You don’t go through experiences of grief, loss, and pain and come out the other side the same exact person. Grief changes you from the inside out. There is something beyond language that happens. Pain brings itself into our lives, tears emerge and we are forever changed.
Remember your first crush? That moment when you thought you found the one you were meant to fall in love with, and then it ended — Just.Like.That. Then the aftermath came. You were a little wiser, quite possibly even more cynical and world-weary. You knew love existed because you felt, but maybe next time you would be a little less gullible.
Although the above scenario may not be the same outcome for everyone, its is universal for many people. Pain changes you. It doesn’t have to, but it does. It changes the way you interact with your environment and people around you, and it most definitely changes you.
We’re all in the midst of an event that is causing a lot of social and corporate grief. It’s already altered the way we interact with one another. It’s changing the way we use money – many restaurants are asking that we use credit cards. The different forms of pain we are all experiencing and learning how to interpret are having a massive effect on our belief systems. Our mental health has been taken hostage.
But, is resilience what we need? This has been the trend in many webinars and businesses — the ultimate go-to response on how to get ourselves, others, employers and even a country through these novel times. However, I argue, the ideas of resilience are not enough, and quite possibly might be the wrong response all together.
So, what is resilience? According to Oxford Languages, it is defined as the following: “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” The one thing that resilience needs for it to appear, are difficulties. Resilience needs problems. It needs an environment filled with pain, loss, and grief. To truly experience our ‘capacity for recovery’, we need something to recover from. Isn’t that simply inviting more issues? Also, by its very definition, resilience is just responding to its environment, it’s not changing it.
However, as Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
What if we were to take on the second definition of resilience, would that be any better of an option? “The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.” This is extremely similar to the initial definition — in that it claims the object can retain its shape. We know this isn’t true. When you lose a loved one, you are literally never the same person.
According to Neuroscience, grief alters the way your brain operates, affects memory, and even changes how you think of yourself. It changes the ways we interact with our environment. This fact alone demonstrates that resilience might not be enough.
What we need is a strategy, a game plan, or a blueprint for what happens after the grief. Why? Because it will give us purpose, focus, and inspiration to keep us going through the pain. If the loss is unavoidable, then bouncing back to who we once were (the second definition of resilience) is not what we should want. It’s okay for grief to change us. We should not fear that change, we should fear what we might allow it to do to us if we choose a narrative that makes us powerless to it. Pain does not want you to believe you are capable to make it through — a strategy says you more than able and gives a trajectory to point to prove that you have what it takes.
We don’t need resilience. We need a blueprint that will get us through the storm. This blueprint should include resilience, but resilience should not be its guiding light. We don’t want to remain the same, we want to absorb the change that is happening — or at least be able to assess its value as part of our overall journey.
The blueprint should explore what it looks like to be human 2.0 after the crisis. If we continuously live in the crisis and respond to it, its very contours will define our limitations. We have to see, look, and engage with the world beyond it. Resilience won’t allow that, a strategy will.
We must demand a world after the pandemic. We owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to the world that’s going to emerge out of it either way.