Boy, is this hard. There are plenty of other words for what we're going through, but let's just start with 'this is really hard.'
After week after week of seeing black men and a black woman gunned down, our country is embroiled in protests for racial and social justice in the middle of a worldwide pandemic with a virus that has no plans of leaving and continues to infect and kill thousands of people.
But what we've seen in communities all around this country is a burgeoning solidarity for justice and for police reform as well as a mindfulness for continuing to stay safe from the coronavirus.
Part of what I want to acknowledge through all of this anxiety, fear, anger and uncertainty is the resilience shown by so many people amidst our country's troubles.
A simple definition of resilience is the ability to bounce back when things don't go as planned. I don't know about you, but I'm guessing not much has gone "as planned" in your life since March.
So this issue of
The Flame will be about resilience. I hope you enjoy.
Please continue to assess your own risk and stay safe as you head out into our new COVID-19 world!
Betty Long, RN
Take Tigger's Advice!
For me, the most compelling and inspirational 'definition' of resilience is the poem "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou, who didn't just survive the significant trauma of her early life; she made something magnificent of that life. She was a writer, actor, professor, dancer, civil rights activist and an amazingly strong, brilliant woman. Though she died in 2014, her words continue to inspire.
Psychologists take a much less creative approach and define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. And now, we can add global pandemic to the list!
One clinical psychologist, Susan Kobasa, PhD is well known for her work on resilience or 'hardiness.' Her research showed that resilient people don't dwell on failures; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and then move forward.
Kobasa identified three key elements:
Challenge – resilient people view a difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. They look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from, and as opportunities for growth. They don't view them as a negative reflection on their abilities or self-worth.
Commitment – Resilient people are committed to their lives and their goals, and they have a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning. Commitment isn't just restricted to their work – they commit to their relationships, their friendships, the causes they care about, and their religious or spiritual beliefs.
Personal Control – Resilient people spend their time and energy focusing on situations and events that they have control over. Because they put their efforts where they can have the most impact, they feel empowered and confident. Those who spend time worrying about uncontrollable events can often feel lost, helpless, and powerless to take action.
And Dr. Cal Crow, Program Director of the Center for Learning Connections at Edmonds College in Lynnwood, WA, identified several further attributes that resilient people display:
They have a positive image of the future; they maintain a positive outlook, and envision brighter days ahead.
They have solid goals, and a desire to achieve those goals.
They maintain healthy relationships, but don't bow to peer pressure. They are empathetic and compassionate, however, they don't waste time worrying what others think of them.
They never think of themselves as victims – they focus their time and energy on changing the things that they have control over.
The truth of the matter--a fact of living---is that we are going to be challenged---and we're going to fail from time to time: it's an inevitable part of living. The only way to avoid being challenged or failing is to never go out, never trying anything new or never taking a risk. Who among us would want a life like that?? Certainly not Maya Angelou!
Please keep taking deep breaths, eat healthy, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, wash your hands, wear your face mask. Stay safe! Stay strong! Be Resilient!!