Web Analytics

4 secret myths about resilience

(Leave a Comment)

The other day I was having lunch with my friend Kay. We were getting caught up on each other’s lives and Kay was talking about a mood downswing that occurred a few weeks back.

“How are you feeling now?” I asked. “I know that was kind of a tough time for you. I didn’t hear from you very much.”

Kay looked a bit sheepish and finally said, “Well, I was thinking to myself, ‘Bobbi’s all about resilience and she’ll want me to be resilient through this.’” She emphasized the word resilient with a big sigh. “And I just didn’t feel like I was in a place to bounce back from how I was feeling at the time.”

I nodded. “I’m so glad you shared this with me, Kay. I think it’s time I wrote a little more about this very thing.”


With that in mind, here are four myths about resilience that may have been a secret to you until now.


1. You must be resilient at all times.

Can we be anything all the time? Resilience is a practice and there are times we are better at it than others. And part of resilience is flexibility and belief that your body, mind, and spirit know your own timing better than anyone else – and that includes when to use resilience skills.


2. There’s something wrong with me if I feel sad and down in the dumps. I must not be very resilient.

Who says? Feelings just are, they don’t mean anything about you in general. It’s a mistake to equate a feeling with a trait: “I’m sad = I’m not resilient = I’m bad.” Your emotion is just a clue as to what is going on inside you. See #1 for the timing thing again. And take a look at Colleen Haggerty’s great post about this very thing.


3. Resilience means bouncing back immediately from whatever has you down.

Oh gosh, I hope not. It took me years to bounce back from the death of my partner. Although I like the phrase “bounce back,” it can sometimes be taken to mean that the bounce happens quickly. In actuality, that bounce may feel like it is in Super Slo Mo. And that’s okay.


4. Once I bounce back from a crisis, I shouldn’t have a “relapse” – it should bespiral staircase over.

Ummmm, not exactly. The path that resilience takes us on can often be very much like an upward spiral. We continue on an upward path, but there are times when we have to go past that point of pain again. At that place, we may get knocked down again, stay in the same place for awhile, or keep moving upward, albeit slowly.

Takeaway points: Resilience is a practice, and as in sports, sometimes we have a good practice and other times we feel like we’ve never played this game before. Sometimes we pick up the sport immediately and have a talent for it and other times it is a struggle and takes a long time. The key is to be okay with wherever you are today.

What other myths about resilience can you think of?


If you liked this post, you may also like one of my previous posts, 5 ways to be okay with where you are.


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Bobbi Emel is a therapist who helps people in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View and the greater Bay Area manage their stress and develop their strengths.
She is effective in helping people dealing with anxiety, worry and grief; and also those who want to improve their effectiveness and performance.