"The importance of a resilient self"

In these times of predefined actions – where abilities and activities are  measured and judged within sometimes rigid structures –  What makes us tick? What drives us to continue? How do we know ourselves? 

This is something that I have mused over from time to time – most recently as I observe the way in which we deal with changing and challenging environments. 

During my professional career and personal life I have faced many changes ( like anyone else) – some have been as a result of my own actions and choices, many have not… And in many cases I have been surprised and bouyed by a collective resilience found in my own agency, others’ support and the strength of our collective human spirit. These are surely things to celebrate – even in the darkest moments the “dawn” can never be far away.

I wonder therefore why we are so resilient – and conversely why at moments of challenge, our resilience itself is often questioned or held up as an example of how “bad things are” or considered in a negative light? 

Most recently my reflection on this point arose during discussions about nursing work and the changing (sometimes not ideal) conditions in which nurses strive to deliver good care. Very valid and occasionally challenging points were being made on all sides – and rightly so ( see previous blog: challenge is good!!) – however it struck me that there was an undercurrent of messages passing backwards and forward which seem to focus more on how each party thought “nursing should be” or what the profession “should be concerned with” from their perspective – most noticeably the question of whether nurses ‘should have to be’ resilient to deliver care in an often challenging environment.

listening and reflecting on the expressed views it struck me that nursing is no different to many other areas of life – in trying to find ways of making a difference, finding a meaning for moving forwards and galvanising that individual agency and collective human spirit “in the light of” rather than “despite” the difficult circumstances.

As in everyday life, finding a way to keep going is what we all do. Giving up or giving in is not an option. We understand fully where we are ( and occasionally how or why) – and we each find our own ways of keeping going.

Fundamental to this is a strong sense of self and a belief in that ‘self’- in ourselves and others- we are different ‘selves’ to our peers but individually and collectively nurses have a sense of belonging and purpose that’s speaks to us and drives us on. 

This neither makes us superhuman, silent victims or unaware of how much easier things could be. 

It makes us human.