Bridgetymology

RESILIENCE. WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU HEAR THIS WORD? YOU MAY THINK OF FLEXIBILITY, TOUGHNESS, OR SIMPLY ADAPTABILITY.  BUT, DID YOU KNOW THE EARLY USE OF THE WORD RESILIENCE AND HOW IT EVOLVED?

HERE AT BRIDGET, WE’RE HUGE FANS OF EXPANDING OUR VOCABULARY AND BECOMING BETTER COMMUNICATORS. THAT IS WHY TODAY, KESHIIA BREAKS DOWN THE WORD RESILIENCE.

THROUGHOUT THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR KESHIIA TALK ABOUT THE HISTORICAL ORIGIN OF THE WORD AND HOW THIS IS DEFINED ACCORDING TO THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY, HOW IT’S DEFINITION GREW OVER TIME TO INCLUDE THE VARIOUS MEANING OF THE WORD FROM DIFFERENT FIELDS OF STUDIES, THE DEFINING MOMENT OF HUMANKIND TO RESILIENCE RESPECTIVE OF THE NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE, THE ESSENCE OF THIS WORD TO CURRENT EVENTS, AND MUCH MORE!

SOURCES FOR THE SUBJECT:

BOOKS ON RESILIENCE:

  • RISING STRONG, BRENE BROWN

  • THE ART OF RESILIENCE: STRATEGIES FOR AN UNBREAKABLE MIND AND BODY, ROSS EDGLEY

  • WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?, OPRAH WINFREY

it’s been a hard year

ACTUALLY IT’S BEEN A HARD YEAR AND A HALF.  A QUICK GOOGLE SEARCH OF JANUARY 2020 PROVIDES A STAUNCH REMINDER OF THE HELL THAT WAS JUST THE FIRST MONTH OF LAST YEAR LISTING AT MINIMUM RISING TENSIONS BETWEEN THE US AND IRON, US FEDERAL SITES BEING HACKED, FATAL SHOOTINGS IN AURORA AND TEXAS AMONG OTHER PLACES, A DEADLY HELICOPTER CRASH KILLING 9 PEOPLE INCLUDING THE NBA’S BELOVED KOBE BRYANT, AND THE FIRST US CASE OF WHAT WE NOW KNOW TO BE COVID-19.

THE FIRST 30 DAYS OF 2020 ALONE WERE ENOUGH TO MAKE EVEN THE MOST SEASONED WARRIOR’S HEAD SPIN, SO IT’S NO WONDER THAT THE YEAR THAT SUBSEQUENTLY UNRAVELED HAS LEFT MANY OF US FEELING DEJECTED, DEFEATED, AND ABSOLUTELY EXHAUSTED.

ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE WERE A MULTITUDE OF GOOD THINGS BORNE OUT OF THE CHAOTIC SHIT-SHOW THAT WAS LAST YEAR… FOR EXAMPLE SPACEX LAUNCHED A ROCKET INTO SPACE, SPAIN SHOWED THE WORLD THAT COMMUNITY COULD PERSIST IN THE FORM OF BALCONY MUSIC DESPITE THE NEED FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING, AFRICA ERADICATED POLIO AND DISCHARGED THE LAST EBOLA PATIENT, AND THE 2020 ELECTION, REGARDLESS OF YOUR POLITICAL LEANINGS RESULTED IN A MULTITUDE OF HISTORIC WINS FOR WOMEN, THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AND BIPOC COMMUNITY AND THE WORLD TURNED ITS FOCUS TO SO MANY SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENTS PERPETUATING INCLUSIVITY AND ANTIRACISM.

THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS AND SO MANY WORDS TO DESCRIBE ALL OF THIS. BUT AT THE HEART OF OUR COLLECTIVE TRAUMAS AND SIMULTANEOUS WINS, THE ONE WORD THAT COMES TO MY MIND IS RESILIENCE.

definition of resilience

ACCORDING TO MERRIAM-WEBSTER, ‘RESILIENCE’ IS A NOUN DERIVED FROM THE ADJECTIVE ‘RESILIENT’ MEANING:

  1. THE CAPABILITY OF A STRAINED BODY TO RECOVER ITS SIZE AND SHAPE AFTER DEFORMATION CAUSED ESPECIALLY BY COMPRESSIVE STRESS

  2. AN ABILITY TO RECOVER FROM OR ADJUST EASILY TO  THE ABILITY TO MISFORTUNE OR CHANGE

  3. ENGLISH DEFINITION: THE ABILITY TO BECOME STRONG HEALTHY, OR SUCCESSFUL AGAIN AFTER SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS

history of the word resilience

RESILIENCE HAS BOTH LATIN AND EARLY FRENCH ROOTS BOTH OF WHICH LITERALLY COME TO MEAN RECOIL. WHEN BROKEN DOWN BY ITS LATIN ROOTS, RE- BACK AND SALIRE MEANS- TO JUMP.

ORIGINALLY USED IN THE 1620S THE LATIN ‘RESILIRE’, MEANING ‘TO RECOIL OR REBOUND’, DESCRIBED SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES.  IN PHYSICS, RESILIENCE IS THE ABILITY OF AN ELASTIC MATERIAL (SUCH AS A RUBBER BAND OR ANIMAL TISSUE) TO ABSORB ENERGY (SUCH AS FROM IMPACT) AND RELEASE THAT ENERGY AS IT SPRINGS BACK TO ITS ORIGINAL SHAPE.

BY 1824, THE TERM HAD DEVELOPED TO ENCOMPASS THE MEANING OF ‘ELASTICITY’. BY THE MID-NINETEENTH CENTURY, RESILIENT EMERGED AS A TECHNICAL TERM IN THE WATCHMAKING INDUSTRY, REFERRING TO FLEXIBLE QUALITIES OF INTERNAL COMPONENTS THAT PREVENTED EXCESSIVE VIBRATION. BY THE 1850’S, 200 SOME ODD YEARS AFTER RESILIENCE WAS FIRST USED, RESILIENT BEGAN TO BE USED TO DESCRIBE BEING RESISTANT OR NOT SUSCEPTIBLE TO SOMETHING, INCLUDING PEOPLE, MARKING IT’S FIRST FIGURATIVE USE.

different applications of resilience

SCIENCE HAS LONG USED THE WORD RESILIENCE, ONE APPLICATION BEING IN A DISCIPLINE CALLED METALLURGY, IN WHICH IT DEFINES ONE OF THE PROPERTIES OF A METAL ALLOY LIKE STEEL OR ALUMINUM. BASICALLY, IT IS A MEASURE OF THE RESISTANCE OF A METALLIC BAR TO SHOCK.

IN BIOLOGY, RESILIENCE IS THE ABILITY TO LIVE IN AN ENVIRONMENT IN SPITE OF CHANGES AND ATTACKS BY PREDATORS.

ECOLOGISTS REFER TO RESILIENCE WHEN DEFINING THE ABILITY OF AN ECOSYSTEM TO MAINTAIN ITS FUNCTION WHEN FACED WITH A DISTURBANCE, AND RESILIENCE TIME AS THAT NEEDED FOR AN ECOSYSTEM TO RETURN TO ITS ORIGINAL STATE AFTER SUCH A DISTURBANCE.

ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT APPLICATIONS ARE TO SAY THAT RESILIENCE IS CONSIDERED AS THE CAPACITY TO FACE UP TO TRAUMA WITHOUT LATER BEING AFFECTED BY IT, OR TO FIND THE MEANS TO RECONSTRUCT AFTER IT. IN A BROADER MORE HUMAN SENSE, RESILIENCE IS THE CAPABILITY TO CONTINUE ONE’S LIFE POST-SUFFERING OR POST-SHOCK, IN A WAY DEFINING A KIND OF IMMEDIATE OR REDISCOVERED STABILITY.  FOR US… IT IS THE INSTINCT OR ACTION TO LEAP BACK OR RECOIL….  WE ARE NATURALLY ELASTIC.

resilience in psychology

IN PSYCHOLOGY, THE IDEA OF RESILIENCE HAS LONG BEEN STUDIED. IN MANY WAYS, YOU COULD EVEN SAY THAT RESILIENCE AS A TRAIT HAS BEEN UNDERESTIMATED BECAUSE WE CAN’T STUDY WHAT WE DON’T KNOW AND MOST PEOPLE DO NOT COMPLAIN UNLESS FACED WITH TRAUMATIC EVENTS.

MANY PEOPLE ARE EXPOSED TO LOSS OR POTENTIALLY TRAUMATIC EVENTS AT SOME POINT IN THEIR LIVES, AND YET THEY CONTINUE TO HAVE POSITIVE EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCES AND SHOW ONLY MINOR AND TRANSIENT DISRUPTIONS IN THEIR ABILITY TO FUNCTION. UNFORTUNATELY, BECAUSE MUCH OF PSYCHOLOGY’S KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HOW ADULTS COPE WITH LOSS OR TRAUMA HAS COME FROM INDIVIDUALS WHO SOUGHT TREATMENT OR EXHIBITED GREAT DISTRESS, LOSS AND TRAUMA THEORISTS HAVE OFTEN VIEWED THIS TYPE OF RESILIENCE AS EITHER RARE OR PATHOLOGICAL.

PERHAPS, THOUGH, THE REALITY IS THAT RESILIENCE IS EXACTLY THIS ABILITY TO POWER THROUGH TRAUMA, NOT BYPASSING IT, BUT ABSORBING IT, HOPEFULLY PROCESSING IT, AND COMING THROUGH THE OTHER SIDE WITH AN ENRICHED UNDERSTANDING OF LIFE.

how to apply resilience?

SO HOW DO WE RETURN TO RESILIENCE AS AN APPLIED PRACTICE? HOW DO WE TAKE A DISTINCT “FAILURE” AND TURN IT INTO A FULL ON ROCKY BALBOA VICTORY? WE APPLY RESILIENCE BY GETTING BACK UP, DUSTING OURSELVES OFF, ACKNOWLEDGING THE PROCESS, EXTRACTING A LESSON, AND MOVING FORWARD.

I THINK THE KEY IS HIDDEN, NOT JUST IN GETTING BACK UP, BUT REALLY BEING OPEN TO LOOKING AT A “FAILURE” AND BEING ABLE TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND LEARN FROM IT.  IF WE DO THAT, THEN OUR FAILURES BECOME VITAL LESSONS, SPRINGBOARDS IF YOU WILL, FOR PIVOTING IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION. IT ALSO LENDS ITSELF TO A GROWTH MINDSET, IN WHICH OUR IDEAS OF OURSELVES ARE NOT FIXED, BUT THAT WITH EACH EXPERIENCE, WE CAN CONTINUE TO GROW AND ADD TO OUR BANK OF KNOWLEDGE, TRANSFORMING OURSELVES INTO MORE AND MORE WELL-ROUNDED INDIVIDUALS IN THE PROCESS.

THAT GIVES ME THE CHILLS, BECAUSE SO OFTEN WE ARE AFRAID TO DO THINGS.  WE STOP SHORT OF OUR GOALS BECAUSE OF FEAR… WHETHER IT’S FEAR OF FAILURE OR INADEQUACY, OR LACK OF PERFECTION. BUT I THINK THAT WHEN WE CHALLENGE OURSELVES BY DOING THE THING THAT SCARES US, WE ARE CONFRONTED WITH OUR OWN RESILIENCE. BY EVEN ALLOWING OURSELVES THE OPPORTUNITY TO FAIL MISERABLY, WE ARE POSITIONING OURSELVES FOR AN EQUAL OR GREATER VICTORY… EVEN IF WE FALL…  JUST BY SURVIVING THE FALL, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET BACK UP WITH THE LESSON.

THAT IS HOW WE PRACTICE OUR RESILIENCE.  BECAUSE LIFE IS BUMPY AND THE GOOD AND BAD COME IN WAVES AND CYCLES! BUT LIKE A RUBBERBAND, WE CARRY WITHIN US THE FLEXIBILITY AND PLASTICITY TO JUMP BACK.

LONG BEFORE THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THERE WAS THE 1918 SPANISH FLU.  BEFORE THE SPANISH FLU, WAS THE DEVASTATING YELLOW FEVER.  BUT IN EACH ITERATION OF GLOBAL HARDSHIP, SOCIETY HAS FOUND A WAY TO BOUNCE BACK ON A MACRO LEVEL. THE CONCEPT OF RESILIENCE IS NOTHING NEW, BUT BY KEEPING MANTRA WITH THE ORIGINAL MEANING OF THE WORD, TO RECOIL OR JUMP BACK WE CAN RENEW OUR OWN PERSPECTIVES AND LEVERAGE OUR OWN INNATE RESILIENCE ON A MICRO LEVEL.

IN THE WORDS OF ONE THOMAS EDISON, “I HAVE NOT FAILED, I’VE JUST FOUND A THOUSAND WAYS THAT WILL NOT WORK”.

THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY FOLKS! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TUNING IN TO TODAY’S BRIDG-ETYMOLOGY.  PLEASE LIKE, SUBSCRIBE, SHARE AND LEAVE US REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK. IF THERE ARE WORDS YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HEARING, PLEASE SHARE THEM! WE ARE LISTENING AND ARE SO APPRECIATIVE OF YOUR SUPPORT!

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