This article is part of a collaborative effort to shed light on the critically important topic of resilience. Three perspectives, however, revealing common patterns of the concept and approaches to become more resilient. You can read the original collaborative post on Patty’s Blog featuring the skilled helpers listed below: https://pattywolters.com/blog/2020/12/24/resilience-skilled-helpers-collaborative/
- Learning resilience through flowing water by Rika Cossey, Transformational Coach @ www.rikacossey.com
- Resilient by Sujit Gogoi, Career Clarity Coach @ The Impactverse Coaching
Full article by Mathias Sager (Psychology & Art)
BECOME RESILIENT: How to mentally configure the three basic human needs of safety, satisfaction, and connectedness
“Resilience is a process reﬂecting positive adaptation in the face of adversity” [1, p. 1]. What adversity means to different people depends on individual, socio-cultural, and contextual circumstances.
The Big Five or five-factor personality assessment model (FFM) was found to be able to depict the concept of resiliency as a personality aspect as accurately as specific resiliency measurement tools . Personality traits described and assessed with the five-factor model  consist of five mostly independent personality trait dimensions, i.e.,
- neuroticism, and
- openness to experience .
A resilient personality is characterized by high scores on the FFM dimensions of extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience, and low scores in neuroticism . Openness to experience seems to be particularly important; it should be seen as’ openness to cultural diversity’ too , including the ability to regulate one’s emotions  and to avoid extensive sensation seeking, which, for example, bears the risk of substance abuse . Equipped with such personal abilities, the rapid (global) changes in our times  caused by ever novel, complex, and changing socio-economical, environmental, technological, and health-related factors  can be met with higher resilience.
Other psychological concepts related to coping with adversity are the so-called ‘tolerance for ambiguity’ and ‘tolerance for uncertainty’ measures. These abilities are closely linked to mindfulness. For example, people educated in open-mindedness and who have learned to tolerate ambiguity can better persevere in their tolerance even in situations of insecurity and danger . In that context, hope as related to resilience is enabling individuals to imagine a better future and to endure the present despite the uncertainty for such an achievement . However, it’s not done with hope alone. A strong belief in and an identification with the possibility of achievement are the drivers for the work ethic that required for the realization of the hope. That way, in a first step, the promotion of hope might be a useful approach to reduce uncertainty intolerance and consequently to increase the tolerance for ambiguity for a more open-mindedness that leaves room for thoughtful and empathic decisions that lead to work towards desired and desirable outcomes.
Yes, a major outcome of resilience is empathy. It’s not threats themselves, but how people can resiliently respond to them. If there is no openness to decipher ambiguous, uncertain information, one risks to take the shortcut of, for example, stereotyping and promote black-and-white thinking that is further hindering an open mindset. A vicious spiral, indeed!
Maslow (1968) made the point that we are oriented toward either growth or safety in our everyday lives and that a growth orientation is more favorable for psychological health and well-being . When self-protection (needs) get reduced, self-awareness can arise and facilitate the appreciation of multiple possibilities in situations, which might be the stage of personal development where tolerance for ambiguity as the capacity to accept paradoxes starts to become feasible . Systems of mass conformity, authoritarianism, and nationalism/racism (as well as an emotional attachment to materialism in general) are offered as a means for safety, unfortunately at the cost of growth possibilities through autonomy, creativity, and the use of reason.
Unfortunately, “dealing with ambiguity, respectively the ability to cope with adversity (resilience) is seldom taught, but individuals striving for higher qualities tend to understand that uncertainty is the gateway to opportunity” [14, p. 30]. Therefore, societies should prepare the next generation for life, and it will be crucial how we instill hope and support our children to live constructively with uncertainties while retaining a high tolerance for ambiguity and open-mindedness as required to be truly resilient and find the solutions sought for the benefit of all .
Practically spoken, to get more resilient, one needs to be ready to adapt her/his belief system. Unfortunately, our ‘stable identity’ obsessed ego causes us to not like change. Nevertheless, as long as there is a fear of loss, there will always be defense mechanisms that hamper open-mindedness, and as a result, resilience too. There is good news, though, to adopt a resilient belief system, the three basic human needs of (1) safety, (2) satisfaction, and (3) connectedness don’t need to be abandoned, while it is essential to think about their socio-temporal ‘configuration’, which I call Awareness Intelligence:
- Access your spiritual source, your intuition, free from social conditioning, and as close to the source of life that has brought you here. You are part of the intelligent universe independent of your upbringing; what else could be safer.
- Meet others in the here and now openly, without past judgments and future expectations. Such non-transactional and unconditional love brings the highest satisfaction.
- Expand from separateness to wholeness. The future isn’t about physical survival as long as possible; it is about meaning and connecting to the whole humanity (even future generations) and our soul during a lifetime. With such a connectedness, future worries dissolve.
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