True Resilience is Different

I’ve been a collector of quotes for a long time and a few of my friends share good ones with me because they know I appreciate them.  Over the holiday a friend shared a quote with me that really hit home and has been on my mind for the last few days so I thought I’d share it with you.  The quote comes from a book called Unbound by Steph Jagger. It is a memoir that I’ve yet to read but if this quote is any hint as to her writing then I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy the book too.

“Strength isn’t necessarily defined as our ability to get up when we’re knocked down. Nor is resilience found in our ability to continue getting up – over and over again.  That’s just sheer willpower; that’s called being stubborn as ****.  True resilience is different. True resilience is found in our ability to get up, to create space for a message we may not want to hear, to listen like we’ve never listened before, and then act on that message – even if that means changing the way we’ve been hurtling down our path in life for decades.”

The part of this quote that speaks to me the most is Jagger’s definition of true resilience.  The idea of creating space for a message we may not want to hear is very challenging for most people but it can be truly transformative when we do it.  Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable enough to hearing something that may be tough to swallow takes confidence and courage.  To be truly resilient we need to not only get back up, but we have to be willing to hear feedback about what caused us to be knocked down in the first place.    

Similarly, the act of listening is challenging to many people as well.  It is not a natural skill for most people and it is something that takes practice, conscious practice.  We should all aim to, as Jagger puts it, “listen like we’ve never listened before” on a regular basis.  I don’t think that what she’s suggesting is something that you can do constantly, it is something that takes an extra, conscious effort.  Listening is a skill to practice and continue improving through time, without that skill you can never complete the process of becoming truly resilient.

The final piece of Jagger’s definition can’t be achieved without the first two pieces, being open to feedback and being able to listen well enough to hear it.  Jagger’s definition of true resilience concludes with being able to act on the message you received in the first two steps.  That action, however, may not be very easy.  She acknowledges this in the final part of that quote; sometimes the things we need to change are things that are very deeply rooted in who we are…change on that level is darn near impossible for most people.

Regardless of how difficult change may be for anyone, if they’re open to hearing challenging feedback and if they can truly listen like they’ve never listened before, then I believe that anyone  has it in them to pursue the necessary changes they may identify within themself after completing those first two steps.  

You’re all strong.  You all have a tremendous amount of willpower and the ability to continue to get back up.  Are you already or what would it take for you to be, as Steph Jagger defines it, truly resilient?

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