Today’s Buzzwords: Resiliency, Grit, and Perseverance

I frequently hear these words in meetings, in the news, podcasts, in TED talks, and tossed around in many conversations. Strengthening these three characteristics is a great cocktail to boost your happiness … every hour can be happy hour with this cocktail. Books on the subjects are flying off the shelves as many people look for ways to strengthen their level of resiliency, grit, and perseverance. Resiliency is the ability to recover after difficult situations. Having grit means you have courage and strength, while perseverance requires not giving up. Maybe one reason why these words are so popular is because as a society we see our friends and family suffering and we are looking for ways to relieve their pain. Or maybe it is because we too our hurting and want to find respite and comfort. This process can be thought of as compassion. By intentionally practicing mindfulness exercises, I have experienced an increase in my own feelings of compassion for those around me and in the world who are hurting. But how do we strengthen resiliency, grit, and perseverance?

            For me, it started with looking in the mirror and having compassion for myself. I became mindful of my own thoughts and the way I viewed myself. I was taught to treat others as I would treat myself. However, I treated myself like harsh for many years. The voice inside my head would beat me up and tell me I was not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, etc. I let those thoughts continue, and over time, they became stronger until I believed those thoughts to be true. My thoughts fed into my feelings, emotions, beliefs, and then eventually my behavior. I was not living a life filled with joy and happiness. I allowed my own negative thoughts to dictate my actions.

Why was I viewing myself so negatively and not being compassionate towards myself? I do not treat others that way. In fact, I think the best of others, I value them and their ideas, and I appreciate the differences in the human body and find beauty in all creation. I began treating myself as I treated others.

Several years ago, I began practicing mindfulness, and I also began offering compassion to myself. The process required that I accepted my imperfections as opportunities for growth. I rewired my brain and replaced the voice in my head that told me I was not smart enough with mantras that boldly proclaimed I am unstoppable, hardworking, creative, beautiful, empathetic, compassionate, good enough, and loved.

Each morning, I start my day off by writing these type of positive attributes on my bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker. I smile at myself and actually take time to appreciate the amazing human being that I am. My night ends by journaling or meditating on what I learned from various situations I encountered during day. I am actually thankful for situations that are uncomfortable and challenging as I know these are crucial for my continued growth and development. Instead of viewing myself as the victim (as I used to do), I intentionally ask myself what I can learn from the challenges and how they can make me stronger. Practicing mindfulness, positive mantras, gratitude, self-compassion, and loving myself have been crucial for my joy and happiness as well as my level of resiliency, grit, and perseverance. Take time today to love yourself and treat yourself like you treat others. Think the best of yourself, appreciate your gifts, see your imperfections and your unique fingerprint the universe has placed upon you. Remember your accomplishments and focus on the goodness of you. We only have this moment…love yourself. YOU ARE AMAZING!

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