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José Benigno Freire, School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra.

Today we need resilience

Sun, 18 Oct 2020 09:55:00 +0000 Published in Las Provincias, El Comercio and La Voz de Ávila

The term and concept of resilience is gaining momentum at a gallop in the psychological knowledge dissemination , and today it is almost a vital necessity. In a simple way, resilience is defined as the capacity to resist and overcome (very) adverse situations. Thus, resilience is based on two linked and successive phases: enduring and fighting, underlining the action of overcoming, of rebirth .

The first thing is to endure: to suffer and take the brunt of difficult circumstances. On a psychological level, it is like receiving a strong blow that provokes an intense emotional shock and a disconcerting inner blockage. That shock, frontal and unexpected, either collapses or stings. That is to say, if we are not defeated, the inner springs of the personality are activated and we resist by lashing out. This produces a psychological reaction in the style of the popular saying: "hot wounds don't hurt". But if the adversity is prolonged, "the wound cools down"... and the heaviness of suffering is felt.

This day-to-day endurance may cushion some of the pain, but it accumulates fatigue; this fatigue will lead to exhaustion, which will increase fragility, discouragement and apathy. These are hard times, especially if we can only deal with the consequences of a misfortune or fatality. status is where the health emergency has placed us, with the aggravating factor of an uncertain future! That is why we now need to stock up on enormous doses of the fortitude of patience .

However, dramatic, tragic, disturbing circumstances... tear the intimacy staff and generate internal wounds, anguish, disorders, traumas... Resilience focuses on this second phase: that of recomposing the broken psyche, of not allowing oneself to be crushed or to be defeated. Even more than rebuilding oneself, it consists in taking advantage of the setback to grow personally, to mature, to be reborn and revive, to taste again the desire for happiness?

We must take advantage of the spectacular advances in psychology that provide tools and strategies for coping with adversity, especially intervention programs for coping. However, it is worth remembering that resilience is a capacity that is acquired and educated, not a cradle endowment; nor is it achieved with techniques, nor is it a skill of laboratory. I will explain it with a certain irony: when life gives us a blow, it will never ask us if we have already completed the coping program... A few generations ago they would express it this way: give life a chance, especially when life gets rough.

Even so, let psychology help us. The first thing is to stick to and adapt to the requirements of status; obviously, hepatitis is not the same as liver cancer, or a street robbery as a rape. Secondly, know and manage temperament, as some have strengths and others are prone to vulnerability in the face of difficulties. Although the Genetics financial aid , it is not determinative. Let me explain. Let's imagine two airplanes on the runway, one at sea level and the other at an altitude of three thousand meters; the second enjoys an initial advantage, but both can reach the same flight ceiling.

What is important is the end, not the twists and turns of the road: healing wounds, balancing the personality, assimilating the past, recovering hope. This is why resilience is compatible with setbacks, discouragement, fatigue, the need for financial aid or encouragement: to move forward! I insist, it is not so much the stumbling blocks that matter as reaching goal. Or to put it another way, scars also adorn resilience.

And a precise lesson from psychology: the tenacity to overcome adversity is invigorated when the subject not only strives in his own interest, but also opens himself to purposes external to the self. The opening of horizons, the desires of solidarity, the alleviation of other sufferings, the caressing of painful hearts... give solidity, strengthen the spirits and energies. Especially in times of discouragement: by wishing not to harm others, strength is renewed and energy is restored.

The other great resource consists in holding firmly to the strict reality, without coloring it with reveries or disfiguring it according to the tornadic emotional world. The status is or is... this way! From there it is necessary to fight! And not to try to solve it all at once. Nothing is more disheartening than to imagine all the foreseeable difficulties of the future accumulated in a single instant. Stick to today! Focus on today's task: celebrate the short progress or accept the small failure; and go on... We are only effective in and from the present, even if that present is sometimes more tinged with the past and sometimes with the future. Do not be discouraged: that is the way to walk the path. Let us remember the wise old sage, Lao Tse's apt committee : every great journey begins with a first small step...