This past weekend I was chatting with two amazing women. Both were children of alcoholism and now in their 20s and 30s had very different perspectives of their childhood. The 30-something woman seemed to take it in stride, understanding that while her upbringing wasn’t ideal, she became extremely self-reliant and a care taker for those around her. The 22-year old woman is married with a young child and was visibly angry and enraged as she told us about her father’s decision to choose alcohol over her family.
We listened to her intently as she brought us to current date and shared the joy of being a new mom and buying a new house.
“You must have a strong resilience muscle.” I told her.
She looked at me puzzled. “What do you mean?”
“Your parents divorced when you were 12 right? That means you have 10+ years of building your resilience muscle. If you work out and lift weights, your muscles get little tears and regenerate making them stronger. The same is true for your resilience muscle. Every time you encounter stress and manage it, your resilience muscle gets even stronger. Imagine that you didn’t have the same upbringing, what would you be missing?”
“I wouldn’t be as independent or strong. I wouldn’t be as good of a mom. I don’t know if I would know how to deal with stress.”
“Exactly. For every experience that knocks you down and you get back up, you can recall on that experience to pull you through. You can look back and objectively say it’s not that bad.”
We could easily blame our experiences from when we were younger. We can easily point outward. But what if we could appreciate what those experiences built within us? What if we could use the situations that knocked us down as a tool to build us and others up?
What are you currently held back by? How has that person or experience helped you become you? How could you be thankful for that experience?
So flex that resilience muscle and see how strong you really are!