1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.
2. the ability of a substance of object to spring back into shape.
I am certain everyone reading this has gone through a period in life when they have felt dejected. A lot of well-meaning advice must have come your way from people who cared about you. Advice, such as, "Everything happens for a reason;" "This will all make sense in the future;" and "It's all uphill from here." There is much wisdom in these hackneyed words of hope. They help tide us through trying times. I have been through some trials and tribulations of late. And, it is only now that I have come to appreciate the process of going through them.
This past week, I was not in the best place in life. It only makes sense that the one word and concept that has been on my mind is resilience. While thinking about the concept, I have managed to draw out stories from people related to resilience. I am only relaying those stories here. I also appreciate that people were kind enough to share their experiences and help me gain perspective.
The caretaker of the house I live in was the first to bare her soul to me. I didn't ask her to but my face is transparent when it comes to emotions. She could see that I was down and out. She then told me about the amount of abuse and unfair experiences she had endured. She was overworked, grappled with poverty, had very little support but a lot of faith. She said, "It took ten years for things to work out for me." Her honesty touched me — it was unprompted. Her story explains everything about who she is — I am not exaggerating when I say she is perpetually smiling, hopping around the house, and often bursts into fits of giggles.
I did not know what to say. I was heating up lunch at the time. I am not one to be at a loss for words. I just hugged her and said thank you.
When I go through extreme dejection, I actually feel that the wind has been sucked out of me.
I was having a lovely dinner with one of my mentors the same week. She has been through setbacks too. She will be the last to say it but she is strong, infectiously energetic, and a breath of life. I asked her if she could have imagined two years ago that she would be in the wonderful place in her life that she was in now. Definitely not, she admitted. We then talked about resilience. I am someone who feels emotions very physically. When I go through extreme dejection, I actually feel that the wind has been sucked out of me. When I pick up, I feel physically strong. When I am working hard and am focused, I feel it in my stride. We began talking about physical manifestations of resilience. Where does it first show up when you decide to put yourself back together and power through? For her, it is the straightening of the neck, squaring of shoulders and lifting of the chin. For me, it is the palpable energy I feel in my heart.
Every family has powerful stories — the stuff of novels.
On Sunday, I spent many hours listening to live music in a café in hot, sweltering Delhi. I was with my flatmate. The music was interspersed with great conversation. We started discussing the power of resilience. We talked about families. Every family has powerful stories — the stuff of novels. You only have to look at your mother, father, grandparents, siblings and cousins to realize that resilience drives us all. When you think about how people you love are coping with things they have no control over, you realize that the drive to make the best of a situation comes from an unexplained place.
We can even compare this to the story of our country. It has had a history fraught with injustice — both external and self-imposed. There has been blood, slavery, and pain. That being said, the amount of faith you see all around in India is marvellous. Faith in India is visible.
Resilience is more than mere survival. Resilience is coming through stronger and thriving.
Humanity has come incredibly far in terms of understanding the universe, using technology and redefining limits. There is so much to marvel about humanity — but the one thing that just fills me with awe is the resilience I see all around.
Resilience is more than mere survival. Resilience is coming through stronger and thriving. Think of a piece of metal being refined using fire. It weathers the heat and intensity of the flame. However, when the metal is refined, it imitates resilience. It is, perhaps, one of the most beautiful processes, both literally and metaphorically.