Life has a funny way of throwing curve balls at you when you are sitting in the outfield making daisy chains. Life was looking up here in Singapore. More and more people were vaccinated, proudly clutching their upper arms and smiling through the ‘slight headache’ knowing they are doing their part to get out of this stifling time warp. The COVID numbers were down, people were excitedly talking about travel bubbles and daydreaming about a quarantine that would ‘surely be only 3 days at home, no?’ And then it all turned pear shaped within a day or two. We went from smiling to shock in a matter of hours. Suddenly we were down to groups of only 2, schools were closing and people were back to working from home. Fantasies of travel fast dissolved. And then more doors began to close, things long longed for got cancelled, personal hopes of purchasing a property were crushed, a relationship was suddenly on tenterhooks. All at once I was feeling blue.
I started to think a lot about resilience. What is it? How do we get it and why is it the most important tool in our box when we are struggling to either catch or dodge that curve ball.
You can google it. There is a whole industry built around telling people to be resilient. There are the Ken Ginsburg’s 7Cs of resilience, the Driven’s 6 Domains of resilience, there is even an app to trace and track how resilient you are.
But I think it boils down to one very simple truth: Faith. Faith that “This too shall pass.” Faith that while we might feel stuck, life and time continues to move forward and eventually, with patience and faith, things will turn.
It helps to have faith in your own sense of who you are. And to treat yourself as you would a friend. It certainly helps to have a community to turn to and things to do with others that can remind you that we are all connected.
You are not the only one, somewhere someone is also having a hard time.
I think a brilliant way of finding resilience and coping in a hard time is through self-compassion.
Dr.Kristin Neff is the mind behind the self-compassion movement and she has spent over 20 years studying the importance of turning compassion inward. She clearly lays out three tools to adopt:
- Self-kindness vs. Self-judgment.
“Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism.”Dr Kristin Neff
- Common humanity vs. Isolation.
“Self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience –”Dr Kristin Neff
- Mindfulness vs. Over-identification.
“Mindfulness is a non-judgmental, receptive mind state in which one observes thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them. We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time.”Dr Kristin Neff
When times are hard and life throws you a series of balls, too fast to catch or juggle, when you feel you are holding your breath, holding tightly onto the littlest things you can control, when you feel if you let go you will collapse…. Take a minute to breathe. Know it will pass. Find the faith. Be kind and feel whatever you need to feel.
Inquiry question: What does resilience look like for you?
Reading: House of Glass by Hadley Freeman/Think Again by Adam Grant
Words from the Wise:
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.