Covid-19 brought inherent resilience to the fore

Resilience that was sitting quietly inside us was awakened and that’s why we hear about this word ever so often these days. It is not a quality new to mankind, nor is it newly acquired.

By Shilpa Bhasin Mehra

Published: Sun 27 Feb 2022, 9:18 PM

I am repeatedly asked about resilience, thanks to my unusual life story. In the last 2 years plus, ever since Covid took over our lives, this word seems to have become a very popular one. I have a take on this word, it has always been there in us, just that it was dormant. We are like tea bags, you put us in boiling hot water, and we come alive in our full strength. I think hardship does that to us. They bring our dormant forces alive and to the forefront. Covid has done exactly that. Resilience that was sitting quietly inside us was awakened and that’s why we hear about this word ever so often these days. It is not a quality new to mankind, nor is it newly acquired.

When we are born, we are resilient to live in a world totally strange to us. The only person we feel close to is our mother, rest is unknown. We walk a few steps, fall, cry and then stand up again. The whole process is repeated many times over. It is resilience of a baby not even 1 year old. We see examples of resilience in our armed forces, guarding our countries in harsh conditions, in temperatures ranging from -50 degrees Celsius to scorching 50 plus degrees Celsius. We see resilience in our sports people, the athletes struggling to reach the finishing line, resilience in every stride.

Actually, this quality has always been there. The struggle of a common man to feed his family, that is resilience. The mother staying hungry to make sure her children get food to eat, is resilience in its purest form. I see the feeble rickshaw driver, whose ribs one can count, pulling the weight of his passengers, I see resilience in every pedal movement. So, let’s not talk about this quality in a way as if it has suddenly arisen in us.

The only difference now is that Covid had put the whole world in a hot soup. So, it wasn’t only the examples that I mentioned above, but the whole population that was facing a pandemic and its challenges. We all had to rise to the challenge. So, a force that we hadn’t used before very often, came to the front burner, because that was the need of the hour.

Resilience is what gives people the psychological strength to cope with stress and hardship. It is the mental reservoir of strength that people are able to call on in times of need to carry them through without falling apart. People face all kinds of adversity in life. There are personal crises, such as illness, loss of a loved one, abuse, bullying, job loss, and financial instability. There could be tragic events such as terrorist attacks, mass shootings, natural disasters, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic. People have to learn to cope with and work through very challenging life experiences.

Resilience is what gives people the emotional strength to cope with trauma, adversity, and hardship. Resilient people utilize their resources, strengths, and skills to overcome challenges and work through setbacks. I am reminded of the quote, “The happiest people in the world are not the ones who have the best of everything in life, but they make the best of everything that life brings their way”. Resilience helps them to make the best of every situation. It is not that their life is bed of roses, or they see life through rose tinted lenses.

People who lack resilience are more likely to feel overwhelmed or helpless. Resilient people do experience stress, setbacks, and difficult emotions, but they tap into their strengths and seek help from support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems. Resilience empowers them to accept and adapt to a situation and move forward.

I hear about the core, core strength and core exercises in all workout regimes. I think resilience is the core strength that helps us carry the ups and downs of life.

Whatever you call it— resilience, perseverance, or discipline— it’s critical in our lives. Resilience is what keeps us going. When someone bounces back from setbacks and continues to thrive, they are said to be resilient. But resilience is easier said than done. In times like these, all we need is to be reminded of the power of our potential. Fortunately, history is full of greatest minds who have left behind great wisdom. I am sharing some I find most inspiring.

Steve Maraboli - Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.

Nelson Mandela - Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

Maya Angelou - I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.

Confucius - Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

One thing that Covid has brought to the forefront is our resilience and we can all be proud of the way we have handled the pandemic. We have been caged in our homes, not seen our loved ones for so long, worn a mask without cribbing and followed all the rules. We have definitely emerged stronger, thanks to our resilience. Salute!

Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is a legal consultant based in Dubai and the founder of SBM Consultancy (formerly Legal Connect)

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