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What is resilience?

social skill resilience

“I am a fortunate man. Nothing in my life has been easy” (Sigmund Freud)

In life, sooner or later, we all deal with difficult events: the illness or death of a loved one, a romantic breakup, financial problems, the loss of a job, changes or crises, etc.

Resilienceis the human capacity to face, adapt successfully, and emerge stronger from adversity.

For resilient people there is no hard life, but rather difficult moments

Characteristics of resilient people

First, we should make clear that being resilient is not exactly as being resistant. There is a subtle difference between resilience and resistance. The latter implies rigidity while resilience connotes flexibility. Therefore, resilient people are not like rocks with standing the blows but flexible like bamboo, adapting to and overcoming adverse situations.

Resilient people are not what they have done but what they have overcome.

Resilient peoplegive themselves enough time to recover, they do not dwell on failures, they handle pressure and overcome sadness. They thrive despite challenges and have a sense of humor when facing challenging circumstances. They learn from mistakes and face life’s difficulties. They manage negative emotions and use coping skills to get through hard times.

Example of group resilience

After the tragedy that struck New York City (United States) on September 11,2001, America united politically and socially in an unprecedented way. This cohesive resilience is aremarkable example of how a group of people, or even a nation, can come together and rise from the ashes of disaster and reemerge transformed.

Example of individual resilience

During World War II, Viktor E. Frankl and his family were forced into several concentration camps. He was the only survivor. After being liberated, he wrote the book Man’s search for meaning (1946).

In this book, Frankl narrates the horrifying scenarios and subhuman conditions that he endured while he was imprisoned, exploring human nature in great detail while explaining that those for whom life had lost its meaning, had less of a chance at survival.

How to promote resilience?

According to psychologist Edith H. Grotberg, there are resilient-promoting factors that can be divided into three categories:

The pillars of personal resilience (Wolin&Wolin, 1993)

The Road to Resilience

The American Psychiatric Association (APA), after the 9/11 tragedy, listedten ways to build resilience among Americans and provide them with effective tools to overcome adversity.

Resilience can be learned. It is a journey, not a single event or point in time. No two roads to resilience are alike.

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

C.S. Lewis

If you are interested in articles about social skills, you may also be interested in this post:

The Pygmalion Effect and the Power of Expectations

The Pygmalion effect refers to the more or less conscious interpretation and belief of how reality should be. We, therefore, adapt our behavior, thoughts and attitudes to meet expectations.

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