I am English. Stereotypically we are a reserved bunch of people with a stiff upper lip.
Since the late 1950’s things started to change and we were more expressive in seeking our wants and fulfilling our needs in order to carve out our own path in life. As the rights of the individual were championed in the courts, there were some casualties along the way.
No longer could a man expect his wife to be a substitute mother to him and for a few years the divorce courts had a booming trade while those who could not adapt to a more equal life were set aside in favour of those that could.
It was a bumpy few decades but things are calming down now and fewer people are divorcing, the majority of children in this country are being raised in stable two parent families. Perhaps not the original two parents, but stability and love abound.
Families can provide a nurturing environment. What starts in the family ought to be love, boundaries, affection, belonging, aspiration. These help a person learn to deal with life’s knocks along the way. They teach emotional self regulation and how to overcome hurdles and obstacles.
When a healthy environment is less available, the effect may not be experienced for decades.
When life hits us with unexpected outcomes it can be a shock but we bounce back.
This bouncing back is called resilience and it is very important.
Resilience is defined as a material being able to receive an impact, disperse and expel the force with no visible or lasting damage being incurred.
People who were not able to learn early in life how to be resilient must needs learn the lesson later, and it is a painful one.
When the need to be resilient in every single aspect of a persons life happens all at once, it is not a pretty sight.
They are whelmed (an old Navy term meaning the waves are coming up to the top of the deck but not spilling over yet), threatening to be overwhelmed (the waves are spilling over on to the deck).
When there is no way through, there are hopefully some strong friendships.
When the whelmed individual asks the honest question, and the caring and honest answers come in, it gives the asker a stick in the sand to start measuring the direction of the sun, thus the person finds out where they are and can start to decide where they want to be, and plot a course.
People raise people.
We each have a personal responsibility to learn, grow, and develop the skills that were either never taught or were taught but we were not listening that day.
Hurt people hurt people.
Rising above the disappointments.
Cultivate friendships in the good times.
These friendships will enrich your life.
These friendships will point the way to emotional resilience when you are surprised at the immediacy of the emergency.
Aside from a few wrinkles and a few extra silver hairs, we might be doing alright.
I have had many opportunities in recent years to develop the resilience that I didn’t gain in my youth and it is amazing to be able to take an emotional impact and bounce back without being wrecked. It’s a huge blessing which was hard won and it brings me lots and lots of happiness. The same kind of happiness I wish for you today.