My word for today is resiliency. It came to me the middle of the night in response to red-ribbon week at school and the subject of bullying which I think has gotten completely out of hand. Not the bullying, but the assumption that if people have an opinion that doesn’t fit in the box, that they are bullies.
Resiliency is the ability to stand strong in who you know you are and not take the perceptions, choices and actions of others personally. It is knowing that you don’t need to take personal ownership of other people’s stuff.
What others say, think, feel and do is always about them and not about you. There will always be people who don’t agree with you, who don’t like you and don’t think the way you do. There will always be people who are better looking, more talented and more popular. There will always be parties that you don’t get invited to because you don’t fit into their agenda. There will always be people who don’t resonate with you or have chemistry with you. There will always be people who hurt others because they themselves are hurting. That is simply a part of life and always has been. It is no one else’s responsibility to make you happy.
You know that old saying, “sticks and stones my break my bones but names will never hurt me?”
Yes, names do hurt. Yes, not getting invited to the party hurts, yes having someone tell lies about you hurts, and yes, hearing an opinion that is the opposite of your own hurts. But it doesn’t need to break you. Unfortunately people have become so overly sensitive that they now break like china dolls and take others out with them. We have become so sensitive that we have forgotten what bullying really is. Until you have had your head pushed in a toilet, been beaten up in a bathroom, had your faced smashed into a locker, been thrown into a dumpster, and had your clothes torn off you, like I was, don’t whine to me about how someone hurt your politically correct and overly sensitive feelings.
Until you have been shot in the head by the Taliban like Malala was, you don’t really understand the full scope of what bullying is, and what resiliency can be!
Let us continue to teach kindness, compassion and understanding, and also teach resiliency. Let us teach our children how to create an environment where we are all free to speak our mind and embrace conversations where we can agree to disagree. Let us teach open-mindedness where conversations can lead to new breakthroughs in understanding. Let us create an environment where freedom of speech really is free. Nothing great was ever accomplished in this world by keeping our thoughts and opinions small out of fear of how someone else would perceive us. And, while there are those whose words are intended to be hurtful because the purveyor themselves are dealing with their own suffering, let’s include them with compassion into the conversation and work with them to heal their own wounds and create resiliency within themselves.
Resiliency is using all of that which hurts us to make ourselves stronger and less likely to break. It gives us the resolve to be who really have the capacity to be. It stretches us like a rubber band and allows us to take new form. It gives us the ability to bounce back in the face of failure and adversity. All great things in this world have stemmed from resiliency.