Adversity doesn’t discriminate. As we live life, we will be facing tough times, and what allows us continued growth is how we approach whatever difficulty comes our way. You’re not alone in thinking that life holds the power to piss you off. However, you can make an informed choice on navigating your setbacks, grief, and life-changing dramas. A key aspect of making it through is to adopt resilience as the default setting when dealing with hardship. Resilience gives us the power to influence our actions in a way that benefits our narrative.
The LGBTQ+ community has a knack for resilience. Our diversity encourages us to think outside the box very early in life, and then we keep practicing as life unfolds. Here is a reminder of THREE essential go-to strategies that allow you to think in a way that will help you monitor your resilience levels.
1. Resilient people accept that terrible things happen to anyone, including them
They know that suffering is part of life and every human experience, enabling them to welcome difficulties without feeling discriminated against when the tough times come. For example, I struggled with my homosexuality as a young man. The moment I stopped asking myself “WHY ME,” and I embraced my sexuality and how sensitive and beautiful I am thanks to my nature, I realised that I could deal with everything, the good along with the bad. It’s never personal. A crisis becomes about us the moment we allow it to happen. Quickly done in a society where we feel entitled to a perfect life, validated by how our appearance in social media dictates who we are in life. Perfection is not sustainable. Perfection doesn’t exist. Unless we sync with the truth and cherish our differences and uniqueness, we will fail in life.
2. Resilient people excel at choosing where to focus their attention
They have a habit of assessing situations, diverting their attention towards things they can change, and accepting what they cannot control. As humans, we are very good at focusing on negative emotions because our survival instinct allows us to identify danger from the outset. All was simple when we lived in caves. Back then, we worried about food, shelter, and not becoming a snack to a prehistoric pet. Now, connectivity exposes us to various never-ending threats, often not directly linked to us. But unless we filter them, we end up living in a constant state of stress. I don’t diminish the negative, but I’ve worked out a way to place it in the proper context and focus on the good instead. Not everything needs to turn into a quest for survival.
Positivity has the power to flourish even in a negative experience. When we feel that doubt and the unknown rule our lives, we can find things we are grateful for and learn from them, evolving into a better version of ourselves. Being able to switch the focus of attention to the goodness we have in life is a powerful way to deal with the bad. I try to think of three good, simple things about me or that happen to me daily: anything, even that my large nose sits nicely on my face would do. Over time, with this approach, I began to show a higher level of gratitude and happiness and fewer levels of depression and negative feelings. Remind yourself to welcome kindness in your life and to make an intentional, ongoing effort to tune into what’s good in your world.
3. Resilient people ask themselves whether their behaviour is harming or helping them, and they apply this question to ALL the aspects of their lives
For instance, do I want to engage with all the trolls of this world on FB or Twitter? Do I need to follow my ex on Instagram? What do I gain by surrounding myself with people who don’t encourage me to dare in life? It’s easy. Asking yourself whether what you’re doing is helping or harming yourself gives you control over your decision-making.
Resilience is a soft skill that we can all acquire if we are willing to give it a go. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you think: “There is no way I am coming back from this,” consider leaning into these three basic strategies and think again. Sure, it takes work to alter how we feel. Change requires awareness and discipline. However, it’s doable. I know because in trying, I’ve learned that it’s possible to go through the hardship of a life-changing event and still live and not only survive. If I made it, so can you. In two words: be fabulous. It’s what you deserve.