“Why fit in when you can stand out?”
How Does a person handle a difficult event in his or her life? The death of a loved one, loss of a job, serious illness or injury, terrorist attacks, war, and other traumatic events that can change a person’s experience in life. An individual most likely would react with a sudden flood of strong emotions if placed in any one of these events. Yet a person will most likely adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful conditions. What enables him or her to do so? It involves resilience, an ongoing process that requires time and effort and engages a person in taking a number of steps.
Developing resilience is an ongoing journey through a person’s life. A person does not react the same as another person to a similar life event. An approach to building resilience that works for one person might not be effective for another individual. In other words, a person might use an assortment of strategies (e.g., communication, music, or exercise) to cope with a stressful event.
Variations may reflect a difference in how resilient a person is in a culture. For example, a person’s culture might have an impact on how he or she communicates his or her own feelings about a situation (e.g.,individualism versus collectivism). The different facets of how one communicates his or her feelings is well displayed in Tsai Jeanne article done at Stanford University (http://psych.stanford.edu/~tsailab/PDF/Culture%20and%20Emotion%20Chapter.pdf). The study focused on North American (e.g.,United States and Canada) as compared to East Asia (e.g.,China Japan and Korea) communities expressing one’s emotions internally or outwardly to another person. With a growing cultural diversity, the public has greater access to a number of different approaches to building resilience.
Research has shown that resilience is common everyday attribute. Every person commonly demonstrate resilience. In the past decade, for example, hurricane Katrina killed 1,833 in the southeast portion of the United States and individuals’ efforts to rebuild his or her own life (Wayne Blanchard, https://usasearch.fema.gov). Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress such as family and relationship, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. Simply put resiliency means “bouncing back” from a difficult experience.
If a person is characterized as being resilient that does not mean that there is no experience of difficulty or distress. If a person experiences emotional pain or depression are these symptoms common in a resilient person? YES, it shows that we are all human. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress. There is a common misconception that people who are resilient experience no negative emotions or thoughts and display optimism in most situations. Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have; but I am here to tell you that every single human in this entire world has resilient qualities. It involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed throughout a person’s lifetime.
Stress and adversity can come in any shape or size of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workplace and financial stressors, are just to name a few. Individuals demonstrate resilience when he or she can face a difficult experience and rise above with ease. Resilience is not a rare ability; in reality, it is found in the average individual and it can be learned and developed by virtually anyone. Resilience should be thought of as a process, rather than a behavior trait that is displayed by a person. In other words, an individual who demonstrates resilience usually have positive emotionality; he or she is keen to effectively balance negative emotions with positive ones.
Resilience is composed of particular factors attributed to an individual. There are numerous factors, which contribute to a person’s resilience. The most important element in resilience is having positive relationships inside or outside one’s family. It is the single most critical means of handling both ordinary and extraordinary levels of stress. These positive relationships include traits such as mutual, reciprocal support, and caring. Such relationships aid in promoting a person’s resilience. Research that exemplifies these positive features of a resilient person are a positive self-concept and confidence in one’s own strengths and abilities, ability to manage a person’s impulse control and feelings, the potential to make feasible plans necessary process of following through all of one’s plans, and most importantly COMMUNICATION and PROBLEM-SOLVING skills.
Resiliency can indicate a vast capacity to resist a decline in other physical, cognitive, or social events. If a person breaks his or her fingers of the dominant hand it would only make sense of this type of resiliency would be physical by nature. Making the individual change the ways of solving an event. Thus, bypassing the difficulty that might be faced if this event happens to individual showing physical resiliency.
Take this situation for example; a person’s right or left arm is amputated because of some medical or life difficulty. Not being able to use as an appendage makes living that much more problematic. A person might have a difficult time surfing or playing hockey or golf with only one arm can be difficult because of the balance issue. If the reader watches television he or she might have saw Bethany Hamilton on the “Amazing Race.” Bethany Hamilton, is an American professional surfer who survived a 2003 shark attack in which her left arm was bitten off, but ultimately returned to professional surfing; you can check her website at: http://www.soulsurfer.com/story.html. Ms. Hamilton is a perfect example of physical resiliency.
Likewise, Sarah Herron on the Bachelor in Paradise. Ms. Herron’s left arm became entangled in fibrous bands during development. The bands constricted her left arm just above the elbow. The constriction continued throughout development so Ms. Herron was born without a left arm. Ms. Herron is another example of how a physical gift can give motivation to another individual.
In general, cognitive resilience is described by the capacity to overcome negative effects of setbacks and is associated with stress to certain cognitive activities. A good example of demonstrating a person’s resiliency can be seen by Dr. Amit Sood, Doctor of Medicine, Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a Professor of Medicine – Mayo Clinic at his website: http://stressfree.org/. One of the core elements of Sood’s practice is helping people to “create intentionality” or “gratitude.” He describes the approach: choosing where you deploy your attention and how you process information. It is an unique ground for a medical professional to tread because a lot of doctors are more inclined to write out a prescription, but increasingly relevant as the connection between the mind and body similar to that of Eastern medicine. Sood argues that most of us spend more than half of our mental energy switching from thought to thought, from app to app, from job to job making our lives more problematic or complicated. If we lived a more simplistic we would be more productive and resilient, less depressed, and physically healthier if we only were more deliberate with our cognitive energy. Watch this video to see what I mean about a happy brain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZZ0zpUQhBQ.
If we lived a more voluntary lifestyle (e.g., Shannon Hayes, author of, ‘The Radical Homemaker,’ http://theradicalhomemaker.net/) that favors, just to name a few values such as, family and the environment over material consumption and income there would be improvement in environmental sustainability but also boosted mental and physical health of a person. I know easier said than done. I have to ask Ms. Hayes this question how can I live a more simplistic life when I have been put on certain medications or struggle with finding meaning in life. How can I live a more simplistic life when I need to drive down to Green Bay four to six times a year to have these medical procedures performed on me.
I myself love my designer dogs, gym membership, clothes, food I buy, places I have been too, and I have incredible value for my material things. Basically, those things listed in the previous sentence all have significant meaning. For starters my two labradoodles give me a sense that I am loved unconditionally every single day. Mali and Bella will never avoid or not invite me to a place. I always have someone that will listen, be excited when I arrived back home, and most IMPORTANTLY NOT JUDGE me. I have my gym membership because I physically cannot walk around my home at a fast enough rate for my heart. I received an award in high school for runner-up for best dressed. Plus, I constantly worry that I am going to be judged negatively so I like to dress nice. The food purchase all has a lot to do with my education. Graduating with a psychology and human development degree I am well aware that what a person puts into his or her body will have an influence on that person’ s well-being.
How can you say you live more simplistic life when you have a human experienced the fruitfulness of it? To truly experience life is to never being fine with just settling. You have to go out and explore the world. When I say explore the world I mean go to each end of your town, city, state, continent, and along the way sit and talk to everyone that you come across and then you can truly say you have a life experiences worth mentioning.
What I am trying to say is find meaning in life and once you have found your niche and go full force with it. A person has to remember that you are going to make mistakes. It is how you rebound from those mistakes that really is a true sign of character which is a person’s mental and moral qualities. Some of the younger audience, now, are wondering I have my whole life and have me. All I can say is listen to your parent(s) or a peer mentor because with age comes wisdom.
The third type is social resiliency. Research proposed by Keck and Sakdapolrak definition of social resiliency as having the ability to cope with and overcome all kinds of adversity and having the ability to to adapt to learn from past experiences and adjust oneself to future challenges in everyday life. Going along with this definition is having the transformative capability to promote individual welfare and keeps those social ties intact for future crises (http://www.academia.edu/3110553/What_is_Social_Resilience_Lessons_Learned_and_Ways_Forward). In other words, social resiliency can be felt by an individual, organizations, or communities abilities to tolerate, absorbed, cope with and adjust to environmental and societal threats. An individual might think what is a threat that I have to overcome? How can I display good social resiliency?
Threats that can come externally from social groups (e.g., an increase cost of household items for a family) or might stem from an internal (e.g., impact of a disease on household income) cause. In other words, there are many social events that will test a person’s or group’s social resiliency in life. Good social resiliency is displayed when a person does not let the event (e.g., racism, religious intolerance, or discrimination) affect the well-being of the individual or group.
A number of factors can help promote a person’s resiliency. The first is having the ability to cope with a stressful event in a healthy manner. A healthy manner is the process of thinking positively of a situation; which is key to maintaining the well-being of an individual. The second component of resiliency is having the fortitude to be able to ask for help. Most may think that ability to ask for assistance is gender specific. I am here to say that might be true for some but it is time to be the bigger person and asked for help. No matter what the situation is; that circumstance is always going to be better with two or more minds.
Another key component is having the believe that there is something one can do to manage his or her feelings and ability to cope. If a person thinks that he or she has a problem controlling one’s own feelings then resiliency may be a struggle. Having a good social support network is always ideal to maintaining a positive resilient life. If a person has someone that he or she can share ideas, struggles, and positive ways of coping with a difficult situation.
Many might think why do I always see woman always talking. The gender differences in communication is when a female talks to to another female a neurotransmitter is released called estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone found in greater abundance in women than in men. The neurotransmitter enhances female brain circuits helping women master many nuances in social skills of communication, observation, and intuition. The hormone helps protect physical and mental well-being. It moves women towards developing a more harmonious relationship, staying connected, presence of avoiding conflict, and increase a woman’s ability to literally feel more sensations than men (http://www.columbiaconsult.com/pubs/v52_fall07.html). There is a fine line of being resilient and being ignorant or simply put stupid.
If we look in the past we see individuals like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela., and Martin Luther King Jr. who many could say they are resilient when faced with adversity. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is widely recognized as one of the greatest political and spiritual leaders. He was resistant to tyranny during mass nonviolent civil disobedience. He also led nationwide campaigns ease poverty, expand women’s rights, build religious and ethnic harmony and eliminate the injustices of the current political system. Nelson Mandela who fought for equality and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. Martin Luther King Jr. was best known for nonviolent social change. Mr. King was better known for nonviolent protests and mass demonstrations to draw attention to racial discrimination and to demand civil rights legislation to protect the rights of average Americans.
All these above men showed great resiliency now why did I say there is a fine line between being flexible or a vapid individual. Samuel L Jackson said he voted for President Obama because he was black (http://www.tmz.com/2012/02/11/barack-obama-samuel-l-jackson/). Does the reader not think that Mr. Jackson was being discriminate against other individuals? I mean, when is the racism going to end. Yes, Mr. Jackson is displaying in-group stereotyping without even getting to know what other politicians have to say because he or she is not is black.
Kanye West is another prime example of a person who talks about equality like it is something that he gives to every individual. WAKE UP man this is the 21st century racism, stereotyping, or prejudice is still alive and is just taking up different forms and targeted towards other individuals or groups. If I could characterize Mr. West’s behavior would be like a lot of other persons towards me. In other words, individuals who are protesting for equality need to pick his or her own words very carefully. Mr. West, also, stop talking about equal rights when you do not give it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqPGImLF0m0).
That is why I feel I can overcome a lot of adversity in my life because as a young child experiencing the middle child syndrome; I have learned to fight for myself. I will address the middle child syndrome in my family the I still continued to feel. I was not the first child, which was Angie, so I did not get that first experience (e.g., happiness) of a parent from my mother and father. I was not the first boy, which was Ryan, so I did not receive the new baseball bat, the new hockey equipment, new football cleats, and most certainly the sole attention of my father. Most experiences of my father’s attention was with my brother. I was not the youngest so I do not receive the attention of both parents as much as my sister.
Like I stated above, physical, cognitive, and social resiliency can overlap in certain events. As a young child, adolescent, and man I can say my physical resiliency was developed by the social pressure to perform at a high level. In other words, there is no problem with getting 20 Botox injections if my left arm and leg because of my physical resiliency. To this very day I still continue to show my physical resiliency the dozen times I would get back on a bicycle again with my bloody knees and elbows.
After a severe traumatic brain injury I started out at the third grade reading level and now have graduated high school with my class in 2006. I still continued to improve to even graduate with a double Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Human Development from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
As former social resiliency is where I struggle the most. I find it difficult to conceptualize why other individuals do not see life the same way as myself.
I realize that life is fragile and should not be taken for granted. I know everyone will say, “are you not intelligent Chad of course everyone knows that about life.” The question I have back to you, “Do you really know what is meant by life being so fragile and living every day to the fullest? Do you cherish every single relationship you have? Connect with me…
sherie foehrenbacher says
I am amazed at the quality of your thinking. You have it down, man!!!! Your style can be appreciated by a wide variety of our population…. Thank you.
Again… what a gift to run into you today. Take care.
I love your positive feedback!!