If you have ever been around a younger child that is either sleep deprived or hungry, you'll find that just about anything will launch them into what seems like hours of wailing. The ketchup touched the chicken? Wail for 2 hours. Your sibling looks at you? Throw yourself on the floor and have the ultimate meltdown. I can laugh at it now but in those moments I thought I had given birth to two of the biggest drama llamas to walk on Earth. Ironically, I found myself much like my children with the only difference being my endless hours of wailing weren't due to lack of sleep or hunger, they were due to my husbands betrayal and my mother's coinciding cancer diagnosis.
I wrote a journal back in winter about some of my best growth being done during what I thought were my weakest moments; me on my floor, sobs escaping my mouth, and my inner therapist talking me through the pain. I didn't realize it at the time but that was me having emotional resilience which has subsequently led to overcoming things I used to think I was too weak to get through. Now that I have climbed the mountain that once looked daunting, I keep circling the same question: what makes a person resilient? How did I get through all of that and come out even more ahead than I bargained for?
One could argue that society as a whole is resilient. Having been through wars, inequalities, natural disasters, etc, society is still evolving with the human spirit remaining *mostly* strong. Fundamentally, we all possess matching stress-response systems, so this leads me to believe that resilience isn't about certain people just inherently being resilient and others not, instead, I think that resilience is a trait that can be acquired. I can go even further to say that I think trauma certainly gives one who's experienced it an edge in building resilience but for the most part, trauma does not and should not precede one becoming resilient.
The problem with resilience is that it is dependent on the way your life has unfolded to be able to test whether or not it is an inherited trait or if it can be constructed by an individual. If one is so lucky to live a life with zero hurdles to get through, zero threats, and zero loss, it is just not possible to determine if they have any resilience. Those that have suffered an unfortunate demise have either succumbed to the devastation or risen above and come out a stronger and better human. The ones that have thrived after unexpected trials, by nature or nurture have acquired a certain set of skills. These skills include but are not limited to possessing an internal locus of control (belief that you control situations, not circumstances), perception of the outcome (victim status or survivor-seeing trauma as an opportunity to grow), finding meaning in the event, knowing how to regulate your emotions, and so on.
Socrates has written that we, as humans, should not surrender to impatience if faced with suffering. He advised to follow the law of reason which says that it is wise for humans who are facing turbulence to have patience. When one is grieving they mustn't allow the grief to negate the ability of utilizing reason, for reason is what one needs to overcome said grief. He goes further to say that it is of upmost importance to essentially talk over the problem with yourself (my nightly inner therapist meetings while wailing on my bedroom floor) and remain rational about the issue at hand but do not remain in this state of in between indefinitely; wailing for long periods and not being rational will keep you holding on to the pain, creating resentment and ultimately holding you back from progressing. This thought process of his ties into resilience being something you can construct prior to a traumatic event by inculcating your mind with a plan to adapt, embrace a positive mind-frame, become a master of self-management, become confident, creative, have a little austerity, learn acceptance, and understand the fundamental existential dimensions.
Tell your son this.
your baby girl.
These skills have gotten me through the shittiest of shitstorms and I am instilling these traits in my children. God forbid they ever have to go through what am. Regardless, it is with these skills that my children will become some of the toughest, most humble, and most importantly, inspiring members of society.