Resilience comes when we accept what is unchangeable, but don’t accept that everything is unchangeable

What makes some people resilient and some people weak? It’s primarily their vision when things go wrong. 

Life is tough. Everyone faces adversities. At such times, some people obsess over all that has gone wrong and become resentful, labeling the world as a horrible place. Or they start feeling sorry for themselves and sink into self-pity and suicidal thoughts, labeling themselves worthless. Neither vision is helpful — both make us internally brittle and bitter. The Bhagavad-gita (18.35) declares such negative, self-defeating thought-patterns as characteristic of the destructive mode of ignorance. 

Suppose a ball is hit hard on the ground. The harder it is hit, the higher it bounces back. How? It doesn’t deny the fact that it has been hurled down by a greater force. But it uses that very force to rebound when it hits the ground. Of course, the ball isn’t conscious and functions according to mechanical laws.

But we can learn from it the dynamics that define resilience. When life knocks us down, by bringing upon us situations that are unchangeable, we need to accept them and let go of resentment, knowing that resentment of reality often hurts more than reality. Simultaneously, we need to focus on what is changeable, without succumbing to the pessimistic, fatalistic attitude that nothing is changeable. 

If we ask ourselves, “What can I do, however small, to make things better in this situation?” we will find a path to bounce back. Such bouncing back becomes easier when we identify ourselves not with our material externals which may be breakable by the world’s reversals, but with our spiritual internals which are indestructible. And our rebounding ability increases further when we understand that we are parts of God, Krishna, who can bring good even out of the bad.  

By letting Gita wisdom shift our identity to our spirituality, we all can increase our resilience. 


Think it over:

  • What makes some people brittle?
  • What vision enables us to bounce back?
  • How can we develop the vision that fosters resilience? 



18.35 And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion – such unintelligent determination, O son of Prutha, is in the mode of darkness.

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