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Characteristics of Resiliency


Resiliency is a concept that provides us with the resources to cope during stressful times.

We define resilience as the process of bouncing back from adversity. The concept is a paradox that encompasses the emotional distress and the enduring strength that can result from struggling with hardship. In an encounter with hardship, people can, and do, develop strengths, or resilience. However, no one is able to escape unscathed.

At the same time, few people are completely vulnerable. Most have the capacity on their own behalf – to learn and to grow in the fight to prevail. Think of resilience as the well–deserved feeling of accomplishment that comes from prevailing against hardship and adversity. It is a bittersweet mixture of pain and triumph when overcoming difficult circumstances. The paradox is we learn resilience as a result of hardship.

• Insight is the habit of asking tough questions and giving honest answers. In adults, insight matures into understanding – empathy, comprehension of the self and others, and a tolerance for complexity and ambiguity.

• Independence is emotional and physical distancing from the sources of trouble in one's life. In adults, independence takes form in separating – taking control over the power of one's pain.

• Relationships are intimate and fulfilling ties to others. In adults, relationships mature into attaching – mutually gratifying personal ties that are characterized by a balance of give and take.

• Initiative is a push for mastery. In adults, initiative matures into generating – a zest for projects and for tackling challenging situations.

• Creativity and humor are related resiliencies. Both are safe harbors of the imagination where one can take refuge and rearrange experiences. In adults, creativity matures into composing – serious artistic endeavors, and humor becomes laughing – the capacity to make something out of nothing, to minimize pain with a joke.

• Humor is finding the comic in the tragic. An offshoot of creativity, matures into laughing – the capacity to see the absurdity in one's own pains and troubles.

• Morality is the activity of an informed conscience. In adults, morality flowers into serving – a sense of obligation to contribute to the well–being of others.