I recently read the psychological definition of the term “resilience”. Somehow it struck me — not only as a nurse, but as a wife, daughter, sister and friend.
“… the creation of meaning in life, even life that is sometimes painful or absurd, and having the courage to live fully despite its inherent pain and futility.”
Resilience. Making chicken salad out of chicken shit. Painting the town red despite feeling burn-out blue. A silver lining within a darkened storm. Resilience seems to be the cousin of optimism, but there is something so inherently different: With optimism there comes a sense of child-like wonder. We tend to lump optimists in with the green and the nubile; the dreamers and the floaters; those who wear rose-colored lenses while blissfully ignoring the crack in the frames. But resilience: This is different. Resilience occurs when optimism meets tragedy. You can always get the sense that someone has developed wisdom; has bent without breaking; has gone through hell and back yet still has the capacity to smile and press forward when it would be exponentially easier to fall crashing down.
There’s beauty in resilience…
There’s courage in resilience…
There’s comfort in resilience… because it can sometimes seem that the downward spiral through which we swirl leaves us feeling alone. Resilience is that quiet yet confident reminder that life can be misery and turmoil coupled with wonder and excitement all wrapped in one. Resilience doesn’t exist despite the chaos: It thrives because of it.
If resilience yields meaning to a complex and inconsistent being, we must all take a moment to look toward resilience for inspiration. Some of us will be faced with circumstances where most days are bad ones. Some of us will believe in little or nothing at all: We will question the fate of humanity; the existence of God; the reason we all suffer in the first place.
And then resilience enters the room, the most elegant of emotional beings; glowing; refined; a reminder that even a flicker of light glows amid the darkness. And we can save our tiny ship of troubles from life’s stormy seas once again.
Life can be painful. It can surely be absurd. Life can feel brutal and futile and cruel. But with resilience we are hard-wired to belly laugh and dopey love and deep think and bear hug once again. We are layered in complexity. We are clothed with confusion. But thankfully, with the right people around us, and the right mindset within, that downward spiral is bound to take another turn. Resilience is hope cloaked in reality. Through resilience, a refined optimism grows.