Last night I read a good article in the current Psychology Today about resilience (this link is to their article defining resilience). Since the current issue doesn’t appear in the archives (lucky me, for being a subscriber), I can’t link you to it, but I will as soon as it’s available. But I can summarize my thoughts after reading the article.
What sticks with me most, and what I find really helpful in today’s world of challenges, is that the author repeatedly points out that resilience is the default state for humans. That’s how we managed to keep on going through our evolution, as new challenges keep cropping up. No matter what, a large proportion of people will make it through hard times and learn from it with out too much permanent damage.
Sure, some folks are negatively affected more than others, and as is the case with most psychological trends, both your inner makeup and your life situation help determine how well you will cope. And people can learn to be more resilient, which eased my mind – I’m pretty sure I’ve done that. One thing the article points out, and that I’ve used to help me become more resilient, is to accept and cherish the fact that suffering and joy are both a part of life. No one gets a life of total ease (and it would be boring).
Encouraged by reading the article (which is quite long and fascinating, and included interesting case studies – you might want to go buy a copy), my plan is to use my experiences during 2020 to hone my ability to rise from stressors and challenges and keep on going forward. I guess my campaign to keep having fun is a part of it. If I can find ways to support and nurture my mental and physical well being, I will be able to help others, as well.
I think I’m psyching myself up to find the good in what will be a very stressful upcoming work week complete with extra worries about coronavirus upticks, concerns for my black and brown fellow citizens, and fighting the urge to move to another country (as if there are many countries that will take Americans).
Still, I want to make sure to be there for friends and family who aren’t feeling very resilient right now. Some of us just aren’t, especially people who feel the pain of others very strongly, those who don’t cope well in isolation, and those who are struck with known and unknown fears. Empathy is something we’re all going to have to work on, and work on hard, if we are all going to find ourselves in a better place, eventually.
What Else Tests Our Resilience? Assholes.
Imagine my delight while looking for the article I read, when I found instead a fun article on exactly what constitutes an asshole. Turns out there are three different types, who knew? They are the dominant asshole, the callous asshole, and the quiet asshole. Since my spouse self identifies as an asshole, I’ll have to check and see which type he thinks he is.
Why isn’t there a lovable asshole category? I think they need it. If you have some resilience, they can be worth the struggle.
Feedback welcome, as always!