It’s not a term that we think about often, but bringing your awareness to tenacity and resilience can be a helpful exercise during periods of ongoing stress and fatigue.
Family House board member and military chaplain and social worker Dr. Will Barnes shares what it means to have tenacity and resilience to make it through even the most difficult of circumstances.
LIFE IS INEVITABLE…
It’s human nature to resist change—particularly when it comes in the form of adversity or challenge, and we feel the effects of stress weighing us down. It’s like lugging a backpack that becomes heavier by the minute.
Resilient persons face their fears and have an adaptive attitude that allows them to focus on possibilities even in the worst of times. The tougher the situation, the tougher they become and keep evolving. One knows that life is not what happens to us but what happens within us.
Life can be overwhelming at times, relationships stressed, and one just wants to give up and quit. Crisis requires us to stay in the moment, forget the past, and try not to predict the future. We understand that failure is not failing but refusing to give up.
We know that all of our families and patients that come to the SECU Family House for assistance, support, compassion, and community bring tremendous heaviness, fear, challenges, and unpredictable medical outcomes. We work diligently to make a difference in their lives and their situations as we provide services to them along their journey.
CHALLENGES ARE REAL…
Resilient people view difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. Staying tough is the biggest challenge in our lives. They never think of themselves as victims – they focus their time and energy on changing the things over which they have control.
They remind themselves that much of what they’re facing is temporary and that they’ve overcome setbacks before and can do it again.
People who face their fears and have an adaptive attitude can focus on possibilities even in the worst of times. The tougher the situation, the tougher they become.
Life does not get easier or more forgiving, but evolution allows them to get stronger and more determined. Again, they know that life is not what happens to us but what happens within us.
They keep growing.
STAYING CONNECTED and FLEXIBLE…
One of the great principles of being resilient is being connected to others. Relationships that provide support and care are one of the primary factors in resilience. Having a number of these relationships, both within and outside the family, that offer love, encouragement and reassurance can build and support resilience by developing new friendships.
This is one of the great benefits and the mission of the Family House because it builds community, creates relationships, expands support resources and hopefulness to endure the journey of health and sickness.
Life’s journey is a continuation of relationships, endings and new possibilities, and constant evolution! We’re all relational creatures and our world is full of relationships.
LIFE HAS MEANING and PURPOSE…
I’m sure you have heard from others, friends, and family…that “every day is a GIFT!” As young kids we may remember our parents saying to us in the midst of a crisis, “pick yourself up as many times it takes, because life isn’t always fair and right.”
When we can see crises not as insurmountable problems but a fact of life then we have the possibilities of facing the crisis, finding our inner strength and our courage to get through to the other side.
A resilient spirit helps us search for meaning. We develop a “personal why” that helps us have a clearer sense of purpose, which helps us view setbacks from a broader perspective. It takes resilience to make it through the tough times.
It requires that we pay attention to the complexities of our own experiences, listen to our emotions and be willing to learn from our disappointments and failures as we find meaning and purpose in our journey.
One of my favorite words in the English language is the word TENACITY.
The dictionary gives us a laundry list of words that characterizes TENACITY and you and I have these resources in our toolbox of life:
STAYING WITH IT