Resilience is what happens when we experience negative emotions and recover from them. For some, bouncing back happens automatically while for others it requires a more deliberate effort. Resilience is enhanced when we speak to ourselves with an empathetic voice and when we express compassion for disappointments we may encounter.
This Fall, I was blessed to attend the 26th Annual Renfrew Center Foundation Conference in Philadelphia. I say blessed because this conference has always inspired me to take chances, speak my mind and practice new ways of working with people. The keynote speaker, Dr. Diana Fosha, spoke about Undoing Aloneness: The Transformation of Emotional Suffering. At the time, I was a bundle of nerves, preparing to give a TEDx Talk on Boost Resilience: Take Charge of the Inner Critic & Inner Worrier.
My own Inner Worrier was amped up and in full overdrive. For weeks I had been fearful of not being able to memorize the words or remember the sequence for the talk. TEDx has a strict requirement of no notes of any sort. I had never spoken without the aid of a power point or piece of paper; not an option this time around.
As I sat in the audience, I noticed Diana Fosha’s relaxed style of pacing herself while delivering the good news that our brain is “wired for growth and wired for transformation.” I wanted to feel as relaxed as she looked. “Bring it on, I thought, “bring on that transformation, release me from my stress and my worry.”
The talk was 5 days away. By this point in the process, my lines were learned and the sequence was remembered. The hours of practice had paid off and somehow I learned what I set out to learn. The night before the Renfrew conference, my body had started to randomly shake. It was the weirdest thing. Ripples of energy waves, moved like concentric circles, shaking from my core. It was deeply disturbing and perplexing. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my brain had done exactly what Fosha was describing – it was in the process of transformation.
That rippling forth of body sensation and energy was my nervous system’s way of rebooting itself with updated information. Instead of feeling worried and doubting, I found a restored sense of calm and ease. It was so awesome. Great timing for the big event. My brain was, indeed, wired for growth, wired for transformation and wired for resilience.
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