When hard things happen—and let’s be honest, they happen to everyone nearly every day!—learning to bounce back is key to happiness!
I’d been married 25 years when I discovered my husband was not who I thought he was. As my heart shattered into a thousand shards on the kitchen floor, tears puddling around them, my husband simply walked away, taking all financial support with him. I had trained and worked for 25 years to be a homemaker, a wife and a mother. Suddenly I was thrust into the male-dominated world of resumes, business suits and networking. I was struggling to survive in a foreign environment at the very moment that my identity was swept away in shame of betrayal and overwhelming questions of self-worth.
Thankfully, not all the hard things we face in life are this dramatic. As I have bounced back (after taking some time to recover), I’ve pulled wisdom from a variety of sources on how to become resilient in the face of all kinds of hard things.
Now, eight years after my ex was arrested, I have my first college degree and am half way through my graduate degree! I am more happy and alive than ever and I am not only surviving, I am thriving. I have learned a few keys to resilience that apply to everything from bad divorces to bad days.
1. Let yourself grieve. You can’t begin to recover until you take full stock of where you are and how bad it hurts. You don’t need to wallow in the pain, but you do need to admit that it’s real and let yourself feel the hurt. Kind of like looking at a scraped knee before you clean it and get it ready for healing, the first step is letting yourself see how bad it is.
2. Remember this is about you. It’s not about whoever hurt you. Whether he (or she) is sorry or not, whether he even admits he hurt you isn’t what matters. You are what matters. Take care of yourself and let God take care of the rest.
3. Claim your story. It may be messy and crazy and may look like all hell broke loose—but it’s yours! Own it! Embrace it! Love it. This leads to loving yourself. <3
4. Trust yourself. Learn to listen to that little voice in your head, to your gut instinct. More often than not, you know what’s right or wrong. Believe in your own ability to know which is which and act on your gut feelings. When your heart tells you something you mind doesn’t know, take action.
5. Check the facts on other’s judgment. As humans we have a tendency to assume other people are thinking the worst of us, when in reality they’re not thinking anything of the sort. This is one area where it’s better to check the facts rather than go with your first impression. A simple question, “Are you mad at me about this?” or “Did I just make fool of myself?” gives you a chance to talk—a much harder but in the end happier option than hiding or taking offense.
6. Pray. Spending a few minutes each day quietly sharing your thoughts with God and listening for the ideas He puts in your mind and heart will bring peace and self-confidence like nothing else. As with your gut instincts, act on the impressions you receive.
7. Do hard things. Getting knocked on your butt is hard. Getting back up can feel even harder. As soon as you make yourself do one hard thing, you realize you are stronger than you thought you were. Doing even just one hard thing a day allows you to take back control of your life and prove to yourself that whatever happens, you will rise above it.