up the volume of beauty in their lives.”
This is a hard one. I personally love to try to control my life. I think I am really good at relinquishing control, but I’m not. You have 0 control of the things that happen in your life. None. Live for spontaneity. See adversity as a challenge and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Deb added two more characteristics that I wanted to share with you all.
“6. Resilient people look their situations "clear in the eye" and move toward the pain, not around it, learning everything they can (the good and the bad) about what they are experiencing. They know that by moving into the pain it becomes less powerful.
“7.) Resilient people do not make their life story about their challenges; their story becomes how they impact others in spite of losses.”
I can’t tell you how true these are. You can’t survive if you don’t step into the discomfort and then share with others. Resilience is something every single one of us should work towards. And if you know someone who possesses any of these qualities, move towards them. There is so much life and adventure with them and their outlook on life is contagious.
Alright friends, what do you think? This was an exhausting post and my brain won't stop thinking. Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.