Resilience is a pretty unknown word; therefore, I’ll try to make it clearer, starting from its definition given by the Zanichelli Online Dictionary:
Physics: resilience is the capacity of a material to resist sudden shocks without breaking.
Psychology: resilience is a person’s aptitude to face difficulties and get over them.
In metallurgy, the word resilience indicates the opposite of fragility.
In the psychological field, resilience is meant as the opposite of a fragile and vulnerable person.
Having resilience denotes the ability to face traumatic events in a positive way, to constructively rearrange life in front of difficulties. It is the ability to self-rebuild (and rebuild), remaining open to the positive opportunities that life offers, without losing humanity.
Resilient people are those who manage to effectively face adversities, give a new boost to their existences and even attain important goals in difficult circumstances, in spite of all and even against the odds sometimes.
Resilient people show a series of unmistakable psychological characteristics.
First of all, they are optimistic people who tend to see negative aspects of life as temporary;
They believe they have a wide awareness of their own life and a good control of everything that surrounds them;
They are determined people, highly motivated to achieve their prefixed objectives;
They don’t feel threatened by change and live it as an opportunity, instead of a menace;
They don’t lose hope in front of defeats and frustrations.
Moreover, resilience can be thought as a psychic function that modifies over time in relation with personal experiences and, most of all, with the modification of the thinkining processes that subtend it. For this reason, different kinds of resilient abilities can be found:
The instinctive type: it is typical of the first years of life;
The affective type: it reflects affective maturity, sense of values and socialization;
The cognitive type: when the subject is able to use his mental faculties.
From these considerations, we can deduce that appropriate resilience is the result of the integration of instinctive, affective, emotional and cognitive elements.
In this way, the resilient person can be considered the one that had an integrated development, supported by the experience and by a mental capacity that is valid enough.
Are there any concrete methods for acquiring resilience?
Take care of yourself by trying to satisfy your needs and paying attention to your happiness. Keep yourself busy with activities you like and train your potentialities.
Define your objectives realistically and try to perform actions that let you “move towards” their attainment.
Behave optimistically, thinking that problems and crises are temporary situations.
Be determined when facing difficult situations, instead of isolating yourself in problems and negative thoughts.
Discover your strength by looking at people that grew up in suffering and struggle, finding out that you have unexpected resources.
Accept change: it is part of life and of the natural evolutions of things.
In the research of the most appropriate strategy, try to ask yourself these simple questions:
Which events seemed particularly stressful and difficult to me?
How did these circumstances influence me?
How much did I learn about myself and about my way of interacting with others in difficult times?
Did I manage to get over difficulties? How?
Was it useful to provide assistance to someone who was experiencing bad times like the ones I had been through?
What let me look to my future with greater trust?
So, “resilience” can be learned; it implies behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned by anyone in any circumstances.
Having a high level of resilience doesn’t mean not experimenting difficulties or stress in life at all. Having a high level of resilience doesn’t mean being infallible.
Who ever is prepared to change, whoever is prepared to thing about the possibility of making mistakes, but also whoever gives the possibility to correct his or her course, is a resilient person.
CEO and founder of Prometeo Coaching Society. He is considered a veteran of Italian Coaching. He has been a teacher and a lecturer in seminars about coaching, efficient communication, motivation and leadership for over fifteen years. He is the Education Manager of the Coaching School. Author of Migliora la tua Vita! Manuale di Self Coaching (FrancoAngeli ed.). He has trained hundreds of Coaches all around the world, led by an incredible passion for the development of human potential. Among his customers, he boasts the presence of main companies, professional athletes, show business figures and… lots of common people who wish to grow and improve.