Resilience is a process not a trait. Resiliency is the capacity to cope with stress and adversity by either “bouncing back” to a normal state or “steeling” into a better than expected capacity so you will handle adversity better in the future. No matter what, life will throw you a few curve balls and knock you off balance if not temporarily down. One’s ability to bounce back and grow from adversity is a critical survival skill.
“When life seems chaotic, you don’t need people giving you easy answers or cheap promises. There might not be any answers to your problems. What you need is a safe place where you can bounce with people who have taken some bad hops of their own.”
Real Live Preacher, RealLivePreacher.com Weblog, August 12, 2003
Anonymous author of RealLivePreacher.com
Resilience is NOT ONLY the ability to adapt to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats and stress BUT to also navigate to psychologically, social, cultural and physical resources that sustain well-being AND negotiate for those resources to be applied in a meaningful way in your life.
I’ll be honest one of my weaknesses is disappointment. I do not know why I take it so hard at times. One day when I was particularly upset with a situation I started thinking about resiliency and questioning my own ability to bounce back and to increase my strength. Is resilience a trait that one naturally inherits or is it a skill one develops? I discovered it is a process one goes through and there are “protective processes” one traverses passively or intentionally which builds resilience. I learned I can develop these processes in good times or in bad. But if I work on them now I will be better equipped for any necessary bounce backs in my future.
A few of the Protective Processes are:
Solid Relationships. Relationships that provide care and support, create love and trust, and offer encouragement from both inside and outside of the family are a critical protective process. When I look at my own life I have many relationships I turn to when I am feeling challenged by life. It is important to have more than one relationship you can turn to in different areas of life. For example, I know my boyfriend always has my back so I can turn to him when I need to feel supported while my favorite co-worker will look objectively at situations and offer her gentle input.
Capacity to Make Realistic Plans. One’s ability to make realistic plans without too high of expectations is a protective process that allows oneself to move from the current state of stress, trauma, hurt, disappointment, etc to a better place in the future. One’s ability to move forward in spite of obstacles is a critical step in bouncing back. When life hits hard set a goal and focus on it. It will not only provide a distraction, but will help you to strengthen through the recovery process.
Have Self Confidence and Positive Self Image. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you believe you can or believe you can’t, you are right.” When life hits us hard we can think that we will never return to a better state, but fortunately time heals, laughter returns, and we move ahead. Self Confidence and a Positive Self Image, no matter how shadowed by a circumstance will keep us going. One’s belief in their ability to be tenacious and one’s belief in their ability to succeed is a belief that can be strengthened at all times of life so it will carry us through times of difficulty.
Develop Communication Skills. Communicating what has happened, what you need, and negotiating a resolution is so important when staging a bounce back for two reasons. First, we need to understand and communicate what happened and gain the necessary resources. Second, when we talk about our situation in a proactive manner we formulate our resolution. We start to visualize a stronger self. This also opens us to hear from others who possibly have gone through similar situations and have valuable insights and potential guidance.
Ability to Manage Strong Feelings and Impulses. No wonder anger management and “letting go” has been such common topics. One’s ability to manage strong feelings and impulses is the difference between a healthy return to normal and an unhealthy entrance into the court system. There are so many resources for this, if this is an area where you struggle find a resource that meets your needs and helps you manage your feelings and impulses in a health relationship enhancing manner.
Navigate from a Vulnerable State to an Optimistic Path. One’s ability to find resources, such as this article series and blog, is critical to making the transformation from a vulnerable and hurt state onto a path of optimism and knowing you will survive this and emerge stronger and more resilient. I am so glad I did my own research on this topic. I found a lot of comfort in knowing resilience is a process not a trait and there are things I can do (and actually already do) to support me no matter what life challenges I face.
Today on Mindset Monday consider the term RESILIENCE. What are the resources and “protective processes” you use to maintain and develop your own resilience? What can you do to further strengthen yourself so when life tries to strike you out you can swing back and connect with a homerun hit.