Resilience: multi-dimensional

According to a study from Lopez and Snyder (2009) our ability to be resilient derives from a good parenting style: the authoritative one, characterised by “qualities of warmth and affection that also provide structure and support to the child”. So, as often happens, a good attachment – and good relationships in general – seems to be a condition for being adaptive human beings. ⁣

But let’s first make a distinction. Resilience is often mistakingly assumed to be a trait of the individual, while in fact It’s a process. One of acceptance, meaning, adaptation. ⁣

It’s a multi-dimensional construct that includes life satisfaction, negative or positive emotions, general health and physical health. It is not simply the ability to cope: it’s an all-encompassing concept that requires awareness and acceptance at many levels. When considering just one of them, a high percentage of the population seems to have some resilient traits (19-66%) but only a very small percentage of us is all-round resilient (Infurna & Luthar, 2016). Precisely, 8%. The majority of us actually experiences ‘recovery’: a dip in functioning and a gradual improvement. ⁣

This shows us that together with this increased use and promotion of resilience, there grew also an over-attribution of resilience where in fact it is not as common to ‘bounce back’. And, most importantly, it is something that can be learned. ⁣

It is the result of a multitude of little things, of a state of tranquillity, acceptance of one’s own limits and expectations and life as a complex machine.⁣

So when you see all these shortcuts to resilience, be skeptical: resilience is a goal, a guideline, not something along the lines of ‘fake it until you make it’. ⁣

While recovery should be normalised, in honour of being human and vulnerable, resilience can be assumed as a direction to always move towards. Something we work every day to balance with our own, personal need for vulnerability.

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