Column: The power of resiliency


Commentary by Lorene Burkhart

Have you known people who seem to be able to bounce back from adversity and just keep going? We all admire resilience and wonder why some seem to have more than others.

Experts on the subject tell us that it’s a matter of attitude and action. Being optimistic about life and its ups and downs goes a long way toward how we respond to the valleys of life.

Because I’ve been ill many times, I know how it feels to be down, but my attitude for recovery helped lift me up. After heart surgery, I informed everyone that I was not sick but was recovering. A positive response not only helped me but also changed how I was treated and reinforced my belief.

Where do we learn how to be resilient? Child psychologists urge parents to let children solve their own age-appropriate problems. When the parents swoop in to smooth the rough edges, children don’t have the opportunity to know the satisfaction of figuring out how to solve their problem and bounce back.

A suggestion to help people be more resilient is to be a kind listener. When we reinforce positive actions, the recipient likes the feeling and wants to repeat that kind of behavior. Being sympathetic can be a positive response if we add comments of encouragement.

Another way to think about being resilient is to observe how certain materials have the ability to bounce back and return to their original shape with no ill effects. Think about it the next time you pull on your stretch pants.