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Cultivating Inner Resilience

resilience, boundaries

​“I was so furious, i wanted to jump out of my skin!!” My roommates had just invited the corona virus right through the front door and into my apartment in the form of strangers. How to continue living here?!? If I was going to even inhabit my own energy or somatic body, I was going to need to cultivate resilience in setting boundaries.

In challenging times of stress, burnout, overextending ourselves, or even just feeling unmotivated, we are challenged to cultivate the resilience to carry ourselves forward. What are some ways we experience burnout? For example, I experience burnout in relationships. I enjoy supporting others but I often overextend myself in doing so, to the point of self-sacrifice and exhaustion. Or, on the flip side, I find myself constantly defending my boundaries against those who only seek to invalidate them or react defensively.

For example, as I mentioned above, my health and safety has been put at risk during this pandemic by roommates who don’t practice social distancing. I was so angry! I needed to establish boundaries but I feared burnout from constantly defending them if my roommates reacted defensively or worse, created conflict. For me, the price of burnout from constantly defending my emotions was fearing conflict and such volatile emotions that I could barely inhabit my own feelings or even my somatic body. I mean, I had to live in this space with these people, 24/7! It was too much, but life doesn’t let up just because we can’t constantly uphold our energy and feelings. I needed to cultivate the inner resilience to embody my emotional boundaries in a more agile, comfortable way... What challenges are YOU facing that require inner strength and resiliency?

Where does your inner resilience come from? A holistic health practice like yoga? Self-discipline? Inspiring heroes? Faith in something higher? Family and friends? It’s different for everyone but just think of what is most meaningful in life to you; what you value most and those who are most important to you. Often, the very thought of our meaningful values fills us with a sense of empowerment. How do we cultivate this and channel it into resiliency?

A holistic health practice is a great place to start. Holistic healing modalities are a great way to tap into yourself and feel more deeply into your emotions within your body, heart and mind in order to ultimately heal stress and burnout. My meditation and yoga practices help me feel more deeply into how I am holding my emotions in my body. For example, do I feel myself cringing and contracting at the thought of interacting with my roommates? Absolutely. Sitting with this feeling in my body and deepening it through yoga and meditation allows me to hold it more deeply and cultivate some agency to work through it until I stop avoiding my roommates and my problems.

We often associate resilience with feelings of strength, being impervious to harm or showing no weakness. Instead, resilience often comes from the sheer willingness to be vulnerable; vulnerable to failing or getting hurt but also getting up, trying again and eventually overcoming life’s obstacles. Where am I most vulnerable? In my relationships. Living my values requires me to lead with my heart in relationships. Therefore, I’m highly sensitive to others in my relationships and it cuts both ways. But, our vulnerabilities can also be our greatest sources of strength and resiliency. For example, my greatest sources of inner strength and resilience are relationships with a capital “R”: My friendships. A community and network of supportive friends who allow me to feel really understood, heard and seen. Friends who actively listen to how I feel and who sympathize and empathize with me. Friends who support me and offer guidance during challenging times. Or, a therapist who helps me feel supported and guides me through processing my emotions. For me, I really needed to feel heard that having my health and safety compromised by my roommates made me so angry that I could barely inhabit my own energy where I live! Not to mention how uncomfortable and concerned I felt about having the safety of my health jeopardized in the first place. Within all this, I needed to feel comfortable about expressing how I felt as a boundary between my roommates and I. I also recognized my need to even be vulnerable about the hurt and anger I felt around why I needed to even establish a boundary in the first place. Lastly, I needed to acknowledge my vulnerability toward the risk of feeling trapped by those who might seek to invalidate my boundary by acting defensive. How do YOU embrace YOUR challenges with vulnerability?

Ultimately, I realized that the only thing I needed to be most vulnerable toward was my relationship to my higher self or, my Self. Specifically, my deepest resilience can be found in my vulnerability toward anything within me that might make me give up defending my boundary, such as the risk of a possible conflict, sacrificing my boundary to appease the relationship, or avoiding the situation entirely. I suddenly realized that my true vulnerability was in risking consequences that are determined entirely by ME. In other words, I only need the resilience to face my Self and my own fears of giving away my power to others. Dealing with others is exhausting but when I realized that my own Self-relationship was all that I needed to focus on, resilience suddenly became abundantly available! We are always in Self-relationship! In the end, you and your Self-relationship are your greatest source of inner strength and resiliency. Embrace your vulnerability toward yourself, your whole self: your fears, speaking your truth, standing up for yourself and the possible consequences...all of it. A great way to start tapping into your whole self (body, mind, heart, spirit) and cultivating resilience is with holistic healing modalities. Holistic healing practitioners help us tap into our capacity to hold our emotions more deeply, embrace our vulnerability, ground our energy and heal ourselves. What holistic healing modalities help YOU cultivate inner resilience? What do YOU rely on as a source of inner strength and resiliency? Let me know! Remember, your greatest strength and resilience are always ultimately within YOU! :)

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