Why We Need Everyday Emotional Resilience

Written by on April 1, 2014 in Accountability, Confidence with 7 Comments

Everyday Resilience

How do you handle change? When things go wrong in your life do you tend to find yourself stuck in victim mode thinking “Just my luck!” or wondering why “these things” always seem to happen to you? Do you struggle to take action for fear of making the wrong decision? Or are you able to quickly recover and move on with your life?

Can you look back at the changes you’ve experienced and the obstacles you’ve overcome and easily point to the lessons you’ve learned and ways in which you’ve grown stronger through these experiences?

I gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which I must stop and look fear in the face … I say to myself, I’ve lived through this and can take the next thing that comes along. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

The Nature of EVERYDAY Resilience

Run a quick online search for the term “emotional resilience” and you’ll be presented with a couple of hundred thousand titles, most of which describe resilience as the ability to recover from a crisis situation. To be fair, this is understandable because the early research on resilience was focused almost exclusively on childhood trauma and recovery from crisis situations.

But the studies did not end there, in fact, they’ve been ongoing for nearly four decades now and researchers have continued to broaden their focus. Today we recognize that resilience is as much about prevention as overcoming adversity.

Highly resilient individuals tend to be healthier and live longer, are more successful in school and work, are happier in relationships and are less prone to depression.

Resilience isn’t like an umbrella to be stored away for a rainy day. It serves to reduce stress, strengthen relationships and greatly enhance the quality of everyday life. ~Marquita Herald

We live in a world that is filled with endless stressors, unrealistic deadlines at work, caring for children, commitment overload, striving to achieve goals, health issues and demanding relationships.

Add to this the occasional unexpected and often jarring events such as the passing of a loved one, loss of a job or important relationship, and even joyous occasions such as marriage and pregnancy are often rife with challenges and turmoil.

These stressors are capable of creating a flood of powerfully negative emotions which may include anger, anxiety, and depression. Without effective coping skills, we risk remaining trapped in these negative emotions long after the events that have caused them have passed.

Let’s take a moment to review some of the skills, habits, and behaviors often associated with highly resilient individuals.

  • Confident decision-making and problem-solving skills.
  • Realistically optimistic and able to manage attitudes.
  • Driven to cultivate and expand self-awareness.
  • Able to understand and effectively manage emotions.
  • Strategically developing a reliable support system.
  • Committed to self-care to maintain physical and emotional health.
  • Able to see opportunities for growth in change and life transitions.
  • Capable of finding strength through a sense of purpose.
  • Accept full responsibility for the quality of their life circumstances.

It’s not uncommon to feel a bit overwhelmed when considering the scope of these traits, therefore it’s important to emphasize that you are already resilient, probably more than you realize. For most people, there will be certain areas that need attention while others are fine as they are.

But only you can know which areas need attention, and that’s where self-awareness and the willingness to own your life come into play.

Admittedly, the notion of taking full responsibility for the quality of one’s circumstances may be a tough one for some people to accept. After all, it does somewhat bump up against the reality that there are things that we have no control over.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that we do have control over our own choices and behavior and that includes the way in which we respond to life’s challenges. Whether you accept the role of victim or victor is entirely up to you.

What this means is that not only your growth but the willpower and motivation to do the work to achieve your goals is an inside job. In fact, taking responsibility for your life is the key to everything you are happy with and everything you are not happy with.

Why We Resist

The reality is, regardless of the potential benefits of cultivating resilience, most people choose a wait-and-see attitude, assuming that when (and if) the need ever arises they’ll easily be able to muster the internal resources required to overcome their challenges.

Sometimes this is true, and sometimes we find ourselves either stalled in victim mode or feeling adrift in the fast moving river of life without a paddle.

And of course, there are those who insist that resilience is just another self-help “buzz” word and this thing we call inner strength is an inherent trait – either you have it or you don’t.

While it is true that some people naturally have a greater capacity for resilience than others, there is a mountain of well-documented research affirming that anyone can intentionally strengthen their capacity for emotional resilience – if they are willing to make the effort.

And for the record, I’m living proof of how we can overcome everything from growing up in a highly dysfunctional family to extremely limiting beliefs and even traumatic experiences to achieve a much stronger and joyful quality of life!

The bottom line …

Emotional resilience isn’t a quick fix, it’s a lifestyle choice that requires a fair amount of internal work; the willingness to get to know who you really are, your strengths as well as your weaknesses, and be honest with yourself about what matters most to you.

But if there is a single key to successfully creating meaningful life change it is the strength of belief … belief in yourself, in your ability to make the right decisions, and above all, the unwavering belief that you deserve to have the life you desire.

Cultivating the habits and behaviors of resilience, especially the ability to see the opportunities in demanding situations, enables you to learn from your experiences and grow stronger – not in spite of the challenges, but as a result of the way you responded to them.

This is that empowering sense of control over our own lives that we all long for!

Related Articles:
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.


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  1. Pete Zafra

    Resilience, the word alone is pretty amazing. Add with our emotions, golden! You did an amazing job on this post. Thank you very much for sharing this. I had a great time reading it. Keep it up!
    Pete Zafra recently posted…William Kamkwamba’s Life Story: From Extreme Poverty to Changing LivesMy Profile

    • Thanks for your kind words Pete, very much appreciated. Great post by the way on William Kamkwamba, an inspiring young man and certainly a powerful example of someone who is highly resilient.

  2. Hi Marquita,

    I think of emotional resilience as being able to being able to adapt to stressful situations–bouncing back up when we are knocked down. I like the idea of bending but not breaking. It seems that it is the minor day-to-day hassles that wear us down and are most damaging. It seems that we build our resilience by practicing with the daily hassles and then we get to the point where we deal more effectively with life’s more stressful situations or catastrophes.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted…How to Uncover Your Core ValuesMy Profile

  3. donna merrill says:

    Hi Marty,

    Emotional Resistance to me is a learned behavior. Although Emotional Resistance is up to a single individual, if that individual keeps slipping down and accepts a non resistant lifestyle, sounds like your book is tailor made for them.

    I’ve experience many people who will hold on to things and not rise above. Some just don’t know how to do it and yet sometimes something as simple as a story about someone who has risen above their circumstances alone can spark a light bulb above their head to summon up the strength to learn how!

    As always, thank you for the insights!

    donna merrill recently posted…Why Updating Your Blog Is ImportantMy Profile

  4. Hi Marquita,

    This is a very convincing post! You are so right, emotionally resilient people have immense belief in themselves, that is why they never give-up…they possess the invincible power to persevere, that is why they have the strength to continue despite all odds.

    Balroop Singh recently posted…How Influencers throw their Nets!My Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Hi Balroop, thanks so much for contributing to the conversation. I’m glad you found value in the post and you are right that building capacity for resilience takes time, and self awareness. It’s about becoming clear about what matters most, having a purpose larger than self, a sense of humor and self nurturing are all important elements of cultivating emotional resilience. 🙂

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