If someone displays these 16 traits, they’re an incredibly resilient person

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Resilience is something I admire deeply. 

The people I know who are able to stay afloat during the storms of life are folks I look up to and learn from every day. 

I’m talking about friends who have lost family members, had their careers suddenly disappear and relationships evaporate, or been faced with life-threatening illness.

Over the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes such resilient people able to keep going. 

Here’s what I’ve found. 

1) They believe in life

This might sound basic and it is in a way. But it’s fundamental:

Resilient people believe in life. 

They believe it is worth living and worth defending. They believe in its promise and potential. 

Even when the road is rocky, they don’t let that destroy their basic faith that life is worth living.

This sustains them through the trials that come their way, and also makes them a light to those nearby. 

2) They accept mortality

Death is one of the hardest things to accept, at least for me. 

Even for those who believe nothing happens or death is no big deal, the idea of leaving people you love behind or vice versa is deeply painful. 

But highly resilient people accept mortality fully. They have grappled with the question of death and made their peace with it in some way. 

Maybe that’s through spirituality, maybe through religion, maybe through science. 

But they have a certain deep calm despite the fact that we’re all going to die one day.

3) They believe in themselves 

Resilient people believe in themselves even when nobody else does. 

They have a solid core of inner self-confidence and this source of wellbeing keeps them going through dark and unstable times. 

They enjoy validation and appreciation like all the rest of us, but they’re not needy about it. 

That’s because they’re living a purpose-driven life and know their own value, regardless of what anybody else thinks. 

4) They reflect and are self-aware

A big part of knowing their value is introspection… 

Resilient folks spend time in reflection and learn to know their own strengths and weaknesses. 

They put great value on self-awareness, because they know that you can only really succeed in life when you know yourself. 

Anything else would be like jumping behind the wheel of a vehicle you’ve never seen before and trying to drive it without first reading the manual. 

5) They know their limits and respect them

Resilience and fortitude is not about just going forward no matter what and pushing through everything. 

Even resilient folks need a break sometimes or a shoulder to cry on.

They know their own limits and when they need a time out, and they respect that. 

There’s a time to push and a time to rest. Resilient people respect their own need for a break and their own need to replenish, whether that’s time off, a vacation, therapy or a totally new path in life. 

6) They don’t force themselves to be happy

Resilient people aren’t smiling all the time or always saying they’re “fine.”

They admit when they’re not OK and are honest about their emotions. 

While they like to look for the silver lining, they’re never the kind to put on a fake smile or go out and have fun when they need to be alone. 

They respect themselves and take difficult emotions as part of life. 

This leads me to the next point… 

7) They are able to channel difficult emotions

Strong individuals don’t see emotions like sadness, anger and confusion as “bad.”

They accept all their emotions and do their best to use them. 

Anger can be potent energy for effecting change. 

Sadness can be powerful for hitting the reset button and getting in touch with past regrets or present pain that needs to be faced.

Confusion can be a time to focus more on who you really are and what you want from life. 

These emotions aren’t “negative,” they simply need to be channeled and made useful.

8) They don’t take tragedy personally

Resilient individuals don’t take tragedy personally. 

They know that doing so takes you down a dark path that there’s sometimes no going back from. 

Even in the worst pain they do their best to avoid wondering why they have it worse than everybody else. 

It isn’t only because they are kind or rational, it’s because they know that getting into the “why me?” mentality is a slippery slope that can lead to ruin. 

9) They empathize with those in pain

Instead of wondering why they’ve been singled out for misfortune, resilient survivors focus on empathy. 

They look for ways to be a light to others. 

In doing this, they strengthen themselves and find a way to stay active during difficult times. 

Empathizing with others is second nature to resilient people, because they know that they’re not alone in their struggles and empathy proves it. 

10) They walk their own path even when it’s lonely

Highly resilient people aren’t afraid to walk alone. 

They are trailblazers and pioneers who make their voice heard. They will be the first giving a standing ovation if they loved a performance. 

They don’t wait for others to stand up first. They just do it. 

They are on their own path in their career, in their beliefs and in their life. Others are welcome to join, but not required. 

Which brings me to the next point…

11) They connect with people who share their values 

Resilient people are great at building networks and sharing with others. 

They find people who share their values and have an interest in them and they connect with these people. 

Whatever the context, the resilient person finds connections who they can relate to, work with, care about and form friendships with. 

In some cases this may also develop into romance and relationships. 

12) They’re able to be single instead of settling

When it comes to relationships, however, the resilient person is not one to settle. 

He or she is selective:

If they don’t feel a connection they don’t go for it. 

When they do feel a connection they are willing to take a chance, but they never undervalue themselves or make themselves overly available to somebody they don’t know. 

When it comes to being single, they don’t see it as a “negative” thing or a drawback, but in fact would far prefer it than to be with a person who brings out the worst in them. 

13) They are mission-oriented with a vision for the future

There’s no substitute for having a mission.

Resilient people have a guiding vision and mission in their life. 

They find a way to pursue that through their jobs, their hobbies, their relationships and everything in their life. 

They add their talents and skills to their passion and become an expert in their chosen field, sharing and cooperating with others to accomplish incredible things. 

As for failure and setbacks? 

14) They take notes when they experience failure 

Failure is another experience that resilient people don’t take personally. 

It happens to everyone in some form or another and they’re no different. 

Instead, they take out a pen and notebook and start taking notes:

“What can I do better next time?”

“Is there an option B that could make my business idea take off this time? A new person I could collaborate with?”

“What went wrong in this relationship? Was it in my control? What can I do next time.”

15) They find ways to save money when times are tough

Resilient people are also able to handle practical matters. 

They find ways to save money even when times are tough and costs are high. 

They take care of loved ones and dependents however they can and they work hard to make ends meet. 

They don’t complain or play the victim, because they know they’re not the only one. They find joy in the labor and seek a better life day by day. 

They know that change doesn’t happen overnight and that saving whatever they can and working to find better work is all part of the process. 

16) They are able to laugh even when they want to cry

Resilient people are laughers. 

They can laugh even when they want to cry. In fact, they can laugh until they cry. 

They can cry, shout and scream too: their emotions aren’t bottled up or packaged appropriately just so they feel they’re always being “proper.” 

They are able to laugh in the face of chaos, and maybe shout and scream a bit, too! 

This is life, and any storm that thought it would take this person had the wrong idea. 

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotations:

“Fate whispers to the warrior: ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ 

The warrior whispers back: ‘I am the storm.’”

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