There are many ways to learn how to be RESILIENT. The hard way—going through something really difficult and coming out on the other side intact—is one path many people take to learn how to be more resilient. Usually this takes getting support when you are struggling so that you don’t freak out but learn to use your strengths and some tools to work through the feelings that are coming up.
SIX PILLARS OF RESILENCE
- Growth Mindset
- Emotional Intelligence
- Community Connections
- Choice and Control
THE CASE OF ELEANOR
Take the case of Eleanor, a bright scientist in her early 50’s employed in the renewable energy field who was struggling along in life with her husband and 2 kids, a 5th Grader and a 9th Grader. She realized she was not happy inside and decided to get some help because she realized she was not connecting well with her kids or her husband. “What are you noticing?” I asked her when she came in for her first Coaching Session. She described that everything was dull, lifeless, and that she felt like she couldn’t reach her daughter who was moving into high school. She named a feeling of being lost and not sure what was wrong but she couldn’t find meaning anymore in her work or her relationships. As we talked more, it was clear she was having marital difficulties, but she was so lost that she didn’t know how to even talk about it with her husband.
As we worked together, she began to identify the reasons for her lostness: She was being disempowered by her husband like she was many years ago in her family of origin and now she was dropping into her lost “little girl” from the past and responding from this part in her present life. As she learned how to work with these younger “parts” we began to engage in IFS or Internal Family Systems Therapy, which is a trauma process I utilize in my coaching to help women re-connect with parts of them lost in the past. But more importantly, this work helps you learn the terrain of your inner self and how to learn to know yourself more deeply. This work is the key to learning how to have a loving relationship with yourself. It requires mindfulness tools and the ability to take sacred time with yourself on a regular basis. Eleanor was dying to re-connect with herself, and tears rolled down her face as she got in touch with this younger part of herself who was so lonely and isolated.
We continued to work together for another 3-6 months until she had reconnected with her parts and was able to integrate herself more powerfully in the present moment. She was dedicated to healing herself so that she could make her life work again. She was able, then, from this place, to identify what wasn’t feeling good between herself and her husband and how she wanted to present it to him. They engaged in couples therapy and began to work on healing their relationship and their parenting of their children.INN
Eleanor called me about 2 years later in tears. She was facing a divorce because her husband was leaving her. She was very upset about how he was treating her again, and how he was aligning with the kids against her. She came in for a session and a few more. This was enough to help her re-align her parts and realize what she needed to do to move forward in this separation and stand up for what she believed was right for herself and her children. Since her daughter was now a Junior in HS she was really concerned with how to set up a parenting plan and visitation that would work for both kids and herself.
Eleanor’s previous work with me was the grounding she needed to move through this difficult and challenging divorce process. She shared with me how she would get in touch with the “parts” she knew were hurting and I would support her in this process in the office, so that she could get the clarity she needed to begin to grieve and move into action steps towards a divorce. Because she knew herself so well, she could work with this new event in her life and grow even more through it. All 6 pillars of resilience were operating in her through this event.
INNER WORK IS LEARNING TO BEFRIEND WHO YOU ARE INSIDE
This case of Eleanor’s life and work is a true example of how inner work or IFS + Coaching or developing a loving relationship with yourself can provide the resilience you need when new events happen. And I talk about Resilience today because our lives are so inundated with intensity and things that pull us away from being with ourselves in a meaningful way. How are we ever going to move through important lessons and events in our lives if we don’t know how to go within and slow it down and be with what’s going on inside of us? And yet, how often do you see people just numbing themselves out in some way or another so they don’t have to notice the pain or struggle inside?
Yes, this is one way to go through your life… avoiding and ignoring. But, it’s usually only a matter of time before things begin to knock you down and you have to start paying attention. Wonder if you could just learn how to start paying attention before that big one happens to you?
Learn more about how you might engage these IFS tools and mindfulness tools at my next FREE WORKSHOP on August 15th to learn about coaching and groups that would help you wherever you are on the Midlife Voyage to Transformation. Or schedule a FREE 30 MINUTE CONSULTATION.