Thriving with Resilience: On Resilience.

We chose this month’s theme, ‘Thriving with Resilience’ to celebrate our existence and also imagine and share meaningful ways to cope with our situations. Last week, we spoke about ‘thriving’ and shared some tips. This week we hope to expound more on ‘resilience’.

In psychology, ‘Resilience’ is used to refer to one’s ability to recover from stress and spiritual, mental or physical trauma. A therapist- Linda Graham, MFT, defines resilience as “the capacity to … bounce back from adversity”. Resilience can also be looked at as how one copes after a tragedy. 

 

At QAN, the resilience of the queer community comes out strongly from the individual and communal stories of queer Black people worldwide. We wanted to recognise how we are all existing and thriving within oppressive systems and how can we make it even better as we move towards freedom. Last month at the memorials and fundraisers for #JusticeForSheila, many queer people expressed fears of being targeted the same way and reported to being unsafe. Many rallied for justice and further than that, shared tips on how we were keeping ourselves together after the news. Organisations held workshops for safety training both online and offline and Sheila’a fundraiser even surpassed it target (YAY)! 

 

Our resilience is what got us through and is still holding us to keep going despite all the challenges we face as queer Africans from state to interpersonal violence. We wanted to share some practical tips that can help you strengthen your resilience: 

 

  • Practice grounding in your physical body: The body is a reservoir for a lot of knowledge and getting in touch with that helps us manage our response to adversity. Breathing exercises is a good place to start. When our systems are faced with tragedy, we can either speed up, slow down or freeze. Breathing exercises help to regulate our nervous system to calm down and be in the present moment. In moments of panic, bringing to your attention your five senses: taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch also helps keep us in the moment to deal with the situation.
  • Practice self-compassion and empathy: When we are in tune with how we feel, we are able to respond to the situation at hand more clearly. Often traumatic experiences illicit all sorts of emotions within us that are then stored in our different  body parts. Emotions are internal signals to act and practicing pointing them out allows us then to identify how we are feeling and address the emotions that are coming up. One exercise that can be a starter: It requires you to sit in your safe space and notice the sensations that come up in your body as responses to your thoughts and feelings. Linking your emotions to the physical sensations points you to what you can do to soothe yourself when you encounter a difficulty. 
  • Practice self-awareness: This is needed for both thriving and resilience. Being able to know your strengths, weaknesses, boundaries and the like gives you more confidence in self when combating an upheaval. Confidence in oneself is key to resilience because you’re able to clearly discern your limits and protect yourself as you need to. Awareness also helps to call to attention what you need to work on to better equip yourself for the future. To practice awareness, write down a list of 3 traits you are proud of and 3 you want to improve on. From this list, write out a sentence of how you practice them in your life. This will help you be more in touch while also allowing you to explore ways on being more resilient. 

 

There are many qualities of resilience that we all embody and can cultivate. Some examples are accountability, compassion, dependability, flexibility, gratitude, honesty, open-mindedness, playfulness, spontaneity, tolerance among others. Which of this list do you practice and what would you add?


QAN Community Admin

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