Written by: Carrie Hayward – Madame Heap

Being resilient is not necessarily about feeling strong and not feeling any emotional discomfort. When something unwanted happens to us (beyond our control) then we are going to experience an emotional reaction to that. Especially if that unwanted experience is in conflict with what matters to us. So, for example, if I am running late for an important meeting, I am going to feel queasy and nervous in my stomach. My mind is going to throw at me a bunch of “what-if’s” around all those things that could go wrong. I therefore may not be feeling (or even thinking) particularly resilient to this unwanted situation I am in right now.

However, being resilient is about being it, regardless of the feelings and thoughts we have inside. It’s about having the self-awareness around these feelings, making room for them (because they make us human and tell us about what’s important to us), and then bringing our attention to the one thing we have control over… our behaviour. And consciously aligning our behaviour with our personal values (i.e. what I want to stand for in this situation). So maybe I choose to be calm through my behaviour (I take a few breaths and ground myself in the moment), I choose to be more rational (say to myself that “maybe my mind is catastrophising and the world won’t end just because I’m Iate!”), and basically show up to myself and the world that I can get through this, one step and behaviour at a time. That’s resilience.