Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A trap of resilience

Some people say that having difficulties makes you stronger. By contrast, many people are suffering from various stressors.

On reading an autobiography of a remarkable person, you see a certain phrase very frequently. It is that “what made me strong.” Some people are keen to say an experience in which he or she had very tough time. They believe that overcoming such challenges cause them stronger, wiser, motivated, and energized.

But is it true? In real, most people would like to avoid tough time. And actually, some people get broken their body and mind due to tragic events. What distinguish the outcome?

Recently, the term “resilience” is often referred in the context of traumatic stress. Resilience means an ability to cope with the challenge. People with high resilience tend to consider the event as a gift rather than misfortune. They are eager to learn something from it. They are open-minded to seek help and get along with the stressors. As a result, they gain something useful, such as reframing ideas, good friends, compassion for others, and so on.

The Conversation: Is it true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?

Resilience is indeed an important factor in growing us up. However, I do not think that this concept applies to all traumatic situations.

In many cases, victims are even not given a chance to get resilience. Children who had been abused by the parents often distrust others for a long time. They hardly understand the meaning of being abused. Otherwise, they misunderstand their experience as they are bad enough to be punished. This idea is over-adapting, and completely of dysfunction.

On the other hand, resilience is often exaggerated by remarkable people. People who write an autobiography are not average persons. Many of them are blessed inherently and have lots of chance to succeed. Recall bias is also serious. People who have been successful tend to remember difficult situations they had overcome. By contrast, failures are not remembered by them. Furthermore, losers never write an autobiography.

I do not think resilience is meaningless. It is useful for some people. But they are ready to believe the value of resilience. If your friend is suffering from some challenges, you should be empathetic, not tell him about resilience unless he is willing to accept this concept.

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