Finding Resilience in 2020

“Resilience” is an important trait in my line of work for both my clients and myself. As I reflected on the lessons that I’ve learned during these past 5 months in quarantine, the word resilience stood out. The dictionary on my Mac defines resilience as, “The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness;” however, I thought I’d reach out to my friends on Instagram to see how others view the term in this hectic time.

My blogging friend, Rachael Hope*, commented with the following:

“One of the biggest things that has helped me build resilience is reality-based thinking. For me that means knowing that sometimes things will be bad, but those times don’t last forever. Also, that everyone is weathering the storm and it’s a natural part of life. Whereas at one time I took bad times really personally, and thought they were a reflection of how badly I as an individual was doing at life – rather than just one of life’s natural twists / turns. As a result, I felt useless and that didn’t motivate me to take steps to make anything better!”

Rachael’s thoughts confirm that yes, bad things will happen; however, life is a journey of peaks and valleys.

2020 has brought along tragedies that have shaped all of us; most notably, the COVID19 pandemic and the racial reckoning occurring in the United States and beyond. If there’s a silver lining to be found in all this chaos, I’d say that it’s how the pace of life has slowed from the status quo– the breakneck rise-and-grind hustle culture (blind capitalism). This change of pace has forced many of us to slow down, to take stock of our priorities, and to find creative ways to march on despite various hardships.

Resilience has been a requirement for our survival.

Jami Attenburg of The New York Times published an article** a few days ago titled, “Is Resilience Overrated?” and I found the following words thought-provoking:

“I am engaged in the status quo. I have not risen above the circumstances. I am not resilient. Although I am not even sure if I know what that word means anymore. Once, I thought I knew. I am the child of two hard-working, industrious people who opened a small business during the Reagan era. In order to not just merely survive but to thrive, I learned, one must not only do one’s basic job, but much, much more — no matter what is happening in the world. Work late, be creative and innovative, keep going, even if you’re tired. I might have even believed that’s when the magic really happens: when you’re exhausted. We are, after all, a nation that declares professional athletes instant heroes when they win the game in overtime.”

Attenburg’s words remind us that any good trait; for example, resilience, can become toxic if taken too far. That’s why I love how Rachael (quoted above) frames resilience in the scope of balance and self-kindness. We don’t have to bounce back unscathed as if this year hasn’t been awful; rather, we need to move forward while taking the time to heal, rest, and innovate.

It’s safe to say that there’s no “going back to normal,” and maybe that’s ok.

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Additional Resources

* For more from Rachael Hope, check out a collaborative post she just published here! You can find her amazing artwork on Instagram @Rachael_hope90.


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