Ever see someone have punch after punch hurled at him? Round after round of relentless blows continue to come, but no matter what, you never see this person fall without getting up. You wonder, how can someone be that strong? Chances are, the fight you are watching involves an experienced fighter—a fighter who has had some resistance training. Someone who has built up not only his strength but his endurance. This fighter is resilient. And resilient fighters know how to bob and weave and take punch after punch. Resilient fighters know how to fall, but they also know how to get up.
So how do we get there? How do we get to be resilient fighters in this boxing ring that we call life?
First: We must face the fact that life isn’t picture perfect no matter how much we’d like it to be. Life isn’t a Rocky movie—we don’t always win the title at the end. Embracing imperfection allows us to move away from preconceived ideas about how things should be. Think about the most recent movie in the Rocky series. When Rocky has to move away from the boxing arena it opens up to him a whole new world. One that he wasn’t expecting, but one that was fruitful and satisfying no less. When we let go of life the way we think it should be, we open up the door to new possibilities and the way life should be.
Second: Another part of being a great fighter is picking your battles. It’s crucial to understand that you have control of what you do with your life and you have the choice to pick the battles you want to fight. The wise fighter can look around at his opponents and know which fights are waste of time. Sometimes you outgrow your opposition, sometimes you realize they were never even in your weight class. Sometimes the opposition is yourself and you have learn to step out of your own way! I had to learn to stop fighting my positive thoughts with negative ones. It was a waste of my time to think things like, “I can’t” or “It’s impossible for me.” Those thoughts never made my battles any easier. Since making that decision, my confidence has grown to a point where I no longer need to ponder negative thoughts. When I see self-doubt trying to creep up on me, I shake my head. That fight is denied!
Third: We cannot become strong, resilient fighters if we choose to ignore our personal short comings. When we acknowledge those things that appear as deficits, as character flaws, as weaknesses, we can change them. We can develop new strategies and find new strengths to create balance where balance did not before exist.
Resilience is about being able to spring back from being bent, stretched, and/or compressed by the things that challenge us. What does that mean? It means that we cannot build strength or endurance unless we at first acknowledge that we are bent and that life will continue to mold us and shape us despite our attempts to remain a straight line.
Fourth: Train. Hard. In order to prepare for every fight, every punch, every challenge, we must train. The training I write of is not acquired by spending time with a boxing coach but rather by spending time with yourself and truly reflecting on where life has taken you and will take you in the future. One thing that Rocky always knew (from experience) is that life goes on, regardless of your struggle. You can either choose to be sidelined by it or learn from it. By flexing your reflective muscle, buy cultivating your bounce-back reflex, you prepare yourself for all the countless fights ahead. And even if you end up taking a hit, you have the strength, endurance, and ability to get back up.
This article is intended for general education purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling or medical care. If you are interested in seeking professional counseling, please contact The Stone Foundation by clicking here, or by phone at 410-296-2004.
Victoria Johnson is a Communications major who maintains honors status at the Anne Arundel Community College. She currently writes for The Baltimore Times and has written for the AACC school newspaper, The Campus Current. Victoria’s talent stems beyond her writing and schooling. She is also the co-founder of God’s Jewels, a charitable organization designed to benefit individuals in Africa who seek spiritual enlightenment.