Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Why Resilience?

“A good half of the art of living is resilience.” 
 -- Alain De Botton

Stand firm by Mel (me!) under CC BY NC SA 2.0

As you can imagine, I am a fairly resilient person. While I wouldn't say that I lead a miserable life, some past experiences with personal and professional hardship, depression, and of course death, have been incredible challenges that I have had to work my way through.

Many people have (and continue to) comment on my 'strength' in the face of Samuel's death. And I've written before about my approach to processing all of it. But I think that a lot of the way I have reacted and continue to react is because of my attitude. I am generally a positive person and actively cultivate my own resilience and well-being.

While I've always been a pretty positive, chirpy type (annoyingly so in my younger days - 'why are you always smiling?!!'), resilience has taken more cultivation. In my first year of teaching I did a professional development session on resilience and I really think it helped me. I had a very difficult class for my first year out, and many times wanted to quit. A combination of pure stubbornness, supportive peers and a caring manager ensured that I didn't.

In the end I did leave teaching, but I don't think it was completely because of a lack of resilience. In the first instance, it was a reaction to my grief: I couldn't face working with kids, and I felt a whole lot of guilt about the time I put into teaching (over my own family and well-being). But since then I've realised that there were other reasons: a need to pursue my passions; trying to balance life and work; and philosophical reasons that would make it difficult for me to return to traditional schools! More about that another time too, perhaps.

Since then, I have actively developed my own resilience, and tried to foster it in my children. It certainly seems to be working for Oliver so far, and I know that I am a much more balanced person too. 

Do you do these things? Are you resilient?

In my next post, I'm going to share some ideas for developing resilience. 

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