I’ve taken a break from writing articles in the past several months. While I enjoyed the break, it was also very necessary. I had found myself in the midst of a great deal of change, mixed with some uncertainty, chaos, excitement, confusion, and a lack of inspiration. So it became a conscious decision to hit pause and surrender.

Eventually, somewhere in all of that, I recalled a concept that perfectly describe where I had landed, a term used by psychologists, anthropologists, and writers alike:

The Liminal Space.

Simply put, this is the space between what once was and what is yet to be.

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The experience of the liminal space is as diverse as each individual that lives it (and we all do), and largely depends on what catalyzed the transition (trauma, loss, process of creation, opportunity, desire for change) and how resilient one is. In this article I’m going to focus on the latter of the two factors—resiliency: what it means and how to get more of it.

 
Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.
— American Psychological Association
 

Below are five qualities that resilient people seem to share. I’ve borrowed them from Joan Borysenko (👈click to watch this!), a pioneer in integrative medicine and world-renowned expert in the mind-body connection who has researched resilience at length.

She describes 5 qualities in resilient people; they are:

  1. Realism. Self-aware and action-oriented, resilient people know their boundaries, take action, and get help when needed. 

  2. Meaning Making. Resilient people tend to rely on trust and faith while radically accepting themselves and their circumstances in order to stave off depression and anxiety.

  3. Creativity. Resilience is fostered when one approaches life from a curious and mindful perspective, thinking outside of the box to illuminate new possibilities.

  4. Connection. Reaching out rather than isolating in times of trouble builds resilience, trust, and a sense of grounding and perspective.

  5. Humor. The most resilient people can laugh at themselves and life in general when it’s called for. Life can be pretty absurd, after all.

So Now What?

If you find yourself in the liminal space— perhaps for months or even years of your life, you’re not alone. Injuries, illness, life transitions, grief, career shifts, soul searching: these don’t all resolve themselves overnight. In fact, the end goal is not necessarily one of resolution anyway. Rather, the healing process involves self-compassion, acceptance, and growth. So:

  • Begin with taking an honest inventory of the 5 qualities. Where are your deficits? Where can you begin to focus?

  • Next, refrain from comparing your process to anyone else’s. Subscribing to factitious timelines or expectations does nobody any good. Try recognizing old patterns and shaking it up by taking an opposite option.

  • Finally, make sure your newfound practice is rooted in self-compassion. Recognize the universality of your pain and discomfort, acknowledge it without judging it, and treat yourself with loving kindness as you proceed.

As always, be sure to seek the help of a therapist, coach, mentor, or trusted friend/family member if you’re stuck on any one of these points. You are worth it.

With compassion and appreciation,

 
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Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you do choose.
— Michelle Rosenthal

For information on working with Jessica, click here.


 

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