Learning to be resilient

The meaning of self resilience

‘the ability to adapt to stressful situations and cope with life’s ups and downs.
[It] does not eliminate stress or erase life’s difficulties, but allows you to tackle or accept problems, live through adversity and move on with life.’

That’s according to the University of Warwick. What we consider to be ‘coping’ is unique to us all, and exactly what it means to bounce back in the face of adversity will depend on so many different things – there’s no one way to be resilient.

Here, two of our Swans discuss their interpretation and experiences of self-resilience.


Putting on a brave face

For me, it’s accepting change and not putting an absurd amount of pressure on myself to get it right straight away. I am not afraid to admit that behind the ‘brave face’, I have buckled under pressure sometimes.


How do I feel?

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been on my own little journey of self-acceptance, which has helped me understand my own version of ‘self-resilience’ and what tools I need to develop it.

The absolute first step to building self-resilience is recognising why you don’t feel very strong right now. It’s ok to not be ok. So, why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to cover it up?

I have learnt that I am most resilient to change and able to objectively make big decisions when I can first take full acceptance in how I feel.


Be your own best friend

Often, I’ll be on my way to work, eating my breakfast or going for a walk and have this kind of conversation with myself:

“I not feeling OK today, but that’s OK. I’m not going to be the very best me today, but that’s fine. This is the very best me I am capable of being right now”.

By doing this I have been able to develop a deeper relationship with “me” and it means I can gradually remove the stigma attached with “being ok” and the ridiculous amount of pressure associated with it.

The greatest piece of advice I can offer for building resilience in your life is to work on improving the relationship you have with yourself. Once you’re truly comfortable with who you are, you’ll build a whole new sense of respect for yourself and be amazed with what you can achieve.



Are you OK?

Not a question I get asked a lot. Within my role I have a responsibility to protect and look after other people – it can be easy to forget to look after yourself.

We are all faced with challenges in our lives, both in and out of work. Personally, my first instinct is always to think everything will be OK, and to continue as I was.


Resilience doesn’t mean ignoring the problem

I’ve worked as a leader in some capacity for 14 years and, in that time, I’ve always had other people to care for and actually forgotten about my own challenges.

When I forget or ignore my own problems, I’m not solving them. I’m hiding them, burying them below the surface. Eventually this comes out as anger, frustration and a huge lack of motivation to do anything. In my case, they’re often only ever seen by the people I care about the most – my family, my wife and friends. You want to be brave, the one that keeps everyone together and keeps the ship afloat, but that’s not sustainable – if you’ve got problems with you, they’ll become overwhelming if you don’t address them.


A problem shared is a problem halved

Really! I’ve found the best way for me is to open up to the people closest to me. I tell them what’s on my mind and what’s weighing me down. The relief you have when you share your difficulties and problems with others can be the first step to building true self-resilience.


My advice is to find your person. Who’s the one you can talk to about almost anything? They don’t call these people ‘your rock’ for no reason – they take your burdens from you and add them to their own for a little while. Then, if it gets too much, you return the favour. Find your rock, whoever it is, hold onto them tight and make sure they know how grateful you are to have them.



We’d love to know if you’ve got a tactic for bouncing back, for picking yourself up and getting through the tough times. Join the discussion by emailing us!

Posted by Team Swan in People