I have recently been working on a final chapter for my upcoming book. It’s about the five transitions on the journey to becoming passion-struck. One of the characteristics of those who achieve the 4th or 5th level is being resilient.
Resilience can often be obtained through unforeseen routes. Considering that approximately 51 percent of women and 61 percent of men in the United States report at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, the human capacity for resilience is quite remarkable.
Experiencing loss and failure is inevitable. At a certain point in life, every individual will experience various setbacks, whether minor(not making a sports team or a part you want in the school play) or significant (losing your job), or traumatic (like losing a loved one or personal illness). There is no doubt that trauma shakes who we are and what we think about our goals and aspirations.
Resilience is a skill that everyone can acquire by altering their behavior, mindset, perspective, and actions. – John R. Miles
As we pass through life, most of us get distressed, discouraged, stuck, and or hurt, but there is a big difference in our response to it. Some embrace the hardship, while others get buried under the overwhelming weight of it. To which category do you belong? The one that learns from their adversity? Or the one that experiences intense distress from which they are unable to recover?
Survival of the fittest. The same goes for being resilient. The more resilient you are, the greater are your chances to survive the hurdles life throws at you. But, what does it mean to have resilience? What isn’t resilience? And, what are some reasons why some people are more resilient than others?
What is being resilient?
Resilience is the potential to bounce back after a setback. It enables you to cope with mishaps, adversity, challenges, and trauma. It forges an armor of hope, strength, and prosperity around you, preventing dismay from penetrating through. Resilience is called resilience to develop resistance against the negative impacts of unfortunate events in our lives and quickly recover from them.
The big thing about being resilient is that it comes when we know and accept ourselves and are comfortable with ourselves. When you accept who you are, you stop trying to be someone you are not. Instead of judging things from a particular perspective, you see the world as it is. This allows you to have a better sense of understanding and grants you the ability to withstand adversity.
Resilience doesn’t provide an escape from the truth. It is about accepting your new reality even if it’s not as good as it was before. You can either cry about it, do nothing, or be resilient enough to pick yourself up and make the best out of what’s left.
As Charles Darwin said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
If you are resilient, you will pull yourself together, learn from it, and grow. If not, you will probably fall prey to depression, anxiety and might resort to harmful activities (doing drugs) to self-medicate and distract yourself from the sad reality.
Being resilient is about feeling comfortable in your own body. It is being secure with oneself and possessing confidence, calmness, and comfort in one’s abilities. Because it is based on self-belief, if you doubt yourself, your abilities, powers, and decision-making, you will likely run away thinking that you aren’t capable enough. Make peace with yourself; resilience shall follow.
As we launch on the journey of becoming passion struck, we cross several phases. I call the subsister the first stage on this journey, and the fifth phase is becoming a creative amplifier. When you reach this last stage, one of the significant differences is because of building resilience.
Being resilient involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that anyone can learn and develop. The ability to retain strength and stability is one reason research has shown is accomplished by doing the ordinary, not extraordinary. Like building a muscle, increasing your resilience takes time and intentionality.
What resilience isn’t.
Now, being resilient doesn’t mean you don’t recognize the depth of the loss or that you don’t feel the pain. It’s about living with your new reality, even if it’s not the way you first wanted it to be.
- Strength isn’t a trait of a resilient person. Strong winds can take away heavy rigid trees, but the flexible ones adapt to them and remain. Flexible. That’s precisely what resilience is. It makes us able to react to the given situation.
- Furthermore, resilience doesn’t indicate that you will never give up no matter what. It’s about knowing your limits. If there is something that’s not in your favor, just quit doing that. It teaches when to let go and when to hold on.
- Being resilient isn’t something you inherit. It is a skill that everyone can acquire by altering their behavior, mindset, perspective, and acts.
- It isn’t the all-in problem solver. Sometimes there can be severe issues. Like you are working in a highly hostile workplace with badly behaved people. Report it or leave it because you are most likely to get harmed or affected by it no matter what happens. Moreover, if you have lost somebody dear to you, resilience can’t make the pain disappear. It isn’t a painkiller. It can only help you live with it.
- Resilience does mean bouncing back from a setback, but what you use to bounce back matters. It isn’t about being selfish either. Achieving your goals by putting others’ work or lives in jeopardy is an evil deed, no matter how you see it. Positivity and resilience are co-dependent.
If someone is resilient, that doesn’t mean they went through some tragic incident. Building resilience is part of our daily lives, certain unfortunate events that happen in our day-to-day life make us who we are—like, getting into a fight, losing your job, having a tough time at work, financial problems, and much more throughout our lives. How you approach these problems defines you.
Post-traumatic growth (PTG)
In his influential 2004 paper titled Loss, Trauma, and Human Resilience, clinical psychologist George Bonanno argued for a broader conceptualization of stress responding, defining resilience as the ability to maintain relatively stable, healthy mental and physical functioning levels after experiencing a highly life-threatening or traumatic event.
Post-traumatic growth and resilience go down the same route. Growth after experiencing highly challenging and stressful circumstances are called post-traumatic growth. As a result of post-traumatic growth, you undergo positive psychological changes that aid you with developing resilience. Even though post-traumatic growth is a factor in creating resilience, they aren’t the same.
Dr. Kanako Taku said, “Resiliency is the personal attribute or ability to bounce back.” Post-traumatic growth is the growth one achieves even if one cannot quickly jump back from a setback. Dr. Kanako Taku said, “It takes a lot of time, energy, and struggle for the post-traumatic growth.”
Growth is possible even in the hardest of times, and that is Post-traumatic growth. Post-traumatic growth (PTG) is the positive growth that can come as a result of some trauma. It was explained by the psychologists Richard Glenn Tedeschi, Ph.D., and Lawrence in the 1990s.
There are seven different areas of growth that have been reported to arise from adversity:
- A more significant appreciation of life
- A much stronger appreciation and strengthening of close relationships
- Increased compassion and benevolence
- Finding a new calling or life’s purpose
- Greater awareness and the ability to make use of personal strengths
- Enhanced spiritual growth
- Creative development
What are the reasons some people build more resilience than others?
As Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl put it, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Resilient people are situationally aware. They understand their emotional reactions and the behavior of those around them. By remaining aware, they can maintain control of a situation and think of new ways to tackle problems. In many cases, resilient people emerge stronger after such difficulties.
But what is the underlying reason that some people are more resilient than others? Even though they experience similar traumatic events or possibly the same traumatic event, the degree of getting affected by it is different in each one of us. It is kind of like a Traumatic Brain Injury. They are both like snowflakes, and no two are the same.
According to Donald Meichenbaum, 60% of North Americans will face traumatic events in their lives, out of which 70% become resilient, and 30% will suffer harmful adverse effects. What causes this difference? Building resilience isn’t just about you. Your environment, atmosphere, friends, family, and financial predicament also make a difference in how you react to specific situations.
- Resilient people see difficulties with the mindset of growth and challenge. They take failure as a learning experience instead of falling apart, and that mentality keeps them going.
- They show commitment and set specific goals to keep themselves positive with a sense of purpose. They know that they have responsibilities and an image to protect.
- It is commonly seen in resilient people that they have self-awareness, confidence, calmness, and self-control. They know what they can do to make an impact. Instead of stressing over uncontrollable things and falling apart, they invest their time in what they can control and improve.
If you are looking to be resilient, you must first know what it is. Once the map is clear, the path will be clearer to understand.
So, how do you apply this to your life?
Take one step at a time. Start by first working on your self-awareness, self-confidence, and health. After that, adopt an optimistic approach and find your purpose, goals, and ambition. You will know your true potential, and with that in mind, you will stay motivated to keep on this path regardless of the obstacles.
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