Resilience…. Is it Really a Strength?

I joined a mastermind recently, the woman leading it and I had a one-on-one to get to know each other before we started. I shared some of my story, what I have gone through to get where I am and also what I am going through right now. She said to me “You are incredibly resilient”. I hadn’t thought about it before but YES, I really am.

When I think of resilient I see the old punching bags from the 80s, you know the ones that looked like clowns or other characters and you punched them and they popped back up. They were blow up things and weighted at the bottom so they just kept popping back up. Or the Weebles, I still remember the commercial “Weebles always wobble but they don’t fall down”. As a person I get knocked down but I always pop back up and keep going.

Which brings me to the question. Is resilience really a strength? When I think about it she is right. I am very resilient in the way described above. I was taught early that when you fall of a horse you get right back on. This was a literal lesson for me as I grew up on a farm and we had horses. I’m sure I fell off the horse at some point but the more vivid memory for me was falling off the monkey bars and having the wind knocked out of me. Very scary but as always I got right back on and was doing back flips off them in short order.

Here is the problem. Bouncing back up doesn’t give you the opportunity to feel what just happened. I was resilient but I didn’t give myself the opportunity to feel things. Just get up and keep going. I think when you fall off the horse, sometimes you need to sit there and cry for a minute and then get back up, learn the lesson and then try again, or you are doomed to continue to make the same mistakes. With the horse example, you need to look at why you fell, did you use the wrong blanket under the saddle? did you not tie the saddle tight enough? Did something spook the horse? Whatever it was figure it out so it doesn’t happen again. I assure you it doesn’t feel good when you fall off a horse.

That’s the lesson I am learning now. While it’s still so important to get back on the horse, you need to take a moment and process what just happened. Breath into it, really feel it, look at what you needed to learn so that you can move forward knowing you don’t have to make that mistake again.

Like my coach taught me, there are no strengths or weaknesses, only where things serve and where they don’t. While resilience is something that serves me well at times, other times it serves me better to wallow for a while so that I learn the lesson before getting back on the horse.