Written By Sarah Hodges

The Mud Puddle

Resiliency is the ability to continue on our life’s journey while easily navigating the twists, turns, and obstacles in our path. It’s the ability to respond to situations in a way that promotes growth, well-being, and a deeper understanding of ourselves.

I often think of resiliency as the ability to wade through the mud puddles of life. These mud puddles can manifest themselves as a multitude of negative experiences, emotions, or stress. Whether we’re finding it difficult to navigate a transition in our life, overcome work or home stress, or grieving the loss of a loved one, we all come face to face with the mud.

When this happens, there are only three choices: avoid it, get stuck in it, or wade through it.

Avoid It?

Avoidance is about choosing to ignore the mud completely. These people turn away from feeling the emotions and the pain associated with the negative experience or difficult transition. They distract themselves with endless activities. They turn to drugs, alcohol, food, or television to pretend like the mud isn’t there in front of them.

Stuck in the Mud?

Other people decide to get in the mud, but they get completely stuck in it. They sit in the center of the pit, wallowing in self-pity and reciting an endless soliloquy of woes and complaints. They cannot will themselves through the negative experience or see the bank on the other side.

Go Through It!

The third group of people sees the mud puddle, but they also see the meadow on the other side. Unlike the group that avoids the mud, they allow themselves to feel the pain and negative emotions of the life experience. They know that mud puddles are part of life’s journey, and they wade into the pit with acceptance. But unlike the group that gets stuck in the mud, they keep their eyes set on the meadow. They feel the negative emotions without getting stuck and wallowing. They skim through the mud while still looking for solutions and maintaining a positive outlook.

It is only by wading through the mud, allowing ourselves to feel the negative emotions, and keeping the beautiful meadow in view, that we are able to continue on our life’s journey. That is resilience. That is how we thrive.

So the next time you come face to face with life’s mud puddles, become aware of your response. Are you avoiding feeling the emotions with overeating or an overly busy schedule? Are you getting stuck in the mud and wallowing in endless despair? Or are you allowing yourself to feel the sadness, while still wading forward and looking for solutions and maintaining positivity?

Sometimes you just have to go through the mud to get to the meadow. But it’s so worth it.

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