Each Monday, Tiffany posts a message that provides positive energy and tips for eating more mindfully. The purpose of the weekly message is to reinforce the ideas from the talks and classes that are a part of the Como Water Membership, and to further support those living the veg-centric lifestyle. To receive our Mindfulness Mondays posts, Become A Member today.
What is Resilience Anyway?
In last week’s Mindfulness Mondays post I talked about the food security and resilience conference I attended in Ethiopia. Afterwards, I realized that I never explained what resilience is, nor why it’s important. Enter this week’s post.
Resilience is hardly new in psychology (or in engineering or ecology, for that matter), but has more recently been adopted in international development. To the psychologist, resilience represents the processes by which individuals (or families, communities, etc.) withstand chronic stress, and in some cases, even “prosper” despite adversity. The way I put it, resilience is concerned with one fundamental question–given the same context and barriers, why do some folks do ok?
I was obsessed with this question before deciding to formally study psychology because in many ways I felt like resilience embodied how I had been able to navigate my own pre-college context.
Now, almost 15 years later, resilience and I have crossed paths again. Not in the context of poor, urban adolescents, but rather in the context of poor, rural individuals, households, and communities in vulnerable and food insecure countries around the world. And whereas the psychological community grappled for decades with exactly what resilience is, how we know it when we see it, how we measure it, and how to cultivate it, the development community is now grappling with similar issues–both conceptually and programmatically.
I feel lucky that I’ve been able to work on resilience in my current job because it means that I’m thinking about resilience–all the time (even when I’m working on Como Water stuff too)!
Resilience in the context of continuing my Como Water passions, despite fatigue! But also resilience as it relates to defining and shaping and reaching our collective objective to eat more fruits and vegetables. Fostering resilience means having a realistic and clear sense of the barriers that stand between where we are now and attaining our goals. Fostering resilience means having role models on whom we can model our behavior, as well as social support to encourage us when we stray from our intended paths. And fostering resilience means having the availability and access of resources we need to reach our goals.
It may not always be easy or straightforward. The process may not always be fun. But having tenacity coupled with resources, and bending in the wind, rather than breaking (or breaking and putting yourself back together!) brings us closer and closer to resilience, and thus closer and closer to being who we know we can be. This is encouraging to me. This fills me with hope. And this is why I feel so fortunate to be able to contribute to work that seeks to build resilient food systems around the world.