Monday, September 08, 2008

HOPE FLOATS! : LIFE LESSONS ON RESILIENCE!


I remember some years ago seeing a movie called "Hope Floats". I liked the movie, but I LOVED the title. It seems to me that hope does float... it bobs to the surface after being pushed down by the storms of life.

What I know for sure, after living for 61 years, is that part of the mystery and beauty of life is that life throws you curve balls now and again and again. You thought you had learned this lesson? Nope! The lesson is back again in ways you never expected or even wanted!

What I also know for sure is that some learnings and stressors do not have a simple conclusion, a date and time for when they will be over and finished. Some just stick with us, and we may have no control over their outcome.

I recently did a workshop called "Developing Resilience During Stressful Times" for one of my consulting clients, Dorian Studios. In July their building and life's work was devastated in a tragic fire. They have spent the last six weeks scrambling to re-build. They have made amazing progress and done what people said was impossible. Their resilience is remarkable, yet they are also exhausted physically and emotionally. They wanted some "tips" for how to make it through this very tough year for them.

I thought I'd pass along some of what I learned about "Resilience" as I prepared to give this workshop:

1) Resilience is our capacity to cope, over the long-haul, with stress, catastrophe, and tragedy. It's the process of adapting well in the face of adversity and significant sources of stress. Resilience is our "Buoyancy"...our ability to pop back up to the surface after we have been hit by one of life's curve balls.

2) Research shows that "Resilience" is ordinary, not extraordinary. Ordinary people
exhibit resilience every day, like after 911. However, most people could learn to be more resilient and this would improve their physical and emotional health!

3) Being "resilient" does not mean that a person does not experience difficulty or distress, emotional pain, anger, frustration, or sadness. In fact, resilient people DO experience their emotions. They just don't get stuck in them long term.

4)Resilience is not a trait that you either have or don't have. Resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed.

5) A combination of factors contribute to "Resilience" and the number one factor is having caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family. These are relationships that create love and trust, provide role models, and offer encouragement and support. These kinds of relationships bolster "resilience".

6) There are many "tips" for building your own "resilience". A few of these are to make connections where you can accept help and support, find people to listen, assist others during their time of need, avoid seeing the crisis as insurmountable ( so work on how you talk and think about what has happened)and move toward your goals, even the smallest ones.

7) Many people improve their resilience because of their foundation of faith. Their faith helps them be resilient in the face of tragedy.

Yesterday at church we sang a song called "Pressing My Way!" Our congregation, which is mostly African American and struggling financially, sings this song with so much gusto that it almost blows the roof off of our church.

The chorus says:

I won't give up
I won't turn around
I am holding on
I'll rely on God
I'm keepin' my faith
I'm pressing my way!

Their resilience, their absolute refusal to give up against great odds, truly inspires me. They rally around and comfort those who are hurting. They avoid seeing a crisis as insurmountable. They constantly say, "God is bigger than this obstacle!"

In their storms of life that would make many of us consider giving up...
they find their resilience in God's grace and power! As one member said to me yesterday, "I am so sad that every cell I have is weeping. But I will leave it all at the altar. God is BIG enough to handle it ALL!"

While life's storms are not at my door today, I know they may be here tomorrow. I also know that for many of the people I love and care about... life is full of stress and adversity. May we all be "pressing our way" surrounded and comforted by those we love. May we remember to be caring and supportive people for others so we bolster their resilience. Our need for their loving help and support may only be just around the corner!

Loves and hugs to all who read this!
God Bless! Love Linda

3 comments:

LORIE said...

This is why I love your blog. Thank you for the reminder about being resilient. I needed it and you always touch my heart. Today is a good day and Hope does float.

Love to you

jessithompson said...

Great post, mom. Thank you.

Our Family said...

It is amazing how many times we require resilience in our lives. It seems that one day we can be up and another we are on our knees. It takes a lot of courage to continue to press on. You are a great role model of resilience.

i love you

"Dirt Therapy"...

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