What is Resilience?

Lesson objective:

In this lesson, we learn about resilience and the basic resources on which we depend on to succeed in the face of stress.

In the face of traumatic experiences, growth and change are possible. 

But, it would be unfair and unrealistic to suggest that those who experience trauma should expect or even strive for “a return to normal.” 

Most often, trauma creates a “new normal”—a new sense of self, a new set of feelings, thoughts and behaviors that must be confronted, addressed, challenged, and integrated into life in pursuit of a healthy future.

Progress and growth in the face of trauma is less about a return to how things were, and more about growing into the future in a way that is not consumed by the past. 

That includes managing some symptoms and reversing or undoing others. It may include building strong social supports. It may include being open and honest about your reactions and triggers. As said, each person’s process is different. 

Your ability to successfully adjust and succeed in life after trauma is what we call resilience. 

Resilience suggests that an individual can negotiate survival and success in spite of adversity, and in the aftermath of adversity. 

Of course, some aspects of resilience depend on you, and other aspects depend on your environment. In some situations, resilience may be easy; in others, more difficult.

Even more simply, resilience is the ability to successfully adapt in the face of adversity. It does not mean immunity to stress and trauma. It does not mean that stress and trauma will not affect you or leave negative impacts. 

It means that you have solid defenses to confront it and stand your ground, as best as you can, in the face of what may come. 

In other words, resilience describes your ability to adapt to adverse circumstances in order to maintain your access and ability to navigate survival resources.