A year ago my daughter was diagnosed with a disease that caused her a lot of pain, stress, isolation, anxiety and depression. She lost her confidence and sparkle for a while. That was really hard to witness. If you’ve ever watched a child endure pain and suffering, you know that parents feel that pain multiplied. That was a hard year.
This phrase on her shirt really reminds me of her journey and how she learned to bounce back from last year. Now after a year of healing, she has her sparkle back. She is confident and happy most of the time. She is enjoying life again. While she still struggles with occasional pain and depression, she is learning to manage all of that and keep it in perspective. And her mom is enjoying life again too!
Sparkle like you mean it. When you’ve been through a trial in life, it can mold and shape who you become. Enduring a hardship is kind of like the process of forming a diamond. Diamonds are formed when carbon-containing material is exposed to extremely high pressures and temperatures. This usually happens deep below the earth’s surface, taking billions of years. Then the diamonds are carried to the earth’s surface with a volcanic eruption. The high pressure and temperature make the diamond extremely hard. In fact, diamonds are the hardest natural materials on earth. They are scratch-resistant and well-suited to daily wear. Great care and special techniques must be used to cut and polish diamonds to brilliance. This refinement shows their clarity and sparkle (the ability to reflect and refract light). Without the pressure, high temperature, eruption and polishing, the diamonds would still be dust. Like diamonds, sometimes it takes some pressure or adversity in life for us to learn how to really shine.
The process of bouncing back from adversity is also known as developing resilience. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.” That is good news. That means we can each build resilience.
The APA offers these tips to build resilience:
- Connect. Positive relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accept help and support from those who care about you.
- Accept change. Change is a part of living. When you accept what cannot be changed, it helps you focus on the things you can change.
- Move toward goals. Develop some realistic goals. Make regular small steps toward your goals.
- Take decisive actions. Take decisive actions when you can, rather than avoiding problems and wishing they would go away.
- Seek opportunities for self-discovery. As a result of their struggle, people often learn something about themselves and find that they have grown in some respect.
- Believe in yourself. You can build resilience by developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts.
- Keep perspective. Even when facing extreme stress, try to consider the situation within the big picture and keep a long-term perspective.
- Maintain hope. Expect that good things will happen in your life. Visualize what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear. Meditation and spiritual practices help some people strengthen connections and restore hope.
- Take care of yourself. This helps to keep your mind and body fit to deal with life.
While I would never choose the diagnosis that made our year so difficult, I am proud of how my daughter overcame so much and learned to bounce back. I know she will be able to handle other trials in the future. Like a diamond, the pressure she was under helped make her more “scratch-resistant” and able to handle daily wear. Suffering from life’s adversity can make us into something stronger and more beautiful than we ever imagined. Sparkle like you mean it!