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Practicing what I preach: does crying mean I'm not resilient?

The irony was not lost on me that, after spending 3 days lecturing on resilience and mindset at the World Vet Congress last week in Cape Town, I struggled with both a fair bit when my flight home got cancelled.


With a sick baby at home, no communication from or ability to contact the airline, sold out accommodation in the city, and then when I bit the bullet and paid for the next flight I could get 3 days later, got caught behind a plane crash on the runway that left us sitting on the tarmac for 5 hours, I admit to more than a few tears before I finally made it home.


But it's important to remember the difference between stoicism and resilience.

Not feeling negative, never sitting with those feelings, always being "fine", or always holding yourself together during stressful times are rarely highly correlated with thriving mental health. In fact, it often falls under the "toxic positivity" banner.

Taking the time to choose to sit in the Fourth Door - the one of just feeling sorry for yourself - for a while isn't inherently a bad thing. In fact, it's often a necessary step in the process of preparing our mindset before we're ready to put on our problem-solving hat and start finding our way through a challenge.


As long as we remember that it's a choice, and that we have the power to step through a different door when we're ready. That resilience isn't not feeling the negativity, but in understanding it, and making conscious choices about what to do next. Even if sometimes the right choice is to sit in it a little bit longer because we know that when we're ready, we have the strength and skill to get ourselves out of that space.

4 days in transit and a few thousand dollars later, with very smelly breath and my luggage another day behind, I'm finally having cuddles watching Moana with my unusually clingy harbinger of chaos.


And of course, as could have been predicted at the start of it, totally fine. Because I've been through worse, know that I'm completely capable of handling worse, and that the worst possible outcome was not only quite unlikely, but also not really that bad.




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