As I read about grief recovery, I continually see references to resilience: The ability to bounce back from adversity, loss, trauma. Resilience–or lack thereof–plays a huge role in happiness and depression. As Dominque Browning wrote in a New York Times article, “I’m Too Old for This”:
“The key to life is resilience, and I’m old enough to make such a bald statement. We will always be knocked down. It’s the getting up that counts. By the time you reach upper middle age, you have started over, and over again.
“And, I might add, resilience is the key to feeling 15 again. Which is actually how I feel most of the time.”
For those who wish they had better coping skills, google “improving resilience,” “developing resilience,” “importance of resilience.” Resilience is not an innate trait that we either have or don’t have. Recently I posted an article here about the danger of “ruminating”–dwelling on events in our past–as opposed to “worrying”–when we are anxious about the future.
Mama was a worrier; Daddy was not. His advice was sound. “There is no point in worrying. If you can do something about it, then do it. If you can’t, let go and move on.” As a widow, I find it easy to ruminate about a past I cannot change and worry about a future I cannot know. I can’t always let go immediately, but to a great degree I can keep my mind from getting stuck on thoughts that make me sad and anxious. I love the image attributed to Martin Luther. “We can’t keep the birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from nesting in our hair.”
Finally, like millions of others, I cling to the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Photo: By Matthew Wiebe for stocksnap.io