I think a lot of people think resilience is your ability to stay strong in the face of uncertainty or in difficult circumstances. For me, resilience is how quickly and easily you get back up once you’ve been pushed down. When I think about resilience in the context of my own experiences in life, resilience had come about from having some quite negative things happening in my life previously. I have learnt how to survive and come out the other end and I have learnt how to cope with certain situations through developing methods and coping strategies. When things get tough I now know how to deal with it better through previous hardships and how I proceed in a more positive direction.
Therefore, speaking of things that may contribute towards becoming a resilient person here’s what I think you need: I think you need confidence because if you lack confidence then you’re going to find it very difficult to put into action and employ any sorts of strategies. You might feel like hiding under the duvet and that is not going to be the ideal solution. You need to have enough confidence to get out there and face the world. You’ve got to have the confidence there in the first place to be able to push through difficulty. You also need hope! Hope is super important. You need to believe that you have something worth fighting for so that you don’t get completely overwhelmed by the negative experiences that happen in life. You’ve got to hope that you’ll be okay and you’ve got to have hope that things will turn out all right in the end.
Overall, I would say you’ve got to just have a quite positive state of mind because the more positive you are the easier it is for you to be creative and resourceful and to think about alternative ways of reframing your circumstances. The more easier it is for you to problem-solve your way through a situation.
What’s important in developing resilience is not being shy about putting yourself in situations where you might get knocked down and not holding back from situations where you might get knocked back because those knockbacks are you developing a thick skin which will help you to become more resilient and emotionally more tougher.
While I worked as a manager in a large private day nursery, there was a staff member called Charlotte. Charlotte’s social status was different from mine, I grew up on a council estate, I worked hard to get my diploma to be able to work with children. Charlotte came from a wealthy family and had been given some of the finer things in life which I had to work hard towards i.e first car was a new car and a deposit was put down on her house. I was her manager and I was grafting away to be able to afford my monthly car payments just to get myself to work. I felt resentful not just because of her social status but also because she had a good relationship with her parents.
One day I noticed that she had developed a skin condition called dermatitis. It was on both of our hands and it looked like her skin was falling off and it looked look pretty uncomfortable, to be honest and it was stress related. It took me a while to reframe the beliefs that I was carrying around “she’s got it easier than I have and it’s not fair and I wish I had it that easy”. What I realised was something that for me might be by comparison to all the other stuff quite a low-level problem, for her, it was really significant because it seemed like she’d missed out on the benefits of having tough stuff happen in life. From having tough things happen in your life, you can learn so much and build up your resilience through time and experiences.
When going through tough times, you might feel that the best thing in the world is if you had no problems but if you are a person who can see a silver lining then you can really start to enjoy life a lot more and get a lot more benefits from living it even when it’s really difficult.
By Gemma Bailey