Everyone loves to hear the stories about people, like Helen Keller. Life dealt her a devastating blow. At the age of 19 months old she contracted an illness that left her deaf and blind. Through the help of a patient and compassionate teacher, Anne Sullivan, she learned to communicate. Not only did Helen learn to read sign language and braille, she learned to speak. Helen was the first deaf/blind person to get a bachelor of arts degree. She wrote 12 books and numerous articles. Helen campaigned for the rights of women, labor reforms, the rights for the disabled, and many more noble causes like pacifism. Despite the hand life had dealt her, Helen Keller was able to transcended the circumstances, triumphed, and was able to use her adversity to help others. That is resilience!
Sometimes you think you have to handle problems on your own, be the Lone Ranger, take care of things yourself. But even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. Helen Keller would not have come out of her darkness and accomplished so much in her life if it were not for her faithful teacher and companion, Anne Sullivan. So when adversity strikes connect with others, ask for help, share the burden. By sharing your feeling and problems, you can gain support, positive feedback, and even solutions. So connecting with caring, loving, and supportive people can help you develop resilience.
One of the biggest ways Helen transcended her circumstances was a life long pattern of learning. Look at every experience as a chance to learn something new and to grow from that experience. Problems can turn into challenges, the pains of life can become opportunities to problem solve for solutions. Learn from past experiences and remember past successes. When you encounter an issue try using ‘question thinking’ to tease out solutions. Ask yourself non judgmental questions like, “How is this useful?” or “What are my choices?” as opposed to judgmental questions like “Who is to blame?” Questions promote expansive thinking and often lead to deeper understanding. So learning builds resilience.
Helen Keller developed a strong sense of purpose for her life. One of her main goals was to help and serve others. She was an advocate for many worthy causes. A good way to cultivate reliance is to do something every day that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose. It can even be even small acts like smiling or wishing others well. Set goals, make a plan, look forward to a meaningful future. Get involved. Use your experiences and adversity to help yourself and others. Find your sense of purpose and you will find resilience.
Other Great Ways To Cultivate Resilience
So remember when you are in the middle of a crisis or problem and want to cultivate resilience: learn, grow, connect with others, and develop a sense of purpose.