Resilience: Am I Wasting the Pain?


Resilience Redefined

Most of us have heard the term resilience mentioned in the context of resuming life beyond social-distancing, masks, fear, anxiety, and virtual platform life. I’d like to suggest asking a question that might help reframe the notion of resilience beyond just bouncing back from something, whether it be individually or as an organization: “Am I going to waste the pain?


One of the challenges of traumatic events or time periods is that they typically result in the pain of loss. The loss of people through death. The loss of specific opportunities. The loss of friends or colleagues. The loss of specific dreams. The list goes on. However, perhaps an even greater tragedy than the individual or group losses is how often the pain of the loss is wasted, replaced instead by prolonged sadness, anger, resentment, bitterness, or a combination of them all.

Resilience is an individual or a group doing the diligent - sometimes painful - work necessary to ensure that the pain of the traumatic event is not wasted.


Practical Questions

Okay. So, no, I don’t want to waste the pain. What are some practical questions I can ask myself (or we can ask ourselves as an organization) to increase the likelihood the pain will be a catalyst for growth rather than a cause of wallowing or future repeats of similar losses? Here are several questions I’ve used at various times for you to ask yourself in those times in life when you need to move forward from loss.


  • Who else has shared this or a similar circumstance that I might consult for a perspective I do not presently have because my (our circumstance) is still too close to me (us)?
  • Is it possible that an unrealistically utopian view of life and its events is reducing my ability to examine adverse events for their opportunities to grow (whether I wanted to learn in this manner or not)?
  • What part, even if small, might I have played in the adverse event or loss?
  • In what ways may I be unintentionally exaggerating the nature of this circumstance (e.g., my professional life is ruined, I will never find another job I love, etc.)? What things may be contributing to the exaggeration?
  • Have I considered using the time-tested suggestion first put forward by Dale Carnegie: If I cannot get past my fear, imagine the worst I can think of is going to happen and then begin working backward from the event to improve the situation in whatever way I might before that adverse event actually occurs. (Many times, the event does not turn out as I imagined and the work, I have done in working backward will decrease the impact of whatever does occur).

Recovering from the results of the pandemic, both personally and professionally, continues to be a challenge. I am so proud of each of you who are members and leaders of ATD Dallas. You have stepped up and faced the challenges in ways that have been beneficial, educational, inspiring, and productive. We have met new members, remained engaged with members already here, lost jobs, found new jobs, jumped into and now swim well in the choppy waters of virtual – well, everything - and both been sad and laughed together.


As a Chapter, we have asked the questions, made numerous decisions, and taken purposeful actions that have reduced the pain and increased our resilience. Once this is “behind us” (though new challenges will always be part of life), we will go forward with new lessons learned, skills acquired, and further appreciation for the relationships we share together. And we actions have demonstrated; we have done what we could NOT to have wasted the pain this pandemic dealt us!



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Email: info@tddallas.org

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