How Resilience Redefines Fear Beyond COVID-19

Below, N-ABLE Guide Chris Salas shares his perspective on adjusting to a new, unexpected normal, along with his encouragement for you to define your changing world through your own resiliency instead of fear.

Waking up on day of reflection during our present COVID-19 environment reminded me of one simple truth that’s shining through this situation for anyone who embraces it — we are not quarantined. We are going through metamorphosis. We were caterpillars before, and are now getting ready to emerge.

Take a moment to ask yourself: “Are you going to be a butterfly or a moth on the other side of this?” Butterflies thrive in the light while moths are merely attracted to the light.

Chris shares joy and strength on a daily basis as he leads the Rolling Inspiration peer support community in San Antonio, TX.
Chris shares joy and strength on a daily basis as he leads the Rolling Inspiration peer support community in San Antonio, TX.

I’ve often said in my public speaking events that each person’s definition of thriving is subjective. For some, it’s running a marathon, but for others, it’s just getting out of bed. Both outwardly couldn’t be more different — but the emotional sentiment following the achievement can be the same.

Able-Bodied People are finally Feeling the Fear that Goes with Paralysis

The able-bodied world is presently receiving a firsthand glimpse of what thousands of people with disabilities go through every day. Either through their own choice, social stigmas, depression or health reasons, many people with disabilities are isolated for months and even years. Most people in their lives can’t understand how that makes the individual feel…at least, until now.

I’m no exception to living with a profound sense of isolation. I spent nearly every day of the last five years in a nursing home, mostly isolated and bed bound, due to a terrible infection in a Stage 4 pressure ulcer.

Now living independently on the other side of that horrific experience, I tell people I didn’t emerge from the nursing home as a butterfly or moth, but rather as a dragon, determined to slay any issues obstructing my path.

Chris Salas Nursing Home N-ABLE
Chris also gives credit to his family and friends for their support in helping him make it through five years in a nursing home, thanks to an infected stage 4 pressure sore.
Fundamental Support and Faith Helps Chris Develop his own Resiliency

Positiveness often defines how resilient you feel, along with how you are likely to respond to an unexpected change or setback. People often ask, especially after learning about my background, how I can stay so positive? I’ve lived through dozens of surgeries and hospital stays and countless complications associated with the nature of my injury, so it’s no surprise that people who are close to me have to wonder what my secret to success is.

I always offer a simple answer with a complicated explanation: Faith. Whether you believe in God, Buddha, Allah, or fate, there are powers beyond our understanding that guide us.

  And yet, the origin of the word “faith” is defined as “confidence or trust in a person, thing, or concept.” I thought about faith as a concept and the following acronym emerged as I considered the concept from several angles: Family. Attitude. Integrity. Tenacity. Help. While I can spend several hours sharing the merits and benefits of each of those aspects of true support that builds internal strength, I’d like to focus for now on the last one.

We live in a society that is built around pride and we are made to feel weak or inadequate if we ask for help.

So even when they need it, often times people would rather go without than ask for a hand. Now is the time to set aside your pride and ask for help if you need it.

We are here at NATURALLY ABLE for this very purpose: to uplift and support our community of readers, partners and friends.  (Learn more about our hope for our community here.)

Remember… even Superman needed a Justice League.  There’s no shame in your game if you need help adjusting your cape every so often.  As your Guides, we all do every now and then, too.

Chris Recommends Goal-Setting to Build Resiliency Too

Don’t be afraid to set goals while you are trying to make sense of your new normal, whether it’s due to COVID-19, unemployment, financial loss or another life-changing condition.  Goal-setting is another tool you can use to bolster your resiliency.

Goal-setting also balances the vulnerability that comes in asking for help, so you feel independent while also asking for needed support. Even when I was restricted to my bed up to 20 hours a day with a pressure sore, for years at a time, I always looks for the flip side to that isolation. 

For me, that means helping others and that is what I strove to do every day as my goal, regardless of my physical situation or location. A mental exercise I went through often while attempting to help others despite my own circumstances also was based in faith.  In that effort, I always said:

“Look within yourself as you begin to set goals, and realize how blessed you are, even while you are struggling.”

I often say if everything was easy in my life, nothing would be appreciated. However, every gesture – no matter how small – helps light up the world.  Keep in mind that even the flickering of a candle can provide the brightest light in someone’s cave.

As you continue to grow with your own sense of resiliency, you’ll discover that you don’t have to be limited to the spark of a candle. You were born to shine like the sun, so let your positive light shine too, regardless of what today’s news brings or what unexpected change occurs.

No matter what happens on the other side of our post-COVID world, you have the power to choose how you will emerge. Whether you shine as a a butterfly, a dragon, a candle or the sun, always keep in mind that light will always prevail over darkness.

Stay safe and keep the faith! Chris strives to protect and serve his community of friends who have disabilities across South Texas.

The Quarantined Couch Interviews Chris Salas about his Post-COVID World

In the below video, The Quarantined Couch host chats with Chris Salas, founder and director of Rolling Inspiration, a 501C3 non-profit in San Antonio. Chris shares his thoughts on mental tenacity and adjusting to a new normal, as he goes more into some of the concepts he shared in the article above. 

Chris Salas N-ABLE Guide
About Chris Salas In 2010, Chris founded Rolling Inspiration, a 100-person-strong support group for those with mobility impairments, eventually turning the program into a certified 501c3 non-profit. It wasn’t long until Rolling Inspiration gained national attention from United Spinal Association. Chris was invited to serve as president of their San Antonio chapter and does so today while simultaneously leading as the South Texas ambassador and a peer mentor for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

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