“Happiness is an abstraction; above all else, I choose resilience.” – Gary LeBlanc
I’m not sure what year it started. The need to be stronger. The drive to not let anything in. To not be vulnerable.
When we were kids our emotional thresholds hadn’t yet been tested. The early blows hurt hard. We didn’t yet know how to insulate ourselves from failures. It hurt. I consider this to be our first real taste of vulnerability.
Maybe that was when it started. My first break-up? Not making a sports team?
Over time, like Moores law, we exponentially adapt. We don’t want the pain. We see vulnerability as a weakness. We become more guarded.
If vulnerability represents our exposure to pain, resilience is what makes the pain go away. It’s our ability to bounce back. Stronger.
Think of the two as a muscle. Vulnerability is the muscle at work. It’s putting your muscle to the test. The harder you work. The more little tears. The stronger you become. Resilience is the developed ability to recover. The healthier the muscle, the quicker it recovers. The more resilient the mind, the greater your ability to deal with the pain.
Jacob Held uses Dr. Seuss to give his perspective in Dr. Seuss and Philosophy:
“Sometimes things will go our way, but often, they won’t. The person who is able to live best and most successfully is someone who has developed the ability to think rationally and thoughtfully about what really matters, who can learn from her mistakes and continually improve the raft upon which she sails the sea of life, and who can make wise decisions. As Seuss says, “Life’s a Great Balancing Act” (Places). The key is to find the right balance.
You can’t run to another place to avoid problems and failures. No matter which path you take, there is no place you can go to escape your problems. Dr. Suess provides a solution in Solla Sollew: “ I’ve bought a big bat, I’m ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me.”
I guess that’s the goal worth striving for. “You can’t run to another place to avoid your problems.”, so you need to hit your problems head-on. Be vulnerable. Take the biggest lumps possible. Allow them to leave a mark. Otherwise, there is no growth. But then fight-back hard. Always fight-back hard.
Remember that dealing with adversity is what ‘work hardens’ your emotional inertia. The greater the adversity, the greater the inertia, the greater your resilience. At one point the thing that defeated you, is merely an event.
Jacob Held shares a similar perspective, “If in this darkest hour you can affirm your life and declare you would do it all over again and gladly, then you redeem your life in a singular moment of affirmation. This requires a strong spirit.”
So in the end, screw stressing about happiness. Happiness is a result of resilience, so give me resilience. Give me the ability to rebound. Give me power to choose happiness.
“Be like child, break rules, be adventurous, explore new lands, be fearless… “Life requires a strong yet playful constitution…” and a big bat.” – Jacob Held
“The poison of which the weaker natures perish strengthens the strong – nor do they call it poison” – Nietzsche
“You should strive to care about everything while having the resilience to bounce back from anything.” – Gary LeBlanc