Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity. It’s the ability to stand up after a hard fall and wipe the blood off your chin. defines it as springing back; rebounding; returning to the original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched; recovering readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyant.

I imagine resiliency to be like a rubber band. It can stretch and stretch and when you let it go, it returns back into its original form. The difference is that even though we cannot see it, the rubber is a little bit altered. Its form is slightly different because of the stretching. So, even though it looks exactly the same, it is changed. Forever.

And so it is with us humans. The central process in building resiliency is for us to develop coping skills. These skills can be focused on outward problem-solving, inward focused on emotions, or socially focused as in finding emotional support from others.

Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.”

Bern Williams

Resilient individuals are more inclined to see problems as opportunities for growth. Resilient individuals seem not only to cope well with strains and stresses but can also experience such challenges as learning and development opportunities.

A few tips on how to look at a problem as a learning and development opportunity:

  • Adopt a “where there’s a will, there’s a way” attitude.
  • Reframe problems and look at them as opportunities.
  • Be aware of those small windows of opportunity and make the most of them.
  • Build a healthy social support network that help pick you up.
  • Widen your comfort zone and get comfortable with those situations that help build your resiliency.
  • Keep things in perspective and consider where this fits into the whole scheme of your life.
  • Take care of you. Stay awake to your own feelings and needs. Taking care of you will help you wipe the blood of your chin and heal much faster.
  • Find a personal strategy and identify ways that work for you in fostering resilience.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to strengthen your resiliency:

  • What does resiliency mean to you?
  • Who do you know that has demonstrated resiliency? This may be a family member, a friend, or a public figure. It often helps to look at others who have been resilient.
  • What other times in your life have you demonstrated resilience? When we think of these times, it brings us strength to know “If I made it through that…I can make it through anything.”
  • What is the lesson that is being presented to me right now? Although we cannot see the why of what is happening, hindsight will help us get clarity.

“When you can’t see straight ahead, it’s because you’re about to turn a corner.”

Myrtle Reed

Written by Pat Obuchowski