Friday, March 29, 2013

Personal Resilience 101: Connections and Compassion


I am convinced that the greatest of all sorrows is to feel alone, to feel unwanted, deprived of all affection. It consists in not having anyone…May we all be instruments of peace, of love, and of compassion.
~Mother Teresa~


 “Regardless of our age or how secure and confident we feel, if we are to strengthen and maintain our optimism and resilience it is essential that we  interact with people who accept us and from whom we gather strength,” writes Robert Brooks PH.D and Sam Goldstein PH.D, authors of The Power of Resilience. They point out, “If we are to nurture and maintain meaningful, emotionally satisfying connections and lead a resilient lifestyle, it is equally important for us to serve and be in the company of charismatic adults.” The people that we spend the most time with personally and professionally influences our capacity to be resilient.
Our Connections Build or Diminish Resilience
There are different degrees of connectedness that we experience in our relationships.  Brooks and Goldstein associate the following qualities in relationships that build our resilience:
·        Relationships that involves a mutual give and take
·        Relationships in which we experience a high level of trust, caring and openness
·        Relationships that provides a sense of security and safety
The authors associate the following qualities in relationships that diminish our resilience:
·        Relationships in which there is an overabundance of dependence
·        Relationships in which there is manipulation
·        Relationships in which there is a lack of empathy and compassion
When you give it thought, I’m sure you would agree that most of the relationships that has had a positive impact on your life are more apt to be those which display qualities identified in the first group associated with connections that build resilience. And the relationships which has had or is having a negative impact on the quality of your life are more likely to be identified with the qualities in the second group.
How-to Cultivate Relationships that Build Your Resilience?
First, you must examine your capacity to serve and how your contributions can help to inspire and elevate the lives of others. The practice of caring for and demonstrating compassion towards others builds up emotional bank accounts with those we are connected to. In doing so, we become “charismatic adults” in the lives of others.
Second, you can increase our connectedness to others by engaging in activities with individuals who have similar beliefs, values and goals. Over time, many of these relationships can become sources of emotional and spiritual strength.
Third, you can enlarge your circle of connectedness by becoming interested in the lives of people with diverse backgrounds, interests, beliefs and values. Through these efforts you can find the common threads that actually connects us all as members of the human race.
Your sense of connectedness to other people increases your spiritual, emotional and mental well-being. Leading a resilient lifestyle requires a sense of connectedness and a demonstration of compassion towards yourself and others.

Grow Forward and Flourish