3 Things Highly Resilient People Don’t Do
Life isn’t fair. We all know it. Bad things happen to good people. Every single time I speak and share my story, at least one person comes up to me afterward and says, “Me too.” I’m not the only person to have ever faced adversity in life. I’m not the only one who has asked God “Why me?” It’s not a matter of “if” life will get difficult at times, it’s a matter of “when.” Certainly, there are many different degrees of adversity in life. I know what happened to me isn’t the worst thing that could have happened to me. I know there are others who have experienced far worse things than I have.
Not everyone is successful at being resilient. It’s not an easy thing to do. Learning to heal when you’ve been broken or live free when you’ve been bound is so very simple to say and so very difficult to do. Sometimes it seems too difficult. The temptation to quit teases us and we just want to give up rather than put the effort into being resilient. Believe me, I know. Of course, well meant but useless advice is everywhere. “Just practice gratitude,” sounds nice when life is Facebook picture perfect but what if you don’t feel grateful? What if you aren’t grateful? What if you don’t have much to be grateful for?
Being resilient is a choice. It’s not an easy choice, but it is a choice. It’s one of those choices you make and then have to practice it every day. No one accidentally became resilient, just like no one ever accidentally got in shape. I won’t pretend it’s easy. There are days when I have to work very hard to be resilient. It’s not easy. But, it can be done. How? We must practice the habits of resilient people. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but here are 3 things highly resilient people don’t do:
1) Don’t Feel Sorry For Themselves.
When we are feeling sorry for ourselves, we are focusing only on the problem instead of looking for a solution. This kind of thinking keeps you from moving forward. When you are having your own personal pity party, you won’t be able to see the opportunities. We see what we look for. Have you ever bought a new car and suddenly, every third car on the highway is the same one you bought? Or, have you ever bought a new purse and suddenly four other women at the PTA meeting have the exact same purse? It’s not that there are suddenly more cars or purses out there – it’s that you are simply focused on seeing them now. So, stop looking for more opportunities to feel sorry for yourself.
2) Don’t Blame Others
There are very few things in life that we “have to” do. There are many things that we choose to do because we don’t like the consequences of not doing them. No one “has to” go to work on Monday morning, but there will be consequences if you don’t show up as scheduled. If you don’t like the consequences, you will set that alarm clock and drink a large coffee on your way to work. You don’t “have to” clean house this week (or pay someone else to do it), but the consequences of not doing so are dirty clothes, dirty dishes and dirty toilets. Ewww.
3) Don’t Remain Negative
Fact: life is tough. “Luck” has nothing to do with it. There will be bad days, bad weeks, or maybe bad years. (Think about the Biblical story of Job!) It doesn’t matter what you are going through. You can choose to be positive or you can choose to be negative. Period. None of us get this 100% right all the time but highly resilient people won’t stay negative. Ironically, the more you choose to be positive, the easier it gets. I feel negative thoughts creep in sometimes but I’ve learned to turn them off by focusing on something positive.
I found myself in a long line at the store one day this week. Pressed for time, with much to do still on my list for the day, I confess that my first thought wasn’t “How wonderful to have 20 uninterrupted minutes to stand in line!”
“They should hire more staff to run cash registers,” was the thought that flitted across my brain. But, complaining wouldn’t help and I wasn’t going to remain negative. “Flip the switch,” I told myself. “What’s the positive way to look at this?” I had 20 minutes to catch up on email. I also had 20 minutes to practice being positive about it, instead of staying negative. Simple? Sure. Easy? No. But, it can be done.
Like many, resilience and leadership author Ria Story faced adversity in life. She was sexually abused by her father from age 12 – 19. Forced to play the role of a wife and even shared with other men due to her father’s perversions, she was desperate to escape and left home at 19 without a job, car, or even a high school diploma.
Unlike many, she learned to be resilient, and turned her life around, not only surviving but thriving, in spite of the overwhelming circumstances of her youth. Ria speaks on resilience and leadership skills, balancing humor and a down-to-earth style to inspire, engage and empower audiences at conferences, events, retreats and more.