Recently I was invited to the University of West London to talk to Level 4 Social Work students. The topic of discussion was resilience. What and how is it developed. As I listened to the lecturer talk about this subject, I realised on a deeper level that adversity has strengthened me.
Resilience basically means the ‘courage’ to bounce back. I have had to bounce back from many challenging situations during my life. At the time I was going through them, I felt so weak. I did not believe that I had the strength to make it through all the challenges I faced. Childhood sexual abuse, depression for over twenty years, estrangement from a child. My recent challenges as an entrepreneur and the biggest challenge of all: learning to accept me.
I liken resilience to building up muscles. The tests and trials of life were the weights. As I overcame each situation, I became stronger. Instead of buckling under the pain and pressure of life, I found a way to navigate through it. Tears became my alley as they provided relief. Even though at the time when I was suffering, I hated the things I went through, adversity helped me become the key to the woman I am today.
Some key things that helped me develop resilience. Therapy, support, exposing myself to new and different experiences. And, of course, my faith in God and prayer.
I learned that how I viewed my life would hinder or empower me. At first, I admit I allowed my pain to influence me negatively. But I discovered how to use it as my fuel. I wrote books, talks, and a range of other things to help and empower others. If I was not resilient, I could not have used those bad things for good.
As this year ends, I want to tell you that you are stronger than you think. You also dared to bounce back. You are here living your life despite your childhood experiences and the challenges you have faced. This says a lot about you. You may feel weak at times yet, you carry on. I want to applaud you for your resilience. When memories try to remind you of your vulnerability, remember to look at the evidence of your strength.
Wishing you a lovely Christmas.