Why not applaud our Strong and Resilient

We hear almost weekly stories about the person who lost half their body weight through diet and exercise, recovered from a gambling addiction that cost them their family, livelihood and friends or the alcohol addiction that saw them in the depth of despair. It is always interesting how we applaud those who have struggled with addiction or issues they have recovered from.

We congratulate and celebrate their achievements treating them with such regard. We place them in front of audiences to speak about how they recovered from the gravity of destruction.

I wonder why we do not applaud those who have fought their demons, struggled to remain strong, and have succeeded to ward off the temptation of alcohol, food or drugs. There are those people who have experienced the same issues, similar trauma, struggled with anxieties yet have taken the road of recovery before becoming a victim to the difficulties that affect so many others.

I see people each week who are struggling with issues, disappointments and abuse. I witness the strength of these individuals and watch how they stand strong, learn skills and manage their problems without relying on or succumbing to the drugs, food or gambling others choose to lose themselves in to avoid reality.

I applaud all those who have pulled themselves out of the depth of despair certainly. Their found strength to beat the demons that tried to crush them, however, I hold in awe and highest regard those people who go on unnoticed. Those who have moved along quietly, without accolade or praise, only vigor, tenacity and inner strength.

Nobody asks them to speak in front of a camera or stand before an audience and share with others how they managed to avoid the pitfalls that beseech so many others yet it is those others that seem to be applauded.

I wonder how many people have experienced a terrible trauma, loss, abuse or event that devastated them, created fear, apprehension or self-doubt. I would presume most all human beings have. Not everyone chooses to drink excessively, destroy their life with drugs or alcohol or lose themselves in a fantasy world of gambling to escape reality for a while. It seems most of us express despair, cry, then recognise what happened and make a choice to stand up, get support or professional assistance and move on with our lives even if that means carrying a load for a time.

Imagine the stories these resilient people can share with younger or recovering people. How to stand firm, find that strength, make those tough choices often through adversity and move on with their life more positively and not affecting those they love by the poor choices they have indulged themselves in.

I am not taking away the strength displayed by those recovering from their difficulties, what I question is the reason we so reward those who have fallen and stood up against those who displayed such courage not to go down that path of destruction.

Many successful sports icons have fallen into affairs, drugs, gambling, alcohol, and the list continues. We applaud these ‘brave’ individuals who once ousted, book themselves into rehab or search for professional help and support. What about those sports stars who experience the same pressure yet do not fall into those harmful behaviours but stand strong, work hard at remaining afloat and proceed through life without the fall-down effect? These icons are not applauded; they remain insignificant as they failed to fall. Our attention is placed on the person who fell then rose again.

We do the same for our many celebrities who struggle with weight issues. We applaud the strength of character and dedication for those who have ballooned in weight then used a treatment, personal trainer, nutritionist, and life coach to support them in weight loss and health. I ask, what about those celebrities who remain resilient and stable, refuse to give into temptation that most everyone struggles with, have worked independently to remain strong, healthy and slim. We seem to not recognise them; we only seem to acknowledge those who previously fell, then rebuilt. And often we watch them fall and rebuild time and time again.

Then we have the people attending Gamblers Anonymous, some personalities, celebrities or sports stars. I applaud them going there to remain gambling free however we then find so many get onto the speaking circuit to share their sad story of how they disappointed and let down their husband or wife, their children, work colleagues, managers; lost considerable money, sometimes their house, lifestyle and career. Then we hear how they pulled themselves out of the depth of darkness to rise again and be strong. It is almost like – see me; I can do it, so can you. While this story can be encouraging, what I question is why listen to those fallen people, should we not be listening and teaching our youth how in fact not to fall and how to remain strong and resilient in the first place. What do we can teach our kids and young people about being in the depth of despair, lost, alone, feeling out of our depth, experiencing bitter disappointment, losing the relationship we held so dear to our heart? What we need to demonstrate is how to avoid falling in the first place. How to remain strong, seek support, be open and honest with ourselves.

Is this giving permission for our youth to fall down because they can always pull themselves out with the right treatment? When do we teach them how not to do something? Surely, that is far more beneficial than waiting to fall before learning to rise again.

Many of us have demons, baggage, rejection and disappointments. It is how we choose to manage these emotions and events that distinguish us apart from others. Certainly most people have issues, that seems to be part of life, and while not for a second am I suggesting we take that away from anyone struggling or demean the impact they face, I am suggesting learning the healthy and correct way first. Listening to those who did not fall or resort to behaviours that damage themselves and those around them.

Are we, therefore, applauding and recognising the wrong people? Should we notice those around us that remained firm, robust and courageous; those not falling down but perhaps struggling in silent with enough resilience to get on with life through good choices and strength. These surely should be the people we applaud and want to consult, as to how they have remained focused and strong.

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