Sometimes circumstances in life make us question if we have the strength and the will to go on. Examples include illness, a breakup, a death in the family, financial problems, etc. It is at these points of our lives that we have two choices: (1) succumb and feel a sense of defeat or (2) overcome the obstacle and emerge stronger and more resilient.
Resilience is the human ability to overcome extreme situations. It involves the restructuring of our psychological resources according to a new set of circumstances and needs. Thus, resilient people are not only able to overcome adversities, but they go a step further and see these situations as opportunities to grow and develop their fullest potential.
For resilient people, there is no such thing as a hard life. Instead, there are stressful situations or times. This is not a mere terminological digression. Rather, it is a different, more optimistic worldview that recognises that after the storm comes the calm. In fact, resilient people often surprise us with their sense of humour and make us wonder how it is possible that after all that has happened, they still face life with a smile.
So, how can we be more resilient?
Resilience is not an innate quality. It is not printed in our genes (although there may be a genetic tendency that may predispose someone to have a "good character"). Rather, it is something we can all develop throughout life. Some people are resilient because they grew up in a family that modelled resilient behaviour, while others have found their strength on their own. This tells us that we all have the potential to be resilient - as long as we change our habits and beliefs.
What characterises a resilient person?
1: They are more self-aware.
Individuals who practice resilience are aware of their potential and limitations. Self-knowledge is a powerful weapon that can be used to confront adversities and challenges. Resilient people know how to use these to their advantage. They know what their main strengths and abilities are, as well as their limitations and shortcomings. This results in them aiming for more objective goals that not only take into account their needs and goals, but also the resources available to achieve them.
2. They are creative.
A person with high resilience is not limited by narrow thinking. Take a broken vase as a metaphor; instead of trying to glue the broken vase together, the resilient person is aware that it will never be the same again. Rather, a mosaic can be made with broken pieces. In real life, this means that painful experiences are transformed into something beautiful or useful. From the vile lies beauty.
3. Trust in their capabilities.
By being aware of their potential and limitations, resilient people believe in what they are capable of doing. If anything characterises them, it is that they do not lose sight of their goals and feel sure of what they can achieve. However, they also recognise the importance of teamwork and know when to ask for help.
4. They see difficulties as an opportunity to learn.
Throughout life, we face many painful situations that can discourage us, but resilient people see past those moments. These people see the crisis as an opportunity to create change, to learn and to grow. They know that these times are not everlasting and that their future depends on how they react. When faced with adversity they ask: what can I learn from this?
5. They see life objectively, but always through an optimistic prism.
Resilient people are very objective, know what their potential is, and what resources they have at their disposal to meet their goals. This does not mean they are not optimistic. Being aware that nothing is entirely positive nor negative, they strive to focus on the positives and enjoy challenges. These people develop realistic optimism and are convinced that no matter how dark your day is, the next day can be better.
6. They surround themselves with people who have a positive attitude.
Individuals who practice resilience know how to cultivate their friendships and surround themselves with people who have a positive attitude towards life. In this way, they manage to create a strong network of support that can sustain them during difficult moments.
7. They do not try to control situations.
One of the primary sources of stress is the desire to control every aspect of our lives. So when something gets out of hand, we feel guilty and insecure. However, resilient people know that it is impossible to control all situations. Instead, they have learned to deal with uncertainty and are comfortable with not having control over everything.
8. They are flexible and open to change.
Although resilient people have a very clear self-image and know exactly what they want to achieve, they also have the flexibility to adapt their plans and change their goals when necessary. These people are not closed to change and are always ready to evaluate different alternatives, without obsessively clinging to their initial plans or a single solution.
9. They are tenacious in purpose.
The fact that resilient people are flexible does not mean they have given up on their goals. On the contrary, if anything distinguishes them it is their perseverance and their ability to fight. The difference is not fighting against windmills, but using the direction of the current and flowing with it. These people have an intrinsic motivation that helps them stay strong and fight for what they believe in.
10. They face adversity with humour.
One of the essential characteristics of resilient people is their sense of humour. They can laugh at adversity and make a joke of misfortunes. Laughter is the best ally because it helps them stay optimistic and, above all, allows them to focus on the positive aspect of a situation.
11. They seek the help of others and social support.
When resilient people go through a potentially traumatic event their first goal is to overcome it. To do this, they are aware of the importance of social support and do not hesitate to seek personal and professional help when needed.
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