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The Surprisingly Simple Resilience Practice

We all experience those inevitable knocks of life. We’re collectively experiencing one right now and the biggest worry for parents is the effect it will have on a child. This leads us to focus all our efforts on them often ignoring our own needs and feeling. Brené Brown research shows that we have to do our own inner work in order to help our child learn the practice of bouncing back from setbacks.

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Resilience is a practice
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We all experience those inevitable knocks of life. We’re collectively experiencing one right now and we’re all rising to it in our own ways, having good days, and “I’m totally fed up” days. 

It’s hard enough when a setback is affecting “only” us, but when it involves the whole family, the pressure to do the right thing can be overwhelming. 

“What impact will this have on them?” – is the question every parent worries about whether they’re dealing with a global pandemic or something much closer to home: a child struggling to make friends, marriage difficulties or a daily challenge of holding boundaries. 

When we’re going through a tough time, we seek support and connection but paradoxically, we may feel isolated and alone, even with people around us. This is especially true, if we’re blaming ourselves for what has happened. 

The journey of coming to terms with the new reality, the one we didn’t see coming, never planned or desired is often filled with confusion and anxiety. We can spend days worrying and going over and over things in our head – a 3am slot being a particularly popular time!

I want to sleep but my brain won’t stop talking to itself.

It’s often hard to see a clear way forward when we’re faced with uncertainty and our thoughts are powered by fear about the future. We feel constantly off balance, searching for answers by talking to friends, googling or buying books hoping it will give us the answers we seek.

However, the answers we seek are within us or more accurately, within our story.

The process of bouncing back after a setback is fairly simple one:

Step 1:

The mistake we often make though, is that we focus solely on our child neglecting the impact it has on us and hence failing to do our own inner work. 

Recognise that we’ve got a problem – this is fairly easy especially with big events that disrupt our eating, sleeping and daily functioning. Saying that, we may have a bit of a blind spot around this too – how much easier it is to see that your other half has a “problem” than you’re able to see it in yourself? No judgement, you’re only human 🙂 

Moreover, the same problem will affect each parent differently and this can become a source of arguments between the parents. During a particularly tough parenting moment, I spent hours walking in the woods processing my own strong emotions whilst my husband was not triggered in the same way. Whilst this did annoy me and we had to work hard not to judge each other, we managed to use these differences to our mutual advantage and in support of our family. 

Step 2:

Take action from a place of clarity and calm. There’s an amazing sense of empowerment that comes when we deal with the “right” issue. There’s no magic solution here and that’s ok. There is a beautiful sense of relief when we get a different perspective and  we re-connect with resourcefulness inside us that’s driven by possibility and not fear. 

Step 3:

Take action from a place of clarity and calm. There’s an amazing sense of empowerment that comes when we deal with the “right” issue. There’s no magic solution here and that’s ok. There is a beautiful sense of relief when we get a different perspective and  we re-connect with resourcefulness inside us that’s driven by possibility and not fear. 

If you’re thinking to yourself – yeah, super simple, but I don’t have a clue how to do this stuff. You’re not alone. Most of us haven’t been taught this at school or by our families. As a matter of fact, we were taught the opposite – to “just” deal with it, to toughen up, to soldier on or to man up! 

Our parents didn’t know better but the research is very clear that this approach doesn’t work. It’s true that we can go for years pushing though and running away from our painful experiences but we pay the price – with our physical and mental health and in the quality of relationships we’re able to have.

We can do hard stuff. I’ve learnt this process from Brené Brown, when I trained with her in 2016. It has changed my life and saved me countless hours of needless arguments with my dear husband and helped me through some tough parenting moments. 

But, more importantly, we can teach our children to do the same. To raise a generation who knows how to rise after a fall, as well as they know to say “please and thank you” – now, that gives me goosebumps!

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