resilience definition

Resilience Defined: What is it and how do you build it?

As humans, we all face various traumas, diversities, and stressors in our lives. If you are like most people, these traumas can be from a wide range of things.  These things can be your job, your friends, your family, money and much more. These twists and turns of everyday life are what builds each person’s story.

Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from extreme difficulties. It is when a person can process and adapt to the world even in the face of trauma, diversity, or distress. Those who lack resilience often are overwhelmed and begin to have unhealthy ways of coping.

Resilience is something that can be both useful in your professional and personal life. And the crazy part is, most people do have this skill in some way, even if they are aware of it. Read on to learn how to utilize this skill to be as effective as possible.

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What Is the Meaning of Being Resilient?

When we talk about the ability to be resilient, we are referring to a person’s ability to be able to cope in tough situations.  A person who can be resilient has learned how to adapt and change to the environment that they are in.

They have learned how to adjust their behaviors and thoughts even in some of the most difficult situations. These different situations can range from person to person and be about anything that may cause trauma or stress. These situations can be initiated by work, family, friends, money, and worldwide events.

Being resilient does not mean that these people do not deal with stress, emotional trauma, or suffer from life events.

Everyone is going to experience these sorts of feelings and emotions at some point in time.  But rather their ability to tap into their inner strengths to work through whatever it is that is causing the problem. 

A person can be resilient in one area of their life and not resilient in other parts of their lives.

For instance, a person can be very resilient within their work-life but will not be resilient in their relationships or personal life.  Also, a person’s ability to be resilient can change depending on their environment. Their environment can include who they are with, their interactions, and the overall situation in which they are in.

(For more on resilience, check out this article on the 7 C’s of resilience!)

What Are Examples of Resilience?

There are so many ways a person can exuberate being resilient. Every person, every event is going to impact a person in a different way. Due to this, it makes it so nearly any situation may lead to someone being resilient even if it is not super noticeable. Since resilient has such a broad definition of what it truly is, it is just a matter of seeing someone adjust to whatever changes are mind in their life.

Job Searching and Resilience

Everyone has been there and knows how tough looking for a new job can be. It is stressful. Often there are so many checks and balances you must do, from updating your resume to research on the company you are interviewing for. And sometimes, week after week, you are getting no responses, denials, or not finding the right position that fits what you are looking for.

Because there are so many attempts and irons you got to put into the fire, so to speak, when it comes to finding a new job, this is the reason why someone must have resilience.

You must be able to keep putting your name out there, filling out the applications, and trying to find the best possible job for you, even with the disappointments along the way.

Another thing about applying for new positions that a lot of people do not realize is how flexible you must be; you must make yourself available for interviews, respond quickly and do all these things without sounding over the top.

How to Show Your Resilience to Employers

But being resilient during the job-hunting process isn’t the only time you want to be resilient. A lot of times, employers are looking for people who hold this skill as well. Therefore, it is so important for you to show them you are resilient through your resumes, cover letters, and interviews that you are resilient. Show that you are:

  • Adaptable to changing work environments
  • Capable of being given more responsibility, even if it is new to you
  • Willing to put work in when you need to adjust to a workload or a new task
  • Experienced with change and what you do to manage it

One of the important things that you must remember, and why this is an example of where someone must be resilient, is that you must understand it isn’t you.  The denial is not a reflection of who you are or what your value is within a position. Sometimes, a job is just not the right job for you, and same as sometimes you are not the right person for the job.

Family Separation and Changes

Every family is different. Some families are always together, and some must spend a large amount of time apart. The reasons can vary from having to help other family members, to work making them travel to military families and deployments.

When a family is separated like this, they must deal with the missing physical presence of the person who is no longer there. There is often a different financial obligation that comes up with this, whether that is the change in jobs, having multiple rents, or an adjustment in various bills.

It can also mean different pay scales or having to pay for childcare when previously it was not needed. Families experience new schedules being thrown their way, changes in responsibility for all the housework, maintenance, and issues that come up. 

Due to all these changes, they have to adjust how things work. And then they must re-adjust whenever the family is back together as you are adding a person back into the mix. Making it, so they have to adjust their lives yet again.

This is very similar to what we see in military families. They experience deployments and permeant duty station changes constantly. They thrive on being resilient with all the changes that go on in their lives. Most of the time, these changes are made by other people and are completely out of their control.

As such, in their personal life experiences, these people consistently have to adjust their livelihood to fit into what is needed from them at a time. They take whatever is thrown at them at the time, and they make their life work.

3 Ways to Build Resilience

There is a wide range of skills that someone can learn to be more resilient. In most cases, to successfully learn to be resilient, one must learn how to adjust and adapt to different scenarios healthily for it to be able to work on any event in your path.

Create a New Narrative

When a life event happens, most people will find themselves replaying the event in their minds over and over again. By replaying this in their head, they are essentially living the pain or issue repeatedly. By doing this, it does not assist with the recovery or healing of the traumatic event.

A study completed in 1988 called Disclosure of Traumas and Immune Function: Health Implications for Psychotherapy found that participants who did essay writing that expressed their feelings and emotion’s for four days in a row were healthier six weeks later, and then three months later were happier as well.

This was compared to people who did not write about their feelings, only including superficial topics in their essays. Based on the data of the study, the researchers believe that the ones who did include emotional content in their essays were able to receive more structure from the exercise.  The structure came from the participants being able to create their narrative, which gives the person more sense of control within the event itself.

The essay writing in this study is very similar to what is called expressive writing. Expressive writing is where the goal is to write for a set amount of time about one’s feelings, emotions, and deeper thoughts you might be having. The writing does not need to be perfect in any sense and is more for getting those thoughts down.

Face Your Own Fears

Sometimes, people will experience a trauma or a fear that is just so bad that they cannot bear to experience it again. Being able to fully move on is sometimes necessary to be able to face the fear. However, facing it is not easy to do in most cases.

It is essential to start overcoming fear by tackling the emotional aspect that is driving the fear. The best way to start is to slowly begin to expose yourself to whatever it is that your fear is. It is important to do this in small amounts and to not overextend yourself. Over time, you will be able to increase the amount of time or number of attempts that you are challenging yourself to as you get used to it.

The more time that you spend doing the fear, the more comfortable you are going to become. This comfort will allow you to start having better associations with the specific fear. It does not mean that the fear will go away completely, but rather we are more used to the fear itself and are not intimated by it. 

Love Yourself and Give Yourself Grace

Even in the toughest situations, it is important to love yourself and to have self-compassion. When you are experiencing an issue, it is important to make sure that you are comforting yourself; you are showing yourself compassion, kindness, and most of all, warmth. Here are three steps that allow for you to feel self-compassion:   

  • Learn to be mindful of yourself and others.
  • Remember, you are not the only one.
  • It is always best to love yourself.

Once you start to develop a kind attitude toward yourself, then you will be able to remind yourself that even in the toughest situations, you are not alone, and that most people do experience similar problems. Building the all of the 7 essential skills of resilience is tough, but it is totally worth it!

Beyond just learning how to love yourself through self-compassion, it is also essential you learn to forgive yourself and others. If you are stuck holding a grudge because of something you or someone else did, it can be beneficial to your health both mentally and physically to practice forgiveness.

Additionally, you may consider exploring one of these online courses to build resilience.

Why Resilience Can Help You

There are so many different situations in which being resilient can be useful for you. Resilience is an indispensable trait that can greatly benefit you in navigating life’s challenges and adversities. In a constantly changing world, having resilience enables you to bounce back from setbacks, embrace change, and adapt to new circumstances with a positive mindset. It empowers individuals to maintain mental and emotional balance during tough times, fostering a sense of self-belief and perseverance to overcome obstacles. If teaching resilience is something you would like to pursue, check out these resilience trainer certifications online

Resilience not only improves one’s ability to cope with stress but also fosters personal growth, enhances problem-solving skills, and strengthens relationships by cultivating empathy and understanding. By developing resilience, you can face uncertainties and uncertainties with courage, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and successful life journey.