"A good half of the art of living is resilience." - Alain de Botton
In week 4 of our bachelor's course, we explored the topic of resilience. What exactly is resilience? Resilience is the ability to come back or bounce back from a difficult situation in our personal, educational, or work-life. A particular incident in my life took place where I failed one of my classes with a couple of marks back in high school which led me to take a gap year after I lost all motivation to continue with my education.
I felt hopeless after grades were released, I had a storm of emotions that clouded my mind, I felt so distraught that I had no clue on how to progress further. I felt like something had chained me down and everyone labelled me a failure in life which added to the suffering. I didn’t know how to face anyone therefore I isolated myself from the outside world.
I took a year from my high school education cause I knew if I were to progress at this stage I would end up in a darker place. I pushed myself to do something instead of sitting aimlessly at home. At this point in life, I had a goal that I wanted to be self-sufficient and not end up as nobody so I decided to take up an IATA course that would not only help me progress to my career goals but also would keep me occupied from ongoing negativity that surrounded my grade.
I once read this quote on Instagram “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” -Suzy Kassem (n.d) which reminded me of how I found myself constantly pondering that I would end up being a failure in life and I wouldn’t be able to survive in this harsh world and then I stumbled upon this particular quote which opened my eyes and made me think that I was the only one who would be held responsible for my very own thought process. I had to be my own person despite what everyone had to say. Because in the end if I doubted myself as a person or if I doubted my aspirations I would end up failing in life.
Studies were conducted which showed individuals which were resilient bounced back from stressful experiences much quicker and effectively than those who lacked the factor of resilience in them. This theory is purely based on how positive emotions have a drastic impact on the resilience of a person as it allows space for understanding the true positive meaning out of a situation (Tugade and Fredrickson, 2011). In my experience, this theory relates clearly with my life as being in that position where everyone lashed out at me for taking a gap year got me very stressed and this ignited my negative thought process hence I found myself constantly putting myself down. This theory also coincided with Suzy Kassem’s quote on doubt which in retrospect with my situation really enabled me to be more optimistic of the current situation and I was able to bounce back from the dark place.
I realized I was being very harsh with myself. I needed to understand that failure is normal and every successful person goes through a period that tests them very methodically. A test wouldn’t determine who I would become in life and taking that gap year showed me that if you do something out of the ordinary people would degrade you. There is good in the bad, and there is always bad in the good, in the end, it’s all up to us on how we choose to see ourselves.
I am not a completely optimistic person I still tend to overthink things out of proportion. I still have a long way to go before I can get mentally healthy. I will frequently read different studies, blogs and books which would help me be more optimistic which in turn will make me resilient in times of adversity. One of the books that I think will definitely help improve my optimism is "It's better than it looks" by Gregg Easterbrook which talks about all the current worldly problems and how having belief in it itself can help tackle all these problems.
Fredrickson, M. M. T. a. B. L., 2011. Resilient Individuals Use Positive Emotions to Bounce Back From Negative Emotional Experiences. [Online]
Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3132556/
[Accessed 27 February 2022].
Quote Fancy, n.d. Suzy Kassem Quotes. [Online] Available at: https://quotefancy.com/suzy-kassem-quotes [Accessed 28 February 2022].