Resilience Equals Strength + Flexibility


Don’t get old. Seriously.

On a Saturday about six months ago I did a normal weekend 20-mile run. (I know - weird "normal".) That run had a lot of hills and I knew I would feel it later. Unfortunately, the “feeling” I got later didn’t leave. For the first time in my life I developed a soft tissue injury in my knee. A tendon or ligament had been aggravated and overused. I spent weeks setting up doctors appointments with various doctors and eventually ended up working with a physical therapist.

Each doctor and therapist would test both my strength and flexibility throughout different parts of my lower body to determine where the weakness originated. It is soooo helpful to have someone else help identify your weak points. This is why I love all the therapy - physical therapy, spiritual directors, psychologists, life coaching, whatever. 

The best part is that professionals don’t just point out your weakness and leave you to figure it out on your own; they help you get stronger. I specifically needed my knee to be resilient and hurry through the recovery process. Guess what? I haven’t been able to mentally will my knee to heal any faster than it is ready for. Although I’m impatient, I have learned so much about resilience during this season. 

  1. Resilience demands strength

I go to the gym and I do all the exercises the therapist assigned. I feel stronger which is fun because I don’t normally spend much time in the gym. As I got stronger, I was very aware that it wasn’t enough to focus on that single aspect of recovery. 

  2.   Resilience demands flexibility

Now that I was getting stronger, I had to remember to stretch and maintain flexibility. 

Resilience is having a balance of strength and flexibility. 

Resilience is revealed under pressure. 

That means it takes a challenging event, a tough situation, or a rough season to expose how resilient you are and teach you where you need to strengthen and where you need to stretch.

You face these all the time. You have relationships in your life. You have jobs. You have your own fears and growth to deal with.

Have you ever had a thought when you’re in the middle of something tough that you can’t handle it, you want out, or why is this happening to you?

Those are the moments that resilience is being both revealed and developed.

The next time you find yourself feeling like you’re about to break, lean into it. I know that sounds crazy, but whatever “it” is will not break you. It will shape you and become a part of your story for better or worse, but you can handle it.

A few tried and true practices for developing resilience:

  • Make sure you have someone to talk to. Get these things outside of your mind and heart.
  • Exercise. Get fresh air. Change your literal perspective.
  • Make an effort to do something kind for someone. Best way to elevate your mood.
  • Journal. Meditate. Find a practice that works for you.
  • Muscles tear before they get stronger. Each day that you feel torn or broken down, remember that you are getting stronger.

Think about a rubber band. Rubber bands are great because they stretch an insane amount from their original shape. If you stretch progressively, you can get them go a little further each time. Yet, rubber bands are strong. We use them to hold things together. They are amazing little tools.

Be a rubber band. Get strong, but always be willing and ready to stretch a bit.

Get out there, own your resilience and amplify your life!

Resources

Resilience: Eric Greitens

The Resilience Breakthrough

Game: Famous Failures