If you’ve had these 8 experiences in life, you’re a lot more resilient than you realize

by Ethan Sterling | May 6, 2024, 10:21 pm

Life has a way of throwing curveballs at us, doesn’t it?

Sometimes, it feels like we’re barely keeping our heads above water. Between personal challenges, professional hurdles, and the unexpected twists of daily life, it can seem like we’re just surviving, not thriving.

You might often wonder if you’re strong enough to handle it all. I get it. I’ve been there too.

But here’s the thing – you might be underestimating your own resilience.

Yes, you read that right.

In this article, we’re going to explore some experiences that might have felt like setbacks at the moment but are actually indicators of your incredible strength and resilience.

You might be nodding along as you read through, recognizing these moments in your own life.

So, let’s dive straight in.

1) Surviving major life changes

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a major life change that you didn’t see coming? Maybe it was a sudden job loss, a breakup, or having to move cities on short notice. 

I remember when I was laid off from what I thought was my dream job. The floor might as well have opened up beneath me. Yet, here I am, still standing.

At the time, it felt like my world was ending. But looking back, that experience taught me how to adapt. I learned to embrace uncertainty and even find opportunities in the midst of chaos. 

It’s not about bouncing back immediately or with grace—it’s about the sheer will to move forward when everything seems against you.

2) Facing personal setbacks head-on

Think about a time when you faced a personal setback. Maybe it was not achieving a goal you set for yourself, or perhaps a project you poured your heart into didn’t turn out as planned. 

I once ran a marathon and had to walk the last five miles because my body just couldn’t take any more. I crossed the finish line feeling defeated and embarrassed.

However, over time, I realized that finishing at all was an achievement in itself. Facing that setback head-on taught me about my own limits and how they don’t define my value or capabilities. 

Every setback is an opportunity to learn and grow

If you’ve ever picked yourself up after falling short of your own expectations and tried again, or simply learned something valuable from the experience, you’ve shown resilience that many people struggle to find within themselves.

3) Navigating through loss and grief

Loss is an inevitable part of life, yet it’s one of the most difficult experiences to navigate.

Whether it’s the death of a loved one, the end of a significant relationship, or letting go of a long-held dream, grief can feel like a relentless storm, leaving devastation in its wake. 

During these times, it might seem impossible to find your footing again. But it’s precisely through walking this difficult path that resilience is built, layer by layer.

Research has shown that individuals who have faced significant losses often develop what psychologists refer to as “post-traumatic growth.” 

This isn’t about diminishing the pain or finding a silver lining in tragedy. Rather, it’s about the profound personal growth that comes from working through the grief. 

It could manifest as a deeper appreciation for life, stronger relationships with those still in your life, or a newfound sense of personal strength.

Resilience is about experiencing all of that and still managing to find a way forward, carrying those losses with you but also allowing them to shape you into a stronger, more compassionate person.

4) Overcoming health challenges

Battling a health issue, whether it’s a temporary illness or a chronic condition, is a profoundly personal journey that tests not just physical strength, but emotional and mental fortitude as well. 

The road to recovery or adaptation can feel lonely and endless, marked by good days overshadowed by days filled with pain, frustration, and fear. 

This journey teaches a level of empathy and understanding that’s hard to come by any other way. It’s about finding hope in the smallest improvements and learning to celebrate them.

Each day you face your health challenges head-on is a testament to your resilience.

The beauty in this struggle lies in the community and connections formed with others who share similar paths. 

There’s an unspoken bond, an exchange of silent nods of acknowledgment that says, “I see you. I understand.”

5) Learning from failure

I’ll never forget the sting of my first major failure. It was a project I had poured my heart and soul into, convinced it was going to be a game-changer. Then, it fell flat on its face. 

The disappointment was palpable, not just for me but for everyone involved. In the aftermath, I was left questioning everything, including my own abilities and judgment.

But as the dust settled, I began to see the experience in a different light. Failure, as harsh as it can be, forced me to look at things from a new perspective. 

It was a hard lesson in humility, yes, but also in resilience.

I learned that bouncing back wasn’t just about getting up and trying the same thing again. It was also about taking stock of what went wrong, understanding why, and using that knowledge to move forward more intelligently.

Each time I’ve faced failure since then, I’ve tried to approach it with a mindset of learning and growth.

Sure, it’s never pleasant, but it’s become a less daunting prospect because I know that with each setback comes an opportunity to learn, adapt, and become stronger.

6) Embracing change

Change is one of life’s constants, yet it’s something many of us struggle with.

Whether it’s a new job, moving to a different city, or even changing social dynamics, adjusting to new situations requires a significant amount of resilience. 

I remember the mix of excitement and fear when I decided to move across the country for a new opportunity. The idea of leaving behind everything familiar was daunting, to say the least.

But here’s what I learned: embracing change is like exercising a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger and more adaptable you become.

It’s about being open to new experiences, even when they push you out of your comfort zone. 

7) Fostering strong relationships

At first glance, maintaining relationships might not seem directly linked to resilience. However, the support systems we build and maintain play a crucial role in our ability to bounce back from challenges. 

Strong relationships provide a safety net, reminding us that we don’t have to face life’s challenges alone.

Cultivating these bonds requires effort and vulnerability on our part—it’s about being there for others just as much as they’re there for us. 

8) Persevering through hard work

We often hear stories about overnight successes, but the reality is usually much different. Behind most achievements are hours of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. 

It reminds me of when I was learning a new language. Progress was slow, and there were many moments when I felt like giving up. Yet, with persistence, I eventually became fluent.

To keep going when things get tough is a true testament to your inner strength. If you’ve ever worked tirelessly toward a goal, no matter how big or small, you’ve demonstrated resilience in action.

In conclusion

Each of these experiences tests us in unique ways but also offers opportunities for growth and strength-building.

Remember, resilience isn’t about never facing difficulties. It’s how we react to life’s challenges and our capacity to adapt and overcome them.

So next time you find yourself in the midst of hardship, take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come and the obstacles you’ve already overcome. You might just find that you’re more resilient than you realize.

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