Definition of resilience: a person able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
Can you recall your own setback or ‘failure’? Perhaps it was a setback in health, a failure in a relationship or a physical injury. For some people it hurts emotionally and they tell themselves to never put themselves into that situation again. You probably already know thinking back on those setbacks or ‘failures’ that it was painful; it hurt your sense of self and is not something you want to be associated with again.
What do our setbacks and failures teach us? Going back in time I have definitely have my share of failures, setbacks, and injuries from thinking I am not smart enough to having injuries from martial arts and breakdancing. Despite all these failures and setbacks, I have learnt invaluable lessons from each one that has helped me be able to handle difficult situations.
#1 Setback: Fear of Being Judged Based on Appearance
In 2011, my parents brought me to see a chinese doctor to check my health. He recommended to take some medicine to cleanse my internal system and insisted I take something out of my nose to have better circulation . Within a week of taking his advice, slowly, red pimples started to form on my face. At the time, I was transiting between Toronto and Montreal to finish my studies there as well as doing breakdancing and martial arts on the side. When we went back to the doctor to ask why there were red pimples showing up, he said it was just the bad and negative contents coming out of my body and we spent an hour there with some cleansing machine. A few weeks passed and it did not get better; by this point, half of my face was covered. When we went back a second time he said it was because I was breakdancing and being upside down as a reason for my pimples. Then he said it was because of the weather. By then I had pimples all over my face and it was a scary sight. Despite trying out the medicines he prescribed and all his other methods, it did not get better. I felt just ugly and couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. Even when traveling back to Montreal to finish my studies, I didn’t want to leave my apartment. On the streets or waiting for the bus, people would stare at me like I was sick or had a disease. What I wished was people took the time to get to know me, instead of judging me based on my looks.
While this was all going on with my health, I had a martial arts tournament happening in two months and I needed to practice for it. I had to choose between caring so much what people thought of my appearance versus doing this competition despite it all. My team was supportive in the whole process and helped me get back on my feet in practices, despite me getting upset and frustrated over my face. After crying over the phone with my coach and spilling out my inner uncertainties and doubts, I decided to do this competition because I wanted to prove to myself, I can do it. I stuck with my team and with the practice times. Nearer to the competition, practices started getting more serious. When the competition day came, I performed and I was happy I did it. I ended up first place in my category.
For my pimpled face, I ended up switching to a western doctor. It took a whole year to get my face back to normal with western medicine. I learnt to appreciate people for who they are, and not just on their appearance and looks.
Your value is not based on your Appearance. Character speaks more.
Lesson: Appearances don’t make a person as much as character and personality. Regardless of circumstances, you can succeed in the face of adversity. With supportive people around you, anything can work out.