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Is resilience the most important life quality to have?

(41 Posts)
notnagging Sat 27-Jul-13 22:07:43

What would you say is the most important quality to posess? I would say Resilience.
Summarised by Psychologies today as the following
'Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Even after a misfortune, blessed with such an outlook, resilient people are able to change course and soldier on.
I was thinking about it as ofsted have put teaching resilience as one of their criteria for outstanding lessons. What do you think?

WMittens Sun 28-Jul-13 10:46:15

Very important, but if I were to pick one it would be compassion.

Or tolerance.

Or decisiveness.

MostlyLovingLurchers Sun 28-Jul-13 11:24:35

I certainly think resilience is needed if we are to survive what life has to throw at us, but I would put empathy, kindness and compassion, for yourself as well as others, before it.

notnagging Sun 28-Jul-13 17:48:54

Yes I agree compassion is important but if you can't cope with your own life it is difficult to help others.

niminypiminy Sun 28-Jul-13 19:38:21

The problem with resilience is that it's an entirely self-directed quality. It says nothing about our ability to form relationships with other people, and our capacity to flourish within those relationships.

I would say the ability to love is the most important - the essential - quality to have.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 28-Jul-13 19:47:40

Yes resilience is the most important.

All the others are about how you are to others: empathy/compassion/tolerance for others.

Resilience is for yourself, to cope with who you are and what life throws at you.

I'd also argue that empathy towards self is number 2. The vast majority of psych problems I see are when people have offered too much help to others - children, spouses, family at expense of self.

deleted203 Sun 28-Jul-13 19:49:10

I think resilience is very important. Along with kindness and a sense of humour.

One can get through most things in life with these qualities.

diddlediddledumpling Sun 28-Jul-13 19:58:30

I think resilience is very important, but as a teacher I'm wary of the idea that we have to teach it. You have to m

niminypiminy Sun 28-Jul-13 19:59:45

-- I'm surprised that the majority of psychological problems are caused by giving too much to others. That might depend on who you are looking at. The most damaged people in society have not been loved well or enough.

diddlediddledumpling Sun 28-Jul-13 20:01:02

To model it, to allow it to develop, to make sure your classroom practice doesn't diminish it. But there's no lesson that will tick the box of teaching it, IMO.

notnagging Sun 28-Jul-13 20:36:17

Yes it us very difficult to teach but Ofsteds argument is that if pupils are taught to be more resilient they can cope better with life later on. Maybe then they wouldn't be such a drain on resources?

WMittens Sun 28-Jul-13 20:44:05

Resilience is for yourself, to cope with who you are and what life throws at you.

From my own circumstances, I cannot agree - I am extremely resilient, to the point where pretty much everything and everyone is shut out. I don't get stressed, I don't get sad, I don't get upset because as soon as there is a sense of that, I blank it out.

I am currently in therapy to break down my 'resilience' in order to form closer relationships with people. Resilience can form a barrier that is counterproductive.

empathy towards self

That's a very odd phrase, as empathy is defined as the abilities to share and understand the feelings of someone else.

WMittens Sun 28-Jul-13 20:45:08

niminypiminy is right on the money, I think.

diddlediddledumpling Sun 28-Jul-13 20:45:52

I agree with their argument, on the whole, but if they've said it should be taught, they're missing something fundamental about the quality. For a start,like everything else, parenting style has a huge impact upon it. Secondly, the focus on examinations that is an inescapable part of classrooms is detrimental to resilience.
School should be a place where the development of resilience is fostered, but it can't be taught.

Maybe I'm just being pedantic.

hermioneweasley Sun 28-Jul-13 20:47:26

I think the quality of "grit" (very similar to resilience) is me of the strongest predictors of life outcomes. Can't remember the study though.

expatinscotland Sun 28-Jul-13 20:49:32

This sounds like very typical psychobabble bullshit.

Human beings are designed to cling on to life.

People spout this kind of nonsense until something really bad happens to them.

I think it is far more important to teach that it doesn't count for FA what type of person you are, that sometimes, bad shit happens for no reason at all, and sometimes multiple bad shit to one person, so don't see life as some kind of bargain, 'If I am positive and optimistic, goodness and fairness will come to me.'

It doesn't work like that. So just be who you are and don't feel bad if you're not 'resilient', 'optimistic', or XYZ because really, it makes no real difference in how things pan out a lot of times.

Oh, and btw, sometimes 'soldiering on' is its own form of self-destruction.

diddlediddledumpling Sun 28-Jul-13 20:58:08

I don't think it's nonsense or psychobabble. It's been an area of research for more than 50 years.

With respect to schools, there are children who find it very hard to cope when things go even slightly wrong, eg friendship groups break down, grades aren't what they expect. Depression and other mental health issues are on the increase amongst young people, often because they find it hard to cope with the normal ups and downs of life, never mind something really bad.

Is it not worth thinking about how we can help kids toughen up a bit?

LaurieFairyCake Sun 28-Jul-13 21:00:04

Resilient is definitely not 'soldiering on' or putting up with awful things happening.

It's a permeable state where you recognise your own needs, your own limitations, where you can ask for help - its nowt to do with grit. It's to do with trying and believing that even if you fail you are worthwhile.

The main skill we're trying to teach our foster child is resilience because that self belief that you are able to try (even if you fail) increases her self esteem.

expatinscotland Sun 28-Jul-13 21:01:34

'Is it not worth thinking about how we can help kids toughen up a bit?'

No, because you're doing it according to the paradigm you find acceptable. People aren't paradigms anymore than life is. Telling them how to feel, 'Be resilient! Be positive! Be optimistic!' is the message that, if they can't or don't fall into the paradigm, that's a failing on their part.

It isn't.

There is a lot of life that is outwith our control, but that doesn't make us comfortable, so we fabricate constructs to make ourselves believe if we are X,Y, Z things will go well.

That's a crock of it. And it's a dangerous and erroneous message to give to young people.

Better to teach them that being themselves is fine, it doesn't have to be one way or another.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 28-Jul-13 21:03:37

Resilience is absolutely about being yourself - and retaining your self even when under attack.

Non resilient children give in to peer pressure, think others are more worthwhile or more likely to be right than they are.

And then they turn into stressed and anxious adults.

expatinscotland Sun 28-Jul-13 21:05:25

There is no most important life quality to have. There is just who we are.

And it appears you have a different definition of resilience from the OP, Laurie.

WMittens Sun 28-Jul-13 21:07:41


Your statements are not conducive with my own experience. I am a resilient person, don't (and never really have) given in to peer pressure, but I do regard others as more worthwhile and I am not a stressed or anxious person.

Pan Sun 28-Jul-13 21:11:36

Eleanor Roosevelt 's quote is probably worth repeating 1000s of times:
"No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent". People sometimes invite us to feel bad for thier own reason, but it's an invitation you can decline, and be happily resilient.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 28-Jul-13 21:12:27

It sounds like your barrier Mittens is a very complex defence mechanism designed to protect you.

Only you will know if that is related to what you think is resilience smile I hope your therapy goes well.

When I said about empathy towards self I think that there are many parts of self that get neglected and that empathy needs to start with listening to our own needs that are sometimes hidden from us due to our own trauma.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 28-Jul-13 21:15:48

expat - I don't disagree with the Psychologies definition, it's just incomplete for me. Maybe there was more?

I think resilience is about retaining your 'self' even when affected by events outside your control.

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