Fall down, stay down: an alternative approach to building resilience

September 21st, 2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Fall down, stay down: an alternative approach to building resilience”
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Picking ourselves up quickly after defeat; it’s become a key trend in the current world of work and one which influences our daily life.
Our first impulse is to resist all failure, resist the “no” moment and the difficulty, and just get back up as fast as possible. We want to move on quickly, to get up and run like a lion or a gazelle, still carrying the trauma like an open wound.

This resilience mantra works fine for small bumps, but is actually counterproductive and harmfull for more serious failures.
In many cases the resilience mantra is an easy and subconscious remedy, but in reality it can end up being a dangerous one.
We often settle for this approach, despite it being more palateable to others than ourselves, and despite the fact that we feel broken. We often feel a need to show others that we are strong, and this is what guides us, rather than our growing internal need.

But before we make a vain attempt to present a heroic yet fragile self-image, maybe it would actually be better (merciful, even) to just stop, fall apart a bit and hit the floor. And, while we’re down there, we could indulge in the feeling of being broken, of suffering, of losing our “whole”.
Feeling the pain, understanding it and giving it meaning are key elements in rebuilding ourselves. So we need to discard some of our typical “survival” thought patterns; thoughts such as “Treasure every defeat” or “Extract the best from every situation, no matter how bad” can actually be unhelpful and dysfunctional.

We are all extraordinary soldiers, able to tolerate so much, adapt and rejuvenate.
But we should not miss the beauty and importance of getting lost sometimes, of failing to escape, of feeling broken.
Like the monster Hydra in Greek mythology who regrew two heads when one was chopped off, maybe we if we lost our minds sometimes rather than trying to patch them up with a bit of flimsy sticking tape, something better and stronger may result.

So let’s allow ourselves a few days off in glorious isolation, let’s allow ourselves to be broken and let’s tell others about it. Because maybe by feeling like shit for a moment, we’re actually creating the very best fertiliser for ourselves.

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