Jay Rifenbary

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Resilience: Time to Toughen Up

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Have you ever been down in the dumps, questioned your life’s purpose, failed at something and subsequently asked yourself, where do I go from here? We all reach periods in our life that challenge our very being and force us to take actions that are difficult and even frightening. It is the choice to take those daunting actions that will forever solidify the nature of your character, your own self-acceptance and self-respect. The unknown crossroads we all encounter bring forth life lessons that pave the way for our future, our happiness and fulfillment. They literally present us with turning points to choose from; and the ultimate decision of which path to take will contribute to what your life will be, and will have been. Those actions will also formulate the answer to the question, “What will you be remembered for?”

The behavioral attribute and resource to harness the strength to be decisive, and eventually persevere through uncertainty is individual resilience. It will triumph over self-doubt, failure and a lack of self-respect. Resilience is defined as, “able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions”, “able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching or being compressed”. It is resilience that fuels perseverance, accelerating the journey to success. A solid level of resilience rests in the core values you believe in, but most importantly it is acting on and living a life reflective of those core values. Acting on your core values resiliently promotes every other characteristic of success, including integrity, personal honesty, accountability, self-respect, attitude, professionalism, humility, and empathy to name a few. A saying attributed to the Chinese Philosopher Chuang Tzu states, “Heaven is internal, humanity external and virtue comes from the heavenly. Know heaven and humanity’s actions, root yourself in heaven and follow virtue. Then you can bend, stretch, rush forward or hold back, because you will always return to the core and it will be said you have achieved the supreme.”

Recognizing the interdependency of the many principles of success resulting from your resiliency will provide you with a blueprint for self-understanding and achievement. You are the architect of your life’s design, and the construction manager of its progress. The rewards to being resilient include learning from the struggle, adding a new life experience, reflecting with a different perspective and gaining a greater appreciation for what you do have, rather than want you don’t have. The birth of resilient behavior stems from our upbringing, and the parental and environmental influences we experienced. It is widely accepted that growing up around resilient individuals strengthens resiliency in ourselves. What is most important to know at present is we all have the ability to be resilient by practicing the core values we believe in. It is bouncing back from failure and disappointment that puts the spring in our step because it provides self-confidence to carry on.

“The American Psychological Association suggests “10 Ways to Build Resilience” are: * maintaining good relationships with close family members, friends and others * to avoid seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems * to accept circumstances that cannot be changed * to develop realistic goals and move towards them * to take decisive action in adverse situations * to look for opportunities of self-discovery after a struggle with loss * developing self-confidence * to keep a long-term perspective and consider the stressful events in a broader context * to maintain a hopeful outlook, expecting good things and visualizing what is wished * to take care of one’s mind and body, exercising regularly, paying attention to one’s own needs and feelings and engaging in relaxing activities that one enjoys. Learning from the past and maintaining flexibility and balance in life are also cited.” What is most important is to believe that you have the ability to be resilient, and to pursue the dreams you wish for. I genuinely believe we want to be the best we can be in all facets of our lives. We have all made mistake and we will make others along our life’s journey, but as Friedrich Nietzsche so simply stated, “That which does not destroy, strengthens.”, enjoy the strength in being you.



2 Responses to Resilience: Time to Toughen Up


1. Susannah Says:

Extremely helpful article, plsaee write more.



2. Tanya Says:

It is interesting. I think when younegr I was compelled to succeed in spite of the poor hand dealt me. That was success in work, school and building a home that my children could be proud of. However, I think that was only outward resilience and a good life' in the sense that everyone would see that in spite of the difficult beginnings I was able to create success in my life. However, now I think of resilience quite differently in terms of inward resilience and being able to identify and live with good people who contribute to an inner good life, better known as happiness. I am a much happier person now and that feels much more like true resilience than a successful outer life ever did.Do the studies on resilience differentiate between inner & out life resilience?


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