Sign in

Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Resilience

In Forge. More on Medium.

It’s time to stop insisting everything’s fine when you’re actually drowning

Photo: Gary Yeowell / Getty Images

For many of us, a significant percentage of pandemic life has been dedicated to processing how difficult it is to live through pandemic life. We’ve encouraged one another to acknowledge that we’re not okay, made all the intellectual arguments for why social isolation is so crippling, delved into the ways in which being stuck in our homes is breaking our bodies and our minds. We’ve shouted from the rooftops that this is hard.

So why does it still feel so unnatural — maybe even a little embarrassing — to be fully transparent about how not-okay we are? …


Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Consider for a moment: Cher.

Maybe her 1998 dance-pop comeback, “Believe” was one of your pre-pandemic karaoke standbys, as it was mine. Perhaps you were among the legions of stuck-at-home movie watchers who, during the various lockdowns of 2020, either discovered or rediscovered Moonstruckthe “morbid spaghetti rom-com,” co-starring Nicholas Cage, that landed our heroine a Best Actress Oscar for her starring role in 1987. No matter what your relationship is with Cher, I’m willing to bet that you picture an icon.

An icon ^^

Cher has been an icon for longer than I’ve been alive. But before she…


Older immigrants are responding to the pandemic with startling resourcefulness, as their American offspring have discovered

Photo: bee32/iStock/Getty Images Plus

When the pandemic began and the country was bum-rushing grocery stores for toilet paper, Katherine Fung’s mother was strangely calm.

“I overheard her saying to a friend on the phone, ‘Soon we’ll be boiling roots to survive. I’ve been through that before,’” says Fung, a Brooklyn-based journalist.

Fung’s mom, who grew up in a province called Guangxi in mainland China, learned self-sufficiency from a young age. The oldest of six children, she dropped out of school to do housework and help her mother farm. There were times when they didn’t have much to eat.

These times have felt familiar to…


In the non-linear trajectory of life, change is vital

Colorful spring is all tangled up against a bright red background.
Colorful spring is all tangled up against a bright red background.
Photo: Sven Krobot/EyeEm/Getty Images

In recent years, resilience — or “grit” — has emerged as the ultimate self-help virtue. As John Patrick Leary recently wrote in Teen Vogue, the “resilience industry acknowledges that we all go through rough patches, but it insists that our setbacks will only make us stronger,” which clearly appeals in these unpredictable (and deeply unequal) times. But in reality, how we respond to big changes—rough patches and achieving dreams, alike—does not follow a straight path or timeline. …


As you boost your body’s defenses, you can also train your mind to be more resilient

Photo: Peter Byrne — PA Images/Getty Images

Given recent events, I’ve been paying a little extra attention lately to my immune system: getting good rest, drinking plenty of water, eating my greens. Exercising regularly, or as regularly as one can when stuck inside with multiple small children.

I feel fine, physically, whether or not my efforts are actually making a difference. How I feel emotionally, though, is another story. Like pretty much everyone, I’m on edge right now. I’ve spent my quarantine swinging between sharp anxiety and crushing boredom.

And with all the steps I was taking to bolster my body’s defenses against germs, it felt strange…


Here’s why our efforts to hack this quality will never work

A group of young adults in a circle facing each other, photographed from above, on a painted tarmac surface showing a vortex.
A group of young adults in a circle facing each other, photographed from above, on a painted tarmac surface showing a vortex.
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision/Getty

When I first got divorced, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to make ends meet. I had sole custody of my kids, no child support, and attorney fees five times the piddly amount in my new separate bank account. I was drowning in stress, and it showed. When I showered, a small mammal’s worth of hair clogged up the drain.

That was two years ago. Today, my divorce fees are paid off, my kids and I host community potlucks, and I’m working to become a licensed social worker. On one recent night, after my shower, I stuck the…


We need to introduce challenge and conflict into our kids’ lives so they can learn how to overcome challenges and manage conflict

Photo: Debbie McLeod (my husband’s mom)

I made a new friend this winter. There are plenty of traits I appreciate: He’s a fantastic chef, and super handy, and says “yes” to every adventure. But the thing I most admire about Ryan is his parenting.

His boys (ages 10 and 12 when I met them) are polite. They can survive a six-hour road trip without an electronic device. The eldest makes bacon-and-egg breakfasts for the family. I know a superhero when I see one, and Ryan is a super dad. …


When things are going well, meditate on all that can go wrong

A photo of a man smiling with his eyes looking up towards the sky, jazz hands and all.
A photo of a man smiling with his eyes looking up towards the sky, jazz hands and all.
Photo: CarlosDavid.org/Getty Images

So things in your life are going well. You’re in a good place in your career. You’re healthy, and so are your loved ones. Your relationships are strong.

Great. Now meditate on what can go wrong.

This may sound like a terrible idea. “Why worry unnecessarily?” you might ask. You’d rather deal with setbacks as they come. But doing a “loss meditation” serves an important purpose: It can help you become more resilient when setbacks hit, and feel more grateful for what you have now.

To give it a try, follow these steps:

  1. Find a comfortable place to sit or…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store