Last summer whilst in the thick of my recovery and stuck indoors because it rained so much but yet I relied on my umbrella as a “steady stick” more so than to keep me dry, I wrote a post on building resilience. Whilst laughing as I shared my story to a charity yesterday, casually breezing over the post brain surgery complications I experienced, such as double vision, facial paralysis and balance issues, I was asked “how do you manage to stay so positive?!”
The answer is, I don’t actually know. I don’t know because I feel like I’ve definitely had my hours of frustration, especially in the early days. I don’t always feel like I have been positive.
I temporarily got upset when my best friends selfied their way through a night out and I self-consciously sat out of all photos, acting like I wasn’t even there. I temporarily got upset when a guy on Hinge replied to a photo of my facial paralysis by saying “clearly the brain surgery didn’t go well.” (Yes, it did actually, thank you d**k.) And I temporarily got upset when five minutes into a dance class that I revisited after years of going to it, I suddenly found myself so uncoordinated, off balance and dizzy that I had to leave – and this was the other week, so not exactly early days.
But then, I see my writing and how I had to practice it daily to make it even remotely readable again. It’s now almost completely back to normal and I’ve thankfully advanced from the likes of copying ‘the cat sat on the mat’ from my mom. I read my physio notes, remembering how simply putting a key in the front door and carrying a cup of tea a short distance were part of my daily sessions. Before the lockdown, I mindlessly went up and down the escalators, remembering I had lost that ability for a while and what a barrier to life that was. And now, I walk completely unassisted, all of the time, to the kitchen, to the shop, up the stairs and that’s honestly, unspeakably, amazing because of how long it took to achieve.
I look back on how far I’ve come and find it physically impossible to stay disheartened or frustrated for long. I don’t feel guilty for grieving my old self or feeling frustrated at times. Nor do I feel guilty for getting impatient, angry or sometimes fearful about whether things will continue to improve. That’s because I know that it’s normal and ok to feel this way.
In my post last summer, I wrote:
Anger, grief, fear and sadness are natural human emotions and perfectly justified reactions to many situations. You shouldn’t hold on to them, but you should be allowed to feel them and then let them go. You don’t have to be airy-fairy about it or sit back and believe that what will be will be, but you do have to learn to accept things and build resilience, whilst dealing with these life events, as change is inevitable.10 Ways to Build Resilience Without Thinking That the World Ending Is Amazing
Building resilience means developing the skill to cope with adverse situations. We do this by the challenges that we face. It’s a test of emotional strength, and of how badly you want something and are prepared to get it. And it’s a trait that you can learn, to achieve greater happiness.
To briefly summarise, below are 10 ways you can become more resilient:
- Have a positive view of yourself
- Face your fears
- Grow through what you go through
- Practice random acts of kindness
- Laugh it off
- Know that worrying is a waste of time
- Nurture relationships
- Add meaning to your life
- Find the silver lining
- Remember that everything is temporary
Right now, and always, let’s change our attitudes and choose to see the best in this current situation. Let’s use this time of lockdown, and crisis, to do something meaningful. Building resilience is about accepting that you can’t always control your current situation, and you didn’t always bring it on yourself. But even if you currently feel trapped and as though you have no freedom, you still have the freedom of your thoughts. You still have choices. You have choices over your attitude, decisions and how you choose to react to right now. You have the choice in how you choose to approach this situation.
Read, and re-read 10 ways you can build resilience until it’s ingrained in your mind.
Let’s choose to see the best in this. Xo