If you really want to be resilient in life, say goodbye to these 13 behaviors

“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.” ―Gever Tulley

Taking a cue from Mr. Tulley, here’s the key to building resilience:

Like our muscles that become stronger only when we exercise them, our resilience strengthens only each time we use them in times of difficulty.

But then again, if we don’t use them, our muscles waste away. They weaken and sometimes even shrink, which can also happen to your resilience if you don’t work on it continuously.

So if you want to be resilient in life, say goodbye to these 13 behaviors:

1) Hiding from your problems

I’m not going to lie. If I could make problems go away, I would.

But the reality is, tackling them is the only way to make them disappear.

If you keep sweeping your problems under the rug, you’re also sweeping away your ability to handle stress.

Avoiding problems is like staying in your comfort zone, which may not sound too bad. But if you think about it from this perspective, it can stunt your growth and learning in the long run.

Remember that small problems pile up and if ignored, they can grow bigger to the point of overwhelm. 

As they say, “deal with it before it deals with you.”

2) Thinking negative thoughts

Don’t get me wrong, facing problems is very different from creating them even before they exist.

If you’re in a habit of starting the day expecting the worst, guess what? 

The universe is likely to listen and throw you curveball after curveball.

Filling your mind with negative thoughts can make you feel like you’re going nowhere and stuck in a cycle of doom. 

It clouds your vision, making you look at small hurdles and view them as big mountains, and this disillusion paralyzes you from moving forward. 

Nothing good ever comes out of negative thoughts, so shut them out before they settle in.

3) Constant distraction

If you’re wondering what being distracted has to do with resilience, let’s look at an everyday example:

You’re working on a work project with a strict deadline. But instead of keeping your solely on it, you allow yourself to get distracted by constantly switching and working on multiple projects. 

Eventually, as the deadline approaches, the quality of your work declines as quickly as your stress levels increase.

In short, when you keep yourself constantly distracted, you are subjecting yourself to unnecessary additional stress and poorer performance, eventually impairing your resilience.

So, if you don’t say farewell to this behavior, you might end up having no confidence and being too burnt out to face challenges, let alone bounce back from them.

4) Ditching challenges

You don’t have to say yes to every challenge. 

But if you always try to dodge each and every challenge presented to you, you end up weakening your resilience muscles.

Here’s why:

Every new challenge is a chance to test yourself and see what you’re made of.

Avoiding challenging moments means losing out on boosting your confidence and gaining new skills, making it tougher for you to recover from future setbacks. 

5) Allowing fear to make the decisions for you

It may sound like I’m repeating myself, but hear me out:

When you avoid challenges, that’s your rational mind forcing you to stay in your comfort zone. 

But when you make fear-driven choices, that’s your emotions making the decision and indirectly controlling your actions.

Both behaviors can hold you back from developing resilience.

Plus, living in fear can also rob you off opportunities and experiences. 

It stifles your personal growth, keeping you from reaching your full potential. It prevents you from facing and overcoming the very challenges that build resilience.

someone genuinely enjoys playing the victim If you really want to be resilient in life, say goodbye to these 13 behaviors

6) False helplessness

Do you easily give up on a goal after a minor setback?

Do you constantly play the victim, blaming situations or others for anything wrong in your life?

These behaviors exhibit a sense of helplessness, which you should throw out the door if you want to be resilient in life.

Believing you’re helpless when facing challenges gives you the false belief that you have no control over your life. It demotivates and disempowers you. 

It strips away your drive to try, making it harder for you to recover from setbacks.

7) Excessive validation seeking

Craving validation is one of our natural tendencies as humans. But there’s a fine line between healthy and excessive validation seeking.

Healthy looks like this:

Asking for constructive feedback at work or occasionally seeking reassurance from your partner about their feelings for you. 

On the other hand, excessive validation seeking comes in the form of relying heavily on your social media numbers for self-esteem. 

It could also be changing your opinion or actions so it fits in with what you think others expect or want from you.

If you keep relying on others’ opinions for your self-worth and happiness, you make yourself more susceptible to criticism, less confident in decision-making, and weak in your ability to bounce back from life’s setbacks.

8) Overly self-reliant

While your self-esteem and happiness shouldn’t hinge on others’ opinions, avoiding the opposite end of isolating in self-reliance is also essential.

You might need to rethink your behaviors, especially if you’re the type who always declines other’s offers for help or if you’d rather keep all your worries to yourself rather than share your struggles with friends or family.

Self-reliance is admirable, but when it is your only tool for support, you end up feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and burnt out.

Overall, you’re creating an environment where your capacity to recover from setbacks is slim to none.

9) Choosing immediate gratification

Unfortunately, wanting something here and now is one of the prices we have to pay in this modern world of online shopping, food deliveries, and on-demand streaming services.

But here’s how getting used to immediate gratification destroys your resilience:

It creates a pattern of short-sighted decision-making. 

It will open you up to a world of disappointment, especially when the easy wins stop coming and you face life’s more demanding challenges.

Until you discard your immediate gratification mindset, you will never learn that part of building resilience is knowing that long-term goals require patience and sustained effort.

10) Neglecting self-care

Speaking of being burnt out, let’s dive into why you should remember self-care in your daily routines.

Without a regular self-care ritual, the burnout increases in intensity, and the energy and mental clarity drop, leaving you with nothing to overcome life’s hurdles.

Remember that self-care comes in so many forms. 

It’s not limited to exercise, meditation, spa days, or those trendy mindfulness workshops. 

Self-care, as the word entails, is anything that helps you look after yourself. 

If that’s in the form of eating your favorite chocolate, go for it. If that’s in the form of playing your favorite video game, why not? 

You’re the only one who knows the best self-care routine for yourself, so do what you gotta do.

The point is, incorporate a bit of self-care in your everyday life, in any shape or form it takes.

11) Ignoring your physical health

If we look at it purely from a physical perspective, having an unhealthy body puts you at a disadvantage compared to healthy individuals who are likely to recover quickly from injury or illness.

But it doesn’t stop there. 

Your physical health also has an impact on the other types of resilience.

See for yourself:

  • Mental resilience – A healthy body supports improving brain function and cognitive abilities. 
  • Social resilience – When you’re physically healthy, you’re more energized, making it easier for you to enjoy time with friends and family.
  • Emotional resilience – There’s so many studies that prove being on top physical condition can lift your spirits and a more stable set of emotions, helping you bounce back from life’s ups and downs. 

There you go, I rest my case. 

12) Inability to regulate your emotions

Let’s face it, we can’t always control our emotions. 

But, and there’s a big BUT:

We certainly hold the power over how we react to them.


The first step is to acknowledge them. Then you try and understand them. Finally, you learn from them. 

It’s definitely not an overnight process. But it’s a journey that’s worth our time and patience. 

As recent research evidence points out, more effective emotional regulation is closely linked to increased resilience in tough times. 

So stop running from your feelings and start building your resilience.

13) Ignoring your emotional pain

Managing your emotions is one thing.

But pretending that everything is fine when you’re actually hurting deep inside is a whole different behavior that doesn’t do your resilience any good.

Making a habit of this behavior slowly eats away your emotional resilience.

When you don’t deal with your emotional pain, you’re stopping your own healing process, and you end up finding yourself stuck in harmful habits that do nothing but weaken your resilience. 

Plus, if you don’t deal with emotional problems as soon as possible, they can turn into bigger mental issues eventually. 

In the end, running away from your inner pain doesn’t save your resilience. It actually breaks it down.

Let go of unhelpful behavior and bounce back with the good ones

Resilience isn’t only about bouncing back from difficulties.

It’s also about moving forward without the burden of damaging behaviors, like neglecting our well-being, to false helplessness, to being overly self-reliant and letting fear take over. 

Looking at our list above, which one hit home for you? 

Are you ready to say goodbye to it in exchange for a more resilient you? 

If you need help thinking it through, allow me to close this article with a quote from The Yiddish Proverb: 

“Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow.”

Sarah Piluden-Natu-El

Sarah Piluden-Natu-El

Sarah is a full-time mum, wife, and nurse on hiatus turned freelance writer. She is on a journey of diving deeper into life through life itself and uses her writing to share the lessons learned along the way. When not on her computer, she enjoys time with her family strolling along the Gold Coast's stunning beaches and captivating hinterland.

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