Creating Your Path to Resilient Living

Creating Your Path to Resilient Living

Close your eyes and imagine a path that leads to achieving something important to you, maybe finding your purpose, love, and happiness, or even the path to resilient living.

Chances are the image you conjured up is of a relatively straightforward road or a trail through a lovely forest or even along a seashore.

While it does the job of providing a visual image of the concept, it represents one of the biggest misconceptions about following a path to achieve anything in life: that there is a right path and you’ll know when you find it because it will be clearly defined, straightforward, and unobstructed.

This false expectation has caused far too many people to search endlessly for the path, but when the journey proves to take longer than expected, or they hit too many obstacles, they conclude they must be on the wrong path and off they go to start the search all over again.

Your personality, thoughts, feelings and life experiences are different from those of others, and theirs from yours, so it stands to reason that the path to improve or change your life in whatever way you choose would also be uniquely your own.

The point is, there is no one right path. There isn’t even a wrong path.

There is only your path.

Begin by Redefining Your Concept of Resilience

My mission for ERL goes well beyond providing basic information and resources to help you increase your capacity for emotional resilience.

I am here to challenge you to shift your perspective from the familiar image of “bouncing back”, to resilience as an empowering force for growing forward through all of your life experiences.

This may seem like just wordplay but it’s far more important than you might imagine.

Bouncing back focuses on recovery and returning to former circumstances, and while the idea of that may be comforting, it is also limiting and in many cases downright impossible.

Highly resilient people are intentional about the way in which they go about dealing with problems, and an important part of that is being open to finding opportunities for growth in all of their experiences.

• The recently divorced can never go back to the way things were, but with the right attitude, they can learn from the experience in order to create a better future.

• When someone experiences a major health scare, possibly involving some hospital time, they can never go back to being the person they were before the event because even if they fully recover, they have changed emotionally and intellectually as a result of the experience.

• If you lose your job, short-term you might bounce back by finding another job, but why not strive to bounce forward by looking for opportunities to learn new skills to find an even better position with more growth potential?

To provide further clarity about the true nature of resilience, I think it would be helpful to shed light on the most common misconceptions.

Resilience: Myth vs. Reality

It’s Just More Positive Thinking Nonsense

It’s fair to say that positive psychology is not accepted by everyone, in fact, some consider it to be outright nonsense.

But like most things in life, there are extremes and for critics, there is a tendency to define positivity as looking through the proverbial rose-colored glasses. If you just think enough good thoughts then everything will be alright.

While it is true that resilient people expect positive outcomes, they also understand that achieving those results will require effort on their part … sometimes a tremendous effort.

More importantly, they believe that regardless of the way things work out, they will rise above the challenge and will be okay.

Either You Have It or You Don’t

We are all born with some measure of psychological resilience, as well as the ability to increase our capacity over time, to what extent naturally depends on commitment and effort.

But it’s important to understand that the opposite is also true, our level of resilience can decline over time if we fail to use it by effectively managing life’s stressors and challenging ourselves on a regular basis.

It’s Preparing for a Crisis That May Never Happen

Why waste time attempting to build your capacity any further when (with a little luck) you may never need any more than you already have, right?

The reality is that life is filled with stress and strains of all shapes and sizes; commitment overload, demanding relationships, loss of a job, divorce, or financial problems just to name a few.

You can either choose to face these experiences hoping for the best, or you can make a conscious choice to claim it all with a solution-focused perspective and enjoy greater peace of mind, confidence, and success.

Resilient People Experience Fewer Problems

Highly resilient people experience problems just like everyone else it’s just that they appear less affected because they choose not to be defined by circumstances.

They are able to transcend the pitfalls of stress, uncertainty, and negativity because they believe in their ability to forge their own path through life’s challenges, embracing the lessons and viewing hard times for what they are … temporary.

Adversity Makes People Stronger

It is not difficult to find stories of people who have experienced positive change in their lives after recovering from a crisis, a process called posttraumatic growth, but this type of growth does not come about as a result of adversity but is the result of how one chooses to respond to the experience.

It’s About Being Tough

The word “tough” is commonly used in definitions of resilience, but this implies resilience is all about manning up when it’s much more about self-determination, discipline and the ability to adapt.

It’s You Against The World

An important but often overlooked resiliency building block is cultivating a healthy support system.

In fact, having a strong support system can actually make you better able to cope with problems on your own, by improving your confidence and sense of self-empowerment.

Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the actions you take. You are the architect and builder of your own life, fortune, and destiny. 

Resilient Living is a Lifestyle Choice

Resilient living is about so much more than having the ability to recover from adversity, in every way that matters it is a lifestyle choice that means becoming the master of your own life.

The good news is you already have everything you need to become more resilient in life because we are each born with some degree of emotional and physical resilience. How much depends on many things that naturally contribute to personality development, such as heredity, environment, and social factors.

The important point is that regardless of your current level of resilience, your capacity for resilience can be increased by cultivating a balance between rational abilities and emotional characteristics.

Following is an illustration of the key traits contributing to the development of resilience.


ERL Reference Library - Key Components for Resilience


A Pathfinder believes in the power of authenticity, and self-determination. They are focused and resilient and refuse to be defined by circumstances or the whims of others. They trust in their ability to rise above obstacles and turn dreams into reality.

Is Creating Your Own Life Path For You?

Creating your own life path isn’t for everyone, but anyone can do it if they are willing to make the effort.

It begins by creating a compelling vision for life. This gives you direction, serves as your anchor during tough times, and serves as motivation.

Once you are clear about the life you desire to create for yourself, it’s time to build an unshakable foundation, and that begins by clarifying your values, clearing the emotional clutter, and being honest about where you are right now.

Do you believe you have the power and authority to direct the course of your life, or that you are at the mercy of whatever fate sends your way?

How do you respond to adversity? Are you ruled by your emotions? Does your stress level skyrocket when faced with unexpected change? Do you ignore problems in the hope that somehow they will fix themselves or simply disappear?

Or are you willing to take responsibility for your life by embracing the power within you to face your challenges head-on and become the pathfinder in your own life journey?

There are over 300 articles here at Emotionally Resilient Living dedicated to helping you define and create your own life path and you can browse them all by title, date or category in the article Collections. I’ve listed a few below to help you get started.

Related reading:


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