In the midst of winter,
I finally learned
there was in me
an invincible summer.
Last weekend I went up to Vancouver B.C. with three good friends. We traveled up there to walk in a 1/2 marathon, but as you might imagine that was only an excuse to have a weekend away in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We had deep (and sometimes not so deep) conversations, lots of laughter, great food and most of all the wonderful camaraderie that comes with friends who have known each other for a long time.
In one of our many conversations, we touched upon the resiliency of the human spirit. This came up when one of my friends mentioned she knows someone who has lost both a husband and a son, and yet continues to have an amazing outlook and perspective on life. She sounds like she's an inspiration to all who meet her.
So I've been mulling this over today. What is it that allows one to continue on in the face of heart-breaking loss? How does someone manage to get through a life-changing incident (divorce, loss of job, illness, death of spouse, or the death of a child) and still continue to find meaning and purpose in one's life? What makes humans so resilient?
As I was thinking this over, it reminded me of the PBS show-This Emotional Life. I watched this when it first premiered in January 2010 and remembered that it wove together people's personal stories with the latest scientific facts on topics like depression, happiness and resiliency. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. So I looked it up on the PBS website and found this little gem about resiliency:
Factors that contribute to resilience include:
· Close relationships with family and friends
· A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities
· The ability to manage strong feelings and impulses
· Good problem-solving and communication skills
· Feeling in control
· Seeking help and resources
· Seeing yourself as resilient (rather than as a victim)
· Coping with stress in healthy ways and avoiding harmful coping strategies, such as substance abuse
· Helping others
· Finding positive meaning in your life despite difficult or traumatic events
Any one of these bulleted points could be a blog post in and of itself (and perhaps will be). For me, I think that all of these have helped in varying degrees over the last 18 months. Certainly having strong relationships with others has to be number one on my list.
During the past 18 months I have met people who have weathered life's most difficult and profound losses. I am in awe of them and find their stories to be incredibly inspiring. I hope to share some of their stories of resiliency on Grief & Gratitude. So stay tuned!
|B.C. Buddies-Elizabeth, Linda and Nancy