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Resilience.

Applying My Resilience.

All right! Who let the cat out of the bag?! Who told you that resilience was going to be one of the critical factors to your sustainable change?! Well, whoever did was right. Resilience is your ability to bounce back. We all have it, but not all of us exercise it. I consider resilience a psychological muscle that takes adversity and struggles to grow. It takes getting knocked down and deciding to push through. Resilience is more than intention, motivation, courage, consistency, responsibility and compassion. Resilience is the result you achieve when you’ve exercised those other muscles time and time again. 

To me, we are a resilient species, but we struggle to apply that resilience to our journey towards becoming the best version of ourselves. For me, it took years to know how to do this. And I’m still learning. “What have you learnt thus far, Jamie?” you ask. Well, here’s my 5 cents. It’s my way of looking at the world, and if it resonates with you, great. If it doesn’t, that’s great too. It’s your 5 cents now, so do with it what you may. My goal is to give you a different perspective, my perspective, on what it means to be resilient.

I believe my friends and family would describe me as being resilient. From as early as I can remember, I was determined to do things my way and figure out solutions that worked for me irrespective of what anyone else thought. Well, buddy! Let me tell you, that comes with hard knocks. However, I got back up because I still hadn’t found what worked for me. That resilience led me to be confident, not in my decisions but in my ability to bounce back when things didn’t work out. Here’s the perfect story. 

“Jamie, you can’t have your cake and eat it too?” is a phrase that I’m too familiar with from my friends and family, and I usually respond, “and why not?”. You see, I have a specific understanding of what I want for my life, and I’ve had to figure this out for myself and with minimal guidance. Now, I grew up in a Christian society that believes in the sanctity of marriage and family. And for a while, I thought that meant something particular, i.e., landing a great-paying job, buying property to build a home, populating that home by finding a wife and having kids. So, I tried that, less the kids. And let me tell you, that did not work out for me. I got married and then divorced a few years later. Now, in response to my divorce, most have said that she just wasn’t the right one. However, I eventually realized from this situation that the traditional family wasn’t what I wanted. I’m a nomad, a free-spirit wanting to navigate the world, but I also want a family. See my problem? 99% of the friends and family I said this to saw the problem too, and want to guess how they responded? I’ll give you a hint, it starts with “Jamie, you can’t have..” and ends with “your cake and eat it too?” 

I was determined to at least give it a shot. I wanted a home, i.e. space and time, with people who shared the same values, appreciated safety and security, adventure and openness, and respected individuality but desired sociality. It sounds a lot like friends. Doesn’t it? Well, it is, the difference is I want to live with these people and meet them more than every other weekend for coffee and a bbq. I sought to mimic the family principles I grew up with, but with a family that looked slightly different.

Imagine telling that to your friends and family who believe and desire the traditional family (99% of the people I know). Well, let me tell you, those convos were long and, at times, arduous. But I needed to be heard and wanted to know if anyone in my circle felt the same. And if it weren’t for my resilience, I would have caved after the 50th talk because I started to feel like an outcast. Were my ideas for family far-fetched? Should I hang up this dream? Here I am, sharing my thoughts and everyone smiles and wishes me luck as I pursue this dream they couldn’t fathom for themselves. Well, I’m super happy I remained true to myself and kept exploring and expressing my desires because I’m slowly but surely finding people who feel the same way. My dream, after all that time, seems like it can finally become a reality.

Now equate this to when you’ve attempted to make a change that you truly desire, but life seems to throw a monkey wrench in there time and time again. Resilience pushes you to continue and only requires that you don’t lose sight of your desire and get back up after being knocked down. I believe we all have a level of resilience that takes nurturing, strengthening and understanding how we can apply it. On my journey, I’ve found seven things that have helped me with this:

  1. You have to get back up, just not right away.
  2. Although you have to do it for yourself, you don’t have to do it by yourself. Sometimes we all need a helping hand.
  3. Your ultimate desire drives your resilience, not the roadblock in front of you.
  4. The roadblock in front of you is a lesson. Learn from it.
  5. Being resilient is a conscious decision. Make it.
  6. You are already resilient.
  7. Being resilient doesn’t always come naturally, but it gets easier with practice.

So, how do I strengthen my resilient muscles? I don’t focus my thoughts on why I fell. I focus on why I should get up. And I reward myself when I do because getting back up, to me, is a success. It is a statement that I am strong enough. And once I’m up, I begin looking for new angles to overcome this roadblock in front of me.

Getting back up after being knocked down is tough. And although there is no quick fix, resilience is crucial to walking your journey successfully because there is no question about it. You will get knocked down. From your mindset to your lifestyle to your nutrition, being resilient is about learning how to adapt and move forward when things don’t work out.

And remember, to live your best life, health and fitness are not optional, but neither is it a one-size-fits-all solution. You must find what works for you, and I’m here to help you if you want.

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