Back to school, back to work, back to real life: Self-talk for resilience

The Japanese tell each other “gannbate kudasai." It means do your best, keep it up, or hang in there. That is what I say to you my friend and to myself in this back to school/work/real life season:  gannbate kudasai!

We started strong my daughter and me. She back at school, me back at work. We had a little momentum going. And then we were back to a full crawl as she has another bout of croup – a respiratory infection.

Part of me resisted and wanted to scream nooooo – come on, not again! We had not even gotten back on track yet.

But maybe this is my back on track. This is certainly what my real life outside of summer breaks has looked like for the past six years — one respiratory issue after another.  It's been about stopping all and caring for my daughter. It was also about caring for myself as I often get very tired and frightened when she has trouble breathing.

My back to real life is about resilience, about accepting what I can’t control, about patience, calm, healing, and forgiveness. It’s about hope that she heals, that her lungs get stronger, that she grows out of it. It’s about hope that I transform my relationship with it all, and stop resisting and being so afraid.

It’s also about continuing with my life direction with a positive fierce determination, taking small steps some days and bigger leaps on other days.

Whatever your real life is, you need resilience. Whatever you are trying to accomplish: a new semester, finding work, growing your career, caring for a family, healing, getting through a tough stretch, transforming yourself – it is about keeping it up step after step, little by little, slowly, slowly. A certain amount of grit is needed.

For me, it is also about gratitude even on my most tired days. Giving thanks that I get to live this precious life, as messy, painful and chaotic as it can be.

I tell myself thank you and gannbate kudasai.

My self-talk:

  • I am resilient.
  • I have a fierce determination, a fire in my belly, I keep it up.
  • Everything happens for me.
  • Focus on what you can control.
  • I take time to care for myself too.
  • It’s ok, take a deep breath.
  • Be gentle with yourself during this difficult time.
  • Hang in there!
  • Thank you!