These 3 Life Lessons Taught Me to Be Resilient

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” — Maya Angelou

Do you ever
wonder how you’ve made it this far with everything life’s thrown at you and continues
to toss your way?

You might credit
your staying power to luck or to chance. You might thank divine intervention.
Maybe all of the above. 

Regardless of why, you’re still
standing. Take a moment to celebrate that. Because by the time we’re 60, we
bear the scars of countless situations that have tested our resolve. Through them
all, we remain resilient.

Bouncing back
might be innate, something we carry in our DNA that’s linked to our survival
instinct. I’ve known many young people with unshakeable steadfastness that they
surely must have brought with them into this world. Bouncing back is also
a decision, something we set our minds to despite the odds.

Resilience is a
muscle we develop over the course of our lives and strengthen every time a
soul-searing circumstance gives us an opportunity to use it. I was
certainly made stronger by three simple lessons that continue to inform me

Just Let It Go

Remember the meme
that circulated a while back of a butterfly tied to a boulder, trying to drag
it around? The caption said Note to self:
let stuff go.
(That’s the G-rated version, but you get the idea.)

This lesson took
me years to embrace. I used to have a hot button for needing to be right,
especially when I was convinced the other person was wrong.

I’d rewind events
or conversations in my mind on a loop, playing alternate endings and
changing the dialogue to what it “should” have been. Surprise… that
didn’t change anything except how soundly I slept at night. Such a waste of
energy and time.

Letting go still
takes practice. Fortunately, each new day brings another chance to accept
rather than resist those things we can’t influence or control. The baggage
of what used to be or what should have been were just stories I told myself. Releasing
their heaviness lightens your life.

You Can’t Lose
What You Never Had

Even though it
often feels otherwise, you really can’t lose what you never had. In my youth,
this lesson played out in all the jobs, relationships, or opportunities that I
almost had or that almost happened. The ones that got away. How I’d mourn
those losses! 

Except that was a
myth. Those people or situations weren’t mine to lose because, for various
reasons, they weren’t really mine to start with. I wasn’t grieving things that
slipped out of my grasp but rather those things I’d never been promised in the
first place. I made myself miserable over “almosts.”

That bitter pill
has become easier to swallow with the passing years. Mourning what
might have been and resisting the need to let go are cousins, and they’re no
match for my resilience these days.

Trust Yourself

Bouncing back
from anything is easier when we believe that all will be well or that all
is happening for the right reasons. It’s impossible to develop elasticity if we
can’t develop trust.

Sometimes we
trust a higher power. Knowing the universe has your back is
a comfort in troubling circumstances.

Sometimes we
trust in another person. Asking for help or sharing our burden with someone
else plays a big part in strengthening our resilience. It’s only in recent
years that I’ve become comfortable doing that.

Self-trust is
essential, too. Often, as a young person, I fell in line behind someone else’s
plans for me rather than listen to my own inner guidance system. So, sometimes I
needlessly learned my lessons the hard way.

Self-trust is
partly a feeling of no longer caring what others think, a feeling that takes
root in this stage of life. Self-trust is also a certainty and an awareness
that develop over time.

By the time we’re
50 or 60, we know ourselves better than anyone else knows us. We’re self-aware
and understand what we truly need. And we trust ourselves to make our own
best decisions.

We’ve also learned
that no decision ruins us. Given enough time, support, and trust we usually
rebound from our mistakes with new wisdom. That’s resilience.

Helen Keller’s
words are inspiring: “Although the
world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

Whatever lessons
or practices have helped us come this far, we’re still here. And we’re stronger
for all we’ve been through, flexing our resilience muscles along the way.

What life lessons taught you about your
resilience and your ability to bounce back? Let’s have a conversation!