March 23, 2021

What does resilience mean to you?

How do you define resilience? Is pushing yourself really worth it?

Resilience is a common word these days which is thrown around like confetti, both in the corporate and personal world. Parents wish their children are resilient, when they face the world once they leave the nest. Bosses wish for their employees to be resilient, to keep up with the pressure of the work and take minimum time off. Everyone wishes their loved ones are resilient, so that they can face the challenges of life and keep up with the pressure of the rat race we all find ourselves running in.

The Oxford Dictionary defines resilience as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. The key words to note in this definition are capacity and quickly.

Every human being’s journey is different. The way we all feel pain, emotions, loss and happiness is different. So our ability or capacity to process such emotions in a healthy manner is different. My life experiences have been really positive and I have always been protected by my family. So my capacity to deal with difficulties, compared to my partner, is different and also unique. Unfortunately there is no defined metric to measure one’s capacity to deal with difficulties and neither is it possible to define one. Our unique capacities make us who we are.

The next point to focus on is “quickly”. Quickly suggests there is an urgency and something that needs to be curtailed before it spreads. But again quickly is a very vague and variable term. Quickly for me maybe extremely slow for you and your slowest maybe incredibly quick for someone else. We are typically pressured to recover quickly, often competing with others, with this adding an unnecessary burden during hard times.

I would like to define resilience as one’s unique style to address their difficulties.

Give people time to feel all the emotions they are going through. Time to understand their emotions and develop coping strategies to address their difficulties. Give people space to express themselves and to understand their style and address their difficulties. We are humans and not programmed machines. Every time we experience a similar emotion, we may respond differently based on our circumstances in life and our frame of mind. Once we know our style, we know our triggers, we know our ways to cope, we will automatically develop resilience.

Our style will keep evolving as we continue to face new life experiences. There is no greatness in overcoming life’s difficulties quickly but rather to take as much time as needed. Always remember that it takes a lot of courage to accept difficult situations and experience all of your emotions than to brush them off quickly with false resilience. I hope you find your unique style.