NE Life Coach: Resilience lessons from Australia.

I’ve watched with a mixture of horror, heartache and disbelief; usually followed by feelings of awe at the resilience of the people affected by the horrendous bushfires in Australia.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this and one news interview in particular stayed with me.  I had watched it with a friend and it led to discussions of resilience.  We disagreed on whether this is resilience, which is great; disagreement leads to discussion and learning…. and a new blog!

What is resilience?

There are many definitions of resilience; essentially, it’s a combination of being able to absorb shock, the ability to adapt when times are tough, being able to get back up again and to ‘self-right’ after falling. Beyond this it’s a combination all of these elements that create energy and learning so that we move forward.

What it’s not.

It’s not about being able to power through.
It’s not about being positive all the time.
It’s not about never being worried or anxious.

Example of Resilience.

Keeping all that in mind, here is the video of Belowra resident Deb Dance explaining how she came so close to losing her life while defending her home.  It’s only 5 minutes and I invite you to watch it before reading on.  video

What contributes to resilience?

Watching the video, you may agree that Deb is a ‘tough cookie’, she says so herself but don’t be fooled that this is the key contributor to her resilience.  Remember, resilience isn’t something we either have or we don’t; it’s a skill which can be acquired.

There is a combination of factors that contribute to resilience, although many studies show that the primary factor in having resilience is having caring and supportive relationships. It’s clear that this is a key factor with Deb. These types of relationships create love and trust, they offer encouragement and reassurance, they give a sense of meaning and purpose.

Other factors include:

  • The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out.
  • A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities.
  • Skills in communication and problem solving.
  • The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses.

All of these are skills which can be learned and developed. It takes time, effort, commitment and focus but it can be done.

For me, these skills are evident within the interview with Deb.  So, what caused the disagreement with my friend?  It was the point where she became upset in the interview and her comment ‘although yesterday I actually broke down and cried.”
I’m of the view that this demonstrates her resilience rather than negates it.  She controlled herself within the interview yet neither is she hiding from these emotions; she is expressing them, acknowledging them and the fact that she has work to do in order to deal with it all.  I see that as an incredible example of resilience yet my friend saw a showing the emotion as a loss of control.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

There are innumerable examples of resilience in Australia within this awful situation and I’m humbled by each and every one.  I do wonder at times, if there is another factor in their resilience and that is the land itself.  The photo at the start of this blog was taken and shared by Koala Hospital Port Macquarie. Fire has ravaged the land, yet here are new shoots; resilience!

If you would like to donate to support the victims, animals or firefighters in Australia, I have added some links below that may be helpful.  There is also a link for any sewers, knitters or crocheters who may be interested in making items to support the animals.

Animal Rescue Craft Guild

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

WIRES Australia Wildlife Rescue Organisation

St Vincent de Paul Society Bushfire Appeal

Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery

NSW Rural Fire Service

Victoria County Fire Authority Bushfire Appeal

If you would like to find out more about the work  I do and how it can help you please Contact Lou

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