What my mom taught me about resilience

As we head into Mother’s Day this weekend, maybe you’re thinking about what you’ve learned from your mom.

I’ve owe a ton to my mom, from my rockstar baking skills to my love of reading, but the most important thing she’s taught me is resilience.

As a young kid and even as a young adult, being positive didn’t come naturally to me. But to my mom? I can’t remember her not being positive. No matter the situation, she’d find the bright side.

But it may have not come naturally to her either.

In my early 20s, crushed by a breakup with a boyfriend, I was inconsolable. All I wanted to do was mope. My mother reminded me when she was my age, she lost her mother. It was the weekend my parents were supposed to get married and their wedding had to be postponed.

She went on to tell me, she had also just started teaching and that every day she had to face a classroom of 30 first graders. The week after her mother’s funeral she had open-school night. She said, “I just had to fake it and it got me through”.

Now, I am not suggesting that we don’t deal with our grief or bury our feelings. But there is something to be said for getting back up and doing what you have to do and not getting pulled under. I think that’s the secret of resilience.

Years later, our family would suffer through the sudden loss of my younger sister. Devastating isn’t even the word.

In those last hours with her before we took her off life-support, my brother, who was in his last semester of college, announced he was taking the rest of the semester off.

In the middle of all of our tears, my mother looked up and said in the most practical tone of voice, “No your not, you’re going back to school on Monday.” And so he did. I still laugh when I remember that moment. That’s my mom.

The greatest gift my mother has given me is the power to always get back up and keep going, no matter what.

People tell me I am strong. I don’t think I am any stronger than you or anyone else. The secret is to understanding that some days are going to be tough. Some seasons of life will quite literally knock you on your ass. But you have the power to get back up. Always.

Here’s how:

#1. Decide to get up.
That may be literally, like I’m going to get out of bed today. In the beginning that may feel like running a marathon.
I used to tell myself, “you’ve taken a licking, but you keep on ticking.”  Just make the decision that somehow, someway you will get through this.

#2. Do not underestimate your own power. You are tough. Resilience requires you to dig deep and push through. Have you ever pushed through another rep at the gym? Stayed up all night to finish a project? Given birth?! That’s resilience! Tap into that power.

#3. Be open to the lesson. Yeah--I know. No one wants to learn lessons this way. It sucks. Big time. But once you work through the hard part, the disappointment, grief, anger and everything else, you come out the otherside changed. Only you can make the choice to be open to what you can learn and then apply it to your life.

So when life knocks you over, take a second and then get back up. Get back up, get back up, get back up.

Marissa Bishop