Environmental resiliency is most obvious after a large forest fire. Acre upon acre is burnt and charred deforming what we once saw as a beautiful hillside or mountain and robbing its ecosystem of valuable resources. This hillside or mountain does not remain stagnant for long because within days new growth replaces the old and over time its ecosystems return. New plants and trees replace what was charred and the area is ready to thrive once again.
Our physical bodies are no different. A broken bone is the perfect example of resiliency because once the bone breaks it immediately protects itself and then allows new bone to grow. Over time the new bone replaces the old bone and the structure is once again strong. Muscles work the same way. We break down our muscles on a daily basis so that over time new muscle will grow and make us stronger.
What we learn about resiliency is that trauma happens, and with time we come back to full strength, or sometimes stronger than we were before. We understand that healing happens immediately, but takes time to get back to full strength, much like a forest after a fire or a bone after a break.
Despite understanding that time needs to take its course in order to fully recover from an environmental or physical trauma, we fail to apply this knowledge when it comes to emotional resiliency. Externally, we tell people to “get back on the horse” or to “get over it” when someone faces and emotional trauma. Internally, we try and rush through an emotional trauma so that we can convince ourselves and others that we are back to normal when our reality dictates otherwise.
In rushing the process we never allow ourselves or those around us to fully heal. By not fully healing we prevent ourselves from coming back to full strength and deny ourselves the opportunity to gain strength from the trauma. We lose site of the fact that, yes, our healing must begin immediately, but ultimately time will allow us to get back to fully recover.
For us to lead ourselves and those that we are in a position to lead, we must understand that emotional resiliency follows the same laws as environmental and physical resiliency. To simply minimalize someone’s emotional trauma, or to rush through your own, is not only weakening your ability to lead, it is taking away the opportunity to become empowered.