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Resilience is the capacity to prepare for, recover from, and adapt to change, challenge, or adversity.

  • What is your capacity to absorb the pain of loss before you become dysfunctional?
  • What resources are available that you might not be using to create energy to move forward?Why do some retreat and others move forward? Resilience is based on two things…
  • A capacity to survive the impact of loss
  • A willingness to access available resourcesCapacity relates to how much disruption you can absorb before displaying dysfunctional behaviors and mindsets. There must be space available to accept the reality of the loss, embrace the change, and adapt to new expectations.Resources relates to the means for change. There must be enough available energy resources (physical, mental, spiritual, relational and emotional) to adapt to the new expectations.Capacity to withstand the impact of loss is influenced by losses from the past, especially those buried and left unattended or unprocessed. Unmet expectations also play a role. However, a person’s resilience in the face of great pain is affected primarily by these five characteristics:
  • Active Optimism:
  • Decisive Action:
  • A Moral Compass:
  • Tenacity & Determination:
  • Interpersonal Support:

“I can and will find a way through this”
“I understand little; on what I know I can move forward” “In my gut I know what is right and what is wrong”
“I will not give up; I refuse to quit”
“I cannot do this alone and will seek help”

Ask yourself the question, “To what extent do I see the above five characteristics of resilience at work in my life?” Your capacity to absorb the disruption caused by grief & loss will be in direct proportion to the presence of these five characteristics.

Resources are available to help create new levels of energy to produce new, healthy expectations: • Physical Energy to meet the body’s demands caused by stress, sadness, loss, etc.

– Simple exercise, quality sleep, hygiene, healthy eating and drinking in moderation

• Mental Energy to discern what is happening and choose next steps
– Creative expression in crafts, music, meaningful conversation, reading, writing, meditation

• Spiritual Energy to connect the change to meaning and purpose, and something larger than self – A connection to complete acceptance, unconditional love, forgiveness, and what’s next

• Relational Energy to allow trustworthy people to love and support you
– Managing the mutuality of relationships that drain or charge your batteries

• Emotional Energy to absorb the impact of feelings like loss, fear, hopelessness, anger, etc. – Self-regulation of breath and emotion; choosing thoughts that inspire love & trust

Adjusting to change is not about learning to like the new situation, but producing energy to form new, healthy expectations that help move you forward in life despite your new reality. Moving forward requires the following:

  • Capacity for resilience against being overcome by the loss or change
  • Connection to healthy people and available resources
  • A desire for life to return to normalcySometimes you can see adversity coming, and other times it ambushes you, dropping you to your knees. When either of those result in a long-term modification of your life, you find yourself forced into change you didn’t ask for and do not want.
  • The death of a loved one or divorce in a marriage
  • A personal health crisis or the loss of a job
  • Moving away from a home or loved one for whom you care deeplyThese kinds of change are generally experienced as devastating losses caused by forces that affect you profoundly and are beyond your ability to control. When devastating loss strikes, the response of some is to retreat into anger, resentment and hopelessness. Others find acceptance of the loss, an honest appraisal of their emotions, care for themselves, new expectations from life, and a connection to a greater meaning and purpose.When there is a significant, life-altering change, a substantial discrepancy between expectations and reality is triggered. Moving forward “business as usual” is not possible because the amount of change is overwhelming. Initial reactions to this kind of loss may involve shock, trauma, and powerful emotion. Where there is very little capacity for change, what may follow are debilitating emotions, isolation, and even complete shutdown.There is hope for building resilience against overwhelming loss and change. Create capacity to absorb pain and connect to resources that help you move forward. You can do it!

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