No-one has an easy life. Even the people who look as though they do have their own struggles. Some of those struggles might be self-inflicted, but everyone has challenges.
What matters most is what we do when struggles come. Our choice of responses can make life better or worse, for ourselves or others. Inner strength allows us to make better choices.
Sometimes we give away our power to others, by deciding that they are responsible for our struggles. While it may be true that their actions have had a negative impact on us, in the end our choice of how to respond is our own.
How do we build resilience and inner strength? These are a few elements I’ve found, or learned from others:
Knowing who I am and what I stand for – really reflecting on my own gifts, skills, character and beliefs, so that when troubles arise I can think “While I’m overcoming this, what is my long term goal, and what actions fit in with who I am and what I live for?”
Taking every opportunity to keep on learning and growing – whether it’s talking a course, talking with (and listening to) an elder, reading and listening to things that help me learn, building my mind helps me to build my resilience
Stopping to celebrate the small victories and little wins – it's true that everyone has struggles, but everyone has little successes too, and taking a “Yess!!” moment when I succeed in something small helps make the balance of each day more positive
Consistently positive self-talk – the one person who can speak most directly into my mind is me: if I consistently tell myself that I’m smart, caring and capable, I’m building a resilient and positive attitude
Assuming the best about others and their motives – Napoleon is believed to have said “Never ascribe to malice what is adequately explained by incompetence”. That is, if someone makes my day harder, assume it’s a mistake rather than that they’re actively out to harm me. Or, if someone does something that seems mean or hostile, I try to remember to assume that they have good motivations, but might be a bit misguided about what will help.
Making positive choices in response to difficult situations can become a habit over time - and so can the opposite. Resilience is like a muscle that we can work out... and the world is a gym that will keep on offering up the weights.