Building Resilience

My daughter is finishing up her first year of elementary school.  Over the course of the year, I’ve anxiously asked her what she has to work hard to understand and she tells me school fun and easy.

Now as the first year comes to an end, I can see her self-confidence.  We all know that early experiences help shape our view of the world for much of our lives to come.  I had hoped that my daughter would learn that she is capable both socially and academically in early school experiences.

Some people are not so lucky as to have positive first experiences.  Whether it’s school, making friends or managing emotions, bad outcomes early on can result in a lack of self confidence.

People who have experienced good outcomes tend to see themselves as effective.  With each good outcome, their confidence in themselves builds.  These are often the people who you might consider resilient.  If they experience a failure, their confidence in their abilities motivates them to continue to try until they succeed.  Very often they do succeed and over a lifetime become proficient in many areas.

On the other hand, doubt in oneself often leads to resignation after unsuccessful first efforts.  Those who view themselves as competent and capable also often experience initial failure.  The difference is that they maintain a commitment to their goal, even in the face of obstacles.  A sense of competence produces continual effort, while feelings of incapability lead to capitulation.

In order strengthen your commitment to any undertaking:

  • Do a pros and cons.  Do one pros and cons of sticking to your goal and one for giving up.
  • Ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen?”  Usually it’s lost time and energy and the sting of lost pride if you fail.
  • Create your own cheer leading squad.  Find people who believe in you and will cheer you on when your motivation lags.
  • Make a commitment to just a small step towards your goal.
  • Give yourself incentives to achieve those small steps.
  • Think about why you originally set the goal.
  • Practice, practice, practice.  We can’t learn to drive, master an instrument or lead a meeting without practicing.  Don’t forget: it’s best to practice when the stakes aren’t so high.  You wouldn’t want to try a new song at a concert.  The same is true for learning other skills.

Resilience is not necessarily a quality that you are either born with our not.  Nor is there any one “right” way to get from here to there.  The willingness to get up once you have fallen and try again, is often the difference between success and defeat.

15 Replies to “Building Resilience”

  1. Pingback: PsychCentral
  2. Resilience is my middle name…….Overcomer of a childhood of abuse (verbal and physical), unbelievably poor, snow came in thru a crack in the wall, molested and no father.

    31 years of abusive marriage, divorce and a church who voted me out of membership, with my name up on a big screen, that said: “Conduct Unbecoming a Child of God.”

    Won a scholarship because of what I wrote about my life; in school at age 63, the moderator of an abused survivors’ group, written my memoir and a poetry book ( and endorsed by Elie Wiesel, Wayne Dyer, Dr. Larry Dossey, Alice Miller, Clint van Zandt, Dr. Elaine Weiss, Dr. Ellen Langer, etc., etc…..

    I believe we are all here to make a difference, and it is my intention to get the message out there regarding verbal abuse; so rarely recognized nor understood (even by some therapists).

    I think my resilience and persistence, are for the most part, genetic.

    Thanks for hearing my story….Allison

  3. i am really very free a open book, but i often get misunderstood and easily get in to he trouble. want to get rid off this nature.trying meditation.even my friends told me that you shouldn’t be like this .

    let me know any techniques if u have for getting ripoff this

    Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *