The Courage to Begin…Again

Image for post
Image for post
Connie Ragen Green — The Courage to Begin… Again

Life is a miracle. Yet, no one makes it out alive. When the going gets tough we must make it a priority to become resilient and to develop mental toughness. This enables us to not only survive, but to thrive under any and all circumstances.

What does it mean to be resilient and have mental toughness?

In order to strengthen resilience, it’s important to understand the concept in depth. Resilience is the ability to move forward by growing through every part of life’s process. Struggling is a natural part of living. What matters is how we react to struggle.

It’s easy to let difficulty keep us down. It isn’t easy to stay afloat when the waters are rocky, and it’s okay to feel that struggle. Resilience is associated with toughness. Part of being tough means admitting to difficulty and working through it instead of ignoring it.

Begin Again

We begin again all of the time. It’s a phrase that’s often talked about in the practice of meditation, where upon noticing that you’re no longer in your center, you “begin again” by coming back to whatever you’re using as an anchor. It may be coming back to the breath, a mantra or focusing on a physical sensation in the body. We may have to restart countless times throughout our session and that is the practice. It’s so easy to get drawn into distraction…future, past, problem-solving and to-do lists are ever so tempting places to lay our attention. Yet, the magical moment of the practice is when we notice that we’ve been pulled away. And, in that moment, we begin again. This is the beginning of your practice of mental toughness.

How many times have you heard someone say “just toughen up” or something similar? While it is easy to say what does mental toughness really mean?

According to Wikipedia it is defined as:

“Mental toughness is a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.”

At one time being told to toughen up was thought of as being cliché. The view on mental toughness has now changed. Who isn’t leading a more stressful life these days?

Life can really throw you a curve ball at any time and it is important to have that mental toughness to deal with any situation. How you deal with a stressful situation is directly related to your mental toughness. Having mental toughness is an asset when it comes to all types of situations including: sports, facing an emergency, dealing with a major injury or illness, and more. For example, a marathon runner needs mental toughness to overcome the pain of running so many miles. They have to dig deep and find the strength to keep on going, even when their body is screaming at them to stop.

When a person can get through these barriers they are often the people who will succeed in life. They have trained themselves both physically and mentally to keep going. This is what makes the difference between being good at something and excelling at it.

Learning to push through and deal with whatever life throws at you is possible for anyone. You just need to be prepared to train your mind and body to do this. Research has shown that as a person ages they do become tougher. A senior person may have a weaker body due to their age, but mentally they can be super tough!

On the downside, some people who appear to be mentally tough are often insensitive to certain situations. This may make them seem tough, but in fact they could be lacking in certain skills such as building relationships with people. I have attempted to maintain a balance between remaining empathetic and remaining strong in all situations I encounter.

The world today has evolved into a busy and stressful environment. It is important to have a certain degree of mental toughness just to survive. On the upside we have developed into a society that is not afraid to speak out. People are encouraged to discuss their stressors and so can find help more easily. The opportunities are endless and it is up to each of us to take full responsibility for our life experience and results.

Life is something that you can either go through, or grow through. Resilience requires the willingness to grow and adapt. Life has peaks and valleys. It is always changing. If you’re able to accept this, you’ll find that you’re more motivated to get curious about the lessons of each moment. You’re not born with resilience, but you can develop this skill.

Benefits of Strengthening Your Resilience and Mental Toughness

When you practice the skills that go into being resilient, you will notice positive changes in your life. Bouncing back from adversity doesn’t mean that things will just get back to normal, but it can also mean that they will get to an even better place.

Image for post
Image for post
Resilience and Mental Toughness

How to Put These New Skills into Practice

It can appear difficult to implement new habits, especially when they involve making big changes in your life. Keep in mind that you can learn something from everything you encounter, and this is a good opportunity to learn something that will improve your self-worth and enthusiasm for life. When you’re learning something new, it’s easy to beat yourself up for not getting it immediately. Let go of self-judgment and try something new. If it doesn’t work out the first time, see what might work for you in the future and go from there. Go easy on yourself when you’re seeing what works for you.

Keeping a journal can help you get your thoughts out so that you don’t have to keep them in your brain. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to have so many thoughts swirling around like a whirlpool. Writing it out can help ease that feeling. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write whatever comes to you, even if it doesn’t make sense. My journaling has led to writing more than twenty books on a variety of topics. This alone has increased my mental toughness and self-esteem.

One of the skills you’ll learn emphasizes the importance of building community. You can use this skill to implement changes you want to make by asking for accountability. Having people around you who know the changes you’re trying to make will remind you of your goals. As an introvert, this is an ongoing challenge for me. But experience has taught me that I do become stronger when I spend some time with people each day, either in person or virtually.

As your self-awareness improves, so will your ability to maintain a positive outlook on your progress. If you can look back at the work you do and be proud of yourself even if you were not perfect, you’ll be more confident in your ability to grow. Part of resilience is facing difficult things head-on. That can bring up some difficult emotions. Exploring how to handle those emotions in the next skill I recommend you work on for yourself.

You can achieve anything you have in mind to do. Believe in yourself and have the confidence to move forward with your goals and dreams. And when something doesn’t work out as you had hoped and planned, begin again… with courage.

I’m Connie Ragen Green, mustering up the courage every day to live a life that I deserve. Come along with me and let’s explore the possibilities and the magic that comes along with being resilient and mentally tough.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store