Being resilient is a funny thing. Most of us don’t even know we’re resilient until someone tells us we are.
Many times in my life I’ve had people tell me I’m “strong” and “super capable”, and I’ve had no idea at all why they’ve said those things!
But after a little self-discovery, I completely get it.
Your resilience is something that shows in everything you do. From your behaviors to your mindset, it’s there.
If you’re often surprised by the things people say about you (i.e., that you’re “stronger than them”), you’re probably way more resilient than you think.
Here are the 9 unexpected signs of resilience to help you discover who you truly are – and finally appreciate yourself for it!
1) You keep a cool head in stressful situations
Some people run around like headless chickens when things get a bit heated in the kitchen. But if you’re a resilient person, you don’t.
You might feel a little stressed on the inside. In fact, you might be totally panicking on the inside during some situations!
But on the outside, you’re as cool as a cucumber. You keep a cool head, a calm voice, and a soothing exterior to get yourself (and potentially others) through it all.
It could happen at work, in an interview, during a tough meeting, in class, or during an argument with your partner.
To you, this will just be a normal response. But it isn’t normal. It’s special! And it shows just how resilient you really are.
2) You rarely get uncontrollably upset
There’s nothing wrong with being upset. If you’re an emotional person, it’s healthy to let your feelings out. And I’m all in favor of having a good cry when you need it!
But even so, if the times you get “uncontrollably” upset are few and far between, this could be a sign that you’re more resilient than you think.
When you feel sad or hurt, you prefer to express yourself through words rather than actions – i.e., you calmly talk things through with people.
You might text a friend, call your mum, or ask your partner if you could sit down and talk about some things that are on your mind.
You wouldn’t, for example, throw your phone at the wall, scream the house down, start a fight in anger, or break everything in sight…
These aren’t things a resilient person would do when they feel emotional.
3) You see the good amongst the bad
Seeing the good in a bad day isn’t something everyone can do – a fact I learned quite late in life.
I had a terrible year once. At least, that’s how it looked to everyone else. Before the new year, I said to my friend that I’d still had a good year.
“Really?” she exclaimed, incredibly surprised. Yet I was more surprised at her reaction!
There was a lot of bad that happened that year, but there was also so much good. There was so much laughter and so many new experiences. And those big events that were bad were only small parts of the year, really.
If you have this same attitude when you have a rough day, a rough week, a rough month, or a rough year, you’re probably way more resilient than you think, too.
4) You let things go quickly and easily
What happens when you argue with a friend or your partner? Or when you get some bad feedback from your boss or teacher?
Do you apologize, accept their apology, and move on from the argument? Do you think about the criticism, take what you need from it, and get on with your day?
Or do you do the complete opposite – hold a grudge over what was said, let it all get to you, and feel down about it for days (or even years!) afterward?
If it’s the first, you’re a pretty resilient person. Because letting things go, apologizing, accepting someone’s forgiveness, and moving on from “bad things” isn’t an easy thing to do.
But it’s something you’ll be able to do when you have resilience. And emotional intelligence. And high empathy. And self-control. And the list goes on…
5) You make decisions easily
Being decisive isn’t a trait often associated with being resilient, but the two go hand in hand!
When you think about it, making decisions is a pretty big deal. It takes a lot of brain power, confidence, and belief in yourself that you’re making the right decision.
We all make decisions every day of our lives. And it’s just part of life that not all our decisions are good ones.
Yet some people let the fact that they made one bad decision once rule their entire lives. They won’t make decisions like that ever again. Or worse, they’ll struggle to make decisions on their own at all!
This is justified really, because “failing” after making a tough call is a hard thing to get past.
But if this doesn’t sound like you at all, and you still make (most) decisions easily and on your own, even after you’ve made bad ones before, you’re way more resilient than you think!
6) You trust people, even after you’ve had reason not to
A friend of mine had her heart ripped out of her chest during a pretty messy divorce. But when all was said and done, she was looking forward to eventually dating again.
She said just because this marriage didn’t work out, that wasn’t going to stop her from falling in love and trusting someone with her heart again.
Most people during a break-up go through a phase of, “I never want to love anyone ever again”.
But if you have a similar view as my friend in any situation, you’re very, very resilient!
Being able to trust after something didn’t work out before means you haven’t let the past ruin your present. Which is what it means to be resilient, really!
So if you trust people, things, and life in general – even after bad things have happened, you’re stronger than you think.
7) You don’t fret over things you can’t control
If you sat down and made a list, you’d probably find there are a million things about your life that you can’t control. But I think we can all agree that wouldn’t be a very helpful task.
Yet some people spend their days focusing on all the things they can’t control way more than they should.
But the truth is, doing this every day only brings you down. It makes you feel powerless and like you lack control over your own life.
Resilient people know this. So, they don’t fret over things they can’t control.
Instead, their brain instinctively tells them, “If that happens, it happens” or “I did everything I can” when they start thinking about things turning sour.
8) You believe in yourself
Some people just believe in themselves.
They set goals knowing they’ll achieve them. They decide to try something new knowing it’ll all be OK. And they generally think everything will work out in the end.
If you’re a resilient person, you believe this, too. You might not say it out loud very often. After all, you know it sounds pretty arrogant (even though there isn’t anything arrogant about it!).
But you believe it with every fiber of your being. When you go for a new job, you know you might not get it, but you know you’ll do your best and you’ll find the right one eventually.
The same applies to taking exams, doing a driving test, going on dates, and doing anything else in life, really.
And the reason you believe this is because you have more resilience than most!
9) You know your limits
Even though you believe in yourself, you know there’s a limit to the things you can achieve in your life.
You don’t, for example, think you’ll be the best football player there ever was after a year of joining your local team. Likewise, you don’t think you’ll make millions after one month of starting your own business.
Instead, you keep your feet firmly on the ground. It’s this mindset that makes you so resilient to rejection, change, and “failure”.
You strive for greatness, for sure. But you don’t place too much pressure on yourself, which is why you’re able to bounce back from anything that comes your way.
This, believe it or not, isn’t something everyone can do. Some people aim for the stars and can’t handle it when they don’t get there.
But when you’re resilient, this isn’t you at all.
Being a resilient person is one of the best things you can be in life. No matter how old or young you are, it’s a good thing to be.
It’s a trait that can get you through anything life throws at you, from break-ups and job losses to grief and illnesses.
Being resilient can help you with your school life, career, friendships, and relationships.
If you recognize some or all of these signs in yourself, you’re probably way more resilient than you think. So cut yourself some slack and start appreciating yourself already!