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You Are Not Alone
May 31, 2023
tortoise toiling along
Resilience in the Long Run
June 14, 2023

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The Comments

Have you worked really hard and overcame barriers only to have someone diminish your effort with a comment? “You make it look easy.” “You’re a natural.” “You could have done better.” That feels wretched. Whether other people say such things, what is important is that you don’t diminish your own accomplishments. Give yourself credit for your success. While you are at it, claim your right to define what success looks like for you.  

When I graduated from my master’s program with honors one of my advisors said to me, “Congratulations, but I really expected you to have done better.” Decades later, I am still annoyed.  Did he know that I have significant ADHD? Had he noticed I was 8 months pregnant lying on my left side drinking a glass of water every 2 hours to stop preterm labor? The worst part though was that I have had moments when I agreed with him. I compared myself to others in my field and thought I could have done better.  


I recently injured a disc in my back. All day – no sitting. My new routine includes ice, standing, walking, and laying on my stomach. Then there is the pain. All work is done standing. And I am fortunate: I have support, a standing desk, and the ability to work from home. All my projects have had to be adjusted to this new, and hopefully temporary, reality. It made me look over my life and think about all the other times when I had to pivot, to adjust, to overcome an obstacle or event.  

How many times have you had to do the same? Adjust, compensate, figure it out given the changed circumstances? What were you able to do? What became undoable? At times the “event” was catastrophic, you had to deal with disaster and cope with daily life. Some goals you pursued in a different manner, others had to be abandoned. You made a new, new plan and went forward knowing that even that was subject to change. No one else knows just how hard it was for you during those times of challenge. Be sure to acknowledge your own perseverance. 

Part of being resilient is pivoting. Cry, complain, rage then get stuff done and move forward. There may be aspects of the change you mourn, feel angry about, or are frustrated about to this day. There may be silver linings that helped you along the way.  You have accomplished things against odds that no one else truly understands. Give yourself full credit for all that you have overcome because no one else can! 

A healthy you makes the world a better place.

A Better Place

Why acknowledge your own success, notice your own overcoming, and give yourself praise? Because your first responsibility in this world is to take care of yourself. Not to be selfish, but because this can’t be delegated to anyone else. A healthy you makes the world a better place. Having a mature sense of self-worth is important. By valuing your overcoming, you value your own personal strengths and abilities, your flexibility, your creativity and your perseverance. These traits will help you, and every relationship and community you are a part of, now, and in the future.  

As I lie on the floor icing my back I am reminded to celebrate all the times I faced reality, created a new plan, and got stuff done. I know to ask for help, pay attention to my own needs, and focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t do. I have chosen to prioritize long term healing over “suck it up.”  The older me has way more confidence in my own path than the younger version of myself. Take a minute to consider all obstacles and difficulties you have dealt with in your life and celebrate your strengths.  

Keep moving forward and give yourself full credit for all your resilience! 


Laura A. Gaines

Explore learnmodelteach.com to learn about our course, Shrinking Anxiety to Grow Resilience.