Resilience: Risk and Irreverence

By Dora a. Ayora Talavera PhD

Since the middle of last century, social sciences started using the term Resilience to refer to some patterns that help people to overcome adverse situations and make the most of them (Sánchez, 2003).

In addition, resilience is considered as the faculty to recover, it implies two factors; the capacity to protect your own life and integrity from distorting pressures; and the capacity to construct positive and vital behaviours in spite of hard circumstances (Becoña, 2006).

From this basic description, I am going to share a couple of questions and some reflexions:

Question 1: Is Resilience an irreverent concept? This question can be asked joined to another one: if it is irreverent, about what is it?

I think that resilience is an irreverent concept. It is an invitation to question the truth based on perspectives that assume, who we are at the present is determined by our childhood experiences; it calls into question ideas like “infancy and/or history is destiny”.

If we, as human beings developed the faculty to be resilient, it means that we are capable to overcome to past experiences that we are skilful to construct positive lives in spite of hard circumstances we have.

I think, if we could believe a bit less, that past experiences determined our lives, perhaps we could demonize less our past “traumas” and probably we could be more benevolent with our personal histories.

Question 2: Does the resilience concept has any risky implications?

I think it has. Overall perspectives that suggests, not carefully, to train people to be resilient.

I can see some risks on these approaches about “overcome in spite of the unfavourable, threatening and harmful conditions”; it can be a sort of conformism in face of social conditions, something like “your circumstances do not matter, you can survive, you can face up your life”. It could favour ideas like social change is not necessary, it is not imperative offering better opportunities to live, more equitable social conditions and more propitious development ways.

In my perspective, resilience promote a less determinist perspective about our past, giving us freedom about historical weight of our lives; at same time it could favor a perspective that give less importance to economic, politic, social and family change.

If we take superficially the social repercussions of the concepts that we create, it could be dangerous, because we can build new truths as risky as the truths we want to question.

This writing is just an introduction to a great conversation. Let’s to continue talking about this issue that can be enrich and a bit polemic.



  • Sánchez, S. (2003). Resiliencia. Como generar un escudo contra la adversidad. Diario El Mercurio. En red
  • Becoña, E. (2006) Resiliencia: definición, características y utilidad del concepto. Revista de Psicopatología y Psicología Clínica Vol. 11, N.3,pp ‘ . 125-146,2006 ISSN 1136-5420/06

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