Emotional Resilience

What is it?


At the heart of resilience is a belief in oneself—yet also a belief in something larger than oneself.

Resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs… It’s possible to strengthen your inner self and your belief in yourself, to define yourself as capable and competent. It’s possible to fortify your psyche. It’s possible to develop a sense of mastery.”

– Hara Estroff Marano, Editor-at-Large for Psychology Today


Life is about choices and we make those choices daily, and mostly, without much attention. Is an unconscious choice really a choice though?

At other times we feel that we don’t have a choice; we are swept along by events, we then blame others for our lack of choice. We feel at the mercy of the decisions of others and we are then rendered impotent by our lack of control over the situations we face.

We can also feel emotionally controlled by others,” She made me so angry!” or “I can’t believe he did that, it makes me feel so frustrated!”. There is nothing wrong with these feelings except that we feel negatively controlled by them, and exterior factors (people, situations) are creating our inner emotional environment.

Emotional Resilience is about learning how to overcome these elements of dependence, being less defined by external factors and more defined by understanding one’s own emotional structure, and how one can respond rather than react to situations and people around you. It gives perspective and confidence to the individual to frame their own life, and consciously make choices that will be compatible with their nature.


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Emotional Resilience is immortalised in Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’:

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!