On resiliancy

Last week I participated in the UC Davis Entrepreneur Academy.  In a word: FANTASTIC!  One of the many benefits it gave me was a clear awareness that I want to have a successful career in health coaching and create coaching-based solutions for health and wellness challenges.

But, that isn’t what this post is about.  However, reigniting my fire for coaching led me to peruse some of the coaching literature I’d been neglecting since starting grad school.
I was reminded of the many benefits of coaching and all the great techniques and tools.  One concept specifically stood out to me: RESILIANCY.

To be resilient, in my book, is to be able to weather the storms of life while still keeping your head and heart rooted in your values and your wellbeing.  Resiliency was not a skill I developed as a young child.  It just wasn’t a trait my parents exemplified, as they were not very resilient themselves.  I believe much of my emotional sugar eating was born out of this lack of resilience.  I grew up having fear of everything I couldn’t control (which is everything) and thus turned to easy distractions to soothe my discomfort.  Candy.  Ice Cream.  Homemade cookies.  I think it’s no coincidence that sweet baked goods were my go-to binge food, as they represented a home-like comfort that I was seeking within myself and  couldn’t find.

In the past year I’ve been working hard at becoming more resilient.  I had no idea what this would look like 1 year ago but here is what it looks like today.  It means that when something changes suddenly in my life, I don’t have to ‘react’.  I can evaluate what is going on and I can ask questions.  I don’t say ‘yes’ as much as I used to, and when I start saying yest right away to every request guess what….I start wanting and eating sugar.    When my husband and I have a fight I don’t immediately force a solution (which never worked).  I can let things settle.  I guess you can say that I’m getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable.  I can hang in the tough emotional spaces a bit longer than I could before.

It has been amazing to me to see what cultivating emotional resilience has done.  I’m not hardened and cold – quite the opposite.  I’m more loving, compassionate and easy going (ask my husband!).  I don’t try and manipulate the environment to create an outcome I’m comfortable with.  I find myself saying “hmm…we’ll see what happens” or ‘I don’t have an answer to that problem yet but I’m open to finding a solution’.  These are new phrases for me.

A lot of women I’ve worked with as a coach also struggle with resiliency.  It’s scary to feel uncomfortable, unloved, confused, stressed, dismissed, angry and all the other myriad of unpleasantries that live brings us.  Sugar is a very seductive yet ineffective coping tool.  It never works for more than 10 minutes, does it?  While I don’t have a magic answer as to how resiliency begins, I can say that two things helped me:  journaling, journaling, journaling!!  Professional help, professional help, professional help!!  You are worth the time and resources it takes for both if this is an area of life you struggle with.

By no means am I suddenly the most resilient well-adapted human around.  Ha!  Don’t I wish.  But the fact that I’m aware of what it feels like when I lose my center and want to break instead of bend to the pressures of life is a HUGE improvement…and my sugar consumption has improved along with it!