Setbacks are a part of life. As humans we face and try to conquer them. Individuals try to handle stressors, to be mentally stable, overcome the challenging situations, and thrive to be better every day. These things can be mastered efficiently by recognizing the competences, being compassionate towards “self” and being resilient while embracing imperfections.
Resilience is the ability to withstand and adapt the challenging life experiences by mental, emotional and behavioral flexibility (APA, 2022). The major sources of resilience in humans are secure attachment, positive emotions, purpose in life, self- compassion, current challenges and future perspectives (Rutten et al., 2013). Self-compassion is the ability to connect with self while facing challenging situations. It was found that self compassion was positively associated with well being and negatively with anxiety and depression (Neff and McGhee, 2010).
Self- compassion is often seen as is often seen as being selfish having pity on yourself. Self- compassion actually means treating yourself with empathy while recognizing your flaws. Everyone is imperfect it depends on how we accept these imperfections. (Neff, 2015). Research indicates that self compassion and resilience are positively correlated. Increase in self-compassion leads to increase in resilience (Chandra, 2022). It is usually considered that we need to keep ourselves at last just to prove that we care for our loved ones. If we prioritize ourselves first we are labeled as “selfish “. But research suggests that when we take se take care of ourselves, we are able to take care of others and be good to them (Neff, 2015). So, it should be normal to prioritize ourselves and take action that improves our resilience and psychological wellbeing.
Research shows that self-compassion helps individual to view their own weaknesses as changeable, helps them to make amendments and avoid repeating evildoing, helps to improve self-behavior, and altogether self- compassion motivates individuals to improve themselves (Breines et al., 2012). It was found that resilience and self-compassion together can contribute to certain components of psychological well-being. Research indicates that resilience and self- compassion are positively associated with optimism and life satisfaction. It is negatively associated with depressive symptoms and stress. Altogether, resilience and self- compassion can be considered as an intervention strategy which can improve various components of psychological well- being (Bag et al., 2022).
The major goal of resilience is to be able to adapt to adversity. It can be improved by various strategies such as by getting connected with people and developing meaningful relationships which can the support you when in need (Scheuplein et al., 2022). It can also be done through joining group/ religious communities. It can also be improved by setting goals and having purpose in life which in turn helps to reframe stressful situations and deal with them effectively (Schaefer et al., 2013).
Being mindful and optimistic about the difficult situations can help in understanding that these situations are temporary and it can be easily overcome. Practicing self- compassion is another key for improving resilience. In this process we offer compassion to ourselves by being kind, analyzing what we’re feeling without any judgments, recognizing that we are not alone in this journey of life “Sufferings are part of life” and talk kindly to yourself by saying “ I accept myself as I am “, I embrace my flaws”, etc.
In conclusion, nothing is perfect or imperfect it is us who defines it in a particular way. As humans we should acknowledge our flaws. Self- criticism is easier than self- kindness. So, it is necessary to accept, bounce back and go beyond.
American Psychological Association. Resilience. (2022).
Bag, S. D., Kilby, C. J., Kent, J. N., Brooker, J., and Sherman, K. A. (2022). Resilience, self-compassion, and indices of psychological wellbeing: a not so simple set of relationships. Aust. Psychol. 57, 249–257. doi: 10.1080/00050067.2022.2089543
Breines, J. G., & Chen, S. (2012). Self-compassion increases self-improvement motivation. Personality & social psychology bulletin, 38(9), 1133–1143. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167212445599
Chandra Surbhi. (2021). Study of Self Compassion and Resilience among College Students. Indian Journal of Mental Health 2022; 9 (3)
Neff, K. (2015). The Five Myths of Self-Compassion. Mind & Body. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_five_myths_of_self_comp assion
Neff, K. D., & McGehee, P. (2010). Self-compassion and psychological resilience among adolescents and young adults. Self and Identity, 9(3), 225– 240. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860902979307
Rutten, B. P., Hammels, C., Geschwind, N., Menne-Lothmann, C., Pishva, E., Schruers, K., van den Hove, D., Kenis, G., van Os, J., & Wichers, M. (2013). Resilience in mental health: linking psychological and neurobiological perspectives. Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica, 128(1), 3–20. https://doi.org/10.1111/acps.12095
Schaefer SM, Morozink Boylan J, van Reekum CM, et al. Purpose in life predicts better emotional recovery from negative stimuli.PLoS One. 2013;8(11):e80329. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080329
Scheuplein M, van Harmelen AL. The importance of friendships in reducing brain responses to stress in adolescents exposed to childhood adversity: a preregistered systematic review. Current Opinion in Psychology. (2022);45:101310. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2022.101310
About the Author