However, from psychology, it can be added that resilience not only helps us, makes us adapt, or makes us capable of facing potentially traumatic situations but also allows us to emerge stronger from them. In this article, you will learn the meaning of resilience, the characteristics of a resilient person, and how to empower it.
Resilience in the RAE is defined as the following:
“Adaptation capacity of a living being in the face of a disturbing agent or an adverse state or situation”
What is resilience? Meaning
Specifically, what is resilience, and what does it mean in practice? Sometimes life confronts us with circumstances that we think are beyond us. Life goes on, but sometimes we get so overwhelmed that we come to believe that we can’t go on with it. The death of a loved one, failure in the face of the desired dream, insurmountable financial problems, a significant and severe illness, an excruciating breakup, etc., are traumatic situations that make us stagger.
Resilience allows us in this way to be able to face any situation that takes us to the limit and makes us wonder if we can continue. Therefore, resilience and its definition emphasize that its development is synonymous with facing the adversities that appear to us in life.
In difficult moments we always have two options: to feel that we have failed and let ourselves be carried away by feelings until they overcome us, or to face them and come out stronger and with new resources for the future. We will achieve the second alternative if we acquire one of these human qualities. Resilient people manage to restructure, grow and develop for the new challenges to come. Therefore, the meaning of resilience is precisely the mental strength that a person has when facing a bad situation.
“Resilience is the ability to face adversity knowing how to adapt to achieve the goals that had been proposed. The resilient is trained to live successfully, and develops intellectual and social skills that allow him to live a productive life”.
Rafaela Santos, psychiatrist and author of the book ‘Get up and fight.’
Resilience is a capacity that allows humans to adapt to adversity. As we have seen, resilience in the RAE is the human capacity to assume extreme situations and overcome them flexibly. However, from psychology, it can be added that it helps us or makes us capable of facing potentially traumatic situations and helps us to emerge from them strengthened.
Origin of the meaning of resilience in psychology
The concept of resilience in psychology (because it also applies to other areas such as physics or technology or urban planning) has been changing its meaning since the 60s of the last century. Although in the beginning, the definition of resilience or the meaning of resilience was thought of as an innate quality in people, today it is understood as a community and cultural process.
The French neurologist and psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik is the one who developed the meaning of resilience in his studies and defined it as a rebirth from suffering. This author took the studies of the American psychologist Emmy Werner on underprivileged children in Hawaii and how they managed to learn and recover and applied it to the whole of society.
Hence came the meaning of resilience as the ability to achieve success despite negative experiences. Cyrulnik shelled an idea in his book “The ugly ducklings. The resilience. An unhappy childhood does not determine life”. Not surprisingly, the word resilience comes from the Latin “resilio” and means “to go back, jump back or bounce.” Therefore, the word itself honors resilient people as it describes very well their ability to look back and learn from mistakes or bad times.
Is resilience something we can learn?
Being resilient: What is a resilient person?
As we have already mentioned, it is widespread to think of being resilient as an innate capacity. However, you are not born with it. Resilience is a process in which the person learns from everything through interacting with others and with the environment and can overcome adversity. So resilience capacity is something that develops little by little and is learned to maintain over time.
On the other hand, it is necessary to insist that being resilient does not mean that you do not suffer or experience bad and painful moments. Emotional pain is experienced by all people in the face of adversity or trauma of different magnitude in their lives. What’s more, the path to psychological resilience is full of obstacles that are being overcome, and it is necessary to go through several stumbles to improve it little by little. In conclusion, the rest of personal experience consists of behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed by anyone who has had a wrong time at some point in their existence. Therefore, the resilient can be defined as that practical person who takes the experiences that help him function better in his life.
Resilience is the ability of a person or a group to recover from adversity to continue projecting the future. Sometimes, difficult circumstances or trauma allow the development of latent resources that the individual was not aware of until now.
Psychology’s analysis of resilience has changed over the years. For a long time, these types of responses were considered unusual or pathological. However, today’s psychologists recognize that it is a typical response as a form of adjustment in the face of adversity.
Resilience for positive psychology
Positive psychology considers problems as challenges, which are faced and overcome by people thanks to resilience. Different circumstances will or will not favor the development of resilience in each man, such as education, family relationships, and social context.
Specialists affirm that resilience is linked to self-esteem, so it is essential to work with children early to develop this capacity healthily.