3 Levels of Resilience

Sometimes life brings challenges when we least expect it. It’s more than just ‘bouncing back’

Back to blog posts

3 Levels of Resilience

Posted by Anna Bell on

Sometimes life brings challenges when we least expect it. These are often the most defining moments which have potential for personal growth, even though we would never choose the events which lead to this.

 A pivotal moment for me was in 2002 when my husband and 18-month-old son were involved in a serious car accident. Thankfully they both turned out to be ok, but the experience was very distressing at the time. In the weeks that followed, a lot of earlier ‘stuff’ I had subconsciously been burying started to surface. Being stopped in my tracks at this later stage was the best thing that could have happened under the circumstances.

Resilience is often described as the ‘ability to bounce back’. I believe that’s true, AND I think there’s a lot more to it than that. I'd like to share three types of resilience.

Bouncing back - we put our chin up, put a brave face on, and get on with it. It serves us well in the short term being able to fulfil our responsibilities and can protect us from outbursts of emotion. It takes great strength and resolve to do this. But there can be consequences over the long term: if we are not looking inwards to build a deeper sense of what’s going on, we can form a damaging pattern of avoidance and store problems up for later. In NLP we’d call this an ‘away from’ filter.

Pausing to understand and work through it – this is where we choose to take time out to turn towards the difficulties, or we may feel overwhelmed and have no choice but to STOP. It takes courage and openness to be vulnerable like this. We may benefit from professional support to be able to fully access our inner resources, for example counselling or coaching. I’ve benefitted from both at different times.  If it’s a mental health matter you may want to consult with your GP.

Staying resourceful and resilient – reaching a level of awareness, choice, and resourcefulness where we feel well-equipped to deal with challenges and opportunities as they come up. At this level we can thrive, and relish opportunities for growth, holding the belief that we have all we need to be successful. There’s no quick or easy route to this one! And that’s where I’ve found the deepest value and learning is.

Think about people who you associate with being resilient. They’ve usually been through a lot and will have steered into the darkest corners of their experiences and emotions to be able to build the awareness and strength they have today. What qualities do you notice in them? And how might this be true of you?


Anna Bell
Anna Bell (Member post)

Coach, trainer, and mindfulness teacher helping people to feel lighter, more creative, and optimistic