I never met a toilet I couldn’t plunge! And that is a good thing. Having three boys at home and a spouse that spent 200+ days a year on the road with his Air Force gig, this was a basic survival skill. You know what I’m talking about. Military life makes you grow up fast. You learn to depend on your quick wit and creativity. You flexibly roll with the punches. You develop resiliency.
Resilience refers to a person’s ability to adapt and bounce back when things in life don’t go as planned. Many people believe resiliency is an innate quality – either you have it or you don’t. Others believe that resiliency can be developed and cultivated. I agree with the latter.
Peter Economy (a.k.a. The Leadership Guy) lists these eight habits of exceptionally resilient people:
Get the support you need. Who do you turn to when times get tough? Friends and family are great resources, but remember your local Military Spouse Advocacy Network (MSAN) Advocate, too! He or she is there to help you navigate this thing called military life.
Realize it’s just part of life. No matter how hard we plan, stuff happens. Being resilient doesn’t mean you don’t get upset. It just means that you can put the problem in perspective and move on.
Make healthy choices. A resilient person makes time for self-care. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. Make this your mantra!
Remember to laugh. There is indeed humor in everything…even an overflowing toilet! You can lighten everyone’s load with laughter.
Be nice to others. Having an attitude of gratitude and a positive outlook can go a long way in helping you see past the problem of the moment.
Look at the bright side. Resilient people look for the proverbial “silver lining” when faced with obstacles. Be a realistic optimist – choose to see the positive but be realistic with your expectations.
Don’t make the same mistakes again. Everyone on the planet makes mistakes. Rather than feeling mortified that you are human, look at mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow. Challenge your thinking, learn new pathways, and approach new situations differently. Ask for help if you need it.
Get the ball rolling. A resilient person faces a problem head on and looks for solutions. He or she develops a plan and acts upon it. Resilient people don’t see themselves as victims but rather as doers.
My husband Ken has a favorite saying, “Leave it better than you found it.” Every habit Peter lists above can be purposely cultivated. MSAN recognizes this. Programs like our New Military Spouse Support Program will help young spouses better understand the challenges of military life and provide concrete tools to help them develop resiliency. MSAN Mentors can offer support for all spouses just trying to figure out this crazy military life.
I love the resiliency of military spouses. Practice these eight habits and pick up your plungers…you’ve got this!