After healing from a traumatic event, one would think a written resiliency manifesto wouldn’t be necessary. You have learned so much, come so far, and may not even recognize the person you were before. You could never forget how you got here. Or could you?
A Manifesto—A Reminder in Dark Days
A manifesto can take any form you want, although it is commonly a collection of short statements to declare your feelings and remind yourself (and others) of what you believe in, deep down inside. Some days you can feel your manifesto throughout your veins. Others, you may need to remind yourself of who you truly are and review your goals.
Resiliency as a Manifesto
Resiliency is a term which has been tossed around so much, we struggle to come to an agreement as to what it truly means. In this context, I’m thinking about resiliency as a trait which allows us to stand strong, leaning into the wind, while remaining (or becoming) flexible enough to withstand further gusts. By being resilient, one doesn’t forget who they are, doesn’t necessarily change the core of their being, but is able to manage change as it arises. We all have some level of resilience, it’s what enables us to get up in the morning, to make choices, to live our lives, whatever they may look like. The most resilient people balance their firm beliefs with flexibility and malleability in an ever-changing landscape, discovering how to be proactive when entering new situations and experiences, remaining (generally) calm in stressful situations which may have previously been too tough to handle with a clear head.
Hate the term resiliency? Yeah, so do I. But I also recognize that there is some merit in the belief, no matter the exact words used to define it. Inspired by Gretchen Rubin (whose post includes links to other manifestos), herewith is my resiliency manifesto:
- It is what it is.
Recently I read someone discuss how we need to abolish this phrase; that it’s overused and not original. Fair enough. For me, however, this phrase helped me survive PTSD. On days when I struggled, in moments when I was in pain and desperately wished things could be different, this phrase brought me back to the moment and helped me accept what was happening.
- This moment is all I have.
The present is all there is. It’s all we have and to find a way to appreciate it, to honor it, for better or worse. When my mind is taking over, down a path remembering horror or imagining something terrible happening in the future, this phrase helped bring me back to the present, remind me none of those things was my current reality.
- It’s ok not to be ok.
Corollary to It is what it is. An important reminder in dark times that what’s happening is normal. Life is not all sunshine and cuddly kittens. There were many days I had to remind myself that I owed no one else a happy façade, that I had to be true to my feelings and experiences.
- It’s a journey.
Early on I felt like there was a point on the map, a moment in time when I’d be healed. When I could look back and see it all in the rearview mirror. Then I realized that wouldn’t happen, that this journey is not linear. I take a few steps forward, sometimes many hundred, then a few steps back. There is no deadline, and it turns out I’m drawing the map myself with each step. Once I stopped trying to find the end, it’s been much easier to navigate and accept the bumps in the road and the backtracking.
This manifesto comes after years of work recovering from PTSD. These thoughts and phrases were things I had to repeatedly remind myself. None of them is a new thought, something I’d never heard before. But they were all concepts that I had to deliberately think about and gather into my toolkit to heal.
We all have a different set of characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses; we all have different levels of resiliency. What is your manifesto? What are the thoughts and ideas that inspire your healing journey?