When’s the last time you argued (with yourself) about where you left your keys or whether or not an email was sent? You swore you set them “here,” or emailed it yesterday... but you were wrong.
When you think back on how something happened, you can be so sure you know exactly what happened, but instead, your memory is proven wrong. It can be maddening, right?!
Fun fact: your memory isn’t foolproof (we won’t tell anyone if you don’t!).
And not just when it comes to trivial things.
Did you know that your memory can even distort the details about difficult times in life, making it hard to fully recover from adversity?
Regardless of the situation, you have a built-in protection mechanism to get you through. It’s called resilience—your ability to bounce back. You do this without thinking. It keeps you from getting stuck. And while it doesn’t fill in the gaps in your memory, it gets you through the moment.
But there’s more to resilience than getting through. And when you learn how to lean into your “bounce-back ability” a little more, you’ll close the gaps in your recovery process… and even your memory!
Let me explain.
You just got news you weren’t expecting, and it’s not good.
It’s a letter from the IRS. A call from your doctor. A text from a friend. A bill that’s much higher than expected. A canceled contract. An unexpected line on the pregnancy stick. A “no” on a promotion you thought was yours. A call from your child’s principal. A note from your significant other that says, “We need to talk. Tonight.”
You’ve been under pressure before, so you step out for a minute, have a moment with yourself, and you pull it together. Your makeup is in place, clothes right, smile bright, emotions tight and your work is ready. You’re all poise and grace, and you’re moving forward as if nothing is wrong.
You hide how you are really feeling. You manage this stressful moment well.
Your life, emotions, setbacks, and losses are deftly managed with something psychologists call “ordinary magic.”
This “magic” is what happens when you encounter a hard situation. Something inside of you kicks into gear. It’s your capacity to take in adversity and adjust so normal patterns persist. In other words, you don’t let hard things stop you.
Though we all have this capacity, not all of us engage it well. However, you engage it in spades!
It’s called resilience.
It’s your adaptability in the midst of disruption. Your self-preservation when things are downright awful. Your safeguard from pain, rejection or setback.
This is your signature move when the going gets tough!
When your resilience kicks in, you keep everything together while navigating the hard stuff happening around you. You make plans, manage your emotions and stay focused. It’s truly remarkable.
We know you can keep it together on the outside for a long time. It comes from an ability to “forget” or minimize the pain or discomfort that comes along with adversity. It’s how you manage.
You bounce back quickly to protect yourself and your heart from being exposed as anything but “together.” This is how you’ve managed to get through other hard moments. Each time you do, your resiliency is strengthened.
Resilience may be your signature move, but the more difficult the situation, the more difficult it is to manage what’s happening inside you.
The Bible has a lot to say about the importance of being aware of what’s going on inside you. Most of the time, this comes through in scriptures about your heart because this is the seat of your beliefs, dreams and emotions.
Did you know this? You talk about it this way all the time! For example, you pour your heart into something or someone. You give your heart away and you get your heart broken. You share your heart. You dream in your heart. You know in your heart. You protect your heart.
This is why scriptures like Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)—“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”—resonate so deeply. You get the importance of protecting your heart because life experiences have given you plenty of opportunities to live it.
As you fortify yourself with managed actions and practiced appearances, you also manage to keep out what could help you. This is why it’s important to lean in—to nourish your resilience.
When you nourish your resilience, you can still manage what people see, but that’s not all you’re doing.
To nourish your resilience is to be actively self aware in the midst of adversity.
It’s the practice of paying attention to more than what’s going on around you by going deeper to recognize what's going on inside you.
You see, when you wall up your heart, you start to disconnect. To miss things and even distort them. In hard moments, you may even “stuff” or dismiss important things—more important than where you set your keys!
If your resilience is only allowed to keep things smooth on the surface—only focused on managing what people see—you’ll eventually find yourself fortified, frustrated and trapped.
So how do you move beyond managing your resilience to nourishing it?
It’s one move.
Now before you start to feel like we might recommend something totally out there, like sharing the details of your personal life with everyone on social media, spilling your heart out to your boss or sending a mass-text to 50 of your closest friends and colleagues… take a deep breath. We’re here to get you moving, but not like this!
In order to process adversity and change, you need connection. You need the support of other people. But mostly, you need people to see and tell you when you’re headed for trouble.
It’s like my neighbor's yard. They spend a lot of time, effort and money making it look perfectly manicured. The grass is a brilliant green and super soft, but you have to watch your step. The yard is FULL of tunnels made by moles!
On the surface, everything looks great. But just below what you can see, it’s a different story. Without the proper treatment, these mole tunnels can cause bigger holes. A person walking or running in the yard could sink into them at any minute.
The same is true of you. Good relationships with good people help you see what’s happening beneath the surface. They can be family or friends. Near or far away.
There’s only one condition: they must be the kind of person who will call you out just as quickly as they’ll build you up.
They need to be someone who loves you enough to tell you when your version of things misses the mark. When the tunnels beneath the surface of your carefully manicured life are at risk for becoming sinkholes.
This is a special person, because most people don’t like telling you when you're off track... especially if you’re moving full speed ahead!
This fearless, truth-and-love kind of person is essential for your life. If you have one, text them right now and say “Thank you!” They are a GIFT. If you don’t have someone who does this for you, write down the name of someone you can give this permission to. Then plan to reach out to them this week. It’s that important.
Connect now. Nourish now. You won’t regret it. These relationships will keep you moving when it matters most. Together, you’ll build life well… even through the hard moments.
Until next time,