I’ve got what it needs to pull through !

Much research in recent years has led to the concept of resilience. It is the ability tobounce back and overcome the trials of life by relying on one’s own resources. It can be applied to people or communities as well.

It has been observed that, when faced with the same difficulties, some people pull through better than others. They are usually called resilient personalities or coping personalities. These individuals are found to have certain general characteristics:

Social Abilities 

  • Good ability to communicate, sense of humour, sociable behaviour, empathy, ability to form relationships
  • Ability to put things into perspective

Sense of Autonomy

  • Ability to act independently, a strong notion of identity
  • Ability to control the environment based on the knowledge of one’s needs

Solution oriented

  • Ability to form abstract ideas and to reflect. Thought which is both concrete and flexible
  • Ability to find alternative solutions
  • Flexibility

Having objectives in life and being determined to achieve them

  • Knowing one’s expectations of other people and being able to manage them
  • Ability to set goals for oneself
  • Ability to think ahead
  • Perseverance
  • A hopeful disposition
  • A feeling of inner cohesion, a feeling that one’s life plans are coherent
  • One knows where one’s going

Of course none of us has all these wonderful qualities. But the general picture gives some ideas on aspects of personality which one may want to cultivate before being caught in the trap of the difficulties of life.

Aid workers’ responsibility

Ultimately, an aid worker has the responsibility to know how to mitigate high levels of stress o avoir risks, such as those encountered in insecure contexts. They cannot count purely on their organization to provide the best possible environment to do their job.

An aid or relief worker also has to draw from deep, personal resources to grow moral strength, courage and maintain a sense of coherence despite the potential disorganization of a tough environment. In that sense, resilience belongs also to a deep spiritual and ethical set of choices, which will protect and guide the person when fighting destruction and distress.

Practicall, humanitarian resilience means for a person working in the field to:

  • Developing “stress hardiness” over long periods of time
  • Bouncing back and recovering fairly soon after a critical incident
  • Developing moral strength andcourage ina sustainable way.

This is only possible through maintaining risk factors at low levels with the support of the organization, but also alongside, developing protective factors.

© CHP 2014

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