It is often assumed that resilience is all about being tough, being strong, being assertive and hardy, not taking no for an answer, pushing through regardless of how your feel in a way that is bordering on being forceful or persistent in the extreme … sort of like going into battle with a suit of impenetrable armour to protect you from the world. The truth is that this kind of attitude may appear to serve you for a while BUT Authentic Resilience is in fact borne from deep within – it is a capacity you develop, nurture and build during challenging times deep inside of you. Paradoxically, the most Authentically Resilient people are the ones who have the courage to be vulnerable, to fail and to forgive – all characteristics that can be traditionally thought of as ‘weaknesses’.
When we look to nature we see that the most resilient trees and plants are the ones that are in fact more pliable and flexible and, whilst they don’t look the strongest, they are capable of withstanding severe weather conditions. Think of images you have seen of palm trees being lashed by hurricanes- they are able to bend without breaking. With its pliable trunk and deep root system, palms are able to weather unpredictable storms and severe winds. Yet the same storm might send limbs of a taller and stronger tree – such as the mighty oak- crashing, or even uproot the entire tree causing devastation.
When we resist rigidity (the more defensive position) to embrace flexibility and uncertainty , and allow our hearts to soften to allow our vulnerability, that is when we begin to grow more Authentic Resilience and are able to bear the toughest of life’s circumstances.