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RESILIENCE For 2021 and Beyond

RESILIENCE For 2021 and Beyond

By: Christine E. Agaibi


What a unique and difficult year this has been!


Despite our challenges this year, two more psychological and spiritual character strengths (courage and perseverance) converge to help us reflect upon the trials of this year and prepare us for a fruitful and resilient 2021.


It’s been a harrowing year for so many. The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges and tested our resolve, problem-solving skills, faith, and fortitude at every turn. Even our most trusted and true coping mechanisms like community, faith, family, and friends were no longer readily available to us as physical distance measures spread around the world. Our patience and determination were tested. Our tenacity was challenged. Our ability to be innovative was stretched beyond the limit. How can we survive yet another encounter with difficulty after this one has depleted any reservoir of coping?


One year ending does not guarantee closure. Nor does a new year automatically erase the memories and pains of this one.

For those that endured so much this year, you are heroic and deserve to be celebrated!

At the end of such a difficult year, it is symbolically the perfect time to put down what aches, shed the old, and begin anew.


Letting go of what is toxic, painful, challenging, and destructive is hard. However, resilience is the ability to absorb lessons from such events while pivoting with perseverance and courage towards what is new. A single leap of faith and hope can propel into the promises of a new tomorrow and the rewards are a fruitful and resilient life. Let that leap be of faith be in oneself, in one’s purpose, in one’s strengths and abilities, and in one’s Creator who endows all gifts.


Being resilient does not mean minimizing the significance of this year and all that it has affected in your life. On the contrary, being resilient means being able to simultaneously hold the difficult with the hope for a better tomorrow. Resilience is a long-term goal and a muscle to be built over time. Resilience is not the absence of difficulty. Resilience is the conscious choice to experience the full spectrum of human emotion, to not be consumed by them, and to thrive despite them. So how do we have courage and perseverance to achieve our greatest potential in 2021? How can we be resilient no matter what 2021 throws at us? How can use our 2020 experiences to thrive in 2021? Resilience can be understood and remembered with the following RESILIENCE acronym. May you harness these skills and cultivate resilience in 2021!

May you transform struggles into strength, wounds into wisdom, and tribulation into thriving!


Reflect, Reframe, Renew

This year has been full of challenges for so many people globally. Many are suffering very private battles individually. We are also collectively suffering as humans from the effects of this pandemic. However, the end of the year is a perfect time to reflect on how much we have experienced this year, the lessons we have learned, the challenges we have met, and the courage it took to be present and persevere. Reframe your struggles into lessons and growth. What have you become more grateful for in this year? What has been brought into your awareness with greater clarity? How can you approach this new year with renewal and growth? Renewal occurs when we have reflected, put things into a new perspective, and allow room for growth and progress.


Evaluate your barriers and your strengths

We all have strengths. Sometimes it is difficult to see our strengths when we have been so bombarded by struggles. However, the power of our strengths is there waiting to be harnessed and cultivated. Leaning into our strengths enhances self-confidence and allows us to develop our authentic self. Similarly, identifying the barriers that prevent you from accomplishing goals while simultaneously leaning into your strengths allows us to build a more meaningful and purposeful future.


Surmountable

Every problem is surmountable. Every problem has a key. Every issue has a solution. Take a step back, change your perspective, look for support, and avoid seeing problems as unscalable. Instead, create small, manageable goals to overcome difficulty. What can I do in this immediate moment to work towards a solution? Small steps can make a big difference over time. Small steps make the insurmountable as opportunities for growth and discovery.


Innovative

“Innovation is where imagination meets ambition.” ~Anonymous.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created

them.” ~Albert Einstein.

Resilience requires us to think outside of the boxes we often create and put ourselves in when we are faced with difficulty. Stepping out of the familiar and the comfortable takes courage. However, seeing things with an innovative perspective often leads to new solutions for challenges.

Laugh

“Laughter is the language of the soul” (Pablo Neruda) and humor can be one of our best tools for survival. We cannot always stop the difficult things from happening, but laughter can be a respite that allows us to keep going in the storms. Savor the small things that make you smile and that make your heart sing. Have gratitude in moments that give you laughter and grow those moments.


Intentional and Introspective

Resilience is a muscle to grow over a lifetime. It is not something that develops overnight. Resilience is not something you may feel every single day. However, the more intentional we become in this walk, the more resilient we become. Therefore, it is important to be intentional in growing that resilience muscle. What things can you be proactive in doing that will contribute to your resilience? Are there things that contribute to difficulty? Are there things that contribute to meaning? Asking these questions and facing them is hard! Regardless however, one must be introspective and spend time with oneself to identify which things contribute to our growth and which do not. Once we have determined that, intentional decisions can be taken to move closer to resilience and away from what is harmful.


Endure and Evolve

2020 has been a year of endurance! It seemed that everywhere we turned we were being knocked down, as individuals, as a nation as a world. Congratulations to the heroes everywhere who have survived to December 31, 2020! You have fought day after day to be here and you are to be celebrated! I’m sure that none of us are the same people we were on January 1, 2020. We have evolved through the struggles and found ways to cope and survive. Thus, endurance and evolution are key components of resilience! Have you learned what you will and will not tolerate? Have you learned to bend and be flexible in areas you once weren’t? Struggles teach us to adapt and pivot! Use this new found flexibility to grow around your circumstances in 2021 and beyond!


Navigate

“A true dreamer is one who knows how to navigate in the dark.” (John Paul Warren).

2020 has been a dark year for so many. There have been so many unprecedented challenges, changing horizons, and so much instability. Through those times we may have often felt we were navigating in the dark. At the end of this difficult year, what reflections have you made, and how does that inform your road map for 2021 and how will you navigate uncertainty in the future? Creating a map with small, manageable goals, and room for flexibility in 2021 may help one not feel so lost after a tumultuous year.


Community

Community is one of our greatest assets as humans, but it was deeply challenged in 2020. We often turn to each other in times of stress and despair for we are social beings. But in 2020, this was one more thing that required our flexibility, innovation, and resolve. But as resilient humans often do, we still found ways to connect with one another (though nothing replaces the physical presence of another like-minded soul!). So, in 2021, continue to find innovative ways to engage with community. Use social media, video platforms, and physically distant/safe meetings. Community is the one thing that joins us in experience, reminds us that we belong, and connects us to a greater meaning.


Empowered

At the end of 2020, despite our challenges, we should feel empowered. We have survived a massive, historic, and unprecedented amount of difficulty this year. Resilience again is a long-term endeavor and is not developed overnight. What has made you feel empowered this year? What gives you the ability to face another day? What motivates you and gives you hope and purpose? These are the things to savor, remember, and lean on as we move forward towards another day. Feel empowered by all you have endured and accomplished and have resilience in the moment and across a lifetime!


Here’s to a blessed and resilient 2021 and beyond!


Reflect, Reframe, Renew

Evaluate your barriers and your strengths

Surmountable

Innovative

Laugh

Intentional and Introspective

Endure and Evolve

Navigate

Community

Empowered



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