It’s true that if you’re reading this, you’ve survived 100% of your darkest days.
But your survival has probably come at a cost.
Every now and then, you’re going to get someone trying to encourage you by reminding you that you are a survivor. You’re still here. You’re “resilient.”
But many survivors aren’t as encouraged by that language as you may think.
For many people, being told how “resilient” they are scrapes up complicated feelings.
We may BE resilient…but we may not FEEL very resilient.
For that matter, many people reading this may have complicated feelings about the fact that they ARE still alive, after everything they’ve endured.
Some people wake up every day in pain or having to cope with huge losses— and for them being reminded of their “resilience” can sound like their struggles or pain don’t “count.”
I understand why so many people want to focus on resilience. For people on the outside of our struggles, it feels like a more “positive” emphasis than to focus on the pain we’ve endured, or the pain that we continue to endure.
But for many people, that pain is very real and very present.
For many people, their “resilience” is a pretty abstract concept.
We may know we’re resilient, because we have survived a lot…but the fact of our resilience doesn’t particularly help us in dealing with our everyday pain.
Sometimes we’re told how proud someone is of us, that we continue to endure.
What other people sometimes don’t get is that we haven’t really had a choice.
Many of us have HAD to do life scared. We didn’t have a choice.
Many of us have HAD to do life anxious. We didn’t have a choice.
Many of us have HAD to be resilient. We didn’t have a choice.
Lots of people reading this have had enough of hearing about how “resilient” they are.
We want a measurably improved quality of life. Not a life in which we manage to just get by, bolstered by our “resilience.”
We want to live.
We want to love and be loved.
We want to thrive and flourish.
We want to create a life that isn’t focused on managing or disguising our own pain, physical or emotional.
People mean well when they observe or compliment the “resilience” of trauma survivors.
People mean well when they encourage us to “do it scared.”
But lots of us are SICK of being resilient. We’re SICK of “doing it scared.”
All of which is to say: don’t let what other people say to you or about you— even in positive or complimentary ways— get in your head.
Remember that the way people talk about trauma or trauma survivors is often entwined with their own reactions and feelings about the fact that bad things happen to people who don’t deserve them.
Remember that whatever anybody says or doesn’t say about how you’ve managed your life and struggles, you still have EXACTLY the challenges you have in front of you today.
Whatever anybody else says, your priorities today remain the same: your safety and your stability.
Let them say whatever they’re going to say about your “resilience.”
You stay curious, open, and proactive about what we’re going to do to actually improve your quality of life by .01% today.