​Cultivating the resilience to return to yourself

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“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.”—Cheryl Strayed, Wild

If you walk this life, you have to be resilient.

The circumstances around you are ever-changing, and so are you.

Resilience is the ability to give energy where there appears none. To persevere in the face of adversity. This trait requires all of your animal strength and instinct.

Sometimes resilience looks like fighting with all of your might, clawing your way forward with a hot, scratchy throat and wind whipping your eyes with sand.

Sometimes resilience is withstanding a torrential onslaught of unfortunate circumstances.

Maybe you have grit in your teeth, but you too are a woman of grit and tenacious willpower.

Sometimes resilience looks like kicking up dust while fleeing, and while outwardly it may appear as cowardice, your flight is in fact the mark of a steady mind and its instincts for preservation.

You are already strong. Cultivate your capacity to use that strength.
Download the free exercise on resilience.


The main difference between being truly resilient and not is mostly due to attitude. You have the ability to recognize that you are not a victim, ever.

Victimhood implies a loss of power, and you always have your power with you.

Circumstance might make your power especially difficult to access, but it is always there.

Your body will ensure that you survive, but it is up to your heart and soul to decide whether or not you will thrive.

Thriving, enduring, stamina—these traits are all based in choice, and it is up to you within every moment to choose how best to protect yourself.

Self-preservation might mean retreating from a situation. But more often than not, it actually means a stepping forward, an opening to vulnerability.

If you want to preserve yourself at your deepest core, then you might do a disservice to retreat.

Self-preservation is sometimes more about preserving what it is you are most passionate about in this life, protecting those fragile but irrevocable parts of what makes you, in fact, you.

Surprisingly, that sort of resilience requires something much worse than a fight; it requires exposing your tenderness in the name of vulnerability.

Resilience does not always require armor. Sometimes it requires a dismantling of the armor to show that the best parts of you are still there, in spite of all the world has done to try and strip them away.

True strength is being able to use your vulnerability as an asset, not a weakness.

To show up as you truly are, unflinching, in the face of difficulty.

True resilience is marked by the ability to return to your full capacity because of what you stand for, and sometimes that will look like a softness rather than an all-out clash.

You can merely survive, or you can wholeheartedly thrive.

Resilience to the choice to do both in the way that fulfills your needs best.

Iris Rankin

Soulful questioner, exuberant organizer, here to find the balance between discipline and delicious relaxation. Iris Rankin is the founder of Project Intention, a values-based community focused on living day-to-day with purpose, planning, and heart. Iris encourages women to adopt the self care practices that make them feel divine, the planning tools to hone in on their essential wants and needs, and the emotional resilience to express their most authentic selves.

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