An Unexpected Place to Discover Love and Resilience

Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from hardship or difficulties. We've all known difficulties. However, it is how we respond to what happens to us that determines how we greet the future. It is what we make our experiences mean that influence our lives. It's our response to adversity, not the experience itself, that determines how our life story evolves.

Without resiliency, life's hardships weigh us down, and we become an unbending tree that breaks off in the high winds of a storm.

Is Resilience an Emotional Intelligence Skill?

Resilience is considered an emotional intelligence skill; one that many seek to develop. But is resiliency a mindset or a skill? And can love backed by a positive perspective impart its wisdom to us without developing it?

Let me tell you a true story that taught me about resiliency... and love.

It was a warm day in Honduras when our group squished into a taxi the size of a Volkswagen bug. We bounced up and down a winding dirt road for over an hour. Then without realizing it, we had turned onto a long, rutted driveway that led to the orphanage. A dozen children of varying ages ran to greet us with smiles and eager hands waving alongside the car. These spirited children wanted nothing, yet, our gift was burning a hole in our pockets. We had collected $700, and WE were going to make their lives better. Or so we thought.

Children running to greet newcomers

The orphanage was everything we had anticipated. A dirt lawn with no outdoor climbing equipment. No living room furniture to curl up in; only a cleanly swept wooden floor with the echos of its emptiness. No toys. No television or Xbox. No pictures on the walls. Just a beat-up refrigerator and bedrooms with bunk beds standing tall and stark.

We chatted with the orphanage director, a small, kind woman. And then the unexpected—she refused our money.

Shocked by her response, we inquired why. She said that she didn't want the children to associate guests with getting material gifts. She didn't want them to see people as a means to an end. This brave and wise caregiver did not want "her" children to look for "what was in it for them."

She wanted them to gain the simple pleasure of giving and receiving love without an agenda.

Love transforms lives

Resiliency Is a Way of Living 

Her words hit me with full force. At that moment, I realized that these "impoverished" children (the lives we sought to improve) were actually the rich ones. These kids had what we all long for: real love, deep gratitude for living, and an exhilarating connection to each other—all because one woman stood up for what truly mattered.

Resiliency wasn't a concept to them. These children were living witnesses to its power: happy and expecting nothing.

What a contrast to the states with child-teen anxiety and suicide on the rise, food disorders, smartphone and gaming addictions with 7-second attention spans alongside social media's pseudo connection. My heart swelled and shriveled all at once.

In a flash, I realized to my core that there is nothing more sustaining or powerful and transformative than love.

So is resilience a skill? Resiliency is a way of living. It is a brave and positive perspective that sees what is possible. Resilience lives in all of us: it is the power of love.

Child peeking through a Weeping Willow

“The oak fought the wind and was broken,
the willow bent when it must and survived.”
~Robert Jordan in The Fires of Heaven.

When we fight what is, we are fighting the wind. When we struggle, we're refusing to accept what is. Freedom lies in acceptance. 

In a barren Honduran orphanage, one woman had provided these children with love—and that had made all the difference. She didn't try to get them things to fill the vacuum. She taught them acceptance and showed them the power of connection and love—a mindset that made resilience possible.

Related reading: "How Emotional Resilience Can Help You Cultivate Happiness."

If you'd like support to gain new perspectives and greater skill, Heartmanity is here to help. Transforming lives is our business! Reach out today.

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Jennifer A. Williams / Emotional Intelligence CoachJennifer A. Williams / Emotional Intelligence Coach
Jennifer’s passion is to help people create thriving relationships first with themselves and then with each other. She teaches emotional intelligence skills and a step-by-step process that removes the obstacles to growth, loving connection, and communication. Her popular One Year Makeover and Return to Serenity programs provide a personalized approach to transformation. Her understanding of brain science strategically reshapes a person’s pain into power while restoring inner peace and well-being through a fun and remarkable learning experience. She also works with companies helping to promote organizational transformation of culture, leadership, and relationships. Jennifer is happily married to her beloved husband of 40 years and is the mother of three grown children.

Posted in Emotional Intelligence & Fitness

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