What is at the core of being resilient?

Just bounce back…

That’s the standard for assessing someone’s resiliency to set backs, stress and upsets.

It’s not a bad thing to be able to bounce back…but how many times do we bounce back before we feel bruised and exhausted? Resiliency is a concept thrown around as a sort of cure-all for any kind of stress or problems.  Pick your self up and try again,

Well we all know that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of craziness.

When stressors are systemic in nature, it’s easy to give the advice “just be resilient”. It takes responsibility away from the organization to create meaningful change. It’s easier to just blame teachers rather than look at the dysfunctional practices in school boards that impact teachers in negative ways that they have little control over.

Even on a personal level…when we just ‘bounce back’ after stressful events with the expectation to put on our positive face and cheerful nature and keep going we are denying ourselves the gift of healing. Positivity is positive until it’s not. When it masks deeper issues that hurt and need resolution, positivity becomes a negative force.

My idea of resilience is a bit different. After a set-back, it’s good to take a step-back. Step back and assess how you’re feeling, how you got there, what you need and what needs to be different going forward so you don’t end up in the same place a few months down the line.

Giving ourselves the gift of time, love and compassion to do some healing work  – we elevate to a new depth of understanding and development of self. We don’t bounce back.  We rise.

But what does that really involve? It requires stepping into our authenticity.

Authenticity can be an over-used buzz word. But it’s actually very meaningful and helpful in countering stress and burnout. Being authentic means being you. But for many of us being “you” is sometimes fraught with so many expectations, assumptions, obligations to others’ needs and wants – we don’t actually know where we stand with ourselves.

To really be authentic we have to get in deep touch with our life. What we want. What we don’t want. What is meaningful and valuable to us. What makes us come alive. And what does the opposite.

The path to authenticity is really a rather austere one – the stripping down of everything that is not you, doesn’t work for you, doesn’t represent you, doesn’t value you, doesn’t serve you – to reveal what at the core you really are. And from there what you want and need.

When we are clear on that – our priorities crystallize – and it is so much easier to manage our time and our tasks – and put value on feeling good, well and happy rather than making choices that set us up for feeling burned out and unhappy. It doesn’t just make us happier – it makes those around us – family, friends, colleagues, students – happier too.

You are not meant to be burned out.

Your authentic self would not stand for it.

The healing journey is about saying yes to your authentic self.

Saying yes to your authentic self is the core of self-care. The purpose of self care isn’t treats and luxuries (though those can be nice!) The purpose of self care is to pay attention to and respond to our needs. Not our need for chocolate, or a massage or a workout (though there’s nothing wrong with those things!)

But our deep needs. Our need for respect. Our need for time to reflect. Our need for feeling valued. Our need to feel good about ourselves and our lives.

The needs that self care should concern itself with are those needs that often go unmet. Our deep inner needs that are neglected, put off, suffer, endure.  When we identify what those core, often unmet, needs are – our whole approach to and prioritization of self-care changes.

Then it’s no longer an option.

It becomes a core practice in our resiliency to stress.