Resilience is a word that really can’t be cast in a negative light. Unlike ostensible synonyms, such as strength or toughness, which can be entirely pejorative properties at times, resilience is virtually always a good quality.
Mere mention of the word calls to mind strength, the human capacity for burden, grace under pressure, the ability to resist power when doing so is just. And reading a few great resilience quotes can be a moving experience, as can thinking back on others who have displayed the quality within your life’s story.
There are extreme examples of resilience in human nature, many of which come from times of conflict. One needs only to look to the emotional and physical endurance of Holocaust survivors, the prisoners of war who stayed afoot during the Bataan Death March, or the soldiers who stayed on the line during the Battle of Stalingrad for examples. Outside of examples from WWII, you yourself have most likely been challenged to remain resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But often the resilience we need to conjure up is not called upon to endure such tangible, obvious, and, in these cases, terrible issues. Everyday life presents more than enough of a challenge to test human capacity.
There are the stresses of parenthood, life-disrupting events like losing a job or suffering an injury, moving ahead in life despite mental health issues (or seeking help with said issues so you can eventually progress), and on it goes. Any challenge that calls on you to find hidden reserves of emotional and psychic energy is one calling on your resilience. And perhaps a bit of reading resilience quotes can help build those up.
What is resilience in human nature?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives two primary definitions of the word “resilience,” and interestingly both can be perfectly applied to a human being, despite the second intended to speak toward a property of a physical object, such as an element or alloy.
The first definition is: “The ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.” The second is: “The ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.”
That pulling, stretching, pressing, and bending? It may sound strange at first, but that’s life challenging you, as it will, again and again. The returning to the original shape? That’s your innate reserves of resilience seeing you through, reserves that are built up over time and burnished by inspiration from resilience quotes you read and take to heart.
The right way to think about resilience in your life’s story
Coping mechanisms can help get you through the day. Resilience can help get you through a lifetime. Problem solving skills can help get you through a challenge at work, an argument with a loved one, or life’s many unexpected difficulties. Resilience ensures you remain emotionally whole and proud of who you are afterward.
So don’t think of resilience as a tool; think of it as a part of yourself, as the solid foundation on which you will see success achieved, whether you define success as anything from pushing through a depressive episode to staying positive after developing cardiovascular illness. An example of resilience shining through can be as simple as using a quiet voice in an argument with a particularly prickly person, or pressing on through the challenges of raising a child or caring for an ailing loved one. Resilience exists across a beautifully broad spectrum, and is a necessary element in your own personal success.
Thinking in terms of how much resilience you need for this or that given challenge is not the right approach: as with love and kindness, resilience is not a finite property. Yes, it can be tested to the breaking point, but it can also be built up so fully as to always be within you. The fact is the act of overcoming adversity is never really an act – at least not a single act – because there is always going to be the next challenge to best.
Resilience is that quality that lets you see all the hills you must climb in life, metaphorically speaking, not as harrowing obstacles, but simply as part of your path in life. So, to be clear, being resilient does not at all mean ignoring or downplaying life’s challenges, but rather confronting them with equanimity.
And the more you practice at it, the easier it becomes to do just that. Reading and re-reading resilience quotes can also help you develop the trait.
In more good news, you will find other positive traits are also elevated by the proverbial rising tide. The more resilient you grow, the more you’ll find your confidence, assertiveness, and sense of self-worth growing as well.
And so too will you find yourself calmer and more cool-headed, even in the face of adversity. Because being resilient is not at all about being cold or tough; rather resilience means the ability to traverse tough ground with grace and poise and reach the other side intact, if not even stronger for the challenge.
Here are some quotes that will get help you build resilience if you take them to heart
“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
– Nelson Mandela
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
― Winston Churchill
“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”
― Angela Duckworth
“Only those who dare to fail greatly, can ever achieve greatly.”
― Robert F. Kennedy
“The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.”
― Robert Jordan
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.”
― Jodi Picoult
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
― Margaret Thatcher
“Resilience is knowing that you are the only one that has the power and the responsibility to pick yourself up.”
― Mary Holloway
“Sometimes carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.”
– Albert Camus
“There’s no such thing as ruining your life. Life’s a pretty resilient thing, it turns out.”
― Sophie Kinsella
“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.”
― Steve Goodier
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
― Maya Angelou
“Of course fear does not automatically lead to courage. Injury does not necessarily lead to insight. Hardship will not automatically make us better. Pain can break us or make us wiser. Suffering can destroy us or make us stronger. Fear can cripple us, or it can make us more courageous. It is resilience that makes the difference.”
― Eric Greitens
“Strong people alone know how to organize their suffering so as to bear only the most necessary pain.”
― Emil Dorian
“The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity.”
― Joshua Waitzkin
“I think that life is difficult. People have challenges. Family members get sick, people get older, you don’t always get the job or the promotion that you want. You have conflicts in your life. And really, life is about your resilience and your ability to go through your life and all of the ups and downs with a positive attitude.”
― Jennifer Hyman
“The most important characteristics you need to succeed in business are resilience, determination and persistence.”
― Karren Brady
“Resilience is distinct from mere survival, and more than mere endurance. Resilience is often endurance with direction.”
― Eric Greitens
“The cognitive skills that underpin resilience, then, seem like they can indeed be learned over time, creating resilience where there was none.”
― Maria Konnikova
“Resiliency is something you do, more than something you have. . . You become highly resilient by continuously learning your best way of being yourself in your circumstance.”
― Al Siebert
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
– Mark Twain
“The better you become at being able to recognize, verbalize, and manage your feelings, the less you will be vulnerable to losing emotional control or developing cardiovascular illnesses.”
― Al Siebert
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
― Gloria Steinem
The best ways to develop resilience, outside of resilience quotes
Reading resilience quotes – closely reading and truly digesting resilience quotes – is a great way to prime your mind to be more resilient. But you likely noticed a common thread sewn through many of the quotes, and it’s one of independence. Inspirational quotes can help here, but ultimately, it’s on you to develop your own capacity for resilience.
To do that, you can incorporate a few practices into your everyday life. One is the daily act of meditation, as meditating can help you build up psychic fortitude that you can tap into when stresses appear. The more you practice meditation, the calmer and more collected you will be able to remain in moments that are anything but calm.
Also try to spend a few minutes each day practicing gratitude, whether by jotting notes in a gratitude journal, sharing feelings of gratitude out loud with friends or family, or simply thinking deeply on all you have for which you are grateful, as you can then mine these feelings in times of struggle, balancing out your emotions and responses to the bad thanks to all the good.
Also, don’t forget about the importance of physical health: the better shape your body is in, the better condition you will be in to deal with stresses on your mental and emotional wellbeing. Every healthy meal, glass of water, long walk, or intense workout at the gym helps. Taking care of yourself, in mind and in body, will help build your resilience. And of course a healthier you will be a more confident you, and confidence is key when resilience is called for – indeed confidence is the proverbial frontline between you and life’s trials and travails.