The reward of resilience: 3 impressive and inspiring stories of 3 wonderful women

Skirt: H&M, Top: Yes or No, Shoes: Vans, Sunglasses (new): Cerjo

On the 11th of the 11ht at 11 hours it will be a century ago that WWI ended. This summer we visited Verdun, one of the most notorious battlefields. We walked through a beautiful and peaceful forest, which once was a terrible battlefield full of mud, explosives and hungry, wounded and dead soldiers. It was an eery feeling, knowing that in the grounds of this fairy-tale forest lay the remains of 80.000 soldiers…

I got the feeling that in this horrible war, few soldiers had the chance to decide whether they were going to be a victim or a winning warrior. They just had to fight.

In our daily lives we fortunately often have the choice: to fight or to give in, to give up. Two months ago a friend of mine posted an article on linkedin about the reward of resilience. It is so impressive and inspiring that I want to share her story here, along with a few others, to show you the power of persistence, the reward of resilience and that we, fortunately, have a choice: do we want to be a victim or a winning warrior?!

The story of Cécile

Image may contain: 1 person, close-up
Photo from Cécile (facebook). More about Cécile on:

I know Cécile from Toastmasters, a club to practice public speaking. She is excellent in public speaking (see here), very inspiring and kind. She always helps other people grow, she is full of humour and full of confidence. All of that has not always been the case. This is what she has posted on linkedin…

“Moved by this wonderful and powerful article in National Geographic. In awe at the resilience of this amazingly strong Human Being. Full respect in the surgery talents deployed.

In my 20’s I was disfigured due to a car crash. That day, I lost the first love of my life and I lost self-respect. After 28 hours of surgery and lifelong losses, I was declared 45% disabled.

Resilience, recovery, self-acceptance, self-confidence have been a lifelong journey, a daily battle, a trophy I dearly cherish and respect because I know how fragile we are.

Your face is perfect, it supports all the functions and senses. You can breathe, talk, taste, smell. The muscles support all the emotions you need to express…it represents who you are in the world. It is only when you lose it all or partially that you realize how wonderful your Human architecture is.

Today, and tomorrow live your life as if it matters. We all have what it takes to chose who we want to be: a victim or a winning warrior … the choice is yours. Always.

My job as a Public Speaking Jedi is who I choose to be.”

The story of Nancy

Nancy is a fellow blogger from The Netherlands. She is always smiling her broad and infectious smile on all her photos and is very kind and positive in her comments as well as in personal mail contact. Yet, life isn’t all that sunny for her. She is severely ill and her illness has got a huge impact on her life. This is what she has shared with the readers of her blog, nancysfashionstyle.

DSC03804.jpgPhoto from Nancy’s website: nancysfashionstyle

“I have decided to dedicate a post to my disease, alpha1 antitrypsin deficiency. Or rather my disease and me. Not to gain understanding or compassion, absolutely not, but to give you an idea of what it means to live with a lungdisease. Not just being out of breath and what you can’t do anymore, but also the fears, the uncertainty, have to depend on others more and more, not feeling worthy, the changed relationships with the people around you. I think many people with severe chronic illness will recognize many of this.

Alpha1 antitrypsin deficiency is a heriditary lung disease. It is a deficiency, or lack, of a protein that makes the lining of your lungs. I don’t have this protein at all and therefore have the most serious form. This is a progressive disease and the only thing that can make me better is a transplantation. I am ,,beyond repair,, as my doctor says!

…I was told that I had to use oxygen 24/7.  I really thought this was terrible because I could not hide anymore that I wasn’t a healthy person. I’ve always seen myself as a strong person, always been a manager in my working life. And now people would see me as a sick person, a patient. It cost me more than two years to get used to seeing myself with oxygen. And I still have moments that the stupid eternal tube in my house freaks me out and that I hate to always have to carry that stupid concentrator when leaving my house. But I can handle it better now.

It also took me a few years to find a meaningful and nice fulfilment to my days. I now fitness four times a week, I do volunteer work, and I blog! And that really helped me to get a little more self-confidence back again.”

The story of Wendy

Another blogger is Wendy of Wendy’s Lookbook. I think I would describe her as stylish and successful, confident and creative. Her love for fashion has been a means to her to express herself, to show herself to the world while as a child she couldn’t express herself and was unseen and unheard. Here is part of her story…

Photo from Wendy’s website: Wendy’s Lookbook

“I wanted to post this photo for weeks now, but kept on pushing it back. I think my fear was that if I post it, it would be real. And the reality is that I don’t remember this little girl. I don’t remember when the photos were taken (it’s me on the top row and my brother on the bottom). I don’t remember much of my childhood. My earliest clear memory was probably when I was 8. I do have blurry memories of when I was 5 or so. And they’re not really memories, they’re more like burn marks seared in my brain. I remember my cousin laying on top of me and saying ‘don’t tell grandma’. I remember the floor tiles feeling cold and I remember just staring straight ahead. This was not the last time this happened. I don’t remember this little girl, but if I could say something to her now, it would be… it’s not your fault and things will be ok. You’ll have good days and you’ll have really bad days. But on all of those days, know that you are stronger than you think.”

You can follow the rest of her story here and part 3 here.

Wendy has not only found a way out for herself, she is also supporting women and girls who find themselves in a similar position as she was in many years ago.

I think all three women are courageous and an inspiration. They show us that you can make something beautiful of your life, even if you have suffered a major setback. They also clearly show us that this is not easily done, but a real battle with a lot of patience and persistence. In the end their resilience has been rewarded! I just wanted to salute these women in this week’s blogpost.

For those of you who need some strength in their personal life too, I’d like to finish this blogpost with the following quote:

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” –  Bob Marley






You may also like


  1. Wow! What can I say. You have a way of reaching people, with your written words. I mean in the heart! I am not saying this because I am in it. It would have touched me without me because these two women are incredible. I can’t believe I am in the same post as they are, and I feel very honored. Thank you so very much dear Lieske!

    1. Dear Nancy. You are so very welcome. I am in awe with the way you have turned a negative situation in something positive and how you share these positive vibes with other women through your blog. You are an incredible woman Nancy, believe me, and I am glad having met you through your blog. Love, Lieske

    1. Thanks Jodie. I think these stories are very inspirational indeed and I am glad that you liked the blogpost so much. Love, Lieske

Leave a Reply to Petite Teacher Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *