“Hate begets hate,” a central theme in a great movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a great cinematic message for the world. Celebrated at the Golden Globes and a box office hit, this movie was a great wakeup call on many levels. If you’ve read my posts, you know I enjoy great films, and this one is destined for a place in cinematic history. I promise not to spoil the film for anyone, but one of its many messages is about hate being like a cancer, and ridding the soul, replacing hate with love will lead to renewal, achieving life goals, and by extrapolation leads to a lightened depressed state, and reclaiming precious energy.
Many times in my most depressed moods I’ve beaten myself up for allowing my life to pass me by, dropping out of sight of beloved people, being emotionally unavailable, and for feeling so helpless about how this took place. All whilst I schlogged through wet concrete trying to function and hiding my battle.
Hate of oneself or hate of your situation can happen at different junctures in your life, or at least it has in my life. Resilience is that coveted ability to bounce back from setbacks, something that we depressed, anxious people wish we could do. Resilience is a learned skill. Do you ever stop and think about resilience role models you’ve known? Have you gained resilience by watching the example of others? When you receive a setback in life, whether it’s a flat tire on a workday morning, a medical diagnosis like high blood pressure, or being laid off your job, these events require our mindfulness, our concentration, and some degree of resilience in order to function.
As I look back at my life, the largest portion which is behind me, I cannot ever remember myself as being someone who is effortlessly resilient, able to recover quickly from setbacks and dust my butt off to get right back into the game. Nope, rather than bounce or spring back like an employer might expect, instead I choose to re-think the event, brood, fret, lash out behind closed doors, blame & curse others. Only after this cycle is complete, it is then that I feel myself begin to plot my return. The loss of perspective is my depression. The period of time I need in order to process the setback is the refractory period, the gathering of great resilience.
In “Three Billboards,” the main character Mildred Hayes has endured months of unimaginable angst awaiting her small town police department to locate the culprit who brutally murdered Mildred’s daughter. Horrific circumstances that would shake the mettle of the strongest soldier, but Mildred reflects, she broods, and then one day she summons the strength and the resources to take effective action. The movie is too real for many of us–we feel like we’ve been in Mildred’s shoes, hopefully in much smaller bursts of bad times. We see her life backward and forward in time, dealing with phase-of-life circumstances like divorce, physical abuse, single parenting teenage children, alcoholism, all amid a backdrop small town of people who are also dealing with their own set of life circumstances.
Finding resilience through mindfulness
I’ve been so fortunate in my life to have known strong, selfless, mindful people. I have a faith that tells me it’s no accident that I have crossed paths with great, principled role model people because we were supposed to teach each other, or learn from each other in order to get through this life mostly intact, and without a feeling of being totally alone in our struggles. Lost perspective is regained when we step out of our own grudges, setbacks, and bruised feelings of being slighted. We need to pause the DVR of life and make certain our energy is properly focused, our efforts carefully prioritized. We have to be number one in our own list of priorities before we can teach, coach, or be a help to others. How do you amass resilience? Do you take time for reflection, mindfulness, and getting back to functioning again?