Resilience -not perfection- is the key to happiness

November 6, 2012

The word “resilience” keeps on coming back into the forefront of my life. It started a few weeks ago after my son didn’t adjust to Kindergarten the minute I dropped him off. It’s funny how we have these picture perfect versions of how we think our lives should go.

All the mummy stuff came up of course, but I was intellectually able to talk myself down from throwing myself a pity party to realize that it wasn’t about me 🙂 … but instead about wanting to protect him from the pain of new experiences that aren’t comfortable.

Then a few weeks into school, he of course not only adjusted but also loved it. And a message in his journal came back from his teacher that said,

“A word of thanks to all parents for their support of those children that are feeling teary and sad in the morning. It can feel like a big scary world outside, but once we step into the school, and then into the class, our world becomes small and safe and familiar. We build resilience in our children when they are called upon to step out of their comfort zone and we build empathy in our children when we talk as a class about what it is like to feel sad and what we can do to make our friends feel happy.”

Yes, we do have the world’s best Kindergarten teacher!

Anyway, the moment I read it, I got all teary eyed as I realized that this lesson of standing outside of one’s comfort zone was not just a lesson for my child, but a lesson for myself. I too had been stretched out of my comfort zone in my work and asked to step out more visibly.

I began to share my fears with great friends, colleagues, and mentors who created that ‘classroom where our world becomes small and safe and familiar’ and it is there that I heard the whispers turn into screams of, “You can do this.” Like my son, I had built a little more resilience.

Now, fast forward a few weeks…

Two weeks ago, my friend Christine’s 2 year old daughter started to have seizures and the next thing we found out she had a rare brain tumor, was air lifted to a major city hospital and the world from under them just crumbled.

In those 2 weeks, my incredible friend has somehow found a rhythm in the chaos. Nothing has changed- they still don’t know if it is operable, she’s still not home in her bed and they are still waiting to hear from doctors. But through the incredible support of family, friends and a FB page where she has begun to share her sadness (and gratitude) and how friends can help… she has found routine in the unknown, and comfort and love from a small community.

So tonight I began to ponder about all of these things that happened recently and realized that trying to keep our lives in little perfect boxes… isn’t going to give us the richness of life and happiness we think that comes with it.

Instead, resilience – not perfection – is the key to happiness.

We build resilience when we are called upon to step out of our comfort zone and we build empathy when we talk about what it is like to feel sad and what we can do to make each other feel happy. (Taken from a wise teacher’s words! Thanks Mme. Beaulieu)

PS. Project G is what we are doing to send love to my friend and her daughter Gabrielle. We’re making G’s, roughly 3 x 3″ that can be drawn, painted, collaged, anyway to create a G! Each G represents a piece of hope to Christine and she plans on creating something special with all the G’s she receives that will remind her of all that hope, all the love, and all those prayers that are being sent, every single day.