The Road to Resiliency

In the mental health field, resiliency is somewhat of a buzz word.

A quick Google check defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”

I like that the word “toughness” is included because that’s what I think of.

How do you bounce back when shit is not going your way?

David Goggins would say, “Stay Hard.”

My inner Samuel L Jackson says, “Be a bad muthafucka!”

In some cases, I’ve heard we need to develop thicker skin.

I don’t know about you, but my response to trauma has made me soft, sensitive, and unable to take life’s ups and downs… until very recently when I decided that no one is coming to rescue me and it’s time to stop making fucking excuses.

Notice that the definition of resiliency does NOT say we won’t have difficulties…

It says we will, AND, we will recover from those difficulties by developing toughness…

Here are some of my practices for the on-going journey to developing resiliency… And… thriving beyond trauma!

Delay Gratification

Learn to tell yourself no!

I’m starting with an area I struggle with quite a bit.

I want what I want when I want it!

As a matter of fact, I fucking wanted it yesterday!

During my formative years I heavily used drugs. Starting at 16, I developed a meth addiction. Granted, we called it crank back then, but regardless of it’s name, I loved how it made me feel, and I instantly wanted more.

By forming that addiction to the glorious instant gratification that came from it, I did not learn how to delay my gratification.

I knew that I could feel high instantly if I got that shit into my system.

And because I was so young and my brain wasn’t fully developed yet, I did not learn things like how to work for what you want by putting off what you want.

Fortunately, I haven’t touched that drug in over 18 years (I feel like I need to let my readers know that they’re not following an active tweaker). πŸ˜‰

And don’t get my “tweaker” comment wrong… I have a lot of empathy for people who are addicted to any drug for that matter… it sucks.

I also know that it’s a maladaptive coping skill because they are in pain.

But that’s another topic for another post…

Regardless, I did not develop the ability to tell myself no in favor of accomplishing long term goals or plans.

I would regularly take the quick and easy, feel good route rather than delay my gratification. It was very hedonistic and immature of me…

Now… don’t get me wrong. It’s great that I KNOW this stuff….

Practicing this shit consistently is an entirely different ballgame!

As I said, I still struggle with this one, and I hope my self-revealing accounts are relatable and instructional.

When I got older, I entered into the world of debt and especially credit cards…. Yay!! 😦

Credit is the perfect vehicle for instant gratification!

And I know… I have maxed out (and mismanaged) my credit cards several times in my life.

Right now, they’re mostly paid down. Some have zero balances, some are close to the limit, some in the middle somewhere…

And… right after writing my inspired post yesterday about staying single, my magnificent brain concocted the grand scheme of buying a plane ticket to go see an ex-girlfriend on the other side of the country.

Not only was I willing to charge upwards of one thousand dollars (or more) for this trip, I was also willing to back out of my decision to focus on my personal development for an interlude.

Yes, I can rationalize it…

Sure, I’ve never been to that part of the country before.

Sure, she and are good friends and consenting adults. A visit would be fun.

Yes, I miss her and will have time to go visit because of quitting my job.

But….

I am going to spend money I don’t really have…

Sacrifice the momentum I am creating building my self and my business up.

Not to mention, possibly harming her in the process by continuing to drag out a relationship we have (to my knowledge) put to rest…

I really don’t like revealing these selfish and ugly details of my character flaws…

And at the same time, I hope you can see that this is a process and vulnerability and discernment are part of the drill.

So this morning, I woke up at 3:30am convicted that my decision to rush out and charge up a vacation at my and someone else’s expense was not in either of our best interests…

I’m grateful we did not make a decision last night, otherwise I would have a non-refundable airline ticket…

And a gut full of regret.

By delaying the gratification of buying the tickets, rushing out for a friendly interlude, I am (hopefully) developing character and resiliency.

Now, maybe you struggle with something different like eating sweets or fatty foods?

You can practice the same principle there.

If your goal is to lose weight or just simply eat healthier, then learn to tell yourself no!

Pause…

Look at the big picture.

Feel the discomfort and remember, this, too, shall pass!

Play the tape through.

Will eating this [fill in the blank] really help me?

Do I need to “feel better” right now?

A lot of times when I’m craving something fatty like KFC or Taco Bell, it’s because I’m tired.

Our bodies crave fatty and sugary foods when we are tired or don’t feel good.

Try drinking some water or taking a nap instead.

It may not feel as good as eating that cupcake or ice cream…

But in the long run, you’ll thank yourself and develop more resiliency.

Learn to tell yourself no!

#DoHardShit

https://shopfitby.itemorder.com/shop/sale/

If you want stuff that says Do Hard Shit on it, you can support my coach, Tammi, and follow the link under the picture.

I love that shirt!

It’s a rally cry for me!

The message is so simple and empowering and often times, it gets me out of bed in the morning.

I know I’ve referenced it in another post that also has useful information about developing resiliency (see post https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/30/overcoming-quitting/).

And there’s all kinds of “hard shit” you can do…

Here’s a few things I do that have made me mentally and physically tougher.

You don’t have to do all or any of these things, but I encourage you to find the things that challenge you and to push through those.

That will help you develop resiliency and the ability to face life more successfully and accomplish what you want in the long run.

*Get up at 4:30am. Do that long enough and your body will adjust. It will become easier. Most people will not do it. Be different than most people!

*Stop hitting snooze. Hitting snooze is starting the day off failing! Do not sacrifice your self-esteem and self-efficacy by starting the day failing.

*Make your bed. Make your bed as soon as you get up! Start the day with a win! Start the day accomplishing something you did for yourself.

*Meditate. Don’t give me any bullshit about how you can’t meditate. Everyone can meditate. I don’t care how busy your mind is. Get a fucking app, go for a walk, whatever, just learn to be the observer of your thoughts and feelings. Do it for five fucking minutes! It’s not about not thinking. It’s about becoming the observer. Daily meditation will increase your resiliency to your thoughts and feelings.

*Take cold showers. You’d be surprised how much more resilient this will make you. When you take control of your mind and your resistance to cold, you can do anything!

*Exercise daily. Do this especially when you do not feel like! Feeling like it has nothing to do with it! Exercise until you are tired then push yourself for one more minute. You can do anything for a minute! Consistently pushing yourself physically will strengthen your mind and make accomplishing your goals and dealing with difficulties much easier!

*Stop procrastinating. Did you just finish eating? Wash the fucking dish! Now! Don’t tell yourself you’ll do it later. Free up the clutter of your time. If you don’t want to do a task, do it anyway. Getting started is the hardest part. Once you start, you’ll be surprised how much easier the task was than you thought. “Fear is the mind-killer.” -Paul Atreides, Dune By not procrastinating, you develop the ability to get shit done you don’t really want to do. It will build resiliency.

*Be of service. Do something for someone else. Say yes to reasonable requests. Get out of yourself and do something mundane. I make fucking coffee for my weekly AA meeting. I take meetings into a half-way house. Do I feel like doing that shit? Fuck no! Do I do it anyway? Fuck yes! And… I feel so much better every time I do it. It makes being of service easier and strengthens the muscle of resiliency.

*Honor your commitments. As with the service duties I listed above, when you say you’re going to do something, fucking do it! I am doing a daily burpee challenge. No, when I wake up I don’t feel like doing 60+ fucking burpees. And… I made a commitment. I do what I say I’m going to do. Honoring your commitments builds resiliency.

I’m sure there are many other examples that fall under the category of Doing Hard Shit…

And by no means, do you need to do all or any of these things I do…

But I share them because they fucking work!

If you’re tired of feeling sorry for yourself and feeling like life just keeps handing you a shit sandwich – stop being a victim and learn to do hard shit.

Do one hard thing at a time, one day at a time.

You will build momentum and get tougher!

And the tougher you get, the happier you’ll get.

Feel Your Feelings

I know I beat you up a little with the last section, so here’s the trauma-informed, softer tip to toughness…

Feel your fucking feelings!

I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist…. lol

No, but really… Feel your feelings!

So much energy is spent in denial and resisting what we feel by running away that we don’t develop resiliency to our feelings.

I have sat with so many clients who experience anxiety and depression and stay stuck there because they resist the feelings…

They rush to a pill, food, self-blame, avoiding difficult conversations, sleep, etc. just to not have to feel the discomfort of their situation.

They are stuck in their feedback loop that makes them anxious about feeling anxious or depressed about feeling depressed.

One of the major turning points for me was when I started to give myself permission to feel my feelings.

Own that shit!

Own it with some self-compassion.

Here’s two talks by Tara Brach that turned things around for me and started me on my journey of grieving and letting go of debilitating depression: Parts 1 & 2

From Tara Brach, I learned the invaluable phrases, “I consent to this feeling, I allow this feeling, I care for this suffering.”

She also teaches other mindfulness practices around allowing our feelings mindfully with self-compassion. You can check out her website and her books for more resources. http://www.tarabrach.com

From her you will learn that your feelings are not your fault.

By resisting what you feel and blaming yourself or others, you do not allow the feeling to naturally pass through you… and therefore, you stay stuck.

Feelings are energy, and when you repress painful feelings, they stay in your body and cause you suffering, misery, and illness.

Unless you wanna be Darth Vader?

Now I’m not talking about wallowing and feeling like a victim.

Sure, you may have been victimized at one point.

I was…

But today, you have a choice to feel the feeling of sadness, pain, anger, fear, whatever and to let it go….

Feel where it is in your body…

Lovingly put your hand on that part of your body…

Is it in your gut, your chest, your throat?

Tell yourself you allow this feeling and that you care for this suffering.

Cry if you have to.

Scream if you have to.

But feel the motherfucker!

Feel that feeling and let it go with self-compassion.

The more you mindfully practice feeling your own feelings without judging them as being wrong, the more resiliency you develop.

The more you practice this, the easier it is to feel difficult feelings and let them go.

You will learn to not attach yourself to your feelings.

You will learn that your feelings are not you and frequently are not true.

Tara Barch says, “Real but not true.”

You will learn that your feelings are real, but not necessarily true.

It will get easier to disidentify with feeling anxious or depressed…

You will find the source of those feelings, feel the sadness or anger, and lovingly let it go.

Practice, practice, practice…

Learn Tara Brach’s RAIN method… https://www.tarabrach.com/rain/

Practice it as a way of coping!

It’ll change your life.

If I can do it, you can do it!

Develop a loving awareness and give yourself permission to feel your feelings as they arise and you will develop greater resiliency to the various waves of experience.

Conclusion

As usual, this post has been all over the fucking place… David Goggins, drug addiction, credit cards, doing hard shit, and practicing loving awareness…

Are you surprised?

I’m not.

Hopefully, today you picked up a few tips for toughness.

Developing resiliency is like anything else – it’s like a muscle. There are several skills and mindsets associated with being resilient.

And as with any skill, it requires consistent practice and commitment.

You are stronger than you think you think you are!

You already do hard shit!

Sure, people all around the world have it harder than us.

And…

Living in this time with a near constant onslaught of division and defeating messages, it’s hard to push through.

However, through a lot of practice, I have learned that making a commitment to be the best version of myself and to routinely do hard shit has made me a much happier person.

I have been told that to develop self-esteem, do esteem-able acts.

Resiliency comes from consistency and momentum.

The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Start today!

Look at the list of suggestions I gave and pick one.

Do it today!

Do it again tomorrow.

And the next day…

Once you form the habit of doing whatever that thing is, grab the next skill.

Start by making your bed.

Don’t hit snooze.

Start off the day winning, and your momentum will carry you.

You are right where you’re supposed to be.

Your feelings are not your fault.

Remember, they are real, but not necessarily true.

No one’s coming to rescue you.

Be the hero in your own story.

Strap on your shiny armor, mount your mighty steed, grab your sword, roar out loud, and charge into battle!

You got this!

Be well. πŸ™‚

Thank you for reading the latest addition of how to thrive beyond trauma. Please like, comment, follow, or reach out. I’d love to hear from you and appreciate the feedback. You can also check me out on my podcast found on all major platforms. Here’s the Spotify link:

I also offer Life Coaching services. If you’re feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, reach out and we’ll get you on track.

https://www.instagram.com/greenleaf_4_life/

TikTok @greenleaf4life

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