I love doing resilience work in schools. Resilience is a buzz word at the moment and it will mean different things to different people, but for me, a core element of resilience is self-acceptance.
When you look at some of the most inspiring people in life they have often faced real challenges and adversity, but have still overcome those to become successful. Often you will hear such people speak of their incredible self-belief and refusal to allow anyone to define them.
So how can we do this and develop that kind of belief in our own lives? Well, we can start by addressing our internal dialogue. What we say inside our heads matters. Using mindfulness we can start to notice what that dialogue may be, but we still need something to help counteract our self-criticism. This is where positive focus on our strengths comes in.
By focusing on what our strengths are, we are making changes in our brains, so that we start to notice the positive in ourselves and not just the negative. Think about it, we are very good at putting ourselves down, we don't like to show off or make ourselves appear big-headed and whilst that may make us more socially acceptable it doesn't do much for our well-being. The fact that it is more socially acceptable for us to speak badly of ourselves is a sad reflection of the culture we live in.
So how can we start to focus on our strengths? Well it's as simple as writing a list, write a list of all the negative stuff you say in your head and another of all the positive. I bet the negative one was easier and is probably longer. Take a bit of time everyday to focus on the strengths, start to notice when you use them and how those strengths are unique to you. Some of these strengths you will have been born with, but others you may have learnt or developed eg. learning a musical instrument, your strengths are not fixed and you can create new ones all the time.
By taking this time to focus on your strengths rather than your perceived weaknesses, you should start to notice an increase in your self-belief and well-being.
I would love to know if you have any other suggestions for increasing resilience. Please feel free to leave a comment.