HOW TO BECOME A MASTER OF RESILIENCE
IN 10 STEPS
#1 – Give yourself room to FEEL
If everything is terrible, and you are surrounded by shittiness – acknowledge this. There is NO point in denying reality. Give yourself the space to be sad, mad, or any other emotion that you feel. Make sure though, that you have a reasonable cut-off date that you are keeping in mind. Usually, most things can be diminished within a week. Sometimes, with breakups, you may feel sad much longer, a month or two. That’s okay too. Allowing these emotions is best. Feel them, with the end-game being to let them go. Of course, your emotions will still come up after your cut-off date. That’s normal. The goal though, in this first phase of giving yourself room, is just honestly to let yourself be messy and feel however you need to in the moment. Giving yourself ample room in this first stage, allows you to ‘get it all out.’ You can get the big hunks of your processing out of the way right away, instead of trying to hold it in and your feelings coming out unexpectedly or inappropriately later.
#2 – Set the ‘feels aside
You are Oriah Mountain Dreamer, doing what needs to be done to feed the children. Can you wake up and face disappointment, yours and mine, and rise again? To DO this, to do the things that keep you going in life, you must set your feelings aside. After so long FEELING them, you must set them aside. It does not serve to fall in the hole that you wallow in forever. Woe-is-me only works in bars where people cry in their beers. That serves NO purpose in a purposeful life. You are a warrior. Set the ‘feels down, and move forward.
#3 – Do what needs to be done
Do your daily routine. You may have to peel yourself from the floor – but you get up, put your clothes on, do your hair, and get out there. When you feel absolutely at a loss in life, and literally everything around you is failing, attacking you, or putting you down, that's when it's best to leave the house and do things. You will often have much more compassion for others and simply just concentrate on the task at hand. People sense this and often are more compassionate with you. Just put one foot in front of the other. Take the first step.
#4 – SMILE and be present
It’s proven that smiling helps release endorphins, and it actually makes you feel happier when you smile. SMILE. Understand that just because you are having a terrible time, doesn’t mean that others around you need to also. Be responsible for the energy that you are bringing into a room. You don’t have to relive & tell your story & bring others down. You can actually be MORE present, with the awareness that this suffering is temporary, and it does NOT define who you are. Talk about something else. Match your energy to the energy of those around you. You will find that by NOT telling your story, smiling, and being present with others, you will feel much, much better.
#5 – Work
Getting out into our daily lives, and leaving the tragedy at home, can help you get eight hours a day, where you do not have to focus on your problems. Focus on what’s in front of you and help others. This will make you feel much better. I recommend working or volunteering eight hours a day to help get your mind off of things. The bonus is, that by working you bring in money, which often helps things. Volunteering can get you out of the woe-is-me mindset, by putting your attention on helping others less fortunate. When you are volunteering, people are often very grateful, and that's some more good energy that's directed towards you. It just feels good to volunteer. These things get you back into your body, back into the present. This is going to focus your mind on something that is not you. It is going to focus your mind on problems that are solvable, such as helping the person at the register, feeding the people at church, or helping your friends.
#6 – Move
Do yoga, cook, do art, dance, sing, tone, drum. Do whatever you need to do, to feel good. Throw yourself into those things that will repair you & nourish your soul. Worship this activity, let it become you. Throw yourself into this something, that is beautiful. Irreverently worship – let this activity be your devotion. Often times, there is nothing left to do but dance. Metaphorically & literally, dance in the way you always wanted to, sing like your life depended on it. Tears may come, it’s okay. Eventually they will stop, and you will be left with nothing but the beauty again.
#7- Know that you are loved
Even if life is kicking the balls out of you, you are loved. Whatever you want to call it, the Universe, God, Gods, Spirit, Creator, your deceased loved ones, ancestors, Angels….they all love you and are in your corner.
#8- Fuck it
Say ‘fuck it’ to everything else, and love your loved ones. If you have no loved ones, say ‘fuck it’ to that too, and be loving anyway. The world will notice.
#9- Work through your stuff
Last but not least, it's a very good idea to do the work of processing through your emotions. Why did these particular circumstance upset you so much? Was your reaction in proportion? Why or why not? If not, then how come? Is there any way that you can prevent these circumstances from happening in the future? How? Is there any thing that you can learn about yourself or others? What? It often helps to journal your answers to these questions.
You can also free-form journal, just to 'vent' your feelings and get rid of the negative bits that you just have to tell someone about. Putting the negativity in the journal helps, because then you aren't affecting your relationships with unneeded drama & negativity. You aren’t bringing your sad story with you, wherever you go, and poisoning the atmosphere there. Most of your story can stay in your journal.
You can have your friends, family, or therapist help you process through these things of course. But have you ever had that friend that has the biggest disaster going on in their life, and they need hours upon hours of hand holding and talking through things? It can be exhausting!!! Do your loved ones a favor, and try to get the big hunks out of the way yourself by venting your feelings in your journal. You will find it easier to summarize things later, if you work through them first in your journal.
#10 - Be Respectful If Someone Isn't Supportive of You
Sometimes, when our problems are very large, our friends and family won’t be able to or willing to hold our hand through things. This is okay, most times it doesn’t mean they don’t love you, it just means, that you need to do the basic self-care for yourself first. It’s okay. Try not to read into things, and work on your journaling as part of your self-care routine.
If your family or friends don't want to help you or listen to you throughout your struggle, that is their choice. Rightly or wrongly, we have to respect and accept others' wishes. It doesn't help to get upset with others too, when you've already got your hands full.
Some friends or family simply will not have the mental ability to even process what has happened to you. There are certain things in life, that even when it is happening to someone else, it will bring up strong feelings in the observer, and trigger their emotions to a level that is very uncomfortable for them. For example, watching someone struggle with substance abuse, can bring up their long unresolved feelings about their mother with substance abuse problems. If they are unable or unwilling to process their own feelings about their mother, it is unlikely that they will be able to support you through your issues with substance abuse because it is just too painful for them. Understand that it isn't you they are rejecting, it is their own weakness that has nothing to do with you.
I hope this list helps you to see, that with a little mindfulness and a plan, you CAN overcome almost anything in this life.
From my heart to yours, Kai xx
For further Reading on Resilience I recommend these books:
PS. I am not a counselor, therapist, and have no training in these areas. If you are faced with a medical or mental condition, please seek help from the properly trained professionals.