Resilience: Getting Through

When I was in college I conducted an oral history of the Holocaust. I interviewed women and men who had survived the most unthinkable and unspeakable things. The overwhelming and amazing lesson was not what they had tragically endured, but how they had endured it.  How their spirits had survived when maybe others had given up hope.  Resilience.  Resilience is defined as essentially the ability to get back up when you get knocked down. And in study after study researchers have come to learn that resilience is the single biggest predictor of future success. 

So like my previous post on resolve, I ask the question, where does resilience come from? Is it a skill that we can learn or something innate to who we are? There are people that I meet as a Family lawyer who have the most indomitable spirits; who survive abuse and tragedy, who negotiate daily living under impossible circumstances and who re-bound from set-backs big and small.  There are others who get deeply stuck and are unable to move on.  So how do we cultivate resilience to get through life, to deal with divorce or other hard family law issues?

The poet David Whyte has said that “the cure for exhaustion isn’t always rest, its wholeheartedness.”  To live with wholeheartedness is to search out what makes us feel deeply alive. As we know that when we lose connection to our own spirit – we feel numb to the world around us, we lose resolve, and oftentimes we become physically weakened and sick.  Brene' Brown describes wholeheartedness as embracing our vulnerability and uncertainty, and that the path to wholeheartedness is ultimately about the “care and feeding of our spirits.”

I realize that a lot of time what is asked of individuals going through divorce or family law issues is to come up with a plan for the future when they are emotionally and mentally exhausted and have not yet connected with a sense of hope, or courage, or wholeheartedness. And what I learned from those survivors and all of the survivors that I meet everyday is that resilience is not necessarily about making big changes or crafting far-reaching plans, but rather is the steady commitment to a habit of staying present, of holding gratitude, and doing the things that make us feel wholehearted. I encourage you to start there.

If you’re ready to talk about getting through a divorce or another family law issue, please contact Georgia Fraser, Esq. at Fraser Family Law Office LLC, 609-223-2099