Let’s expand a little bit on the idea of acceptance that I wrote about in a recent post. In that article, I talked about how important it is to accept the reality of the adversity you may be facing.
Now let’s talk about the aspect of acceptance that has to do with letting go. Many times when I talk about letting go, I can see people’s eyes start to roll back in their heads.
“Oh great, I’ve fought and fought to keep my house from going into foreclosure, and now she wants me to give up?”
Herein lies the common misunderstanding: letting go is not so much about giving up as it is about giving in. It’s not about just standing by, doing nothing, as your house goes into foreclosure. But it is about giving in to the reality of your current situation and letting go of judgments and expectations you might have about the outcome.
Instead, your boss sighs, shakes his head, and says, “I have to tell you something.”
Suddenly, your excitement turns to dread.
“I’m sorry,” he says slowly, “but we’re going to have to lay you off.”
How do you get through this kind of shock and loss?
We hear this word, or a version of it, all the time.
“You’re just going to have to accept it.”
“I think he’s having a hard time accepting what happened.”
But what does acceptance mean in the language of resiliency? It’s a broad topic, one we’ll be discussing frequently on this blog. For now, though, I want to look at the more common concept of acceptance – as the opposite of denial.*
A new approach to increasing resiliency around the onset of a chronic illness is showing promise in a recent research study.
Judith Moskowitz at the University of California, San Francisco has developed a program that is aimed toward helping people who are newly diagnosed with a chronic disorder to adjust by increasing their positive emotions.
The intervention, known as IRISS (intervention for those recently informed of their seropositive status), worked with HIV-positive subjects through one-to-one sessions to help them learn “intentional activities” that promote positive feelings.
While the study had a small sample with only one type of chronic illness, Moskowitz believes the intervention may be found to help people with other types of persistent disorders as well.
Resilience: The Beginning
Emmy Werner and Ruth Smith sifted through the mounds of data from their longitudinal study and noticed something peculiar. Of the children born on Kauai in 1955, there were a group of them that were at high risk for doing poorly as they grew older.
It wasn’t this group that caught the attention of the researchers, though. It was a subset of this group. The subset, about thirty-percent of the high-risk kids, was doing well. Really well.
They checked the data again. Yes, all of the high-risk children were facing the same types of adversity: parental issues including low education, behavioral health issues, and discord; health problems; poverty. And yet some of the children did very well while others did not.