We all know that life is full of ups and downs. Just look at 2020 and now into 2021, dealing with the pandemic, police brutality and the rise of domestic terrorist actions, loss of jobs/wages, loss of life/family/friends, and loss of our freedoms. We have been hit with a LOT of ups and downs.
First, let’s break resilience down into its 7 Integral Characteristics, also knows as the 7 C’s of Resilience and then give you some ideas to think about when it comes to resilience in your daily life! Do you want to know just how resilient you are? Then read along!
When challenging experiences arise, like they inevitably will, you need to be ready to rise to the occasion. Your ability to bounce back after a transition or hardship determines whether most of your life is enjoyable and meaningful or troublesome and frustrating.
This all comes down to resilience. The more resilient you are, the quicker you’re able to re-adjust to a situation (PIVOT) and move forward in life.
First, let’s talk about the 7 integral characteristics of resilience.
Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, human development expert, has identified 7 integral and interrelated components that makes up being resilient. He calls it the 7 Cs of Resilience.
- Competence– is the ability to know how to handle stressful situations effectively. It requires having the skills to face challenges and having put those skills into practice.
- Confidence –is the belief in one’s own abilities and is rooted in competence. We gain confidence by being able to demonstrate our competence in real-life stressful situations.
- Connection –When we have close ties to friends, family, and community groups, we are likely to have a stronger sense of security and sense of belonging. This makes us more likely to have strong values and less likely to seek out alternative destructive behaviors. We can instead rely on our other characteristics to help us cope.
- Character –People with “character” tend to enjoy a strong sense of self-worth and confidence. They are in touch with their values and are comfortable sticking to them. They don’t have a problem demonstrating a caring attitude towards others. They have a strong sense of right and wrong and are prepared to make wise choices and contribute positively to the world.
- Contribution– when we personally contributing to the world, we hopefully learn the powerful lesson that the world is a better place because we are in it. Hearing the thank you’s and appreciation when we contribute, increases our willingness to take actions and make choices that improve our world, thereby enhancing our own sense of competence, character, and sense of connection to the world around us.
- Coping –When we have a wide repertoire of coping skills (social skills, stress reduction skills), [we have talked about some of those in previous Sunday chats] we are able to cope more effectively and are better prepared to overcome life’s challenges.
- Control –when we realize that we have control over our decisions, our attitudes, emotions and actions, we are more likely to know how to make choices that help us bounce back from life’s stressors.
Consider these ideas you think about your own resilience
Who matters to you most? Do you treat yourself as if you’re the most important person in your life? When you take care of your own needs, you’ll be more resilient when a crisis knocks on the door. If your own health and living situation are at the top of your priority list, you’ll be prepared to face any hardship, be it emotional or physical.
- Taking the time to keep yourself in tip-top shape physically and mentally builds your reserves of resilience whenever trying situations and events occur.
- Daily practice. Do you work to accomplish something, however small, each day? Or do you find yourself watching entire days go by while you sit and brood or feel sad or angry? Sometimes when we are dealing with depressive episodes, as I call them, it can be the hardest thing to just get out of bed! But, in order to improve your resilience and help you work through those issues, episodes, or events, consider each day an opportunity to do something positive, even if it’s just one thing.
- On a day off, this might be something as simple as going for a walk or cleaning the living room. Your practice today could even be finishing a novel or calling a friend you haven’t talked to in ages. What you do with your life each day provides meaning for you.
- First responses. When something initially begins to trouble you, how do you respond? Maybe you bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away. Perhaps you just ignore the situation and pretend it isn’t happening.
- If you’re resilient, you’ll choose to approach the situation head-on, and promptly. You’ll define the issue, consider your options, and make a plan. You’ll set out right away to resolve the situation before it becomes a full-blown issue.
- Promptly employing problem-solving skills will help you avoid a major meltdown.
- Approach to past events. Do you try to forget about your prior challenges? Or do you try applying what you learned from them to help navigate present or future situations. When you reflect on what you’ve been through, you’ll think about the mistakes you made. But, you’ll also be excited about how well you handled some situations and use those same skills again.
- The energy required to try to forget something important draws heavily from your present resilience, wearing it down. Alternatively, focusing your energies on the lessons and skills you’ve learned from past experiences builds your resilience.
- Your support network. We talked about connection earlier. Do you have plenty of friends and family to call on if you need something? Resilient individuals make connections and build a supportive system of people they can visit, call, talk to, and turn to whenever they hit troubled waters.
- If you feel like you’re all alone, start building your support network today by setting a goal to make one new friend within the next month. I know that can be hard with our lives being largely online and some cities and states not being open largely. But there are plenty of support groups, community groups, business groups, etc. where you can connect and network with beautiful souls.
Challenges, transitions, and hardships will invariably arise in your life from time to time. If you confront situations immediately, use knowledge gained from prior trying events, and build your support network, you’ll be on your way to constructing resilience for the future.
We have to commit to ourselves! Do one small thing for yourself each day, and before you know it, you’ll handle any challenge that comes to you with ease!