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What Saved My Life

Thinking about Dovetail’s 5 Types of Resilience has helped me understand myself so much better. That little guy above is me at 5 years old. I knew little about resilience then but I loved my duck “Quack-Quack.” She gave me warmth and connection, a form of Relational Resilience, which helped me combat the difficult stuff in my life. Buried in our family myth that “we are perfect” was a legacy of sexual abuse. My family included generals all the way back to George Washington’s army, and my family enculturation was military, white, abusive, alcoholic, and incestuous. It helped me to recognize that these Cultural Patterns are passed down intergenerationally, as an inheritance from our ancestors. No one is immune. While Cultural Patterns give us our identity and our Cultural Resilience, they also give us unconscious bias and take a lot of energy to change. 

My family culture also provided me with superb training in Hypervigilance, Distrusting, and Avoiding as I learned to deal with these challenges. These Protective Patterns are intended to keep us psychologically, emotionally, and physically safe and they contributed to my Reactive Resilience.  Of course, without awareness they also can break down relationships.

How amazing that we also learn Resilience Skills that help us stay Centered, Connected, and Collaborative! We all have these natural human skills but many don’t know their importance. I developed Personal Resilience through Centering myself in nature and climbing a tree to become safe from my father. My Relational Resilience was strengthened when Connecting with my sister nurtured my ability to give and receive love. Group Resilience emerged when I was Collaborating with my buddies–to build a dam in the local creek for example– giving me a sense of belonging, purpose, and helping me learn about Contributing Intentionally.  

For me, learning about these concepts has been a lifesaver to gain empathy and compassion for myself, my family, my ancestors, and every other human walking through this world. That includes being better and having compassion for all the “others” on every continent, across the political divide, the neighbor who is a pill, and family I don’t get along with. I become less judgmental of others when I peer through the lenses of Resilience.

We all have impeccable reasons for being exactly who we are!
Take some time this week to consider how the Five Types of Resilience show up in yourself. It might help you too!

    ~ Chuck