Resilience is a tool comes to mind when Airmen think about readiness for deployment. But resilience is so much more than a tool, it should become a habit, something that we have and do naturally unspecific to deployment but applicable to all stressful life situations.
One definition of resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, according to Google.
Psychology Today defines it as “the effable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever.”
What a novel concept? To think that this “rut” or difficulty that is present today will not always be there, and that I can be a stronger person when I accept that this “rut” happened but that this is an opportunity to learn and be stronger than I was before.
When a difficulty arises, it is an easier road to submit to the difficulty and embrace self-loathing or pity for a perceived failure. But is a difficulty really a failure? Is a relationship that went bad a failure? Does experiencing the opposite of a preconceived outcome make me a failure?
The expected outcome may have been different than what one expected it to be, but the perceived “failure” does not define the person. You are not a failure. The outcome was different than the expectation.
So how does one become more resilient? There are two tools that one can use to foster resiliency; utilizing coping skills and adopting a proactive approach rather than being reactive.
Coping skills are the individualized tools that each person possesses or obtains for working through an issue. For example, a break-up within a marriage or relationship. You may feel despair, sadness and that they failed. These feelings are normal for this situation.
Coping with such a situation may be tapping in to support systems such as family and friends to process this new situation, connecting with a counselor, utilizing past methods of coping or strengths and focusing on self-care.
Being proactive often correlates to prevention. In the aforementioned scenario, is a break-up preventable? Well not necessarily but if there are recognized issues what was done when there were signs of discord? Was there stress? Lack of communication? Was there an investment by both partners to work on the relationship?
If issues were identified by both individuals and there was communication to work toward a healthier relationship, there is no point of failure; both individuals were proactive. The end of the relationship still happened, but the proactive approach possibly prevented a dire reaction to the situation.
Psychology Today suggests the following to achieve resiliency:
• Being flexible/realizing that change is a part of life
• Maintaining a positive attitude
• Making realistic plans
• Staying connected and communicating with others
• Using coping skills that helped in the past