When I remember all those challenging moments in my past; all the times I cried, when I felt sad, lonely and when a feeling of impotence invaded me; I realise that every experience allowed me to learn something and each event has contributed to the person that I am today. When I look back, I can’t avoid feeling proud of myself and strong to face the future. However, no matter how difficult the test was, it is easier when we remember it as something that has already happened. The present battles feel to be the hardest tests.
One of my hardest tests has been living in the UK. The change of language and the difficult to speak excellent English has been one of the most challenging things to overcome. In my job, when I go to an interview and even in my personal life, I feel that all the time I am being judged for my language skills and I hate the feeling of being judged!. Maybe I should be worried less about what others think, that is something that I need to work on!.
I wonder how people can overcome tough situations such as deficient parenting, extreme poverty, homelessness, traumatic events, natural disasters, violence, war, human rights abuse, social exclusion, physical illness. All those situations should create a hole in the hearts of the people that go through them, and that hole should be difficult to heal. But despite all the difficulties, people still can stand up and continue with their lives.
So, there is something that keeps us going, something that makes us believe that tomorrow will be better and something that tells us that this is just a temporary phase. Well, I am convinced that “something” is the holy spirit! It confirms God’s presence in our lives.
Biblically, the holy spirit is mentioned by Jesus in John 14:16-18: “I will ask the father, and he will give you another helper, that he may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold him or know him, but you know him because he abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”.
The holy spirit came to reside within Jesus, and we receive it every time we receive Jesus into our lives, he is the helper that comes to guide us in the most challenging moments. According to Galatians 5:22-23, the holy spirit brings us: “the Holy Spirit will build into our lives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”. He is the third member of the Godhead: God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While we are closer to God, we can feel his stronger presence talking to us and guiding us. However, when we sin, his voice turns lower to our ears.
On the other hand, some people would call that capacity of recovering, resilience. Wald (2006) defines resilience as a positive adaptation, or the ability to maintain or regain mental health, despite experiencing adversity. I believe resilience is our psychologically capacity to move on from misfortunes, all those tools that we use to move on that has been collected through our experiences.
The holy spirit gives us faith, guide, motivation and companion to believe there is a future, and resilience give us the tools to do it.
What contributes to our resilience?
Many authors have researched about the primary sources or characteristics of resilience. Here I present some of the results.
Herrman (2011) shows that the sources that contribute to resilience are:
- Personality traits: openness, extraversion and agreeableness
- Internal locus of control: to base your success on your own work believing you control your life
- Cognitive appraisal: positive interpretation of events and cohesive integration of adversity into self-narrative
Herrman also mentiones other characteristics that have been related to resilience, such as:
- Cognitive flexibility: to switch between different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously
- Positive self-concepts
- Emotional regulation: to stay calm in stressful situations
- Active coping: to use one’s own resources to deal with a problematic situation
Citrin (2016) advises that we should:
- Embrace failure as it is inevitable
- Be persistent
- Focus on our passion
- Be open to shifting possibilities
- Don’t merely focus on failed efforts
- Stop telling ourselves that stress is bad
- Citrin, RS, & Weiss, A 2016, The Resilience Advantage : Stop Managing Stress and Find Your Resilience, Business Expert Press, New York. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [13 June 2019].
- EveryStudent.com (e.d) (n.d) Who is the Holy Spirit?. Available from: https://www.everystudent.com/forum/hspirit.html[Accessed 13th June 2019]
- Herrman, H. et al. (2011) ‘What is Resilience?’, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 56(5), pp. 258–265. doi: 10.1177/070674371105600504. [Accessed 13thJune 2019]
- Wald J, Taylor S, Asmundson GJG, et al. (2006). Literature review of concepts: psychological resiliency. Toronto (ON): Defence R&D Canada.