Elements of Resilience

“I am invincible, unbreakable, unstoppable, unshakable, I fall down, get up again….” Sang Carrie Underwood. That has been my theme song all week as I power through my 26.5-hour work week. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and Friday is the big Black Friday. I’m not just dealing with sensory overload with my autism, seasonal depression, and allergy-induced brain fog.

 I’m itchy all over, nose is running, drained, and burning up all the energy I can muster, yet for some reason, I keep getting second winds. Counterintuitively, I’m realizing that in order to survive the week with some sort of sanity at the end of it all, I need to keep the momentum, and stay busy, even when I am home. Wrote a blog yesterday, and I am writing one today.

My name means “warrior woman”, and that has always been who I am. Pushing, pressing on, running the race, and my dreams and vision keep me focused. The obstacles are a challenge, not an excuse, and with a creative mind, there are a thousand ways to overcome them. There are three that repeat themselves in my mind: purpose, perseverance, and self-compassion. These three put together give birth and rise to resilience. Resilience is what keeps me going.

Purpose is what drives me to keep going when I want to stay in bed. Purpose is what defines the reason I am living on this earth, and this purpose stays the same, even when it appears in different forms in different. Earlier this week, I had to peel myself out of bed, and dry my tears. I wanted to do something productive, so I cleaned my bathroom. That was my accomplishment for the day, and as small as it was, I was proud of myself. Baby steps.

I was thankful when I returned to work on Monday, knowing that my retail job would distract me, and give me something to do. I purposely arrived about four hours early to read on a perch at the book store, write a blog, and do some more research on a movie I wanted to critique in a later blog. I’m still working on this, blogging every chance I get, and the momentum is at a point when one idea piggybacks on another.

Perseverance is what naturally happens when purpose is met with action. It’s that push that gets me running to the finish line. One secret I tell people who are overwhelmed by a busy time in their lives is to keep the momentum going and use the busy energy to their advantage.

Self-compassion is the most misunderstood, overlooked element of resilience.  One cannot keep going if their emotional condition is weak. My mother always illustrated self-compassion as a multi-spoked wheel. The wheel is our physical, psychological, spiritual, intellectual, and professional conditions. If one of them is lacking in care, the entire wheel doesn’t spin correctly. It is misunderstood, as it is often seen as selfish or hedonistic. For this reason, it is often overlooked.

Mark 12:30-31 tells us: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your heart, and all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

Much emphasis is placed on the word ‘Love’. God is first in the verses, as we cannot truly love unless we love God first. After this love in our hearts from God, we can love others and ourselves. We often overlook ‘love yourself’, and zero in on ‘love your neighbor’. This thinking of ‘others before, or even ‘instead of’ self’ leads to burn out, at least in my personal experience. God gives us more than permission, but a commandment to “Love your neighbor….as you LOVE YOURSELF”. The two phrases “Love your neighbor” and “Love yourself” are equal and interchangeable.

Purpose, perseverance, and self-compassion are the three crucial elements to increasing resilience. These elements can be illustrated as another wheel. When one element is lacking, the wheel does not spin correctly. The three elements running strong causes the wheel to spin, giving us the vital drive we need to power through any situation, and bounce back, prepared to take on another challenge. 

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