What exactly is resilience? And why is it so important when we face change, adversity or any kind of challenging situation? Today we look at this important skill and how to grow it.

Being resilient doesn’t mean that we won’t experience difficulty or dis-stress, it’s not the absence of adversity or challenging moments. On the contrary, it is during those times we get to practice and grow our resilience – they provide the best opportunity to improve on it. Resilience speaks to the ability to “bounce back” and reflects a “begin mentality” after we experienced failure.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

~ Winston Churchill

3 Ways to Increase Your Resilience

1. Expect the Pain

When you anticipate that you will experience pain throughout your life, you will not be surprised when it happens, you won’t perceive it as “something is wrong” or personalize it. As we don’t share the experience of other people, we often fail to understand that what we encounter isn’t “personal” to us, that we aren’t alone with it, that what we are feeling is common. Instead, we often personalize it and have a much harder time letting go.

The moment we realize that suffering is simply part of our human existence, we feel less “broken”, “flawed”, “underserving” or “unlovable”. We get to move from seeing it as “my” experience to accepting it as “the” experience, and as a result, we can stop identifying with it, we get less “caught” by it, which in return allows us to easier let go of setbacks we encounter. The moment you are able to let go, you have grown your resilience.

2. Share your Pain

Don’t hide your pain, share your pain – not with everyone around you, but with close friends and people you can trust. If we hold our pain inside, it can easily turn into a “tornado” and eat us up. Not only does sharing our pain and struggles with others help us realize we aren’t alone with it, it also allows others to serve us and help us through a challenge. When we do this, we also give them permission to share their own pain and struggles, helping us getting present that we really are not alone with it. This leads back to the first point of resilience building.

 3. Get Present to What Serves You

When we hit a setback, it is easy to get caught up in thoughts that don’t serve us. Growing mindfulness is an important tool to discern whether our thinking is true or not, whether it’s serving us or not. Ask yourself: Are you getting caught up in victimhood? Are you wallowing in your misery? Are you beating yourself up? Are you too concerned with what other people may think of your failure? And is this helping you or not?

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought, without accepting it.

~ Aristotle

When we are courageous and actually face these challenging Last 8% moments, decisions and conversations in life head on instead of avoiding them, it is inevitable that we encounter setbacks. Often we think we need to be hard on ourselves in order to bounce back quicker, but this is usually not the best approach. Catch yourself in your thinking and ask yourself if those thoughts are true, if they are actually serving you.

From our research and years of experience in the field, we know: bringing tenderness, softness and forgiveness to yourself grows resilience in a much more effective way.