Surviving With A Resilient Spirit

It is with a resilient spirit I survive the trials and tribulations of life. Everyone has their share of life’s ups and downs but it’s how we cope that makes a difference. Are you a glass-half-full type of person? Or glass-half-empty? Do you throw your hands in the air and give up? Or do you fight and push through? By definition, resilience is the ability to recover from adversity. Every day is a tightrope walk while living with the traveling circus of inflammation called Lupus. A resilient spirit taught me I have control over what I think and how I react.

I used to wonder what I did to deserve so much pain and uncertainty. I felt cheated by illness, cheated out of my successful career and the life I had planned. With the dark cloud of lupus following me everywhere, I never know when it will rain on my parade. It’s easy to become bitter and angry however that’s not the person I want to be. Now, some days are about mere survival and others are about squeezing every bit of happiness out of a day. 

Spirituality influences our ability to be resilient. Believing, having faith gives us hope, peace and comfort in day to day life.  Religious is different than spiritual; religion is about doctrines where as spirituality is about compassion and gratitude, finding miracles in every day life. Every day I try to find the good in myself and others. I’ve learned to be more compassionate, more understanding, more empathetic and above all, more accepting. As a resilient spirit, I choose to focus on the positive, embrace the moment, and believe it will get better.

We all have difficulties to overcome on this journey called life so let’s learn how to have a resilient spirit. Maybe you’re already a resilient spirit but could use a little help to cultivate and hone it. 

  • Acceptance is part of survival. Start by accepting responsibility for what you can control and let go of what you can’t. By accepting the current situation and modifying  behavior I’ve learned to endure. To heal, we need to accept ourselves and our situation. This applies to everyone in life not just those of us with chronic illnesses. Acceptance isn’t about giving up. It’s about moving on. Over coming feelings of guilt, shame and regret. Change happens, accept it! The sooner you do, the sooner you will find peace. I accept that everything changes and focus on the most important aspects of life.
  • Your experiences make you who you are. Everyone has experienced failure and disappointment. No one has a perfect life. No one chooses to have a chronic illness. It’s how we deal with what we have that makes a difference in living a happy life. Failure and mistakes are part of the learning process. Becoming emotionally strong enough to let go of failure and learning from mistakes is a part of life. Personally, I focus on what I can do. No sense in wallowing in the I can’t, or the past. Perseverance is important as well. I try to be as self sufficient as possible. Not only will it boost the ego for the accomplishment but it will help create a positive attitude. I may not be an olympian or marathon runner but I still feel triumphant at times. It’s minor accomplishments compared to other people but it’s success for me.
  • Realistic optimism is understanding the situation is temporary, that good and bad outcomes are only transitional. You can’t let those moments define you. Flexibility relieves some of the anxiety. Open your mind to all possibilities. Ask for help when needed. Don’t choose to be a victim, take control!
  • Challenge yourself to find beauty in every day. Feeling a connection to the living world around us brings peace, it’s kind of transformational; A beautiful bright full moon, the sound of a summer rain or a butterfly floating among the flowers is a spiritual experience to me. I’m truly humbled by nature. It makes you realize that you are a very small part of the world around you.

Whatever happens, I try to become content with my life. Every day I choose to be a survivor, NOT a victim and resilience is the key. I have to believe things will get better, to have hope, in order to survive. Become aware of life’s priorities, it’s not the material things that matter. What matters most are the people in your life and the memories made. The future is unpredictable, savor the moments you are triumphant.

I love this quote by George Orwell ~ Happiness can exist only in acceptance. 

Michele Palermo

Michele is a retired registered nurse who spent 15 years in Emergency Medicine. That's where she learned there's a fragility to life. Diagnosed with lupus, after going through a divorce, taught her to be a survivor instead of a victim. With her career shortened by illness she turned to books. She fell in love with the written word as a young child. To her, words convey emotion. Her new passion is writing. As an aspiring author, she hopes to inspire others on this roller coaster called life.

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