Cultivating Resilience

Resilience, like precious air, helps you breathe, adapt to circumstances and keep going during challenging times. Resilience is essential when pursuing ordinary life opportunities for a vulnerable family member. Your mettle gets routinely tested.

All families have wounding incidents. Their stories often remain unspoken until far behind in life’s rear-view mirror. Dogged determination brings invaluable insights, life lessons and battle scars along your journey. Time, forgiveness and reflection foster perspective, learning and healing. Together, this concoction cultivates resilience.

The air supply in our lungs varies greatly, depending on many factors. The same goes for resilience. When resilience runs on fumes, panic is ready to fill the gap. Being reactive, rather than proactive is risky when navigating life’s tricky terrain.

I equate family reactions to that of a decades-old children’s toy, the punching bag clown. Like the clowns, sometimes families quickly bounce back from a blow. At other times they struggle to right themselves. Speed, timing and power vary. The one constant is families. They always rebound—too much is at stake.

Nobody worries about being over-inflated with resilience. Being under-inflated is a different story. Lots of things can deplete you. Minor leaks in the seams, heavy blows to the heart and more. If feeling besieged, exhausted and discouraged, it doesn’t take much to flatten you.

The important thing is to learn from the experience and rebound, whether fast or slow. All anyone can do is start from where you are at—no apologies or explanation needed. It’s the effort and courage to stand again that counts.

Here are a few tips to help strengthen your ability to bounce back:

Susan Dunnigan

March 2023