“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Nelson Mandela.

Let me tell you a little story about resilience.

My office and main writing desk is on the second floor of a lovely historical building in Oxfordshire, UK. I’m typing these words from that very place actually.

So I have a slightly elevated view of my immediate world below, which is a quiet area just two minutes walk from the centre of town.

Opposite my window is a small, residential village for the elderly. I must tell you that I have so much respect for this wonderful section of society, and the carers who tend to them.

In this particular establishment, some of the senior citizens live and manage (mostly) alone, whilst others live with their spouses. One thing they have in common, however, is that every day without fail, come rain or shine, almost all of them make a huge effort to go out walking; either alone with assistance, in wheelchairs pushed by carers, or – as I want to tell you now – in twos, with their elderly partners.

Here’s the truly lovely bit…

One couple in particular have caught my eye. They appear every single morning without fail at around 9am. After careful preparations at the doorstep, they make a slow, arduous journey from their front door (some 100 metres from my window), slowly along the pavement – occasionally negotiating other pedestrians – then cross the road, shuffling purposely onward (to – who knows where), and returning together an hour or so later.

The old lady pushes a small trolley, hunched over and probably crippled with arthritis and other ailments I cannot guess. I can barely see her face as she is stooped so low.

Meanwhile her tall, stately husband, walks proudly by her side, adjusting his (also slow) gait to assist her as necessary. They stop every ten metres or so for a rest. The old man talks gently to her (encouragingly I feel sure…), and onwards they go.

Finally at the roadside they hold hands; taking a long time to cross safely, and only when the road is completely devoid of traffic (the old man ever vigilant for his small, bird-like wife). This lovely man – also not in the best of health, I can see – holds his free arm aloft to alert everyone to the fact that his beloved wife is crossing the road. He clearly loves her to bits.

“Even age cannot wither her beauty”

The mere fact of writing this stirs emotions, but what point am I trying to make with this lovely tale?

The point is that every time I see this lovely couple make such an enormous effort to leave the safety and warmth of their little home, I feel very humbled. And probably you too on hearing the story.

I’m sure we’ve all witnessed something similarly heartwarming or uplifting. But I’m not writing about enduring love.

For this is what is called resilience.

Whether it’s the everyday grind, tough personal circumstances, temporary disappointments –or in this case just the simple fact of being elderly and frail – one simply cannot just give up.

If you’ve ever experienced situations that made you question your own inner emotional strength, then you have surely known the power of resilience?

Here then, on the back of my story, are some wonderful reasons for you to nurture and celebrate this most incredibly empowering attribute every single day, since a truly resilient spirit will help you in many areas of your life, for example;

  • Facing inevitable setbacks and delays in your daily life
  • Coping with the aftermath of personal disappointments and trauma
  • Understanding that not everything in life works out as planned
  • Bouncing off unfair criticism or feedback from others and moving past it
  • Recovery from emotional and physical challenges
  • Seeing past inevitable stumbling blocks and choosing to continue regardless
  • Not allowing others to deter you from your personal goals
  • Learning from all of your experiences – good and bad
  • Choosing the positive, if sometimes rockier path forward, rather than the easier one which holds no growth

Many things in life make it so easy for us to simply give up and choose the path of least resistance! But rather than just give in to circumstances, you should always push for the alternative; a resilient, self believing leap forward!

Here’s to never ever giving up on the important stuff.

Choose to overcome life’s challenges and grow from them.

My call to action to you today is to consider the last time you proved yourself resilient to circumstances? Take five minutes and run through all the good things that came from overcoming that particular hardship?

Originally published at www.sarah-virag.com


  • Sarah Virág

    Confidence Coach, Writer & Bestselling Author

    Sarah Virág BA (Hons) is a UK based Confidence Coach, Writer, Amazon #1 Bestselling Author of 'Wings for Life', Columnist, Mother of three and lifelong Nomad.