Self-improvement through resilience

We generally associate the traumatic events or difficult as a negative thing and we tend to feel compassion or pity for the people who go through them, but I wish I could offer the other side of the coin. We can learn from them and grow in various aspects of our life thanks to the bad sequences or the moments that caused us a great psychological impact. This is not the reason why we should underestimate the importance or seriousness of success, but we should value the fact that it has both negative and positive aspects and focus on the latter.

Something surely comes to your mind that since this happened your life has never been the same, and it is common for you to think that things are better now than before.. Because, after all, most people are capable of turning the page on these bad times.

This is precisely what I want to talk about today, the resilience.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the capacity to face the adversities of life which emerges strengthened. It is the result of a dynamic process that varies according to the circumstances, the nature of the situation, the context and the stage of an individual’s life, which can be expressed differently depending on the culture (Manciaux et al., 2001 ).

As a process, it is not so much the person himself, but the evolution and the process of structuring his own. life story (Cynulnik, 2001).

How are people resilient?

To discover what resilient people look like, nothing better than to read Bertrand Regader’s article entitled “The resistant personality: are you a strong person?”, Where you can have a broader view on this question. The basic characteristics of the resilient personality, summarized, are as follows:

  • They have confidence in themselves and in their ability to cope.

  • They have social support.

  • They have a meaningful purpose in life.

  • They believe they can influence what is going on around them.

  • They know that there are lessons to be learned from both positive and negative experiences.

  • They conceive and face life in a more optimistic, enthusiastic and energetic way.

  • They are curious people and open to new experiences.

  • They possess high levels of positive emotionality.

They face difficult experiences using andhumor, Creative exploration and optimistic thinking (Fredickson and Tugade, 2003). this positive change the experience of the outcome of the struggle process leads them to a better situation than before the event (Calhoun and Tedechi, 1999). The changes can be in oneself (at the individual level), in interpersonal relationships (with other people) and in the philosophy of life.

Changes in itself: Increases confidence in one’s own abilities to face the adversities that the future presents to us. It is common that people who have been subjected to very strict rules in the past and their struggle, have managed to reorient their lives.

Changes in personal relationships: The traumatic experience can strengthen the bonding of relationships with people who have gone through these difficult times.

Changes in the philosophy of life: Difficult experiences must undermine the ideas on which our view of the world is based (Janoff-Bulman, 1992). Scales of values ​​change, and the value of things that were previously overlooked or taken for granted is generally appreciated more.

Does this mean that there is no suffering?

Of course, negative emotions and stress are experienced, in fact **, without this personal growth ** would not be possible through them, this does not eliminate the pain, but coexists with it.

It also does not mean that a person is growing in all aspects of a person’s life, but that positive changes can be felt in some areas but not in others.

Among the most studied life events are parental divorce and traumatic stressors such as abuse, abandonment and war (Grarmezy and Masten, 1994).

One of the best-known cases of resilience is that of The Guenard team and he explains it in his book: “Stronger than hate“.

When he was 3, his mother left him on an electric pole. When he was 5, his father beat him, which forced him to stay in the hospital for up to 7 years. He was mistreated by those in charge of his care and ended up in a mental hospital for an administrative error and from there to a reformatory, where he learned to hate the whole world and only the desire to kill his father was holding him up.

The vicious circle continued with more escapes, physical violence, street experiences, rape and prostitution mafias.

From the age of 16 his life started to change and now Tim is a man of almost 50, married with 4 children.. She welcomes people in difficulty to the house to whom she guides them and encourages them to find new reasons for living by offering them a roof and a helping hand. Thus he fulfills his promise he made in adolescence: to welcome others with the same needs that he suffered.

Can we do something to build resilience?

according to American Sociological Association There are 8 things that are in our hands that we can do to be more resilient:

  • build relationships: Right now, we need to let ourselves be helped more than ever and make emotional connections with family, friends and those who are important to us. Helping others can also be beneficial in building resilience.

  • Avoid seeing events as obstacles: It is not possible to prevent the occurrence of certain events that hurt us, but the way we interpret and react to them. Think about the future and keep hoping that sooner or later everything will change.

  • Do activities so that you feel better about the situation while it lasts: if you feel better walking, talking to a friend, hugging your pet, do it frequently.

  • Take decisive actions: In adverse situations, seek solutions and act in the best possible way according to your situation. You will feel that you are doing something productive to change your situation.

  • Look for opportunities to discover yourself: Think about those things that you learned from this and the aspects that you improved. You will see that the suffering has not been in vain and as you have grown in the process, look at all the things that you have acquired and not those that you have left in the way.

  • Cultivate a positive outlook on yourself: Trust your abilities to resolve the conflicts you are going through and your validity.

  • do not lose hopea: No matter how dark the sky is, the sun will always rise. Visualize yourself in the situation you want to be in and not in what you fear.

  • Take care of yourself: Pay attention to your needs and desires. This will help you be able to keep your body and mind healthy and ready to deal with the situation you are going through.

Bibliographical references:

  • Poseck, V., Carbelo, B., Veïna, M. (2006). The traumatic experience of positive psychology: resilience and post-traumatic growth. Articles by the psychologist. Flight. 27 (1). 40-49.
  • Gómez camps, AM (2008). Ten actions to develop resilience. Wallets. Retrieved November 12 from:

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