Yesterday on a podcast, I heard a line that I’m paraphrasing here: “The true sign of mastery over yourself is whether you can overcome discouragement.”
This strikes me as a very good definition for resilience, as well. The dictionary defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties”, and discouragement as “a loss of confidence or enthusiasm.” Put another way, discouragement happens when you face difficulties, and your resilience and mastery over yourself determine when and how quickly you’ll regain your faith and excitement after a disappointment. Our self-mastery and our resilience are linked.
When I think about what makes me resilient, I think first of my relationships. When something hard or disappointing happens, I am completely and utterly spoiled for people I can text or call or meet up with for support. I sometimes forget how lucky I am to have such deep friendships and such a strong network, and that not everyone is so lucky. It’s often in exactly those moments when I realize just how loved I really am.
I also think of my tools, the concepts and activities that I collect here on the blog and on the podcast. The reason I read so much and listen to podcasts so much and try to have deep conversations so much is that when I do, I usually glean a powerful insight or tool that will help me on this journey called life. All these tools and ideas build my resilience: they give me ways to cope with my discouragement, my doubts, my fatigue.
Discouragement is a part of life, but learning to feel it, process it, and metabolize it properly is how we overcome our doubts and push on towards our dreams and goals.
Brené Brown says it best:
“While vulnerability is the birthplace of many of the fulfilling experiences we long for — love, belonging, joy, creativity, and trust, to name a few — the process of regaining our emotional footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness in our lives; it’s the process that teaches us the most about who we are.“