The world we live in requires, almost demands, a lot of us. Our time and energy, our hearts, minds, and bodies, are all given certain expectations, limitations, and confines to operate within. The demands of the external world can leave us distant and disconnected from the parts of ourselves that are able to choose; to choose how we spend our time, where our energy goes, and choose all the ways we serve our hearts, minds, and bodies in the best ways possible. When we’re being pulled in so many directions all at once focusing on the cultivation of resilience can be challenging; ironically, this exact challenge is what helps to strengthen our resilience.
Resilience is a quality that’s been used to denote the strength of a person or community and their ability to face and overcome adversity. Though, this term has also been used as a way to dismiss the visceral hardship, struggle, or suffering a person or community endures. While no one person or community should ever be required to be resilient in order to survive, we all have the inherent qualities of resilience moving through us. The more we nurture the qualities of resilience – self-awareness, empathy, adaptability, acceptance, and purpose – the more resilient we become.
The Essence of Resilience
In its essence, resilience is the ability to return to yourself over and over again, even, and especially amid struggle and hardship. Anytime you feel like you’ve been pulled off course, which will inevitably happen at various points throughout your life, resilience is what helps you return and reset.
Often, when we see the word resilient, there’s an implied strength that comes with it and a perception of moving forward unscathed by the difficulty. While courage and strength are important qualities that we can embrace on our journey, there are elements of resilience that require tenderness and empathetic care. If we over emphasize strength-based resilience it can lead to a feeling of shame when trying to name our struggles. In turn, we tend to push away the struggles due to fear of being judged or having our experiences be dismissed.
However, it's only through naming and honoring the difficulties we face that we can truly embody our resilience. This practice doesn’t ask us to ignore or dismiss the very real struggles we face in this life, it asks us to courageously and compassionately name our experiences as they are and give ourselves the chance navigate through whatever is most present, without judgment.
Practicing Your Resilience
The truth is some days it will be much harder to honor the suffering you’re facing. (And that’s okay! – that’s why it’s called a practice.) On days of difficulty, when resilience feels hard to access, the qualities of compassion and tenderness, expressed towards yourself, can serve as support for you to honor your inherent worth. Knowing that amid all the turbulence, the ebbs and flows, ups and downs, you are always worthy of compassion, grace, and love.
Resilience will likely look different every day. It is, after all, a practice of adaptability. As you navigate the constant fluctuations of your life consider the following practices to support you moving through your world with as much grace and ease as possible.
Take Full Days Off
Carving out time to take full days off and rest is pivotal in cultivating resilience. It’s easy to get caught up in doing, even when you’re off from work, there is always something to be done, a task to complete, or an errand to run. Practicing resilience is exceedingly more difficult when we are not well rested and well nurtured.
If you think of it like watering a house plant, pants are incredibly resilient, and still, they need days off. If you water your house plants every day, they don’t have time to absorb the nourishment and, chances are, they won’t make it very long.
Even if you can’t take a full day off, see if you can carve out a couple of hours or just five minutes where you have nothing else to do but nurture and tend to yourself.
Meditate Daily (*or as often as possible)
Try not to be too rigid with yourself in this practice. One of the core qualities of resilience is adaptability, or flexibility. Meditation is a beautiful tool that can help you learn and understand all the ways your body, mind, and heart are communicating with you. In a place of connection, you can get clear on what your deepest needs are and how to create boundaries that support you well.
Try this short 4-7-8 breathing practice to create connection and clarity.
This practice is supportive if you are experiencing stress or anxiety and need to find a form of settling. Read through the steps and practice along for one or two rounds. Once you feel comfortable, close your eyes and practice for another few rounds on your own. If at any time the practice feels too activating, let your breath come back to its natural pace and return when you are ready.
- Sit comfortably, with your spine in an upright position and exhale all the air out of your body.
- Allow your lips to close and inhale through your nose for a count of four.
- Pause at the top of your inhale and hold for a count of seven.
- When you’re ready, exhale through your mouth and make an audible “whoosh” sound for a count of eight.
- Repeat this three more times at your pace.
Allow yourself to start with four rounds. If you incorporate this into your daily practices you might eventually move towards eight rounds or practice multiple times a day.
Use Affirmations to Fortify Your Resilience
True resilience shows up when we participate in the nurturing of ourselves, wholly. We cannot be callus in our practice or rigid in the ways we tend to ourselves. We must remain compassionate and vulnerable as we allow our whole self to be honored.
Use these affirmations in your daily life, in your mediation practice, or anytime you need them, to give yourself permission to be seen and know that, yes, you will face hardship, and you will also encounter moments of joy and peace.
I embrace my ability to hold multiple truths all at once.
Each experience I have is worthy of being seen and honored fully.
I release expectation and remain adaptable through life's many fluctuations.
Resilience is the union of self-awareness, empathy, adaptability, acceptance, and purpose. It creates space for open awareness where we can tune into what we need, what practices, people, and environments are serving us, and learn to release any experiences that are not serving us as we create our world through the lens of compassion and care.
Discover the nature of resilience through the lens of compassion and care and connect with your wholeness in Journey to Well-being: Resilience, a four-part series with Daniel, available now in the Chopra App