Diagnosis of Resilience

We talk a lot about resilience, and we have even defined it once or twice.  But what does resilience look like when it is put into practice?  How could you tell if you possess resilience?  Here are a few signs and symptoms of resilience that will help you know for sure.

Resilience is evidenced by the belief and faith that you possess strengths and are capable of overcoming challenges and setbacks, even the big ones.

Resilience is evident when you view your challenges and setbacks not only as losses but as opportunities as well.  In other words, you are capable of and practice reframing these difficulties and opportunities for growth.

Resilience is evident when you begin to recognize your cognitive distortions.  We tend to trust what goes on in our brains, but there may be occasions when you may need to second guess what your brain is telling you. It’s not that your brain is purposely lying to you, it’s just that it may have developed some faulty or non-helpful thought connections over time.  We call these cognitive distortions.  They often appear as false beliefs, inaccurate connections of circumstances, thought patterns that are unhelpful or downright harmful to you and your relationships.

Resilience is evident when you can for the most part manage strong emotional reactions and impulses.  Whether positive or negative emotions, you can identify if they are accurate and appropriate to your situation, and therefore helpful or harmful to you and your purposes.

Resilience is evident when you can go through even hard passages in life and not succumb to seeing yourself as a victim.  Sometimes people may do things to victimize you, but you need not comply with their wishes by seeing yourself as a victim.  Choosing to control your reactions and responses is one way of avoiding the victim mentality.

Resilience is evident when you choose to focus on those things you can control and act on them.  To focus on the things over which you have no control or influence expends emotional energy and critical time but offers no hope for relief or change.  Resilient people figure what they can do in the moment to make a situation better, and they focus on that.

Resilience is evident when you are in the habit of having a positive outlook on the future, even in difficult times.  More than blind optimism, this is the habit of mind that allows you to maintain reasonable confidence that you will survive, get through the difficulty to see the other side, and will be stronger for it. 

Resilience is evident when even in difficult passages you remain committed to all aspects of your life.  This means understanding that everything in your life is interconnected. You realize that there isn’t any one thing that will suddenly make you happy. You remember that changing one’s job or dropping one’s current partner to try to find that perfect love relationship may not be enough to counteract other difficulties in life.

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