By Anne Peters, LMFT
If the last year has taught us anything (and boy, it’s taught us a lot), it’s taught us that humans are resilient. That does not mean we are free of fear or pain or struggle, but that we can make it through. The Webster Dictionary definition of resilience states, “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” If we were to sit down and list all the misfortunes or change we have encountered during the last year, how many do you think we would come up with? We saw changes to schooling, community events, our own health, our relationships with others, our careers, our finances, and the list could go on. But yet, here we are. We are recovering from misfortune. We are recovering from change. We are resilient.
If you’re like me, you don’t always feel a strong sense of resilience. Sometimes, it all feels like too much and we may think, “When will it end?” Perhaps this is the perfect time for us to reframe the way we see ourselves. Instead of seeing ourselves as stressed, down, and exhausted following a year of a worldwide pandemic, we can see ourselves as tenacious, patient, and resilient.
Dr. Ginsburg explains there are seven components to being resilient. These include competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control. I encourage you to reflect on these seven components and identify a time you feel you excelled in each area. When did you demonstrate competence? When was a time you were confident? And so on. It feels good to recognize our own strengths and see what helps make us so resilient.
Here’s a final activity that would be great to do with the whole family – kids and adults! Spend some time reflecting on the challenges you’ve encountered, and discuss what helped you get through them. It can be a big challenge like the COVID-19 pandemic, or a day-to-day challenge. Help each other to identify the strengths that were shown during these challenges and jot them down. Then put all of these strengths together on a piece of paper and post it somewhere the whole family can see. It’s a reminder of just how many strengths the family has, and just how resilient you all are.