Considering Personal Strength from a New Lens
For a long time I lived with the belief that sheer physical strength demonstrated the amount of resilience within a person. When hit with adversity, one must march forward, eyes-wide open, one foot in front of the other, no time to pause, while shouting out a battle cry of victory. Outwardly, this is the picture of a reigning hero - a person that refuses to give up and let the challenges of life push her beyond socially accepted boundaries.
In this kind of resilience modeling, what opportunities are lost?
Yes, difficulty is part of life. It is not an option to call a time-out to sit on the sidelines or leave the court until the final buzzer signals the end. However, resilience cannot be fully cultivated and expanded in the model of fierceness that disallows introspection and moments of personal consideration. Although life is a busy, chaotic hustle for most people, quietude can be achieved daily.
The word resilience is often paired with action and even aggressiveness... a fight. How does quiet fit with resilience? First, resilience is more than a show to prove toughness to other people in the world. Second, resilience is more than getting back up after being knocked down. Finally, resilience is more than philosophizing one's internal capacity for adversity. Yet, all of these elements work together in order to create a comprehensive experience of resilience building.
LESSON ONE: Resilience building requires us to guage internal toughness (mental, emotional, spiritual) as much as physical toughness. Overexertion in an attempt to out-perform and out-achieve others is only an ignorant attempt at growth. Therefore, overthinking, over-praying, over-processing, over-doing any effort to build resilience can lead to regression. The awareness of balance is critical to prevent burnout as much as deprivation.
LESSON TWO: Resilience building demands us to rise to the occasion which requires discernment of the 'right' invitation to engage in adversity. Some invitations are triggers of survival mechanisms built into every person. Other invitations are ego-based which feel like survival, but actually present no harm to the physical self. Only the mindful observation of self allows the differentiation of true threat and harm to low-resonating, prideful ego.
LESSON THREE: Resilience building occurs when the mind, body, and soul agree upon growing together in an effort to thrive rather than survive. Philosophy and historic figures of excellence offer exercises in conceptualizing and models in observing resilience. Moving from thoughtfulness into application and practice is what instills the new learning, or muscle memory, of the foundation and expansion of resilience.
HeartMath Institute describes coherence as a harmonious state where our hearts, minds and bodies are united in cooperation and flow. Personal coherence practices can help calm your nervous system, neutralize stress reactions, and discern better choices. One of the major causes of stress is a lack of coherence in our interactions. Coherence can be experienced personally or in groups with others. In personal resilience building, coherence is the vehicle to healing and accelerated growth.
Coherence induces a state of being that feels like time stands still while also observing high levels of efficiency in task-completion. Internally, a state of peace inspires content and action simultaneously. Among a group of people, it surfaces compassionate understanding while also creating space for divergent opinions. This kind of environment internally and externally drives the success of my clients as individuals, families, and teams.
If you're interested in developing richer resilience, please contact me about completing an initial personal wellbeing survey and consultation to begin.