I have had a number of struggles even from the beginning of my life. I was born in a small town where everybody knew each other and people were culturally overconservative without knowing the reason behind it. I didn’t think having a lot of acquaintances could make my life difficult. Back then I was a bit different from the people around me, even my close friends. I have always questioned myself ‘what was I doing wrong?’. I couldn’t understand why everybody was judging the way you think or the way you behave. Also, when somebody had done something, everyone would hear it. It was that small. I always said to myself I will study a lot and if I become successful enough, I can change this situation here. When it came to deciding where I should have gone to high school, I wanted to go somewhere far from here.
With that I wouldn’t need to change here, instead I would change my environment. We had a vice-principal who told me that I would get into a high school here, and I would thank him later. That made me crazy at the beginning, as it wasn’t my dream and also I could guess why he didn’t support me. However, I didn’t change my mind, and then I got into a high school in a city where it took 14 hours from my town to get there. I was really excited, and it was like ‘finally I could have my freedom, and I wouldn’t have to think what others would say to me, or if they talked, it wouldn’t affect my family. In fact, It wasn’t easy at the beginning, but changes are never easy at first, you get used to them, or you find a way to look at them in a positive way.
After this big change, I have been through a lot more of them. I was thinking change would make my life better than I had in my town. The changes somehow made my life pleasant. I have travelled to new places and met different people and also I have had to adapt to new environments. Nevertheless, I should have kept in mind that challenges are part of life itself. The important thing is how you respond to them. Like most of the people, I have fallen down a couple of times, I have regretted sometimes and also I have wasted my time on some people who have not deserved at all. But I haven’t stopped living my life. I didn’t give up and I moved on after having some breakdowns. I have learnt from my mistakes and I have found something to stick to, then I have started all over again. Some people used to call me ‘Pollyanna’. They would say life is not that simple, and I should have looked realistically. I already know it, but this is how I cope with life itself.
While having had these ups and downs, I haven’t given them a name. Moreover, I didn’t know that not surrendering to difficulties or accepting failures and moving on can have a name. It is called resilience which is the ability of recovering quickly from the struggles you have had in your life, and also it is to find the strength inside you to go back to normal. This is the simple explanation for it; however, we can add more to its meaning as I mentioned a couple from my point of view. Of course everyone goes through a lot of stuff during their lifetime. But the way we overcome our life changes or crises transform dramatically. At the beginning, it is not easy at all. You overthink, and you say to yourself I am done, I cannot carry on my life anymore. Then after a couple of days, life moves on, and you accept or life makes you accept the struggles.
Next time, when you face another one, it becomes easier. The more you have challenges, the easier you find how to respond to them. It shows that your resilience is growing depending on the difficulties you have on the way. It doesn’t mean that you should experience them to improve your resilience. I mean life is full of struggles, but if you are resilient enough, they will not affect you the same way you got affected at the beginning. Therefore, we should welcome the challenges when we encounter them. Maybe even we should talk to them saying we are not afraid of them, we have had a lot of experience, and we know how to say goodbye to them.
By Merve Duman