“Perhaps strength doesn’t reside in having never been broken, but in the courage required to grow strong in the broken places.”  (Unknown)

Resiliency is the ability to recover or bounce back from challenging situations. When faced with adversity, a resilient person has the confidence and courage to overcome that hardship and, “grow strong in the broken places.”

Everyone has a story. Everyone’s story is comprised of uniquely-lived experiences that have shaped them into the person they are today. Many parents ask me how to keep their daughter safe and protect her from the dangerous realities of growing up today. I sigh and share an empathetic smile. I tell them to model healthy behavior, educate their daughter to make positive choices and finally support her when she falls–because she will fall. There is a part of me that wishes I had a better answer to this question, but my lived experiences tell me that falling makes you stronger. Falling gives you the opportunity to stand up with more bravery than before.

My new favorite saying is, “fail quickly.” Everyone experiences a variety of failures throughout their lives, and all we can do is learn from our mistakes and be better for having made them. If you don’t bounce back quickly, you will dwell on your failures, be distracted with low self-esteem, and you will continue to make poor choices.

While resiliency is not one of the Young Women’s Resource Center’s “pillar” topics, it lives among our core values. It is an applied concept that encourages girls to have a strong sense of self-worth. Through the lessons and discussions we have surrounding self-esteem and self-love, we empower girls to recognize that they are enough. Many girls confess that they often stand up for their friends but not for themselves. Part of  being resilient is understanding the value in loving yourself. Resilient people see themselves as safe, capable and lovable, all of which require high self-esteem. We help girls understand that they hold  the power or personal autonomy to realize their dreams and accomplish their goals. Their lives are important, and they owe it to themselves to stand up and speak out against anything or anyone that disempowers them.

My favorite part about working at the Young Women’s Resource Center is that while I offer support and compassion to my girls, they give me something in return. I think many people have the misconception that all “teaching” is passed down from adult to child. This simply isn’t true. Although I knew the dictionary definition of resiliency when I took my job at the YWRC, hearing my girls’ stories in group is what really made me understand.  My girls taught me that it takes strength to fail. Making mistakes and overcoming challenging situations is a beautiful part of being human.

They share their stories so that others will listen and know they are not alone. We begin every group by checking in. We share our “highs,” and we share our “lows.” Both pieces being equally as important. We are a collection of our positive and negative experiences, but my resilient girls know that the adversity they face does not define them–it encourages them to, “grow strong in the broken places.”