The more we get to know ourselves on the resilience journey, the more challenging it can be looking at the mirror.
There are times we’d like to spit at the person we see there because he/she screwed up, hurt others, was mean to those he/she loves the most, lied, cheated, gossiped… we can lengthen the list with multitudes of wrongdoings.
Still, there are (a few) who are looking beyond our shortcomings. How can they do that?
First of all
they are aware that they are no better than us.
So there is no reason why they should position themselves above us in any way. Like us, they have their own and have made countless mistakes. They also know they would fail again, sooner or later.
It does not matter what issues they have, the emphasis is on the act of screwing it up.
What is the difference then between us and them?
They have overcome the constant struggle with guilt, resentment, condemnation.
They understood the rule: we all screw up, no one is an exception. But that is not the end: they recognise, seek restoration and reconciliation, ask for forgiveness and forgive, then move on, leaving the whole thing behind.
They know that even when they do their best, they will fall again – but they know how to deal with it.
What is the key to their approach?
They have learnt some skills they can utilize when things go wrong. They admit they are not perfect, can have bad days, can wake up grumpy, life can severely hit them as well – but they look at it with an expectation of overcoming and with the knowledge of having
control over their own attitudes and actions.
So why are they beside us on our resilience journey?
Because they have been through stuff.
They know what it is like – even though they cannot fully understand our situation.
They have already fought through the feelings of desperation, hopelessness, rejection, doubt, being lost.
They also remember how much it meant to them that someone was there and they could pour their heart out to them.
They could share their struggles with someone who listened – without judgment,
without telling them what they should, or shouldn’t have done. Their listeners were not aiming to fix their lives but gently leading them to arrive at a better understanding both of the consequences of their earlier actions and figuring out how to survive the actual situation step by step. Due to that successful understanding they can be here for us: to help us to figure out what’s next and how to prevent the same situation again.
Neither by fixing our current situation nor fixing us, but providing us with support, a hand to grab, an arm to hang onto when we pull ourselves up.
And they remember it is hard and painful work, that’s why their words of encouragement sound valid:
they do not deny the hardship but themselves represent a positive outcome.
They are living proof of the “possible”.
They have been through their own resilience journey.
What gave them power to achieve all this? I believe one key factor is admitting that we have flaws and failures.
We cannot fight “something”, but we can fight “the thing” – we must name it. Otherwise we are just throwing arrows into a big forest without targeting anything in particular. What is the chance of hitting a target if we hunt that way?
Unfortunately, these days taking responsibility and disclosing our own mistakes is seen as weakness.
However, standing alone in front of that mirror first, then amongst others, and acknowledging we are not superheroes and we need support is indeed a picture of strength.
We dare to speak out and declare we want to do it better. We are brave enough to ask for help.
Those friends who stayed with us in the turmoil will be our helpers, and others might join in later – as
we re-build our lives and discover step by step who we are.
Shaking off the fake postures, social positions, while finding the true meaning of our lives.
And over time we will find out what our true friends already know: we are worthy of love.
Together with all of our cracks and brokenness, we are worthy.
And once we can grab that, we will have the knowledge, deep enough, inside of us, to be sure of who we are.