This is How Adversity Can Make You Stronger.
7 Choices of a Resilient Mom
Ever hear a story of adversity that makes you think,
“I am NOT that strong. I could NOT have survived THAT.”
What if I said you can?
I know…you don’t want to think about struggle and hardship. You want to avoid adversity like the plague (me too).
But sometimes we can’t avoid what is hard, keep what we love, or fix what is broken.
At least, these are some of the hard lessons I have learned since I became a mom.
Yes, I had adversity in my life before motherhood, but I found it much easier to avoid what was hard back then. Let’s just say I was a master of avoidance and numbing. I dealt with life by striving for accomplishment and would have gone on covering things up, chasing perfection, or running from what was hard. But the truth is:
I struggled with being happy because I was chronically anxious (that will suffocate joy).
I was deeply insecure and I cared too much about what other people thought.
I assumed "good" at anything in life was "perfect" and I thought I could achieve happiness by eradicating anything negative.
This made motherhood even harder for me. The long and short of why I was a postpartum disaster as a new mom is because I was simply too tired to “fake it” anymore….
Listen, I’ve earned myself some awesome “mom friends” over the years who remind me my struggle is real and I am not alone. This gig amplifies whatever weaknesses we already have and can leaves the best of us feeling totally overwhelmed most of the time.
Or is that just me?
I find the vulnerability maternal love requires leaves me feeling pretty weak. Then, life keeps throwing stuff my way, and that means I am ducking punches left and right when I already feel like I’m about to be knocked out.
Sometimes I don’t want to fight back against life or deal, but for these kids I am raising, I MUST BE STRONG.
I don’t always want to be strong, BUT WHAT CHOICE DO I HAVE?
Let's just say motherhood is what finally made me strong because I had to stop running from and start dealing with my stuff. Newsflash: In motherhood, Alicia, you can’t quit your kids…
I became stronger by actually coping with adversity in a more productive way, but this growth process was not easy and sometimes it was downright terrifying and frankly, UGLY. When I actually had to DEAL with stuff for the first time, I found myself wondering Why?
Why did this happen to me? WHY WHY WHY??????
I know, it’s not very graceful reaction, but it’s the truth:
“WHY ME” is always where I begin when I actually have to process something hard, and I have come to believe we can't get to the HOW without processing the WHY. Every time I find myself wondering WHY, I can’t ever seem to settle on anything better than the words of Nietchze:
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
I say to myself:
“You are still alive…. Since you are still breathing, this is going to make me stronger. Somehow…Come on Alicia. You can handle this.”
I know, the notion of strength one can gain from hardship doesn’t ease your pain, release you from grief, or fix what’s broken. But when I struggle, it’s the only justification I can find that keeps me from curling up into a ball and well…
Trust me, I was skeptical about this idea of growing through adversity until I stumbled upon the research that supports it. More and more, the experts are looking at something called Post Traumatic Growth, which means we can come through something hard and be a better, stronger version of ourselves.
Answering “WHY I MUST STRUGGLE?” with “IT MAKES ME MORE RESILIENT” gave me hope, but it was only inspiring for so long because then I was like,
“Ok great, but HOW!?”
HOW is the hard stuff going to make me stronger?
I’ve been stuck contemplating this “HOW”question since I became a mom.
That’s why I started writing in the first place, and for nearly a decade now, I’ve been contemplating how to maintain well-being in the hardest, most joy-filled experience of my life.
I’ve studied things like holistic nutrition and positive psychology. I’ve also been a professional dancer, run two marathons, spent countless hours on a yoga mat, and have an obsession with self-help books (I hoard those like some women collect shoes). In other words:
I am passionate about health, happiness, and well-being.
But since I am a recovering perfectionist, I try not to get too extreme with anything.
Let’s just say I am the kind of mom who will treat pasta-sauce stained clothes with the toxic chemical stain remover and then wash them in organic detergent.
I consider this balance.
Listen, I am NOT an expert, because I am imperfect. But, I HAVE studied, researched, and applied just about all of the wellbeing theories out there to my life. Some of them work, others are totally impractical (in motherhood especially), but I've become more resilient and I am thriving in the aftermath of some really hard stuff because,
I finally understand HOW what doesn't kill me makes me stronger.
Every day, I make certain choices that support my resilient lifestyle, and YOU can make those choices too. I'm not naturally resilient, but I work hard to be. Since I've figured out what works, I want to tell you everything I know about how to become STRONGER….
Here are the 7 choices I make
to be a resilient mom:
1. I trust that Vulnerability is the birth place of growth.
2. I believe in the power of Positivity.
3. I nurture with Self-Care.
4. I find moments of Mindfulness in the chaos.
5. I foster Connectivity.
6. I redefine Hope.
7. I follow my Calling.
Wait, what do these seven choices entail? What are they based on? What do they mean?
I PROMISE to tell you about ALL of that because I’m hard at work polishing up a decade of research and experimentation on what I am calling:
Yes, I know…you wanted know these choices like “yesterday,” but these words you are reading, I write them in the stolen moments I find while raising four kids who are currently 1, 4, 6 & 8 on summer break (my house is the best kind of insane right now)…
Since I have learned to set realistic goals for myself (I practice what I preach) in the next 7 weeks, I will unveil each of my resilience choices individually, with the research that inspires them along with the tools you need to implement each choice in your own life.
Take for example, Choice #1: “To trust that Vulnerability is the birthplace of growth.”
This choice is based on research by the leading experts on vulnerability, mindset, and grit. To drop a few names, I reference:
The research of these women is nothing short of inspiring, and I have found a way to practically apply their theories to the motherhood experience. If this is the sort of stuff that excites you, subscribe to my email list (at the bottom of this post), so I can send weekly updates on my WHOLE in Motherhood theory right to your inbox.
This means, you’ll get one power-packed post every Friday for the next 7 weeks and then I’ll figure out how to bundle it all together into an Ebook I hope to send you in September (I set realistic and flexible goals). I want to start telling you about my holistic approach to resilience because since I've been striving to be WHOLE:
I accept that I will never be happy all of the time, but I experience more joy than sorrow. When I find myself falling down the rabbit hole of rumination (yes, negativity still happens) I know how to reign myself back in.
I care much less about what people think mostly because I've learned we all have our sh*t to deal with. NO ONE gets a free pass in this life and Leonard Cohen's words remind me the cracks are how the light gets in.
I strive to be GOOD ENOUGH in life and motherhood and actually believe that if I just show up with love, it will all be ok (my kids, my life, tomorrow....etc etc...).
Point being, I worry less these days and therefore I am happier and more confident: I am a RESILIENT MOM. Striving to be WHOLE helps me manage my anxiety, deal with the pressures of motherhood, and maintain balance in life.
One day, one word at a time, I’m overcoming adversity, following my calling, and learning how to thrive….
Want to join me on this journey???????