Resilience, what keeps us going in the midst of challenges?

Challenges-the sound of that word does not generally elicit positive thoughts or feelings.  Challenges are often synonymous with difficulty.  You name it and it hits all areas of life-not liking your job, being laid off, losing your home, losing a loved one, a breakup, a car accident.  The list goes on.  Challenges are challenging, they can be hard and cause you to want to give up.  For example, the loss of a relationship can cause you to want to drown your sorrows, in substance use, in eating, in someone else, in anything that will make the pain go away.  But, then there is this thing called resilience which is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.  But I’d like to change that, whether it is quickly or slowly-the ability to bounce back at all with things that could have led to destruction is amazing-so that’s resilience, separate from any time period.  So what leads us to face challenges in life.  What makes us get back up? 

Before I give you my answer, let me ask you this.  Have you ever gone through something you would have never thought you could deal with, until you did?  For example, one of my challenges has been starting my practice.  There have been a lot of trials in the past 4 years, from staff changes, to the phone not ringing-literally, to balancing when life happens and still having to run a business, the list goes on.  Also, many practices start and close, and it is often stressful to be the boss because the job essentially never ends. So why do we keep going, especially when it would be easier to just give up? I think the answers are, ironically, in the questions we ask ourselves. 

1.       Why is it worth it? How do you finish that sentence?  Even the most menial things generally have some means to an end.  Even when you hate math, it’s worth the challenge because it will help you achieve the higher goal of a degree.  Or why stick to an exercise plan when you really want ice cream? Because you have a goal to reach and abstaining from what you like for a time will garner the results you really want.  What is your passion and what is valuable to you…is it perseverance, motivation, faith, caring for others, or something else?  When the challenge is directly related to something you value and can help you grow, then you tend to stick with it.  For instance, I love helping people learn more about themselves and improve their lives.  So it’s worth it because I GET to support clients through their life journeys and that is absolutely worthwhile.

2.       What is the lesson? For me, owning a business has taught me a lot.  #1 Making a business successful takes maximum effort and sacrifice  #2. A good business is not based on one person, it’s a team effort  #3.  How you treat staff has a direct correlation on the health of your business  #4. Being open to considering other’s input can be quite valuable.  In everything there is a lesson, and generally something we can/need to learn.  What’s that for you?

3.       Who supports me? Life’s challenges illuminate who your cheerleaders truly are.  So who pushes you, encourages you, or calls you out?  I was recently doing a 30 day challenge and I wanted to “tweak” it to fit me.  A wise friend told me (well it felt like a lecture at the time) that I need to be all in if I want to see results and that to get my degree I had to put forth maximum effort.  So, although at first my mind was saying “blah blah,” it stuck in my head and it pushed me to resist all the “bad” stuff and meet my goal.  So, who keeps you accountable and supports you? Also consider whether you have given others the chance to be there for you because sometimes we don’t have the support we want because we have not asked for it

4.       What’s the long term goal? Anything worth having is worth working for.  So if I have a goal then what do I need to do to achieve it.  For the business, I needed to be able to have a vision of what I wanted it to look like and embody?  Did I want to work alone or have a staff? What services are we providing? What is the feeling or environment I want to create?  If you can see it, then you can create it.  So how do you want this to turn out?  When you can see it and have a visual representation it can help you stay motivated to keep pushing because you see an end in sight

5.       How can I be the best version of me at the end of this? I believe this is directly tied to mental health-your emotions, thoughts, relational patterns, and overall engagement in life. Although we often neglect it, how we think and how we feel can either be a guide or an indicator.  One can cause havoc, while the other can be a signal of the need to do something different.  So how does this apply? Well when you do things that nurture you-stimulate your mind (job duties you enjoy, reading, learning) that make you feel productive AND you don’t neglect your feelings (you express how you feel respectfully, you remove yourself from toxic situations, you take time to do things that are enjoyable) in turn are an overall happier and well functioning person.  Bottom line-in challenges it is important that you do not neglect yourself and do what you need-whether its friend time, alone time, or more sleep so that you are well equipped to handle everything you are faced with. 

Brianna Gaynor