The famous line from Puccini’s Turandot: All’alba vincero’..vincero’ ….VINCERO’ . Come the sunrise I will win…I will win…I WILL WIN. Resilience has to do with how well we adapt to stress and adversity. Over the course of our lifetime adversity is one thing we can count on. We will have and will face various levels of difficulties and challenges, from everyday hassles to major human loss as we live from day to day. Certain factors, however, according to the psychological research, protect us from falling apart in the face of major or repeated minor stressors.
These factors are the hallmark of human resilience:
• A positive attitude
• Staying socially active
• Having confidence in your ability to keep from crumbling, and
• A sense of spirituality
All of the above qualities rank high on the list of predicting your ability to see your darkest hours give way to a new sunrise. The good news is, that even though some of us seem to instinctively possess these personality traits, in essence, traits are no more than small regular habits that aggregate into patterns. Translation: you can develop more of these by adjusting your behaviors and thoughts when faced with a challenge.
It is not realistic to think we will never have to face stressful events, but it is very realistic to know you have the ability to pull yourself through, and continue to live a more vibrant life than ever.
Here are just a few of the ways you can make that happen.
1. Focus on the good parts of your life, and taking your focus off of your hardship—even for just small periods at a time. Doing this repeatedly or whenever you think of it, will foster the habit of a positive attitude.
2. Visiting with friends and family, as well as getting out—even when you don’t feel like it–will keep you socially active and feeling supported. Being with other people is a feel-good affirmation of LIFE.
3. Noting how you have overcome challenges in the past, serves as a reminder that will boost your confidence in your ability to get through what you are facing right now.
4. Finally, turning to your place of worship or reading sacred texts to strengthen your spirituality has been shown to mitigate some of the devastating effects of loss.
Remember that each dawn is your invitation to a beautiful new day. Acknowledge all that you love about your life right now. Join a friend for coffee. Pat yourself on the back for making it through another day. Say a prayer of gratitude for the gift of life that holds all possibility. And have confidence, that come sunrise you will be victorious over life’s difficulties.
San Stefano prison. Photo Courtesy: telegraph.co.uk
No one feels good about debt, yet in these tough economic times many are struggling just to pay the bills, as their credit card begins to smoke from overuse. I have a friend who is out of a job and uses a decision cube to tell him what he should do about trying to make some money to keep himself afloat. I can’t imagine wanting to place one’s trust in a commercial gimmick rather than looking to ONESELF for the solution to paying off bills.
In the throes of one of its most severe economic crises Italy has once again has demonstrated its resourcefulness in times of difficulty. A recent article in the UK Telegraph reports that unused castles, prisons, fortresses, and islands will now be leased and converted into luxury hotels to boost Italian tourism and pay down her national debt. Brilliant. These sacred architectural treasures will now be put to practical use as a way to rise up from hardship. And why not? Internal resources do us little good if they can’t be utilized when needed.
Let’s face it. Many individuals are hurting economically. Lost jobs, home foreclosures, piling-up bills, and growing credit card debt. It is all too easy to throw our hands up in the air and give up. We often need reminding that the most powerful way to go from victim-ry to victory is to dig deeply into our personal resources and put them to work to overcome obstacles. The problem is, panic often sets in when crisis hits. We begin to doubt our ability to make it through, and our self-esteem gets so low that we think of ourselves as a looser instead of a potential solution. The fact is, however, that each of us has a talent or two that can be monetized and allow for some extra cash to put towards debt. You may know how to knit beautiful scarves, design graphics on the Internet; teach classes about what you are passionate about. You may have a gift for writing and can turn that into consulting work for larger corporations. Perhaps you love to sing and a local restaurant happens to be looking for a Thursday night singer. There are so many things you can do to supplement your current income if you can stop the self-defeating thoughts long enough to reconnect with your abilities and creativity.
You also have the gift of a great mind with which to draw up a new plan, a brain that allows you to problem- solve and brainstorm solutions; the ability to make choices that bring you in the direction of your dreams; the courage to ask for what we need and want; and the capacity to shape the quality of your life with your very own behaviors—what you do, where you go, how you take care of yourself, and who you hang out with.
So when hit with an economic crisis, just be still a moment, and gather your thoughts. Use your skills and talents to design your own life and help you pay down debt. Use your amazing skills and talents to foster your own well-being and the peace of mind that comes from being debt-free.
Stefano Gammarelli is the ecclesiastical tailor to the Pope. You can be sure that a lot of thought goes in to each fabric and detail that ends up cloaking the most dignified figurehead of the Catholic Church. Tradition requires that the Pope look special and elegant when he presents himself to the public. Why? Because clothing can represent a certain role, a certain vision, and it can inspire confidence in others as well as in the wearer.
I am all about tradition as a way to stay grounded, confident, and keeping ancestral memory alive as a vehicle for remembering the potential inside of each one of us. Dressing up special at least one day a week has been a religious as well as a family tradition for most of us. Yet, in recent times it seems that every day just blends into the next without fanfare.
In Italy today, even those who work in the remote fields and villages put on their Sunday best one day a week when they go to church, and later break bread with friends and neighbors. The act of dressing in our best clothing set Sunday apart from the work week and gave a special respect to the holiness of the day. Sunday dressing served to remind us of the dignified side of human nature. It signaled a day of rest, the day that a special meal was prepared, the day in which we elevated ourselves to the image of God, and pulled ourselves temporarily out of the whirlwind of the mundane work week.
Whatever your religious beliefs, the tradition of setting aside a special day in which you reflect, rest, gather round the family table , and put on your “Sunday best”, will re-charge your sprits like nothing else can. If you have not tried this in a while, you can start with TODAY. Or declare a Saturday or Sunday best day, once a week, every week. Weekends should be about more than exhausting yourself with chores. Let one of those days be a day that you dedicate to personal elegance, dignity, and spirituality. Put on your best clothes, hold your head high, and give thanks for the blessings that ALWAYS sprout up between the hardships.
How do YOU feel when you put on your Sunday best? Do comment below!