My Word: Resilient…

Recently I watched the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”. First I must admit that I loved the book, so I would recommend the book to anyone as a first option rather than seeing the movie. In my opinion the movie does the book a great injustice (but I hear that about most books that go to movie version, right?). Maybe when I have my book turned movie we can keep it as true to form as possible. Sorry, I digress.

When I originally watched Liz Gilbert on Oprah in 2008 speaking on her journey, I immediately  fell in love with her story. Her admiration, courage, and inspirational message, was one that forced me to stop, think, and reflect on my own life. I think we all may have points in life when we feel unhappy, uneasy, worried, and stuck. But the way we move forward from those points are the true measure of who we are as individuals.

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I must admit that after hearing Liz Gilbert speak, and eventually reading her story, significantly helped me make the decision to move away from my city life and come to Hawaii. I was at a point in life where I did not know what to do next, feeling unhappy, and stuck. I knew something needed to change and, I had to be the vessel to promote the change that was needed for my life. Though it was not an easy decision, it was what I personally needed, change. Looking back now I know it was the right decision, even in times of doubt I know it was right.  It was a change that saved my life.

In “Eat, Pray, Love”, it is mentioned that every person and city has a word. The word for Rome is sex, the word for New York is achieve, and Gilbert declares her word to be attaversiamo which is Italian for “Let’s cross over”. Well this had me thinking about what my word could be. At first glance I thought my word should be “crazy hot mess”. I know, I know, that’s three words. Maybe if I translate it to another language then it will be only one word. But, then again I am really not that much of a crazy hot mess, and that really doesn’t describe the essence of my full being and everything that comes along with it.

So after much careful thought and planning I decided my word is RESILIENT! In some respect I hate to use the word Resilient as “my word” because I do have times where I feel that it is a commonly overused word. But as I think more about my own life, what I have overcome, the choices I have made, and where I am now, I can’t help but to say that my word is truly Resilient! I have struggled, second guessed, hated myself, and came back to eventually love myself and everything I have to offer the world. So in retrospect, yes I am Resilient!

However, there are times when I feel as if I am not worthy of using that word. Have I been through enough? Do I really know what it is like to come out of a struggle and keep living? I ask myself those questions because in my real life I am a therapist. I have a degree in counseling psychology, and I think I am pretty good at what I do.  I help families who struggle with controlling their teenage children. After a recent session I had with a parent, I realized resiliency goes a lot further than I have ever imagined and sometimes the only choice in life is to be resilient in order to find the energy to wake up the next day.

See this parent is a single mom with four children. Two of the children are in elementary school, one is in high school, and the oldest is a young adult. This mom has been constantly struggling to make sure that her older children lead the right path in life and learn responsibility, while making sure that the younger children avoid the pitfalls of society. Recently this mom lost her job. An unwanted setback that will end up in a test of her own strength.

As I sat in session with her, I listened. I realized that she has no choice but to be resilient. She can not just give up on herself, because to give up on herself would be to give up on her children. As a single mom she does not have the luxury of taking a year off from life to travel and find herself. She cannot just pick up and move to start life over when life gets tough. She has to keep living through the hard times. She has to keep pushing, have hope, and pray that tomorrow is better than the day before.

As I listened, I felt at a loss for words. I have never been in her shoes. I cannot imagine the hopelessness that she was feeling. But, I was there for her. I did the best job I knew how and,  I attempted to help her remember that she does have to keep going.  I realized that no matter what life gives her, she will never have a simple choice, she has to think about herself and the children. She cannot give up, she keeps going each day, holding on tighter to the feeling that the best is yet to come. She continues to believe and have faith that life will work, and in the end she will come out of it surly being resilient!

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