Cultivating Resilience Without Becoming a Hermit

If you’ve been following my journey through the habits supremely happy people have, you know that the results haven’t been what I expected them to be. And all of the habits thus far require conscientious effort and constant diligence. But this time around, I finally found a habit that I already possess and practice daily: Resilience.

Resilience is all I’ve ever known. I picked it up from my mom. I’m not ready to write my memoir on this blog, so I’ll sum it up this way: If asked to describe the soundtrack to my life, I’d say an air-raid siren. Lurching from one emergency to the next, I’ve rarely had moments of peace in my life that lasted longer than six months. Sometimes the emergency is of my own making; other times it’s as if the universe has conspired to place the worst human on earth in my path. But that’s neither here nor there.

What I’ve learned is that it’s important to put one foot in front of the other, even if–especially if–you don’t yet know where you’re going. What I’m still learning is that regret is akin to a slow-working poison: it may not kill you instantly, but it’ll definitely get you in the end, and it will make you miserable in the meantime.

I’m also wary of the Simon & Garfunkel syndrome–I am a rock, I am an island… And an island feels no pain. Some people are resilient because they build an impenetrable fortress around themselves. Effective, but very lonely.

simon and garfunkel

Hey girl hey. I’ve got my poetry to protect me.

The reverse scares the bejeezus out of me… I don’t ever want to be that person who weeps at inappropriate times for no apparent reason or unloads their life story on a virtual stranger. I suspect that people who do this are either (a) insane, (b) drunk, (c) pregnant, or (d) trying to be resilient by holding it together but failing miserably.

Instead, I try to learn from my mistakes, my failures. I try to forgive others when they make mistakes or fail. And I try to make choices that lead me to a happier life, not towards chaos and despair. Note: I try to do these things. I’m not always successful. But overall, this is how I cultivate resilience.

Now onto the next habit: Trying to be happy. 

Photo credit: Old Sweet Song

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