Resilience and My Belly – They Both Bounce Back but Aren’t Exactly Pretty

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I leaped out of bed this morning ready to contribute positive things to this world. Ok. That’s a lie. I hit my alarm for over an hour straight. Then slithered out from under the blankets begrudgingly and trudged all 4,000 miles to the kitchen for a glass of warm water.


“I just need to move around”, I thought. I finished laundry. Emptied the dishwasher. Stared out the window a lot. Then made the bed so I wouldn’t crawl back in it.


“Focus on others to get you going”, I told myself. I focused on the news. I focused on social media. I focused on how miserable I felt. When I thought, “focus on others” that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. It was more, “focus on helping others”. That usually gets me perked up.


Hours later with an audition still to do and ½ finished script still to write, I’ve not done so great today. I have managed to go to the post office, make a smoothie, and research why your stomach gets so fat in your mid-forties. Followed by googling, “do any men like women with fat stomachs”. (Just as an FYI, don’t google stuff like that. I got a little more then I was requesting….)

I’ve not been much of a success today. Almost two years into the pandemic, I find myself fairly beat up. OK, a lot beat up. I told God that this year has been a tad bit unfair and I didn’t appreciate it very much. Before you freak out, this year HAS been a tad bit unfair. I can’t talk about it yet, until my divorce is final, but God knows where I’m at.


When I almost died, went through my first husband’s illness, then single parenting, losing a lot, etc., I was pretty dang resilient.

I’ve found through this second round of trauma through Covid, my resilience has adapted it’s shape to be a lot like my belly. My resilience is noticeably there, it’s just more bendable, squishy, taken on a less desirable, odd form. Where there once was a strong, hard core that bounced back if I got punched in the gut, my resilience has taken on more of a ripple, less attractive quality to it.

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I’m not sure if it’s age or wisdom or exhaustion, but


Yes. There are those who are like overly fit people, who’s resilience is hard and strong and they’re loud and annoying about it. They show us their daily practices, “how to” videos, all while flexing their resilience muscles on social media. It looks good. It even seems possible. Then we feel bad about ourselves and wonder why we can’t be more like them.


Let’s be honest, though, most of us aren’t built that way. Most of us hurt on the inside anytime we have to work on overcoming or moving forward. It causes us a lot of insecurity, anxiety, second guessing and fatigue. We hear a great speech and get pumped up. Make a commitment, then bust out the front door ready to change our lives. By day 4, we’re huddled in the corner under a blanket watching Netflix and eating Cheetos wrapped in donuts.

Resilience isn’t pretty. There. I said it. People who make overcoming a 3-step process to a perfect life are either naturally built that way, or their lives are highly filtered just like their Instagram accounts.

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Resilience is also annoying. It’s a lot of work with minimal results that build over time. Sure, some people have the 30 day before and after photos of their life snapping back into amazing shape, but how many end up a year later huddled back up in the donut corner?


Resilience isn’t out there somewhere. Just like a magic diet, a magic pill, a magical anything, nothing out there will do the work for us. Resilience only comes from working on the inside. No one’s going to rescue us. Resilience is recognizing change only happens when you, yourself, take responsibility to do the hard stuff.

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Resilience is uncomfortable. Working out for us non-athletes is uncomfortable. It hurts. It’s sweaty. We can’t tell if we’re dying and our body is screaming to tell us to stop, or if we’re helping it out. Resilience feels gross sometimes. It makes us uncomfortable because it’s new, and different, and requires weird kinds of physical and bodily reactions.


Resilience doesn’t come naturally to most. It’s a choice. Just like exercise. It’s way easier to sit on the couch. It’s way easier to quit in life. That’s normal. Working to get back up after being flatlined is not.


Resilience isn’t found in the big things, it’s all about the small. Yes, you can be an Olympian or triathlete. But greatness didn’t happen in those moments. Greatness happened in all the small, tiny decisions that led up to the event. Resilience is a daily thing. It requires work, mindset, choices…and none of them a ton of fun.


And (this one about kills me) letting go of perfection.


Life sucks sometimes and the only thing we can do about it is our response. But our response doesn’t need to be perfect. Our response can be human. Real. Authentic. Unique, even. There’s something healing in that.

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If you are going through a divorce, have health problems, your business is financially struggling, your family is a mess, you’re lonely, I want to say that, “I am sorry. Genuinely sorry you are experiencing this.” I am. And if I could give you an amazing, easy three step plan to make your life amazing, I would give it to you.



, but it’s worth it. It will be like training for a marathon. It starts with making a decision to put your shoes on, walk out the front door, and jog around your house one time. You’ll move on to running two minutes, walking for two minutes, with occasional puking thrown in. Eventually, you’ll find yourself at the starting line, then hobbling over the finish line in complete awe that you did it. Nobody will know the work you put in. The times you wanted to quit. How bad it hurt sometimes.


But when you cross the finish line you’ll know it wasn’t just a race, it was all the little things you did along the way, from not quitting, to practicing daily, to making yourself literally move forward that got you to the finish line. Now you’re a different person and you won’t ever want to go back to the way you were.

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You will still have days, like me today, where you don’t want to get up and be a good person and write a blog post to help people that’s riddled with poor grammar and misspellings. It’s normal. It’s human. But you’ll find yourself doing it anyway.


Just in case you’re wondering what a daily “resilience” practice might include it’s:


Exercise (Releases positive endorphins and develops new neurons to help change your brain and way of thinking.)

Gratitude (Literally changes your brain.)

Relationships (You won’t do great doing life alone. Best way to meet people in my experience is to volunteer somewhere.)

Being Kind to Yourself When You Fail

Purpose (Purpose helps us to get our eyes up and off our own misery to focus on other things that are bigger and more important than our personal comfort.)

Get Help. (The thing that took the most courage, and gave me the survival tools that I needed, was asking for help. Never be afraid for reaching out and asking for help. No Olympian got there without a coach.)


My resilience today was like my belly. Felt a little out of shape. Didn’t bounce back with immediate positivity and energy. It just kind of gushed around a bit, but still did it’s job. No, I won’t be showing it on Instagram, but even though it’s not perfect, I am kind of proud of it. It’s done a lot of good things for me. Remarkable really.


I think I’ll sign off and go hide in my donut corner, except I only have apples in my house. That’s a bit of a bummer. Positive choices suck so bad sometimes….

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Stacy Pederson is a Funny Motivational Speaker who has almost died a bunch.

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