childhood, Musing, Philosophy

Resilience

The human mind has an amazing capacity for resilience. My son and I were talking about this – he didn’t know what the word meant, so I explained it to him; it’s like poking your finger into a rubber ball. The ball doesn’t break, it bounces back into the shape it was before it was poked.

We talked about hope, and happiness, and how the human mind wants to be happy. Some people have to take medicine, he pointed out. Yes, I agreed, it’s part of bringing their brain back into balance and there’s nothing wrong with it. And some people aren’t happy as in joyful and bouncy, their world is more contentment and ‘meh’ and that’s ok, too.

What I didn’t get into, with our little talk, was breaking, healing, and scars. Talking to a ten-year-old about resilience and hope, I wanted to focus on the upside: that everyone, no matter what has happened in their past, has the chance to have a happy, normal life. He already knows, even if he can’t articulate it, that change is a constant in life.

Change is the only constant in life. While there are likely people who pass through life will all their plans, hopes, and dreams intact, they are very rare, and the exceptions that prove the rule rather than the norms. It is with the human mind’s ability to accept change that we find out resilience – and some minds are more bouncy than others. Many changes in a short period of time can be tough to handle, and they can leave marks that last a long time. And pressure over a long period of time can really leave a mark, one that might take years to heal from. But healing is possible. It isn’t easy – it’s something you have to work on. Like love, and relationships, which also take work.

Avoiding change isn’t a good thing – sometimes we need change in our lives, even if it hurts for a while until we bounce back. But staying where we are just so we don’t have to hurt a little can lead to long-term consequences. One of those is a loss of resilience. I suspect – and I should look to see what’s written about it, but I have a class in an hour and don’t want to chase that rabbit down his hole – that the more change you deal with the more resilient a person you are. Up to a certain point. I know I’ve had times in my life where there was so much change it left me a bit dazed; you need time to recover in between if you can manage it. But even if you can’t, you can survive it.

We adjust to the new reality, we smile, we laugh, and we cope. It’s what humans do with life. We want to be happy, so we are.

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