Resilience – Concept, meanings, examples and synonyms

We explain what resilience is and the use of this term in different areas. Also, some examples and synonyms of this ability.

One trait of resilience is the ability to make disaster positive.

What is resilience?

When we talk about resilience We refer to the capacity of an individual, a system or a community to go through traumatic, violent or difficult episodes or events without this implying a permanent transformation (and above all harmful) in its structure or its way of being.

In fact, one trait of resilience is the ability to make the disaster positive, that is, to get good things out of unfortunate events.

The term applies to various fields of knowledge, always oscillating around the same meaning, such as psychology, ecology and even engineering.

In all cases, however, it is linked to the nature of objects or individuals and it is considered a value or a quality, a desirable and fomentable aspect, in the case of humans.

The word resilience comes from Latin resile, which translates to “go back” or “bounce.”

Environmental resilience

Ecosystems are resilient by overcoming or adapting to violent changes.

In ecology, we speak of resilience to refer to the capacity of ecosystems and biotic communities to overcome sudden or violent changes in your habitat, managing to return to normal as soon as these changes cease, or even adapting to them.

This concept is closely linked to that of biodiversity: a community with a great variety of species and food chains is more likely to be resilient in the face of an eventuality, given that it has more game elements.

Resilience in psychology

The study of the human psyche identifies as resilience the capacity of the human mind to getting over or going through intense periods of pain or suffering and adapt positively to the new reality, recovering its vital thrust.

For some time this characteristic was thought to be innate to human beings, but contemporary psychology has shown that derives directly from parenting and self-esteem values ​​that are possessed. Thus, a person with good self-esteem will show, in principle, more resilient to the obstacles that arise in life, being able to overcome them and turn the experience into something positive for their life.

Examples of resilience

Human resilience can be demonstrated through the vital examples of four historical figures:

  • Nelson Mandela. The first black South African president reached the presidency of the republic after a tortuous path of political and social struggle that put him in jail for 27 years. An event of this magnitude would have made anyone give up, but Mandela persevered his way out of jail, spearheading an alternative political movement, and winning free elections with a racial and political reconciliation project that brought South Africa out of Apartheid.
  • Stephen Hawking. The famous theoretical physicist and scholar of the British universe suffered from his youth from Amyotrophic Laterial Sclerosis (ALS), an incurable degenerative disease that made him lose most of the muscular control of his body. Although the doctors evicted him and assured him that he would not live long, Hawking continued his studies in physics and managed to become one of the most famous, important and recognized scientific voices in the world, even being confined to a wheelchair and having to speak using an electronic device.
  • Mark Inglis. This New Zealand mountaineering guide was caught in the middle of a snowstorm with his best friend on the ascent of Mount Cook in New Zealand. The cold was so intense during the 14 days they waited for rescue that his legs froze and had to be amputated. Far from giving up his passion and his trade, Inglis received metal prosthetic legs and insisted on mastering them to such an extent that he resumed mountaineering and in 2002 managed to climb to the top of the mountain where he lost his legs.

Synonyms for resilience

Depending on its scope of use, resilience can be synonymous with:

  • Resistance, fortitude, invulnerability.
  • Stoicism, adaptation, improvement.
  • Survive, overcome, recover.