Qualities that help in a changing world

For some people the impact of hard times can be overwhelming. Recovery, if it comes at all, can be painfully slow. Others show resilience and are able to glide through these times fairly easily, bouncing back to a normal life again quickly. Resilience—the strength required to adapt to change—acts as our internal compass, so we can resourcefully navigate an upset.

Major disruptions are a “gotcha” we all experience at one time or another in our lives. We get fired, laid off or passed over; a loved one dies, leaves or gets in trouble; a project stalls or gets cancelled. The list, unfortunately, is endless. Sometimes the changes come fast and dramatic like the pandemic the world is currently experiencing. When unexpected events turn life upside down, it’s the degree to which our adaptability and resiliency comes into play that makes these “make-or-break” situations an opportunity for growth. The good news is that each of us has the capacity to re-organize our life during and after a disruption and to achieve new levels of strength and meaningfulness. Though it’s easy to feel vulnerable in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, life disruptions can be used as an opportunity
to help us grow and meet the current challenge as well as future challenges in our lives. It’s a lot like a bone that was once fragile or broken, and is now strong from being used.

So how can you become more adaptable and resilient? Here’s a look at seven key characteristics of people who demonstrate resilience during life’s curve balls.

Diagram of Resilience

A Sense of Hope and Trust in the World

Resilient people rely on their belief in the basic goodness of the world and trust their inner spirit. That inner connection to their spirit and connection with the God of their understanding brings a sense of calmness and removes fear from the future. They have the ability to go forward to meet any challenge or circumstance. They don’t look for a specific outcome. They just TRUST. An important aspect of trust is to maintain an inner connection to your spirit, then follow inner guidance. Without that connection the trust is misguided. With real trust there is no need to waste time and energy with useless philosophies about why something happened. Just look for inner guidance for the correct response.

That correct response is not the same for all people. We are each on our own path. This direction and attitude allows one to weather times when everything seems bleak and to look for and accept the support that is out there. Approaching your environment this way supports the ability to accept what is happening, take necessary action and look toward a better future.

Interpreting Experiences in a New Light

The ability to look at a situation in a new way (a skill called “reframing”) can minimize the impact of a difficult situation. Resilient people take a creative approach toward solving a problem, and don’t always use an old definition for a new challenge. This is where adaptability comes in. First one must accept the current situation and then adapt. The faster one does this, the more successful one becomes. What if you were playing a game of chess and had a whole plan of attack to win the game but your opponent makes a move you didn’t predict that makes your whole plan fall apart.

Instead of lamenting that you cannot follow through on your brilliant plan, you must let go of that and come up with a new plan. Go to plan B. This is a simple example but the lesson applies in more difficult situations. How fast one lets go of what was and moves forward to the new is proportional to how successful they will be in life. This applies to all areas of life. Adaptability is one of the parameters that predict how successful a company will be. Just look at video store companies like Blockbuster to see what happens to those that do not adapt to changing environments.

A Meaningful System of Support

One of the best ways to endure a crisis is to have a support system. Do you have real well-wishers in your life? They are those that will help you if they can. They have no hidden agenda. They will not pamper you with platitudes like “everything is going to be okay” when no one really knows. They will tell you the truth if you are not being realistic.

Be a real well-wisher for others and you will begin to see them in your life. Knowing that others care and will come to our support decreases the feeling of isolation, especially when tackling a problem alone. It’s important to choose people you trust. Don’t be surprised if it takes several friends, each of whom can provide different kinds of support. Resilient people aren’t stoic loners. They know the value of expressing their fears and frustrations, as well as receiving support, or guidance from friends, family or a professional.

A Sense of Mastery and Control Over Your Destiny

You may not be able to predict the future, but you can tackle a problem instead of feeling at the mercy of forces outside your control. Resilient people know that ultimately their survival and the integrity of their life values depend on their ability to take action rather than remain passive. Tough times call for you to tap into your own sense of personal responsibility. Letting go of blame is required to tap into personal responsibility. Blame will keep you stuck. You are not in control of others. When you stop blaming you can come into the space where you have control and come into your power.

Self-Reflection and Insight

Life’s experiences provide fertile ground for learning. During the covid 19 pandemic we are asked to stay at home and keep distance from one another. This can be a time to tap into who you really are. If you have fear you can use it to go deeper inside. So deep, you will finally feel the part of you that reminds you, we are children of God. There you will find your natural qualities. Your fear from the future will melt away. Asking yourself questions that invite self- introspection can open a door to new understanding and appreciation of who you are and what you stand for. This takes courage though. You cannot be honest with yourself without courage and without raw honesty the self-introspection is meaningless. Giving voice to your thoughts and feelings leads to insight and helps transform the meaning of a problem into something useful. Do not push away feelings of shame or regret, as these are the tools that bring about real transformation. Resilient people learn from life situations and do not succumb to punishing themselves because of decisions made in the past. They see the situations for what they were and make a commitment to themselves that they will not repeat mistakes or weaknesses.

Introspection can also be used to tap into creativity to find new ways to deal with any situation. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your resources? How can they be helpful now? Look at things with new eyes.

A Wide Range of Interests

People who show resilience in the face of adversity are those who have a diversity of interests. They’re open to new experiences and ideas. Because their lives are rich and varied, it’s easier for them to find relief from the single mindedness and worry that often accompany a crisis. If you have varied interests and activities in life you will have developed a wider variety of talents, skills and recourses to pull from when needed. You can start new activities at any time, as in the current pandemic many people are learning to cook. Use your adaptability.

Sense of Humor

Have you ever had a wry laugh during a difficult situation? The ability to see the absurdity, irony, or genuine humor in a situation stimulates our sense of hope and possibility. Humor has both psychological and physical benefits in relieving stress because it encourages a swift change in your perception of your circumstances—and when your thoughts change, your mood follows. It brings your energy from your solar plexus chakra, or lower emotions to your heart chakra, the source of higher emotions. A good mood can brighten any situation. How can one be in a good mood when people are suffering? A good mood could be a mood of compassion, caring, courage, calmness, helpfulness, joy and peace. There are all kinds of attitudes or moods that can bring light to difficult times.

As the lotus flower blooms out of the mud, we have the ability to take any situation and use it to bring transformation in ourselves, and our world. Look for the qualities and virtues you naturally have. Use them, implement them, and be grateful for them. This will make you eligible to receive more grace of God, more virtues and qualities that will help you.

Patricia Rowe Programs to increase your inner connection www.patricia-rowe.com