What an awesome word… Grit.
It means “courage and resolve; strength of character.” In my personal and professional experience Grit is an essential component of being resilient when “life happens.”
It takes courage to face those tough emotions. It takes courage to ask for help. It takes resolve to keep doing things that may feel hard in the moment, but you know that it is worth it in the long run. It takes strength of character to keep showing up.
Unfortunately, in this modern world where we throw words about like confetti. Words like “Resilience,” “Love,” “Honesty” have lost some of their power. Sometimes we can be careless with how we use our words (I am also speaking to myself here).
It’s because of this carelessness that some words are overused and have lost their power. We can also develop twisted ideas about what it means to be resilient. For example, every human and their dog had heard the word resilient being thrown about. “They’re really resilient”, “let’s build a resilient workplace”, “I want my kids to be resilient”… all really worthy intentions. But what do we mean?
In all of the places I have shared the message of building resilience many people think that it means coping with the worst and still being okay, it means your life may be falling apart and no one knows because on Facebook everything is sweet and there you are smiling away.
This is not how I define resilience, and this is where grit comes in. Being resilient is not easy, it is not romantic, and it may not be pretty at all. Sometimes it is how on earth can you drag yourself over the line today…
Being resilient does not mean that it’s “all good” and you smile your way through the troubles of life. You may, fantastic! But for many of us it is showing up, every day, not knowing what the outcome may be; but you are there ready to do what needs to be done. It may be being brave enough to try for another baby after losing one. It may be showing up in a loveless marriage and being willing to look for the best in your partner.
It may be waking up with a chronic illness every day, feeling like something the cat dragged in but getting on with life… despite it. It may be living with the fear of cancer returning. It may be loving and advocating for a child who is struggling with mental illness. Resilience has many faces and none of them are easy.
Resilience is a choice that we can all make we just need to know how to access our own unique strengths that fuel our ability to be resilient.
I met an amazing person recently on a trip to Adelaide, who had so much get up and go – to be honest I really struggled with being near them. Why? Well I live with chronic fatigue, which means that each day I feel like I am dragging myself through thick, unhelpful, heavy mud. Seeing someone with so much energy, zeal and buzz made me feel even worse. I take full responsibility for my unhelpful reaction.
I ended up speaking with this person and we got really honest with each other. They were saying how they never want to be idle; they can always do more and love the idea of taking on things on top of their already demanding job. I relayed how my experience had been completely the opposite – that I was like them before and ended up so exhausted and overwhelmed that I got sick.
They shared with me that as a child they were diagnosed with an incurable illness that meant they were not meant to even reach adulthood and as an adult they were now making the most of every opportunity and this was how they did it.
It made me stop in wonder that I found their approach so threatening to my own way of approaching life when all they were doing was making the most of every day in their own way because they may not be here tomorrow.
Instead of seeing how they do their life and telling myself I am not enough, I am not “doing” enough blah blah blah…… I was able to connect with them in an authentic and honest way and understand what it felt like to be in their shoes. WOW it stopped me in my tracks.
It showed me just how wrong we can be when we “assume” things about others. It also showed me the power of the story we tell ourselves. I saw this person and told myself, “slow down or you’ll end up like me” “I can’t cope with this person’s energy, just please stop” (all because I took it as a reflection on how much I wasn’t doing.)
You see in response to my adversity (illness) I have chosen to simplify and slow down. In response to their illness they are living on borrowed time and making the most of every opportunity.
Both people facing really difficult things…
Both responding in a way that worked for them…
I am so thankful that I took the time to ask this person about themselves, their life and their experience because I certainly did not expect their response. It made me realise that the story I was telling myself was not helpful for me at all and it helped me to appreciate this remarkable person so much more.
Resilience is a skill that all of us can build, if you would like to know more about how we can help you grow your resilience or would like to be kept update date with new online initiatives planned for 2020, then make sure you are subscribe to our email mailing list. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with a request for more information.
Grit shows up in many forms and is part of leading a resilient life. Like Gratitude, Grounding and Growth, these four aspects of Resilience are a choice. When life happens what will you choose?
Who is Kylie Warry?
Kylie is all about helping people to overcome barriers in their lives. She is a Consultant Rehabilitation Counsellor, Author and Trainer with a specific interest in resilience and improving communication.
Kylie graduated from the University of New England with an Honours degree Behavioural Science (1993), and a Post Graduate in Psychology (1995). She has been a practicing Rehabilitation Counsellor and Mental Health Clinician for more than 20 years
Kylie is passionate about the health benefits of work and truly believes that everyone has the right to meaningful and rewarding employment. She believes that with the right tools and supports we can all live our best life, regardless of our circumstances.
How to contact Kylie: