The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 1, 2013

Resilience is hard but rewarding to find in life

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— How resilient are you? Think about it.

How quickly and easily do you bounce back after a bout of adversity? It takes only a second for one's life to change forever. Those are the times that show just how resilient we are. It may take years to bounce back from a terrible loss. Those kinds of losses I know little about, as I have never lost a spouse or child. I will never judge since I have not walked that path yet.

But I do know about the average, every day kind of adversity. We have all had to face some kind of resistance and unfavorable situations in our lifetime. How we react to those situations shows just how resilient we are.

When those times of stretching of our spirit and strength do occur, we need to pay close attention to the way we talk to ourselves about what is happening. How we converse with self plays a large part in how we overcome and bounce back from being overstretched. We can be like a rubber band and go back to our original shape, or we can break from the stress. How we react is within ourselves and our own thought process.

We need to reflect on the event in a way that makes it positive...or at least bearable. We can talk our way into a frenzy, or we can gain backbone by talking to ourselves positively and constructively.

Believe it or not (this is Biblical), some good comes from every adverse situation. Sometimes it takes time, a lot of time, before we see the good that comes, but if we look long enough and hard enough we will find it. It may just be in education and knowledge, learning how to cope, and overcome, and accept, but still that can be a good thing.

As difficult as it may seem, we need to learn to laugh at our mistakes and mishaps and adversities. We need to learn to roll with the punches. Adapt! Make and accept necessary changes. Go with the flow. It is a different situation with the loss of a loved one, but in every other situation that does not involve human life or a terrible illness, one must adapt and carry on.

How do you react to stress? Do you cave in? Do you become stronger? Do you throw in the towel and give up? We all know of people who are completely beyond functioning over money matters. Most of these things do not happen by themselves. Someone had to spend that money or sign for those purchases by credit cards. It is best to learn a lesson, do what you can and forge on with a new resolution to solve the excessive spending. I have always felt that more money does not solve money problems.

Some people go ballistic over school grades or assignments, or a situation at work. Precious little one can do about them after the fact, so why not let them go...evaporate. Don't stress over things that have already happened. Do what you can before the situation comes up. Study for that test, prepare for that presentation, think through your work load. The only thing one can do is stay prepared and plan ahead.

Some people get upset over the littlest things that would not faze another person. What makes some resist stress while others are fragile? It is because one has developed resilience and the other has never faced reality. In the real world, there are stressful situations. One just has to learn to react favorably and not over-react.

I think those of us who were raised during the Great Depression and during the hard years of World War II, have a lot of resilience. It was a daily occurrence to have set-backs and hardships. We just managed them. There was no choice. Our parents just carried on without complaining. No need to sit down and cry, that did not help they just kept on keeping on. We all survived and grew from the experiences we met daily.

I am truly glad I was reared in that time period as it makes us appreciate how to handle situations. We learned not to sweat the small stuff. Those years were no picnic, but they taught us to be resilient. They gave us strength of character to overcome adversity with good humor and high spirits. We recovered by singing and laughing at things and working hard. There was little time for stress and/or worry.

A little tune that we sang back then went something like this (that was 70 some years ago, so I might not remember the words exactly):

“Smile and the world smiles with you. Sing a song,

Don't get weary, just be cheery all day long,

When troubles start to mount or when you feel alone,

Smile and the world smiles with you...sing a song.”

We sang a lot in those days and those songs did make us feel better. They still do.

On stressful days, when you want something easy and filling, you might enjoy this casserole:

Sloppy Joe Casserole

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 (8-ounce) package wide noodles

1 (101⁄2-ounce) can tomato soup (undiluted)

1 (15-ounce) can sloppy joe sauce

1 cup cubed Velveeta cheese (or other cheese)

Brown beef and onion. Drain if necessary. Cook noodles according to package directions and drain. Mix meat mixture, noodles, soup, sloppy joe sauce and half of cheese. Put in sprayed casserole dish and bake covered for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and place rest of cheese on top.  Return to oven for 10 to 15 minutes until cheese melts.

When you have too much to do, back off and get another view.

Just how resilient are you? Let’s hear that song!