I recently read an article discussing the word resilient and it had me thinking how I feel about this word. I’ve used it to describe myself, heard it used to describe others, especially children, but is resilient what we are truly striving for?
I’m resilient because I stood back up, bounced back from the trauma I experienced, from the challenges I faced. And I keep doing it. But when is enough, enough? Am I allowed to take a break, a rest? Does this mean I’m weak if I do so? Is it fair for me to carry all this burden? Do I even want this word used to describe me?
Early in the pandemic, I myself posted about this word, that I and we were resilient in the face of all that was going on. I wrote about getting through hard times, relying on strength and resilience to push through and forward. That being resilient was the way we would survive. But I wonder if I did us a disservice with that thinking.
As I’ve been working on my healing journey, I’m wondering if we use the term resilient to cover up the harm that is done, perpetrated toward ourselves and others. As a teacher I have often heard the term applied to children when they have gone through a trauma or difficult situation. We all say, “oh kids are so resilient.” But if they are so resilient then why are so many of us in therapy now as adults?
It’s because when we are constantly believed to be so strong and resilient and adaptable, our traumas are pushed aside, treated as if they aren’t that bad, we will forget or get over them.
Again, doing a disservice!
I want to stop the harm of childhood trauma; I want children to have the opportunity to receive help and begin healing early on. I don’t want to make the mistake of thinking that a traumatic event won’t affect them, thinking they’ll get over it. Because the truth is they won’t! It will live inside them until they finally seek help or maybe they never will. This affects how they show up and interact with the world and can cause more harm than we know.
Inner strength is something to be proud of, but the constant resiliency we ask of ourselves and others, takes its toll. We ask people to move on or accept challenges or mistreatment, often expecting the person themselves to heal it or fix what has been broken. Rather instead, we should be looking at where it stems from, offering compassion and understanding, practicing empathy, and not asking someone to continue to rise up in the face of constant adversity. We as a society should address how we can take better care of our people rather than asking them to grin and bear it.
I am no longer interested in being called resilient; I am giving back my claim on that word. I want the time to heal, to rest, to lay down the armor and not fight the battle for a while. Yes, I will get back up, but let’s be fair and allow me time for some mental health days, my own soul care. And let’s allow that time for others as well.
So, next time you want to call someone resilient, instead think about all they have been through, how you have watched them continuously fight the battles and this time offer your support and help so that they don’t have to do it alone. Sometimes resilient isn’t the only way to be. Sometimes we can build a community to take on the causes of trauma as we create a more just world for us all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As a writer, speaker, educator and coach my goal is to help guide people on their own journey to making a wellness lifestyle work for them.
My holistic approach teaches that it’s not just about the nutrition we put into our bodies or our fitness routine, we also need to take care of our own well-being as well.In order to truly live a healthier life we need to realize this is a shift and change in our whole lifestyle and we must cultivate this lifestyle every day.
I’m a certified health coach with a Master’s degree in Health Promotion with a concentration in Community Education.
This degree prepared me to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). All of this knowledge is helping me create health education programs for children and adults alike.
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Here are a few trends that caught my eye for this year.
Oh sleep, that ever-elusive healthy habit I am constantly chasing. I have found myself over the years stating that sleep is my wellness flaw. I exercise regularly, eat healthy foods, meditate, practice self-love, and many other habits that make up my wellness lifestyle. But no matter what I do, sleep can still be a struggle.
Self-care has somehow become synonymous with selfish. We feel instantly bad when we take time to ourselves or over explain so as not to offend those in our lives when we need some “me” time. When did this become the case? Why is self-care such a bad thing?
Over 20 years ago back in 1998 I laced up my sneakers to head out for a run. I had never actually gone for a run before, but I knew people loved it and it was a great form of cardio, so I decided to give it a try. I ran two miles, felt proud of myself, and then experienced excruciating pain in my knee to the point where I was limping for a few days. And thus ended my running career. I did try it again years later living here in NYC only to have the same experience.