“Fall down seven times, get up eight times.”
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”
How many times do you have to fall down before you can’t get up any longer? Isn’t it rather foolish to allow yourself to be pushed so many times, only to return for more? Should we really keep being resilient when the virtuous thing might be to give up? Isn’t there resilience in walking away too?
It’s interesting that the well-known quote from Reinhold Niebuhr is called “The Serenity Prayer” not the resilience prayer, and yet in so many ways it describes resilience rather well. What’s more, if we do become more resilient, there’s serenity to be found – eventually.
In life we all have to face difficult times which require us to be resilient. Sometimes these hardships seem incessant and unsolvable. Sometimes there is no solution. Sometimes it feels as though any amount of resilience won’t overcome the anguish and grief. Yet even if we don’t recognise our resilience and warmly embrace it, somehow we do survive through an implicit resilience deeply imbedded in our subconscious.
Resilience is not the same as persistence. A ramming beast persists on ramming. A calmer animal looks, reflects, considers and then decides whether it is worth continuing on a path or finds resilience to walk away; accepting the things they cannot change in order to preserve energy for the things they can change. An even more serene animal has the resilience to simply let things run a natural course, without thinking, without considering, without striving – just letting it be. This in itself is a pure form of resilience.
In times of grief and despair, it’s difficult to be resilient but resilient we must be, and with acceptance, courage and maybe the help of others, we will survive the falls and get up once more. In times of hope we must be resilient too, and if we have a strong belief in the right way, however many times we might be knocked off course, we need to be resilient too, for the sake of a hope for a brighter and more serene world.