I believe in the resilience of people. People are stronger than they think they are.
As a gardener, I give my seeds the best chance they can get to grow. Pre-soaked, soft soil, and in the path of sunlight. But it is still up to them to grow. The tiny seedlings have to break out of their hard shell, stretch and struggle through the dirt, reaching towards an unseen goal. It’s not an easy task, but it culminates into an endearing scene of tiny green seedlings peeking out of the soil, drinking in the light of the sun.
Sometimes we can’t see the end of the tunnel. Sometimes we get stuck in a place so dark we can’t see the sliver of light. It can be near impossible to find the strength to keep going. What can we do at times like these? For me, I picture myself as one of those seeds. Lost, struggling to reach something I can’t see in that moment. When I reflect on my darker times, I discover that I am the one who pulls me out of them. I help myself through my worst, driving myself forward despite odds or opposition. I know that eventually I’ll find the sun.
It’s hard to believe in yourself when you feel alone. I’ve been there many times. My father always told me not to compare myself to others, but how can you not? My daily life is full of comparisons. “What test score did you get?” “What grade do you have?” It’s particularly hard now that I am behind the grade I feel I should be in. One of the most trying weeks of my life was when my friends graduated without me, due to me not receiving credits for a year abroad. It was hard watching them celebrate their triumph over high school. It was hard seeing them plan for their future and start their lives. It was hard seeing them in caps and gowns while I wasn’t. Still now I feel like I can’t do another year, and that I ought to just drop out and get my GED so I’m not behind. When I feel this way, it’s impossible to see myself sticking through another year of high school. So how do I know I will? Why have I stuck through this trying and at times, miserable, year? I continue and know I will continue because it’s what I’ve always done. I have learned that I am resilient.
Take for example Bethany Hamilton. She was a truly gifted surfer, growing up in the water, with a promising future. When a shark attack took her arm, it would’ve been easy for her to give up. But fear never stopped her from getting back in the water. Defeat never stopped her from trying again. Bethany is a remarkable person with remarkable achievements, but everyone shares the human quality of resilience. From healing drug addicts, to people with physical or mental illness, to amputees or those who suffer from paralysis. Humans are fighters, and we don’t give up easy.
Like a house that withstands the storm or a tree firmly rooted, I will not give under pressure. Even when I feel hopeless, when my thoughts threaten to overwhelm me, I remind myself that I am resilient. I examine the evidence of my life and it tells me that I will make it through whatever I’m facing, even if I can’t see the figurative finish line. Life has a habit of throwing curveballs at us. We know that when one thing goes wrong a thousand others do at the same time. For those going through what seems to be an endless trial, remember that you have faced everything in your life and won. You have a 100% survival rate, so far. I believe that we are resilient, and we are going to make it.