• Cynthia Anne Hale

Listening for Resilience



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It is challenging to steady ourselves these days as the pandemic continues. The effects touch us in ways we couldn’t imagine just weeks ago. 


Our connections to each other remain one of our most vital resources. As we struggle with different kinds of personal concerns, we may wonder just what we can provide to others in such tough times. What does it take to reach past our own emotional roller coaster and empathize with someone else’s? 


Sometimes, we just need to stop and quietly listen. 


A simple and insightful children's picture book by Cori Doerrfeld* reminds us how much this kind of listening really matters, how necessary it is for resilience. I'll summarize the story here, but consider reading the book itself, which unfolds much more expressively.

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Taylor built something amazing. Out of nowhere it came crashing down. 


One friend said so sorry and wanted to talk. “But Taylor didn’t feel like talking.” 


The next friend suggested that Taylor was angry and should shout. “But Taylor didn’t feel like shouting.” 


Another friend wanted to fix it by remembering exactly the way things were before the crash. “But Taylor didn’t feel like remembering.” 


Other friends wanted to laugh, to throw everything away, to pretend it didn’t happen, or even to knock down what someone else made. Taylor didn’t feel like doing any of that. So eventually the friends all left.


Confused with so much advice, at first Taylor didn’t notice a different friend, the rabbit, who simply and quietly moved closer a little at a time. Gradually feeling the rabbit's warmth, Taylor asked it to stay. 


Without direction, without pressure, Taylor talked, shouted, remembered, and laughed. Taylor hid, threw everything away, and even thought about ruining things for someone else. As the rabbit accepted everything, Taylor accepted a full range of emotional experience. 


The story ends with Taylor ready to move forward with a new plan for something amazing.


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Listening quietly to another person’s emotional experience when it is different than ours is no small thing. When we accept another person as they are, we can experience this level of acceptance within ourselves as well.


Here in North Carolina

Beneath the routines of daily life, I listen to my own experience and can relate to all of Taylor’s friends. Sometimes I feel unmoored and confused. I want solutions, I want information. I also crave quiet time away from it all. Connecting with others, I find myself feeling many different emotions.


I hold onto hope that by accepting our varied emotional experiences, we are processing what we need to create a new plan for something truly amazing.



I M A G I N A L W A Y S

Psychology Today


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