What does the word Resilience mean to you?

noun: resilience; plural noun: resiliences
  1. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
    “nylon is excellent in wearability and resilience”
  2. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
    “the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions”

The implication when something springs “back into shape” is that it springs back into it’s original state. The thing is, resilience is something that allows for recovery, but doesn’t guarantee freedom from change. (sorry.) You can bounce back, but you’re going to be changed by the experience. You can spring back into shape, but there are going to be a couple of stretchy spots, new areas of flexibility that weren’t there before. If you’ve watched institutions or your pantyhose change over time, you’ve seen this in action.

Developing resilience in yourself allows you to face adversity (or simply a miserable day), but it also sets the stage for personal growth. It allows you to pass through trials and to grow from them, to be changed by them. When you’re still standing at the end of the day, it’s not only toughness that got you there, it’s because you’ve learned something new, picked up some bit of wisdom and made it part of yourself. When you face trying circumstances again, you’re going to have that bit of knowledge in your pocket, you’ll remember. You’ll go “ah!” and vary your approach, see if you get a different result. Or not. You may have learned to stick with your initial thoughts. In the background of all of that, you’re growing and learning about yourself and changing accordingly.

I feel like I need to also state at this point that resilience isn’t about seeing the world as nothing but unicorns and rainbows, because it’s not. Bad things happen. Big, nasty atrocities happen. This isn’t about being blind to negative things in your world, it’s about how you move through them. When things go sideways, there’s often the urge to grab on and cling tightly to the familiar. “This is the way I’ve always done things,” “This is the way it’s always been.” With resilience, there’s this implied bending, a softness that occurs, so the give prevents a break. (think trees in the wind)

Sometimes, that process can get messy. That’s okay.

At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself moving through my own upheaval. I’m across the bay in a new city (Oakland), in a new house (?!?), with a new business model/practice (coaching), and am looking around, attempting to do the things I’ve done before and realizing I’ve got to bend; it’s time to change up my approach. No, this isn’t some awful thing that’s happened to me, it’s pretty cool, but it’s also a major transition to navigate. (see also: childbirth for an example of generally positive but undeniably massive life transition. not all upheavals are catastrophic.)

What does this mean for you? The short version is: everything is okay, for varying values of okay. If you’re feeling swamped by life, know that you’re not alone. Know that there is a way through. What does this mean for me? Well, I’m still seeing clients. Give me a call if you’re feeling stuck/overwhelmed with a portion of your life and need some things sorted out. Your upheavals and life transitions are unique to you, and the path through them is also going to be unique for you. Let me help you determine what that path is.

Happy trails.

Sometimes your path is just to the other side of the road.