Resilience in Recovery
by Seth Harris, CPS-AD
Resilience is a term that has come up a lot for me lately, and in my lived experience, repetition means pay attention. A couple of months ago, I transplanted a redbud sapling from my parents’ yard to my own yard. At first, it struggled and seemed as if it was not going to survive the transition. Yet, it was able to use the strength it already had from within, to connect with its environment and produce new growth.
Resilience is a big part of every recovery story. In fact, I believe it’s one of the greatest gifts we receive in recovery. Dr. Brené Brown describes shame as the voice that only asks what’s wrong with us and focuses on the fear of being disconnected. Often, we resist shame by pushing back, moving against, or giving in. This resistance only creates more shame.
Resilience, on the other hand, is all about connection. When we are resilient, we are reminded that we are enough; we have something to offer; and we are worthy of emotional intimacy with others. Resilience empowers our relationships with others and self.
These are complex times. We have endured trauma on a global level, and with that comes fear and shaming - not only of others but also of self. (I’m fairly certain I have participated in some of this myself.) If we truly want to make a positive change, we must be willing to hold space, actively listen, and find ways in which we can emotionally connect with others (even if their viewpoints differ from our own).
Are we willing to look at the lens through which we view ourselves and the world around us? It can be uncomfortable and requires vulnerability. But, it fuels hope and, just like the redbud sapling, produces new growth.