Bringing our 2020 Resiliency Skills into 2021
As we move into 2021, I am confident most of us are ready to release the old year, 2020, and turn our eyes and attention toward a new year with new potential and promise. 2020 has been quite a ride. Regardless of how we feel about it, most of us have had significant changes during 2020. Whether the changes were from a health, work, financial, school, family or friend perspective, things changed in 2020. There were losses from our old “normal” as we stepped into new a “normal”. We surely each have a story we can tell about 2020 and how we endured the year. We were living history as we made our way through the days and months of 2020. Through that weathering, it possibly took us to our knees and required a whole new skill set to stand up and move forward.
Taking a moment to look at how we managed to get through the year may be worth the time as we move into 2021. Anchoring the skill set, changes and ultimate gifts we may have reaped through the difficult times sets us up to know what helped us get through 2020. These same skills can be further honed and called upon as we move into 2021. It is probably fair to say, as we moved forward, we developed resiliency during 2020. Resiliency is defined as follows:
1. the ability of something to return to its original size and shape after being compressed or deformed.
2. an ability to recover from or adjust easily to adversity or change: the resiliency of nature and humans in the wake of fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other destructive forces. Richard K. Snow et al. (Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, 2020)
Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth. (American Psychological Association, 2012)
The point is resiliency is developed when we go through difficult times – times that can be painful and require us to dig deep and find inner strength to get through the situation. It is often developed during an emotionally distressing time. Resiliency isn’t something we “do” perfectly. It is, in fact, to struggle and fail, and then to find those attributes within to get back up (in a nonjudgmental way). It is to learn from the moment (acceptance). It is to find the silver lining in the midst of the storms (blessings). It is to find other ways to manage when things aren’t working in the current way (flexibility). Having resilience helps people flourish in a constantly changing environment, hold up under pressure, orient quickly to new demands and adapt to changing circumstances.
People are not born with resiliency; they develop it, like building a muscle. Resiliency can be measured on a continuum. As we need to rise to life challenges, resilience empowers us to cope, to meet the problems, to grow and to improve life along the way. Resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that anyone can learn and develop. Because resilience can be learned, it is thought to be ordinary. It does not take someone extraordinary to have resiliency. It involves developing thoughts, behaviors, and actions that allow you to recover from traumatic or stressful events in life. 2020 probably gave us many opportunities to practice another way if our behaviors, thoughts, or actions weren’t working in managing the situation effectively.
Some of the many components of resiliency includes having a good support system, maintaining positive relationships, having a good self-image, and having a positive attitude. Finding meaning and purpose in what you have gone through also plays into your development of resiliency. What were the blessings you can own as you look at 2020? Who were the people you could count on? How was being alone more and having less outside contact a gift in your life? How are you different because you went through 2020?
2020 provided us ample ground to “practice” finding our way towards resilience. We may have fallen several times before we picked ourselves up and developed other ways to manage. And maybe, overall, we do not feel like we were very successful. Resiliency means we identify where we were successful, what we did learn, what good came out of the difficult situation and then move forward.
Yes, we are all ready to put 2020 behind us, and as we move into 2021, take the time to identify what resiliency skills you honed in order to get through 2020. As for 2021, identify a resiliency skill you further want to develop in 2021, a resiliency skill that will help you to continue to grow and develop and be a stronger person.
American Psychological Association. (2012). apa.org/topics/resilience. Retrieved from American Psychological Association
Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. (2020, Oct. 17). www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resiliency. Retrieved from www.merriam-webster.com: https://www.merriam-webster.comTags: building resiliency, COVID and resiliency, Covid builds resiliency skills, resiliency is learned, resiliency skills
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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