Cultivating Resilience

My second semester of my freshmen year of college was filled with several moments— all of which I felt overwhelmed with emotions. I always have a “Can-do” attitude about everything. When life gets rough, I usually make a comedic joke and shrug it off to my friends with the light-hearted phrase “It’s all good”. When my community of friends changes, I tell myself that I am fine. Yet, when I found myself unhappy with my major and future career plans in the midst of my second semester, I figured it was me being hyper sensitive and nothing more. Or, when I looked around to see myself without a circle of friends and discouraged by the amount of rejections, I no longer had a reason to smooth over the surface. I decided to do one of the most challenging things— I just let it be.


Resilience is something I mention quite often on my blog. The first reason is because it’s vital for growth. The second is because I am far from being an expert on how to be resilient. There is a stigma that courage equals moving on or showing no signs of weakness. We all know, however, that courage is not really equivalent to being “tough”. As Brené Brown, one of my favorite authors, would put it,

 I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time. Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.

-Brené Brown

I’ve used some of this quote before in my previous blog post regarding love. Yet, I think the full quote can help convey what resilience really looks like. During my period of dealing with heartbreak, I remember what going to my 8 am Spanish class felt like. For the first three weeks following my breakup, I remember waking up and seeing the tiredness in my eyes. Sleeping was difficult, eating was difficult, and talking to my classmates was difficult. I never wanted to show up— I didn’t want to be seen. I was hurt, and it was evident in my expressions and conversations. Despite feeling discouraged and isolated during this time— I did show up. I kept functioning. I knew that resilience was measured in showing up rather than shrugging off the hurt and answering with an “I’m alright” to people’s questions.

“So, Have You Moved On Yet?”

As those initial weeks soon complied into a month, I was still upset with the situation. I remember getting asked by a couple of mutual friends, “Are you over him now?” The truth was no. I remember thinking to myself, I was drunk in love like Beyoncé for the past three months. I had no idea this was going to happen. I have never been heartbroken. All I want to do is eat cookies and cry. I planned way to far ahead in this relationship. Geez I am a human being. I thought this would end better. Wow I watch too many Disney movies when I am sad. Disregarding my thoughts I answered with a slow, “Noo I mean yeahh?” In all honesty, the question stung. Up until this point my community was being supportive. I was overwhelmed by the question, and I started to worry that perhaps it was time to “Move On”. Looking back now, I was wrong. I needed time.


Change— For The Better

You know all those songs that tell you to not compromise your self-worth for someone and stay true to yourself? Yeah, I didn’t listen to those songs after my breakup. I struggled to accept the “good things” about me. I struggled to accept my “love” of love. I struggled to accept that I wanted to teach religion instead of a state-approved subject. I struggled to accept I would be on my own for the first time in over a year. I struggled to accept that I loved planning. I struggled to accept that I am different from a lot of kids my age in a sense where I love waking up at 6 am and working out as well as watching movies on my weekends rather than part-taking in the usual college lifestyle. I was telling a friend of mine the other day, “It’s funny when you start dating someone in college. He’ll tell you, ‘You aren’t like the other girls— you are different’. Yet, when he breaks up with you he will tell you that it’s because you are too different!” I struggled to accept that I was “different” because that word was the reason for all these unexpected changes. “Different” up until this point had a negative connotation. To me, “different” meant that I was unworthy of companionship.


Resilience Is Being Authentic

I wanted to talk about Resilience as the first topic in my blog series because it is the foundation for these stories and experiences. Resilience is the act of showing up even when everything in one’s life is not going right. It is showing up and being honest. Authenticity is rare after a breakup, and I think it is so important to be real with people. The moments where I was dishonest about my situation were the moments where I acted out of insecurity and irrationality. Frankly, they were the moments where I wasn’t acting like myself at all.

What Is Heartbreak?

I remember where my facade of seeming okay from the whole situation was called into question. Surprisingly, it was not from a friend but from one of my mentors. The question in the class that day was regarding what a breakup felt like and if it is unhealthy for an individual to be haunted by their previous relationship. As per-usual, I raised my hand to answer that question. I thought to myself, I know the answer to this one. Yes, it is unhealthy. Move on! Many people told me that, so it must be true. Don’t be sad! This wasn’t the right answer. My professor looked at me confused and said, “To not feel haunted or anything for that matter is admitting to yourself that the relationship and the person didn’t matter.” I was shocked. He continued, “Yet, being haunted by them means what you felt for that person was authentic and real. I would much rather be a person who feels deeply about an ex and be haunted by my past relationship then feel nothing at all. To be haunted means it mattered.” I agree with this statement because I had been feeling that way— reminded of the person and the memories that I shared with them. I would much rather be the person that looks back onto a relationship or experience with emotion than try to suppress it and act like I feel nothing. To me, resilience is admitting one’s hurt and being honest about it.

“In A Song”

One song that really helped me to be resilient in this situation was a song by Hunter Hayes called “In A Song“. Hayes sings about a breakup and how he would look back on it in a positive light. One lyric that helped me to be resilient during this time was when Hayes sings,

Yeah songs about making honest mistakes
And heartaches I’ve gone through
Yeah, then I’ll forgive
I won’t have to forget all the good things about you

-Hunter Hayes

Hayes’ words resonate with me. I think resilience is being honest with the situation, and this song conveyed the way I was feeling about mine. I knew that I was struggling to move on, but I also didn’t want to look back on the relationship and be filled with anger or resentment. I don’t like to hold grudges. I knew that I just wanted some peace.

Summer Lovin’— More To Come!

I hoped you enjoyed reading the first part of my summer lovin’ series! Stay tuned for more posts in the future! As I mentioned in my last post, these experiences have shaped my perspective on life and relationships. If you liked this post, please be sure to follow my account for more content coming soon! Thank you.