An Introduction to Resilient Living



Emotional resilience is the capacity to adapt to demanding circumstances and quickly recover from life’s inevitable challenges. It is the ability to find opportunities for growth in all our experiences and the key to strengthening self-esteem and confidence, minimizing the effects of stress and enhancing relationships, and empowers you to determine the quality of your own life experience on a day-to-day basis.

And yet, ask anyone you know to define resilience, and there’s a good chance they’ll say it’s about “bouncing back” from a crisis. And with mountains of articles, essays, and books supporting this theme, it’s no wonder our view of resilience has remained so narrow.

Life can be a real roller coaster ride at times. But when we’re clear about our values and willing to rise to the challenge, the very things that threaten to unbalance us can also serve as windows of opportunity to achieve far greater life satisfaction. ~Author Unknown

Start Here

My mission for ERL goes well beyond providing basic information and resources on developing emotional resilience. I want to encourage you to ask questions, challenge assumptions and become more aware of yourself and your perspective on life.

Take your perspective on resilience for example. Instead of “bouncing back” I challenge you to shift your perspective of this process to bouncing forward. This may seem like just “word play” but it’s far more important than you might imagine.

Bouncing back focuses on recovery and returning to former circumstances, and while that may be comforting, it is also limiting. Highly resilient people are intentional about the way in which they go about dealing with problems, and an important part of that is being open to finding opportunities for growth in all of their experiences.

  • The recently divorced can never go back to the way things were, but with the right attitude, they can learn from the experience in order to create a better future.
  • When someone experiences a major health scare, possibly involving some hospital time, they can never go back to being the person they were before the event because even if they fully recover, they have changed emotionally and intellectually as a result of the experience.
  • If you lose your job, short-term you might bounce back by finding another job, but why not strive to bounce forward by looking for opportunities to learn new skills to find an even better position with more growth potential?

If you still have doubts it may be because you’ve bought into one of the lingering myths about how resilience works, so I’ve prepared this presentation to expose the 7 most common misconceptions.



Resilient Living is a Lifestyle Choice

Today we live in a world that is filled with overflowing schedules, endless stressors and change (often unexpected and sometimes not so pleasant), which supports the consensus that there has never been a greater need for resilience.

The good news is you already have everything you need to become more resilient in life because we are each born with some degree of emotional and physical resilience. How much depends on many things that naturally contribute to personality development, such as heredity, environment, and social factors. But the important point is that regardless of your current level of resilience, your capacity for resilience can be increased by cultivating a balance between rational abilities and emotional characteristics.

Following is an illustration of the key traits contributing to the development of resilience.

ERL Reference Library - Key Components for Resilience


How Resilient Are You Now?

Do you believe you have the power and authority to direct the course of your life, or that you are at the mercy of whatever fate sends your way? How do you respond to adversity? Are you ruled by your emotions? Does your stress level skyrocket when faced with unexpected change? Do you ignore problems in the hope that somehow they will fix themselves or simply disappear?

Or are you willing to take responsibility for your life by learning to become a confident problem solver, and face your challenges head-on even as you remain open to opportunities for growth?

There are currently nearly 200 articles on this website dedicated to helping you build strength from the inside out and you can browse them all by title, date or category in the visual Archive. I’ve listed a few below to help you get started.

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Emotionally Resilient Living


You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.
~Thomas Merton


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