Monday, December 10, 2012

Thoughts on Resilience - Part Two

Each of us has a considerable capacity for strength. And while sometimes it is easier to embrace being a victim of circumstances, that role removes the obligation to change. Resilient people do not let adversity define them. Instead, they rise above adversity—poverty, abuse, neglect violence, molestation or war—and forge a stronger, more durable character.

Resilience is the means by which we are not immobilized by hardship, but rather bounce back from it stronger, determined, empowered, and able to lead gratifying, flourishing lives.

The greatest weapon in our arsenal is our ability to choose one thought over another. But our choices must be wise. So how can you tell if you are making bad choices? To often we get caught in the ‘Different set of circumstance, different situation, same old crappy outcome’ trap, when we are ensnared by the habits that do not serve us. To begin to make better choices it is necessary to go back and examine and reflect on past events in order to find the strengths you have within.

Many psychologists today preach that it's not really until adulthood that people begin to surmount the difficulties of childhood and to rebuild their lives. But let’s set the record straight. That concept goes back more than 2300 years … back to Aristotle.

In the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle writes that there are two times in our lives when our character is shaped. The first is when we are children. At this time our habits and attitudes are shaped by our parents and our early teachers, who taught us the best they knew how based on what they learned. While these early rules and habit formations were central to our character development, sometimes these lessons were negative.

Our adult conception of the world, however, comes from within and is self-directed. Thus, Aristotle states, we need to look back at those early lessons, those habits we developed, and determine if they serve us or if they are habits that do not serve us. And then we must ask ourselves, “Is this the kind of person I want to be?”

Have a joyful day everyone...

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