“When you can’t see straight ahead, it’s because you’re about to turn a corner.” – Myrtle Reed
Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Dictionary.com defines it as springing back; rebounding; returning to the original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched; recovering readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyant.
I imagine resiliency to be like a rubber band. It can stretch and stretch and when you let it go, it returns back into its original form. The difference is, is that even though we cannot see it, the rubber is a little bit different. Its form is slightly different because of the stretching. So, even though it looks exactly the same, it is changed. Forever.
And so it is with us as humans. The central process in building resilience is for us to develop coping skills. These skills can be outwardly focused on the problem (problem-solving), inwardly focused on emotions (emotion-focused) or socially focused, such as emotional support from others.
Resilient individuals are more inclined to see problems as opportunities for growth. Resilient individuals seem not only to cope well with strains and stressors but actually to experience such challenges as learning and development opportunities.
James Neill defines the characteristics of resilient people as:
- Ability to “bounce back” and “recover from almost anything”
- Have a “where there’s a will, there’s a way” attitude
- The tendency to see problems as opportunities
- Ability to “hang tough” which things are difficult
- Capacity for seeing small windows of opportunity and making the most of them
- Have deep-rooted faith in a system of meaning
- Have a healthy social support network
- Has the wherewithal to competently handle most different kinds of situations
- Has a wide comfort zone
- Able to recover from experiences in the panic zone or of a traumatic nature
Here are some questions to ask yourself to strengthen your resiliency:
- What does resiliency mean to you?
- Who do you know that has demonstrated resilience? This may be a family member, a friend, or a public figure. It often helps to look at others who have been resilient.
- What other times in your life have you demonstrated resilience? When we think of these times, it brings us strength to know “If I made it through that…I can make it through this.”
- What is the lesson that is being presented to me right now? Although we cannot see the why of what is happening, hindsight will help us get clarity.
Written by Pat Obuchowski