Bouncing Forward

I learned a new word recently: “resilin.” It’s a rubber-like protein that allows insects to efficiently flap their wings, stretch or jump up to 40 times their length. Over an insect’s lifespan, it allows the hinges on their joints and tendons to bend back and forth without breaking so the insect can leap and move and fly with nearly frictionless motion. 

Resilin, similar to the word resilience, comes from the Latin “salire” (to jump or leap) with the prefix “re” (meaning “back”).  Resilience is a way we describe materials that spring back to their original form – as well as the psychological strength to withstand hard times in our lives. 

Yet, “resilin” suggests something slightly different. It’s not just bouncing back or returning to the status quo – it includes forward movement.

Our challenges are often opportunities for us to grow despite life’s downturns. To adapt to what’s needed and find a new way forward. Often, we aren’t going back at all. What we are really doing – just like dragonflies and fleas and honeybees – is bouncing forward. Becoming stronger and more flexible every day. 

Resilience is a way for us to stretch as we reach toward something new. It is a way for us to jump beyond where we are. It is how we fly.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.