If there’s one word I’ve heard in abundance during the past one and a half years, well, it’s resilience. Especially in the workplace, where we’re all supposed to learn to cope with unprecedented changes. Where we’re supposed to embody the qualities of a resilient material, able to withstand shocks and return to its original shape.
What are your thoughts on this, is dealing with massive disruption really all down to our coping skills?
The kind of resilience that I see being advocated for is the ability to return to oneself after a setback, to take charge of one’s existence without getting overwhelmed by events. The toxicity of this interpretation, though, it’s that it implies that, after each shock, you need to return as quickly as possible to a situation of well-being, return to functioning in order to fulfill the expectations put upon you.
Suspending our critical spirit here risks making us internalise other instances: not only the rejection of pain and fatigue and the urge to never allow ourselves to feel broken but also the haste of going back to a state of positive availability, in which we are ready to be overburdened again – with tasks, with responsibilities.
Adopting this interpretation leads us to show ourselves as always stronger than circumstances, adaptable to everything, willing to be exploited against our better judgment.
This attitude makes you functional to relationships – especially work relationships, which can squeeze you ruthlessly: you are so resilient, you know how to transform every stressful situation into a “lesson”. And in case you don’t, you can be replaced by someone who is more adaptable.
In what circumstances is it good for us to learn how to cope with challenges, and in what cases do we need to set clear boundaries?
I invite you to question the dogma of resilience and rather consider embracing conflict: only when we stand up for ourselves and challenge the status quo are we able to shift the balance of exploitation – for ourselves and others, so it’s not a selfish pursuit!
Of course, you will encounter resistance to change along the way.
Let’s work it through together, I’d be happy to help you develop your conflict superpowers!
I hope my thoughts have “planted a seed” and will help you see your standpoint on resilience from another perspective.