by Keri Forbess-McCorquodale, MS, LPC, LMFT, CEAP
I’m sure our personal resiliency is something we have all questioned over the past two years, thanks to COVID-19 and hurricanes. I am on the seminar circuit once again, and it feels wonderful yet so foreign to me. We were talking about it last week at the office. It’s been so long since we have done workshops, our muscle memories are being challenged!
As I am speaking to my contracted companies about topics for us to come present, resilience is one that keeps coming up. And I am glad. Yes, we have been through a lot. Yes, we are all stressed out! Yes, many of us are battling with stronger depression and anxiety symptoms than ever before. AND we are also finding ourselves recovering, growing, and getting stronger. In other words, we are seeing how resilient we are!
Last month I gave you the questionnaire on ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience), which targets traumas experienced in childhood. This month, I have psychology’s answer to the ACE: the Resiliency Questionnaire. Just as childhood trauma has a large impact on us, childhood resiliency does as well.
For this questionnaire, the possible answers for every question are: Definitely True, Probably True, Not Sure, Probably Not True, or Definitely Not True.
Those 14 statements are considered indicators of protection during childhood. How many Protective Factors did you have as a child (meaning how many did you answer “Definitely True” or “Probably True”)? Of those childhood Protective Factors, how many are still true for you?
If you scored high on the ACE questionnaire last month, you might have been a bit freaked out. It might have felt like you were too traumatized in your childhood to be able to live a good life. Having worked with many traumatized people, I have found that most of them also have some Protective Factors in their lives. Perhaps they have to look beyond their immediate family members to remember people who cared for them and did not abuse them, but we can usually find at least a couple. This is important because it helps us remember that not all people are horrible, and that we are all worthy of love and nurturing.
As adults, we need to remember our influence on children. Are you a person a child can count on? Does that child feel seen and heard from you? Do your eyes light up when that child enters the room? Feeling important and special is so important for children’s resilience, and is obviously a strong Protective Factor.
What if you didn’t do so well on the Resiliency Questionnaire? Does that mean you might as well give up because your life is going to be miserable? No, no, my friend! The good news is you can build up your resilience on your own. It would have been nice and very helpful if you had been able to get some Protective Factors as a child. But, if that’s not your story, you’re just going to have to build up your own resilience. It’s time to educate yourself, go to therapy, and begin the journey of becoming healthier, stronger and more resilient.
Next month, I will be giving you concrete things you can do to strengthen your resilience. Remember your childhood experiences are an EXPLANATION of how you learned to navigate the world. However, they cannot be an EXCUSE for not actively trying to become healthier, stronger and more resilient!