Resilience – Your Choice

Posted on September 28, 2018

‘One of the great things about stress is that it says to us, “Hey, pay attention. Something’s going on here. Maybe you need to change.’ ~ Joshua Freedman, CEO of Six Seconds- The Emotional Intelligence Network.

Freedman explains that stress is an emotion that has information to give us. It is wanting to tell us something.

If our typical response is, “I’m stressed,” and we don’t engage with the experience deeper than that, then we’re not empowering ourselves to deal with the emotion, we’re not using the emotion as a strategic resource. 

However, if we choose to listen to stress in order to access the data it brings with it – we make the decision to lean into the wisdom behind why we are experiencing this emotion.

Accepting and tuning into the experience of stress, to unlock the meaning it carries, lays the foundations for resilience.

Resilience enables us to not only survive through change, disruption, set backs and uncertainty, but to thrive – coming out the other side in a better positon than when we went in 

To be resilient requires us to choose to react to stress (and other emotions that may be induced by turmoil), with curiosity and engagement. This might involve asking ourselves questions such as…

  • “What is this emotion telling me?”
  • “What is the hidden message behind this emotion?”.
  • “How am I going to work with this emotion?”

By accepting the presence of an emotion, and accurately identifying and interpreting the cause of it, we begin to generate resilience through clarity and insight.

Along with acceptance, research reveals three other core responses that resilient people adopt in the face of chaos or stress. These are: optimism, purpose and creativity.

Resilience requires Optimism. 

To respond with optimism is to seek out and generate possibilities from a perspective of hope. Optimism can help us to can regain a sense of control which in turn, gets us out of victim mode and back into the driver’s seat of our lives. Optimism gives us the conviction to make things better.

Resilience requires connection to Purpose. 

To respond with a sense of purpose is to harness the inspirational energy which lives within the pursuit of our dreams and goals. Resilience requires that we reconnect with the answers to questions such as: ’Where am I going?” and ‘’What’s my purpose”; re-energising ourselves with a noble vision and integrity.

Resilience requires Creativity. 

To respond with creativity is to open our minds to conceive of ways that we can make the best of a situation. Creativity compels us to recognise the lessons and opportunities for growth hidden within the adversity, igniting a sense of agency and trust in the journey. It also invites us to feel wonder and awe as we ask questions to ourselves such as “what doors are opening as a result of this situation?” and “what might be coming into being through his experience?”

While we can’t control everything in life, we can choose our reactions. Resilience is both a choice and a practice. We can choose to act with and to practice resilience each time we tap into our capacity to accept and inquire, to exercise optimism, to connect with our purpose and to give ourselves creative license in the face of adversity or change.

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