Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

There have been several recent studies showing that people who develop resilience live longer and healthier lives. But what does resilience mean? I see it as the ability to bounce back from adversity. This doesn’t mean ignoring bad things that happen. But since negative stuff happens to all of us, it’s good to be able to process it fast and get past it instead of wallowing in the negative feelings.

You can often hear how bouncy, or not bouncy, someone is from their tone of voice. I have a friend who always sounds like things are going wrong. Whenever I call him, right after we exchange greetings I ask him what’s wrong this time. Usually what’s going on is something small but he chooses to suffer from every little negative bit in his life. He tells his woes like a laundry list, yet he’s blessed beyond belief, making a very good income doing a job many would love to have. Instead of smiling about how good his life is, he moans about every little thing that’s not going right and drags it out instead of bouncing up from the mood.

Unfortunately, this is common. I had a friend years ago who always had a groan in her voice. It could be over a simple thing like needing to go through her pile of papers to find something. Just that, which would take ten minute, brought her down. I actually had to end our friendship as she brought me down too much. Everything that wasn’t exactly how she wanted it was treated like a tragedy.

People like the ones above suffer more than those of use who prefer to be bouncy. When they catch a cold, it’s a monumental sickness. And I’ve noticed that they get sick much more frequently than most people. I’ve tried to point that out but they don’t hear me. It’s as if they like wallowing in their misery, and maybe deep down they do. But it’s a very unhealthy way to live.

If you want to see resilience in action, go to a playground and watch kids in action. One minute they’re fighting over whose turn it is to hit the ball and the next they’re happily working together. I’ve watched in amazement as children fall down, cry hysterically and minutes later are back to running around. That’s resilience. Most of us start out able to bounce back from adversity but lose it as we grow up. Life can get to you IF you let it. That’s your choice but why choose to be unhappy?

Just like courage isn’t the absence of fear, resilience isn’t the absence of problems. Courageous people move on despite the fear. Resilient people bounce back from problems because they want to be happy and be in control of their lives, instead of letting circumstances control them. Resilient people succeed more long term. They can handle a crisis better by continuing to bounce back instead of letting the crisis stress them out for a long time. Studies show that resilience also keeps you healthier and helps you live longer. That’s sure better that feeling down!

So put a bounce in your step and learn from kids.  When something goes wrong, deal with it with a rationale mind instead of with your emotions. Do what you can to fix it and move on. When you bounce back quickly the problems don’t get embedded in your energy and stick around in negative emotions. It’s so much better to be healthy and happy. So get bouncing!

Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge–a pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts from 2012 HERE.

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