You’re Stronger Than You Thought

You’re unbeatable. I know you are.

You’ve lived all these years now, you’ve overcome all kinds of adversity, and you’re still going. Every time you had a setback, you regrouped, you worked out how to fix things, you quietly carried on. You proved to yourself and you proved to the world that you were stronger than you thought. Brilliant.

I’m constantly amazed by people I hear from who’ve survived setbacks and trauma.

Not only survived – but come back stronger, more focussed, more grateful, more understanding. People who have lost limbs, loved ones, careers, homes, people who are struggling with depression, illness, debt. They compromise, they create new networks of support, they define what they need to hold on to and they don’t let go.

In a way, we’re born resilient. We’re programmed to get up, after a fall. To survive.

We did it in the school playground, when we were kids, now we do it as grown-ups, because we know life is good and we want to get back to it. We want to carry on laughing, loving, eating, doing all the amazing things we enjoy. The sky is coloured blue to keep us happy and we’re drawn to it, it makes us feel sunny inside.

You can feel really good about this. Whatever it is that you worry about, whatever’s trying to drag you down, it simply can’t withstand your inner strength and your sheer determination to come out winning. To come out smiling.

It takes conscious, repeated effort, certainly.

There are plenty of negative influences every day that will make you feel bad, if you let them. Some people, some voices aren’t helpful. What I do, though, is just switch them off, and just pay attention to the things and people that lift me up.

Little improvements are the order of the day. Small and numerous fixes. I get my prosthetic limbs tweaked and repaired, I extend my shifts at the Call Centre to earn just a little bit more, I cut down on my exposure to the daily politics. I find bits of music that inspire me, I go to the coffee shop on a regular basis because I feel happy there, and I help my kids as much as I can. I stand up in front of audiences at events and tell them what it’s really like to be severely disabled, and as much as I can I try to make them laugh.

There have been times when none of this was easy.

Times when I didn’t know if I could manage. But now I know, I’ve come through something extraordinary, and I’m stronger for it. And so are you – I know you are. You overcame your thing, or you’re busy doing that. No-one’s going to put us down, or feel bad because we are disabled, or depressed, or in poverty, or because we are lonely, or ill.

We’re strong. We know where to go when we need help.

We’ll be good role models for our children, for our colleagues, and we’ll live a brilliant life every day in memory of those who we’ve lost.

We owe them that. We owe ourselves.

I’m off to watch Leicester City play Crystal Palace. I might need extra resilience for that. Have a great week everyone.