There is a German term. It is called Zeitgeist. It means the spirit of the time. And in this time, one word that I started to hear more in the last three to five years that is pointing to an important reality is the notion of resilience and being resilient.
And I think the reason why that idea has become more popular as of late, at least in modern Western Society–Los Angeles in my case–is that the basic needs and the amount of toughness necessary for my very existence has gone down quite a bit.
Has Society Made Us Weak?
And so we live in these boxes and we drive these cars with airbags and everything is kind of safe. We live actually in a very protected life and so we have not had to be as tough or as resilient. But in terms of mental health, and difficulties, and interpersonal relationships–people have struggled as much or more than they ever did.
And so that term has come back because we have noticed that people–I am going to use a strong word–are weak. They have a hard time handling difficulties in their interpersonal, work, or life skills in general.
Not physical difficulties and demands necessarily–but the kind of demands that we deal with every day.
And so because of that, people say, “Well, you know, we have got to learn how to be more resilient. We have to teach our kids how to be more resilient.”
What is Resilience?
And the notion of resilience relates to fortitude, a certain amount of strength. Resilience relates to the idea of being able to bounce back from something. I get impacted but I can bounce back and still be strong.
The notion of resilience has to do with consolidation on an emotional level. That something might impact me. And emotionally, you know, I kind of go to pieces for a minute, but I can bring all those pieces back together…and bring them forth in the next moment.
And for me, I am definitely one of those people that have concern about the direction that our society is going in. I have a bunch of children. I work with a lot of young people. I try to teach them to be resilient, to be tough, to be able to deal with the things that life throws at them.
How to Become More Resilient
The question of how to be more resilient is a very simple…with a very simple answer. You have to go through difficulties. You have to teach people that it is okay to go through difficulties and that that is a natural and important part of life. That is how you become resilient.
If the difficulties are above your level, then you need to go through those difficulties with support. But ideally, just enough support so that you have to put in your own effort. Not so much support that you are being enabled through every difficulty.
So that is what I do with my children. You know, I want them to go through particular challenges that are just at their level. Not that I cannot, you know, figure that out perfectly, but I am gauging what is just the level of challenge where they have to exert effort that is maybe a little more than they think they can.
Right? Because I want them to be able to have that sense of ‘I can go through difficult times, or difficult things, or challenges and it can be really hard and I could think I am not going to make it… but I can’.
Because that is the experience of resilience. Wow. I cannot believe I got through that. You know. Wow. Now, look at me, look at my ability to do that.
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