“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it is less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”—Elizabeth Edwards


Unexpected or not, we will face adversity at different times throughout the course of our lives. It might be death, divorce, illness or job loss. What inner resources can we call upon and nurture that will help us through difficult times?

When I think back on the most painful and difficult periods of my life, my memory seems to split in two. I first recall the shock, disbelief and railing against the reality of my loss. Then I remember the markers of healing that slowly surfaced. I recall how they encouraged me and gave me hope that something better was coming.

The random and intentional kindnesses of people bolstered me. Sometimes it was just a word or some help when I couldn’t ask for it. Other times, it was their presence, just being there, to reassure me that I was not so alone.

In looking back, I know that those difficult times were also the richest times of my self discovery and growth. I found my spirit of resilience and saw how it helped me. When challenging times came again, I began to know that my resilience would be there too.

We grow resilience through believing in ourselves. Resilience is that sense of faith and hope that guides us through those hard times. Each time we dig deep and utilize our inner resources, we grow our resilience.

In this dark of winter, the gardeners among us are planning fro spring. They are planning what they will plant and when they will sow their seeds. Gardeners nurture the ground and know that when it is ready, it will be time to plant.

So it is with us… in loss, we are in the dead of winter, frozen in time. Our springtime of growth will come with love, patience and healing. With each of life’s twists and turns, we can begin to know that the promise of healing is within our reach. This is how we grow resilience.

How will you know your healing has started to take root? It might be a glance in the mirror when you see some light, no matter how dim, reflected in your eyes. It might be a laugh that comes free, even for a second, or a smile, no matter how faint, that is free of grief.

To grow resilience, first look inside yourself, to find your strengths. Look around you to feel your support system surrounding you. Healing comes over time and just like seeds pushing up through the ground, can’t be rushed. What you can find within yourself, your gifts and your spirit of resilience will be worth the wait.