Resiliency (And Self-Help)

How does one bounce back anyway?

This has been a focus of my studies for the last few weeks. I realize that I have very little of it. I’d like to have more of it. Lacking it holds me back in multiple areas of my life, and it has for years. Most people think it is a trait that either you have or you don’t. Some people ignore that it’s even a thing and believe that by telling you to just go ahead and do it, that you will miraculously see the error of your ways.

People believe that grace, balance, and coordination are inborn traits too. I have to remind them over and over that those are skills which can be improved with practice. I’m biased of course. I want them to take my tai chi class. I’m also not wrong. Most of those indefinable “character traits” can be improved with practice if you are motivated to do so, and also very importantly, if the lesson plan actually targets and exercises the required skill sets.  Simply wanting it is only partway there.

So I came upon a group of articles from The Art of Manliness, and following that, a book, The Resilience Factor, which explains that resiliency is also a skill that can be improved with practice. Really? Sign me up! More or less, the plan is to become more aware of your inner dialogue and challenge those thoughts that are not serving you very well. Awareness of inner dialogue? That sounds like meditation, doesn’t it? When you tell yourself “This always happens!” then you have to stop and challenge yourself with a “Oh really? What about those other times when it didn’t?” You have to nip that illogical negative thought train at the station.

Literally changing the way you think sounds like a whole lot of grunt work. But then, changing the way your body moves, stands, breathes, as in tai chi, is also a lot of grunt work. I should be used to that by now.

I’m only partway through The Resilience Factor, and after that, I have The Optimistic Child sitting on my desk. I don’t want my daughter to grow up with the same problems I did. Are self-help books really going to help? Only if the lesson plans make sense, and only if I actually do them. When evaluating books like these, that is something to look for. If the book has a lot of pretty words but no clear plan about how to get from A to B, then it might not be worth it. I bought these used and extra cheap. We’ll see how it goes.

What does this have to do with paganism? The deities are often annoying helpful when it comes to steering stubborn minds down more productive pathways. My second biggest gripe about my divine father, Ra, is that he seems to have an overly inflated opinion of my capabilities. It frustrates me. I tell him that I would like to be that person, but I’m not really anywhere close. He ignores me and goes right back at it. The king knows best, right? I sometimes wonder what he’s smoking.  The end result is that I’ve been looking around for ways to maybe get a little closer to what he has in mind. In The Optimistic Child, they point out that self-esteem needs to have something of substance to hold itself up, otherwise it is false and empty. I’ve been looking for that substance.


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