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Posted on 21 March, 2023 at 18:25

A question of Resilience

Written by an Anonymous Client (March 2023)

Resilience is something that is quite often inadequately referenced during times of adversity, or even to

describe the way someone has traversed a challenging event/s.

However, the origin of resilience its rarely discussed.

Below are a series of questions to challenge the way we understand resilience.


Are we born with it?

There is a strong case to support this if you think about the resilience shown by newborn babies to fight life

threatening illnesses and go on to live long, healthy lives. They are arguably too young to have learned it yet,

or to have developed it, and they probably can’t consciously choose to apply it.

Even in children and adolescents that survive challenges far greater than you wish to imagine, we would put

that down to showing “amazing resilience in the face of adversity”.

So, is it an expendable resource that we can run out of?

If an adult has faced a more than their fair share of adversity in their lifetime, it would be easy to understand

that they get to a point of hopelessness where they feel they can’t fight anymore. That could be described as

feeling they have no more resilience left to weather the next storm potentially.

Do some people start life with more than others?

We all know someone that appears to be able to cope with anything that gets thrown at them, and someone

that crumbles at the first sign of a challenge. Is that because they have more resilience, or does that mean that

they experience the challenges of life differently to each other?

We also know people that have survived trauma that we feel we could have personally never survived, does

that make them more resilient than us?

Can you build more of it, or top it up as life goes by?

What if resilience is more of an acquired skill that can be grown and developed over time? What if there is an

endless amount of it available for those willing to do the work to build it?

A new soldier entering the military for the first time would be a good example. Does that individual enter the

military with immense levels of resilience already in place, prepped ready to face the unmentionable

challenges of war? Or do the years of hard training teach them how to be more resilient and strengthen that

trait so they can tolerate more than an everyday civilian?

Is resilience really a trait, or is it more of an attitude?

In Eric Greitens book titled “Resilience”, he writes “Resilient people do not bounce back from hard experiences,

they find healthy ways to integrate them into their own lives”

That might suggest that resilience is a choice on how you want to work through the inevitable challenges in life

and how positive you are about the future after the challenge has passed.

Is resilience an outcome of multiple other traits all working together?

The “7 C’s of resilience” developed by pediatrician Kenneth Ginsburg suggests that resilience is made up of 7

integral and interrelated components - Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, Contribution, Coping

and Control.

Maybe it’s a combination of all the above?

Maybe we are born with a starting balance, AND we can top up that account along the way with the right

support. No matter how you understand resilience, today’s world demands plenty of it from all of us.

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