Resilience, that great unknown.
Resilience is the ability of the human being, in the face of adverse and very unfavorable situations, to set in motion the psychic mechanisms necessary to face the circumstances, adapt and emerge strengthened from that situation.
Recently divorced, Martina moved with her son to Ujué, a small and beautiful town of barely two hundred inhabitants. This medieval jewel, in the province of Navarra, would represent for both the beginning of a new life and a new illusion. With her administrative diploma still gleaming and fresh, the young mother thought it would be easy to find work.
He rented a small apartment on the second floor of an old building and started the next stage of his life. Unfortunately, Martina had not anticipated that the floor would begin to reveal its defects within two weeks of being installed, nor that these were such a great humidity that it would end up aggravating her son’s bronchial problems. Nor could she assume that her son would be diagnosed with autism a few days later. And, of course, it did not enter into their calculations that some neighbors were forming a hard rock band, to which they could only dedicate the mornings of weekends.
Nor had she foreseen that her ex-husband would leave Spain, and stop paying the alimony fee that he had to pay him every month. Nor was it in her plans to be fired from the only job she could get, for having accused her of stealing money directly from the box. Meanwhile, his partner smiled with the satisfaction of who knows that he has gotten away with it. By the way, the job was never administrative, but waitress.
Resilience: Looking for a way out.
With three months of unpaid rent and a daily menu that ranged from noodles to rice, Martina felt faint. Nothing was going as planned when he decided to return to the town where he had spent his childhood and of which he had such fond memories. And at that moment when she was ready to throw it all away, an idea occurred to her.
She remembered the cherry liqueur that her grandmother made and how delicious the chocolates tasted that she gave her secretly from her parents when he visited her on weekends. He searched his memory trying to remember the steps followed by his grandmother to make it.
He took advantage of the fact that, thanks to the chords of his neighbor’s metal band, he could not sleep for a minute beyond six in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays, and he reproduced all the steps of the process with meticulousness until he obtained a delicious chocolate with a tinge of tradition that determines the added value of what we make.
First it was the hazelnut chocolate, then the pistachio one and one day it was animated with the walnut one. With his kitchen cupboard well stocked with chocolates, but with little food to eat, it was time to make cards to promote the sale of his delicious delicacy. Needless to say, there was no money for the printing press, so Martina made the cards by hand, using her son’s colored pencils.
Success after perseverance.
Two years have passed since this stage in Martina’s life, which many would have considered the beginning of the end, but which, fortunately, the young woman turned into an opportunity. Today Martina runs her own artisanal confectionery, she was able to move to a flat without humidity, pay for therapy for her son and get a good savings mattress to buy a home.
How did all this happen? It was a miracle? Did Martina resort to magic? Was it a being from another world?
No, none of that. Martina is a woman who made life a party and made sure that resilience was her guest of honor.
What is resilience?
What is resilience? This precious virtue could well be compared to the products that the ancient alchemists obtained. In the same way that this ancient science takes a vile metal and transforms it into gold, resilience takes a tragic situation to turn it into a positive one through learning.
Resilience consists of rejecting the fact that a negative situation hurts us, stagnates us, or sinks us. On the contrary, when we are resilient, faced with a negative circumstance, we bring out all our creativity and inventiveness to get ahead no matter how traumatic, desperate or tragic the situation may be. However, resilience is not satisfied with leaving the situation behind, but ensures that the person who lived through it can emerge from it by being the owner of a better version of themselves.
As we have seen in the case of Martina, when the bad moment was behind, the young woman was not in the same place where she was when everything began, but had surpassed herself and had managed to progress, both as a person and financially. . And that is the essence of resilience.
What resilience implies is being able to transform the reality around you into something that benefits you. Do you remember when in your childhood you played with plasticine and molded it to form the worlds that you conceived in your mind? Well, resilience is exactly that: taking reality and transforming it into all the good you want for yourself, when what is happening to you is really bad.
Don’t let life make you a victim.
The resilient person refuses to let life make him a victim. On the contrary, like an archaeologist in search of the find that will change the course of his career, he digs deeply, despite being surrounded by negativity, until he finds the sought-after jewel, the desired treasure. He works incessantly until he can get the best of himself, to emerge stronger from adversity and better prepared for future threats that he must face.
If you believed that resilience is a characteristic that you are born with, you are absolutely right. However, a person who sets out to be and practices the habits that lead to this virtue can become so resilient, as someone who has already been born with that gift. Do you want to know how to become resilient? Here we tell you the practices that you must carry out to achieve it.
The twenty habits of a resilient person.
Like all skills, creativity can also be developed. There is no possible resilience without being creative. How to overcome a personal crisis, imposed by external situations, if we continue to do the same and behave in the same way? You can develop your creativity on a daily basis by adopting practices such as changing your route to work or cooking the same food in different ways. The idea is to explore new possibilities among the available options.
Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you want, you pursue what you imagine and finally, you create what you pursue ”. (George Bernard Shaw).
Awareness of potential and limitations.
Each one of us has a certain potential, which may be more or less great, but it is never overwhelming. We must be realistic and not believe ourselves to be omnipotent. Thinking that we can do everything will only lead to frustration, when we realize that we are more limited than we were willing to believe.
“Our life is ultimately about accepting ourselves as we are.” (Jean Anouilh).
Transforming the difficulty is an opportunity.
Difficulties come without asking permission and are inevitable. Life is peppered with difficulties with every step we take. But, faced with this fact, resilient people take the best of them to transform it into a new opportunity. When Thomas Edison’s laboratory burned down, the inventor was thankful that his mistakes were left behind so he could rebuild hits from scratch.
“A problem is an opportunity to give the best you have.” (Duke Ellington).
Trust yourself and repeat to yourself that you can, that you have the ability and that you will achieve it. From the word and the conviction actions are generated.
“Your chances of success in any project can always be measured by your confidence in yourself.” (Robert Collier).
Also known as mindfulness , mindfulness invites us to live in the present. The past cannot be a source of guilt nor should the future become the only thing that matters to us. On the contrary, the present is the only thing we have to sculpt our reality and achieve well-being.
“Perform each of your actions as if it were the last of your life.” (Marco Aurelio).
Objectivity and optimism.
Objectivity should not displace optimism, but can complement each other. How can you be merely objective without falling into lapidary pessimism? The slogan is about dressing the situations that are part of our reality with optimism (realistic).
Control over your emotions.
While people who have not reached resilience try to control reality (they want to change the attitudes of their children, get their partner to change or modify the position of their superiors), the resilient seek to exercise control over how they feel in these situations adverse.
“Every adversity, every failure, every anguish, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” (Napoleon Hill).
Foster good relationships.
Surround yourself with positive people willing to change. Positive thinking is one of the most powerful stimuli for achieving difficult goals. Surrounding yourself with an environment of people where the positive spirit reigns will always be beneficial.
“If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to do your best, over time you will overcome your immediate problems and find that you are ready for greater challenges.” (Pat Riley).
Humor in the face of adversity.
Eradicate negativity and walk a different path from pessimism. Instead, use humor to find the funny streak in what happens to you. A data? Black humor is allowed.
“Life is hard and if you have the ability to laugh at it, you have the ability to enjoy it.” (Salma Hayek).
Build networks and relationships to seek help.
Isolation is not a practice that helps us develop resilience, but ends up turning us into resentful and somewhat spiteful people. Receiving the help of others vindicates us as people worthy of the attention of others and, therefore, encourages us to be supportive ourselves.
“If you need a hand, remember I have two”. (San Agustin).
Insisting until the proposed goals are achieved is the path to resilience. Letting yourself be defeated by circumstantial failures is what leads us to a state of permanent emotional misery. Hundreds of years ago, the Latin poet Ovidio described the importance of tenacity:
“The dripping of the water makes a hole in the water, not by force, but by persistence.” (Ovid).
Resilience asks us to know how to adapt to circumstances. The reality is not just one, but various circumstances that are changing and that require us to be at the height of the dynamics of change. It is curious to see how Darwin already pointed out that only species that adapt to change are capable of surviving.
“Not the strongest species survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one that best responds to change.” (Charles Darwin).
Search for meaning.
Viktor Frankl, Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, recounts in his book Man’s Search for Meaning , how his fellow concentration camps who fell into victimization soon perished from being engulfed by depression. Instead, those who managed to keep the meaning of life clear, became strong and were able to survive such a devastating situation.
“He who has a reason to live, can bear almost any how.” (Friedrich Nietzsche).
Collaboration and solidarity.
Seeking exclusively happiness and personal satisfaction above all else leads to the dreaded depression. Focusing on ourselves leads to self-segregation, a breeding ground for anxiety and stress. Therefore, helping others forces us to be creative and find meaning in our existence.
“Man is never so happy as when he gives happiness to another.” (Edward George Bulwer-Lytton).
Choose your attitude.
It is evident that you will not be able to control what happens to you, but you do own how you behave in the face of external stimuli. Resilience invites you to exercise the freedom to choose your reactions to what happens to you.
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us ”. (Helen Keller).
Search for the meaning.
What’s behind your goals? Why do you want what you want? What will the profession you choose, the purchase you make and the relationships you establish bring to you? Finding the answer to this will allow you to strengthen yourself and overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving your goals.
“When we are motivated to achieve a goal, we are automatically motivated to change our attitude or our appearance.” (Sam Owen).
Accept the inevitable.
There are situations in life that cannot be avoided. Being fired from our job, suffering the loss of a loved one, or accepting the decisions of the people around us are not under our control. Therefore, accepting that it is external to us is part of the process of acquiring emotional strength.
“When a loved one becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.” (Anonymous).
Leisure, as necessary as it is dangerous if we do not know how to manage it, can never fall into boredom and unproductive hours. One thing is rest, while another is to do nothing when we should find ourselves studying, training, looking for a way to improve ourselves and helping others. Finding a goal is the starting point to transform our leisure into activities for our emotional benefit.
“The wise use of leisure is a product of civilization and education.” (Bertrand Russell).
Stop blaming others for your mistakes and attitudes.
Resilience comes to overturn the paradigm of “my parents are to blame” or “you have asked for it.” This virtue makes us directly responsible for everything we do. We are not authorized to harm other people, or ourselves, because we have been “victims” of a traumatic childhood or have belonged to a dysfunctional family. Nobody has the power to lead us to act one way or another. We ourselves are solely responsible for this.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.