by Jessica Dancingheart
Resilience and grit are touted qualities. They speak to our ability to “roll with the punches” and get back on to the proverbial horse after having difficulties and setbacks. We know they are valuable qualities, yet we may not know how to gain them and teach them to our children. I posit that strong social networks fuel resilience and grit. Studies prove that people with strong and healthy relationships enjoy greater success and health regardless of their life circumstances. Their solid connections provide refuge during life’s storms, a sense of belonging, a safety net for taking risks that lead to advancement, an avenue for meaningful contribution, support during difficult times, and caring people with whom to celebrate life.
These guidelines and suggestions may help you evaluate and nurture a high-quality community life for yourself and your children, so you and your children can cultivate resilience and grit.
1. Be selective about your circle of support. We all have people who drain our energy and those who uplift us. Unfortunately, as people, we spend a lot of energy trying to understand or fix difficult situations—not knowing when to walk away. And, we tend to take for granted relationships that are life-enhancing. An antidote to this propensity is to invest energy and time into people with whom we share mutual care, respect, admiration, trust, and value. This will add to our joy and give us the energy we need to soar in life, even as life throws us curve balls.
2. Connect with people who have the qualities you want. We are imitative as humans. When we surround ourselves with encouraging people who have the skills and qualities we want, we are more likely to acquire them and consequently be happy and excel.
3. Share your sorrows and joys with respectful people who don’t gossip and judge. We all need people with whom we can celebrate our successes and cry our tears. As a dear friend of mine told me, “a sorrow shared is a sorrow divided, and a joy shared is a joy multiplied.” As we struggle, we gain perspective, expansiveness, and strength when trustworthy, non-judgmental, respectful, and caring people listen to us. When we are proud and happy, these same people celebrate us.
4. Contribute to the well-being of the members of your circle of support. A basic need that almost all people share is to make a positive difference in the world. When we palpably make the lives of others richer, we feel satisfaction and joy. We also have a greater sense of belonging and investment.
5. Receive your community’s gifts with graciousness. Sometimes, we take people who make our lives more wonderful for granted— whether it is a service provider, a friend, a family member, or a colleague. When we do, we rob them of the joy of knowing that they are making a difference. It behooves us to honor their intentions and express how their actions and way-of-being impact us. After all, it is in giving that we receive, and in receiving that we give.
All these qualities are qualities you can extend to your children and teach your children, so they cellularly experience what Hodding Carter attributed to a wise woman: “Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots and wings” which can spread with the growth of resilience and grit.
Jessica Dancingheart is a personal and organizational consultant working to build healthier and stronger relationships at work, at home, and in your communities. Please check out www.openingtopossibilities.com or call (303) 589-8420 or email at email@example.com for more information.