Resilience is the ability to recover from or adapt to stress or adversity. Ed was exhibiting many of the key traits we associate with resilience:
- He was optimistic, able to reframe his trauma within the context of what he was able to do that day.
- He was not paralyzed by the fear that accompanies the trauma.
- He was persisting in his recovery tasks and doing so within a social network of support.
- He was exhibiting autonomy, choosing this activity.
- Whatever emotional reactions may accompany his situation, they were well within his control and not interfering with his communications or interactions.
Resilience can be about survival: it can also be about thriving. Many are the stories of scientists, explorers, athletes – and, more importantly, students, parents and each of us – who, facing adversity or the prospect of failure, used that stare-in-the-face reality to reach beyond what we consider our usual capabilities to find something else: power, connectedness, stillness; something a little beyond our ability to name.
Can you remember a time when you were resilient? If so, I invite you to spend time with those memories to investigate that constellation of actions, thoughts and motivations. What from that experience can you bring forward, bring alive, keep alive to guide you through this day?