Resilience: it’s a buzz word these days in the self-help section of bookstores both online and brick and mortar. But that’s not why I am writing about it. I would bet that if you do a strategic time search of this blog, you could tell which classes I was enrolled in at any given time. At this moment I am smack in the middle of not one, but two classes on crisis and trauma. Yep, I’m up to my eyeballs in horrible human experiences and how to manage recovery and working through.
Good times, right?
What keeps gnawing at me as I try to sleep at night (also the reason I am now contemplating a PhD and all the research that goes with it) is the question of resilience, and why some people seem to have it while others don’t. I’m just so struck by people who experience the exact same disaster and react in completely different ways.
In some cases, there are obvious reasons where people have larger burdens than others, so one more thing may be the last thing they can take. But in other cases, there can be two people who seemingly have the same level of support, similar backgrounds and resources and yet they react and move through crisis in wholly different ways. How does that happen? What’s in each one that makes it so? And can it be changed, or learned or passed on?
I often talk about my own life with the positive spin that it deserves. I’m happily married (mostly), my kids are healthy and thriving, I have a home, money to pay my bills, and siblings, extended family, in-laws and friends that all make my life richer just by being in it. However, a lot of the happiness and satisfaction I feel takes a daily effort on my part. I choose to focus on the things I just listed rather than all that I haven’t said. I’m not going to make a list of the trauma in my life, that’s not the point of this post. Just know, if you were to read my “case study” you may wonder about (and at) my resiliency.
I want my kids to have that same sense of satisfaction with their lives, even when they inevitably come up against bumps in the road, because life is often a series of bumps in the road. I don’t know why I have it, but I hope to figure out how to pass it on to them.
So, I guess I’ll start my PhD research a little early, right here at home. Studying resiliency and not just how to get it, but how to give it as well.