People usually think of resilience as a positive trait for one to have. If you are resilient, you are a survivor. Resilience allows you to persist in spite of adversity. To bounce back quickly when things go sideways. But what if resilience comes at a cost? What if by focusing on resilience as something to encourage in our children and others, we are actually training people to ignore their negative or difficult feelings, rather than processing them in a healthy way? What if, by prioritizing resilience, we are short-changing those who are sensitive to these feelings?
We need some measure of resilience to go on living after difficult times; this is undeniable. However, in glorifying resilience over deep exploration of the emotional breaking down that comes during and after any stressful or difficult experience, we may be doing more harm than good. If we never allow ourselves to break, we also never allow ourselves to heal afterwards.
I feel like I am only beginning to process all the stress that compounded in my life in the last week. I obviously survived and, if I wanted to, I could merely put the entire week out of my mind. And that choice is tempting, just forget about it, show resilience, be a “grown-up,” suck it up, move on.
Or, I can feel. I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed. I’m confused about how others seem unaffected, in large part. I also feel resilient, but maybe in my own time, and with some conditions. I will recover when the world decides to hold space for all of us, including those who feel and who need time to process fully. I am choosing to take the time and that should be rewarded, not just the skipping past of the difficult or scary emotions.. The events of the last year have taken many lives and shattered many others. If you haven’t felt these events in your core, perhaps the word you should use to describe yourself isn’t resilient, but shallow, unobservant and/or detached from reality and the suffering of others. We could all use the ability to feel more what is going on now and what has gone on over the last year. It is so much.