Recognising Strength, Courage, and Resilience (In Yourself and In Others)
28 October 2020
Reading time: 2 minutes 45 seconds
This is a guest blog by Louisa Busher, a qualified Social Worker (UK). Her background is working with families and children, with a specific focus on supporting and understanding the experiences of foster carers and kinship carers.
Working as a social worker, and more recently within a coaching and counselling role, I have met many people, all with their varied life experiences. Through listening to their stories, I have begun to appreciate that we all carry within us sources of strength, and the ability to be courageous and resilient when needed. Recognising this within our own lives, as well as within others, can benefit us and our relationships in powerful ways. By simply being human we all experience challenge and undergo change and transformation, and it is precisely in this that we can experience our biggest moments of growth. Remembering this can allow us to recognise how we have moved forwards in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
Sometimes these acts shape our lives, such as the decision to change our job, or quit our nine-to-five for something more rewarding like fostering, and they become ‘turning points’ or ‘milestones’. Some, however, are much smaller, daily acts that can slip past us unrecognised. For example, the courage to listen to someone else's needs without expecting something in return. The strength to face our innermost feelings, no matter how painful or scary they are. The courage to get out of bed and start another day despite feeling low or unmotivated; the list is endless.
Why is this important? Recognising our strengths and victories can be a helpful way to start practising self-compassion. Actively identifying these helps us recognise our resilience and therefore also reminds us of our potential. This also echoes the humanistic notion that we are all essentially ‘good’. By practising ‘unconditional self-acceptance’ - that is reminding ourselves that our worth is not based on certain conditions (for example, our achievements or qualities) - it encourages us to embrace ourselves and remain open to life experiences (1).
Once we have begun to practice self-compassion we often find we can more easily extend this to other people. As the saying goes; ‘be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about’. We are often so absorbed by what is going on in our own lives that we overlook the struggles of those around us. Not only does self-compassion breed compassion for the other, but it also helps us to connect to those around us and realise that we all face difficulties. Through doing this we also recognise that challenge, strength, and courage are at the core of human existence and connect us all.
Next time you’re having a bad day, remind yourself of the challenges that you’ve overcome and reconnect with some of those experiences. Practice being kind to yourself and allow this to re-centre you and remind yourself of your resilience and potential. Grow your self-compassion to the point where you can extend it to those around you; remember that we all fight common and daily battles and these are the things that connect and make us truly human.
(1) Rogers, C. (1967) On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy. London: Constable & Robinson Ltd