Finally, concluding the theme of building up you cumulative reserves to be able to better withstand life’s ongoing pressures, I submit the next 4 ideas. Refer back to the first 2 blogs for the first 6 items already on the list. Again, as you read this, look for those areas that seem to resonate best with your lifestyle and expectation, and seek to apply them to your life. Remember, if nothing changes, nothing will change.
7. Keep hope alive. When we lose hope we lose everything. Hope will test our existential foundation, namely, what we believe to be the meaning life. We find strength in hope. However, it is not always easy to generate hope when reality looks hopeless. Our emotions play a huge role in remaining hopeful even in the face of evidence to the contrary. We cannot deny our emotions, but we also should not deify them. Remaining hopeful means we need to look at the wider picture, as stated in my earlier blogs. Friends and loved ones can help us look beyond our emotions and get a healthier perspective. Metaphorically rising above our immediate circumstances to get a wider view will show us where hope is still alive. Again, when we lose hope, we lose everything.
8. Build/Improve relationships. We were created for relationships. Married people live longer than singe folks. “Two are better than one”, to quote a Biblical passage. I am continually amazed when patients share their deep wounds or struggles with me, and then inform me that no one else knows what I now know. How sad, I think to myself, to be so lonely. Things can definitely become darker if no one else is in our dark room of life with us. Clearly not just anyone, but that special person or two that has the ability to listen, and when appropriate, give truthful counsel. Getting another person’s perspective allows us to gain greater insight into something that may have seemed hopeless, or impossible. Reach out; it helps you to stay on track.
9. Develop self-confidence. We are doing both ourselves and our young children a grave injustice when we insist that we as parents are responsible for their self-confidence. Think about it; what is the only way you are totally certain that you can “climb a mountain” as it were? The obvious answer is, by doing it. Someone telling you that you have all the right stuff to accomplish that next thing can be good and helpful from a cheerleading standpoint, but not a self-confidence builder. It is all theoretical until we actually accomplish that thing. Kids are growing up thinking everyone is a winner. Sometimes adults still believe that. Unfortunately, that is not the case; there are losers in the game of life. The goal is to find that thing(s) in which you can be the winner, and work at perfecting that skill/talent, and thus develop a genuine confidence in yourself.
10. Keep your body, soul and spirit in shape. We all possess the same basic equipment from birth. First, our physical bodies that allows us to move, work, eat, play, etc. Next, our soul, or the place that allows us to have feelings and emotions. Finally, our spirit, or the element that gives meaning to life and allows us to find hope and significance. If any one of these three areas is out of balance, or not functioning properly, our entire being suffers. If we desire to stay resilient in the face of challenges, we do well to be purposeful about taking care of body, soul, and spirit. Physical exercise, emotional self-control, and spiritual exploration is the bare minimum for staying fit overall. The word I like using is intentionality. It seems to conjure up in my mind the direction of my life that I want, versus, letting mere chance run my existence. To be resilient, we need to be intentional.
Be strong: be resilient. Feel free to share with me your tips for resiliency; the possibilities are as varied as our personalities.