Are you springy?

re·sil·ience [ri-zil-yuhns, -zil-ee-uhns] 

noun ~ the power or ability to return to the original form, position,etc.,
after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.

Resilience is a word that is bandied about a lot these days. And, despite many other fad words that I dislike, I do have to agree with this one.

And I like the definition – another dictionary said ‘spring’ back, which gives a nice image, don’t you think? Springs to me are joyful, happy objects 🙂

We try to teach our children resilience. We want them to spring back from the hurts and disappointments they will surely face in life. Teaching them from a young age to ‘return to their original form after being bent and stretched’ will give them the tools necessary to navigate their world as they grow.

Part of teaching a child resilience is, I think, being able to withstand seeing them hurt, and allowing that hurt to teach them something. It’s allowing them to grow and learn through their own experiences and to ‘bend’ instead of break under those lessons.

I have one dear friend who, at the moment, demonstrates to me almost daily the power of resilience. Faced with what I can only describe as a nightmare situation, she is bending, not breaking. She is being bent and stretched almost to breaking point but somehow, always manages to ‘snap’ back into her beautiful self.

Is she denying what is happening? No. Is she not dealing with circumstances as they arise? No. Is she allowing bitterness and resentment to change her original form? No.

She is being resilient, like a tree in the wind; bending, not breaking. And you know what? Her children are watching. Watching and learning. She is teaching them resilience in the most foundational way. By being one of the best examples I’ve ever seen.

I hope that if ever I am faced with an overwhelming situation, like my friend, that I am resilient, too. We can make a conscious effort to learn resilience even without the extreme circumstances. How we handle the little things that come along daily will give us a good indication of how we will handle the big things when they do happen.

How easily upset do we get? How easily offended are we? How much do we allow small inconveniences to put us off kilter? Exercising our resilience muscle in the small things will certainly ensure that muscle is strong and well used to the exercise when we do need it.

How can you improve your resilience?

12 thoughts on “Are you springy?

  1. Walking, yoga, meditation help me with my resilence. Seriously, feeling stronger inside helps us cope with what happens to and around us. Writing helps too – because we make the words and feelings inside us strong enough to write them down.

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    • Yes, you are absolutely right. Those important ‘self improvement’ activities are so pivotal to how we cope. And I agree about the writing. Writing helps me explore many situations that I may never have been in but once I’ve explored it on the page, I have some sense of how I would cope. Writing has always been something which helps strengthen me in tricky times.

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  2. Bending at the moment, but not breaking just yet. Nothing as nightmarish as your friend’s sounds. But unfortunately the only answer to your question I can think of is: Practice. :-/ Great post, as usual.

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    • Yes, practice, practice, practice. And taking the time to savour moments, even amidst the trials. That always helps me take a breath and gives me a sense that I can keep going. Glad to hear you are bending not breaking Vaughn 🙂

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  3. Ah, resilience. That is what we hear about kids so often, that they can endure quite a lot and not break. Don’t know why exactly, whether it’s youth or a lack of fear or what it is. I think practice is a huge help in mantaining a level of strength. I agree with roughwighting also that being strong on the inside helps tremendously in being strong physically.

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    • Yes, well, I guess kids are more flexible physically too aren’t they? Some children I know, though, are not being taught resilience at all and I worry that as adults they simple will not be able to cope at all. Practice is definitely a key here, that’s for sure!

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    • Thanks Nancy 🙂

      Yes, I have realised that my friend is so resilient because before this happened, she never, ever got caught up on the small stuff. And I think that is a key….when you can handle the small stuff, you already have the tools with which to tackle the big stuff when it comes.

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  4. I was reading recently that young children are not learning resilience and will find it hard to bounce back from the small things as they grow. That’s quite worrying.
    I remind myself that tomorrow is another day and that I am allowed to have off days, to eat chocolate and go to bed early. I always wake up with a better frame of mind.

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    • That is very worrying indeed. It is hard to encourage children to learn resilience, because it breaks a parent’s heart to stand by and see their child go through difficult things without rushing in to help. Teaching them the strategies and also reminding them to not sweat the small stuff is so important for their future.

      And I totally agree…just about everything is made a little bit better with some chocolate and sleep. My mum is a great one for reminding me that “it will all seem better in the morning” and she is always right (but don’t anyone tell her I said that!) 🙂

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  5. A good point you made, is that our children are watching. My child is now 32, but my grandsons are watching. I have often been upset over people’s actions or just general circumstances. If I need to, I have a good cry, then get busy dealing with the situation. Of, if I have to, just letting go. Prayers for your friend who is going through a horrible situation.

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    • Yes, and we learn just as much from our grandparents as we do our parents. And your son and his wife are watching too, and still learning from you. Lucky you are such a wonderful example to them all 🙂

      Thanks for your prayers – I’ll pass that along to my friend x

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