Perseverance & Resilience


The heroic journey for teenagers takes a long time – eight to ten years or so.  That means that a key to success being able to stay on the path and stay healthy.  That means persevering and developing resilience.

Perseverance is refusing to quit, to give up in the face of setbacks, disappointments or losses.  It is refusing to be a victim.  There are times when anyone can be hurt, discouraged, depressed, scared or anxious, tired or worn out.  You just can’t quit.

Developing perseverance means:

  1. Developing an attitude of perseverance
  2. Avoiding the energy traps and finding the sources of energy
  3. Developing the awareness to stay on track and learn from the experience
  4. Finding support along the way

Sometimes you just put one foot in front of the other.  There will be plenty of surprises and setbacks to recover from.  You can expect to be hurt and need to recover or be healed by others.  There are sometimes physical injuries and there are always emotional injuries during the teenage journey.  These are rarely life-threatening injuries, but they hurt all the same.  You just don’t get to cruise through adolescence with all its tests and unknown (particularly in relationships) and not get hurt at times. 

These are also keys to life as an adult, but they are critical for the teenage years because of the number of challenges and changes and just how long the journey is.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Albert
Einstein

Resilience

Resilience is the ability to successfully adapt to life – dealing with the inevitable stresses, traumas, threats and setbacks – “bouncing back” and becoming increasingly flexible.

Life comes with relationship problems, family problems, health problems, school and work problems.  That’s just the way it works and our resilience helps us “bounce back” – hopefully increasingly strong, wise and resilient. 

Mistakes are going to be made.  What matters most is what’s learned from the mistakes and how that increases resilience and perseverance.

Resilience is not a characteristic that people are simply born with – or without.  The good news is that research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary.  It involves thoughts and behaviors that can be learned and developed and it grows through experience.  Some people are more resilient than others, but resilience is a surprisingly common characteristic of people of all ages, although sometimes you have to look for it when you don’t feel particularly resilient.

Being resilient does not mean that you don’t experience distress.  Emotions like anger, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, doubt, depression, confusion, or lack of hope are natural in tough or traumatic situations.  In fact, it’s not particularly healthy to not feel some of those emotions. The key is to experience and accept them and then manage them.  That sets the stage for bouncing back.

When you get knocked down, when bad things happen to you, you have three choices:

  1. You can stay down and let it define you
  2. You can stay down and let it diminish you
  3. You can get back up stronger and more resilient than before you were knocked down