Resilience in an Unpredictable World


The world can often feel like a very scary place. When you consider some of the heartache and turmoil that families face on a regular basis (violence, abuse, alcoholism, illness, loss, just to name a few) it can feel as though life is full of despair and hopelessness.

Despite the dark realities of life for many of the individuals and families I work with, I continue to be amazed at their ability to rise above tragic circumstances and find hope, courage and gratitude in the everyday.  I am continually amazed by the capacity of the human spirit to rise above the rubble of life and soar. I’ve asked myself, what do these everyday heroes have in common? Resilience.

I believe it is resilience that allows the human spirit to soar, despite a world that makes us no promises. I hear horrendous stories of abuse, violence, trauma and loss everyday in my practice. I have personally experienced the pain of helplessness in my own life. It is an awful place to be. I am asked over and over again by friends, how do you do it?   How do you listen to such awful stories about the human experience day in and day out? Great questions, after all, I am only human and these stories are real. My strategy? I hear the pain, but I listen for the resilience. Can I share a secret with you? If you listen long enough, there are always, always, always, small acts of resilience within every story of brokenness. Always.

What Does Resilience Look Like?

  • Practicing self care, even when you don’t feel like it
  • Sharing your pain with someone else, even though you are afraid
  • Reaching out for support, even though you feel helpless
  • Accepting support, even though your friend can’t change the situation
  • Getting up the next morning, even though it still hurts like hell
  • Asking for help, even though you feel like a failure
  • Showing your imperfections, even though you feel exposed
  • Putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward, slowly

The Real Heroes

I have come to understand and experience the world as unpredictable at times and yet, I see individuals standing firm and even moving forward in the chaos. The real heroes are not the ones whose lives are perfect. The real heroes are the ones who’s lives are perfected in trials.

I am grateful to my clients. Firstly, for the incredible privilege of allowing me into the sacredness of their pain and trusting me to journey with them. Next, for showing me that a resilient spirit, characterized by hope, courage and gratitude is not only possible, but also absolutely healing. Thank you for inspiring me to practice hope, courage and gratitude. I am eternally grateful for the stories of everyday resilience.

Shyamala Kiru, DMin, RMFT
Private Practice, Markham

shyamala_portraitAbout Shyamala

Shyamala has spent over a decade working with hundreds of individuals, couples and families. She is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist with the American and Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently serves as their Chair of Public Relations. She holds a Masters in Counselling and a Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy.

In addition to her private practice in Markham, she is a consultant for the Health Services Team at a York Region Private School and is a media expert for sources such as Chatelaine, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. You can also find her the panel of Discovery Channel’s National TV show, Canada’s Worst Driver.   She regularly delivers psycho-educational workshops as well as professional development for schools all across York Region. With an approach that is sensitive and down to earth, Shyamala brings authenticity and energy to her work with people of all cultures and backgrounds.

November 26, 2014

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