Resilience: risk and irreverence

Since the middle of last century, social sciences started using the termResilience 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

Collaborative actions and relationships: diluted over time

When I speak, listen and read about Collaborative Practices, sometimes it makes me feel like it would be an easy task: to do something together. As if magically, something became collaborative just by naming it.

Over the years I have learned that collaborative actions and relationships do not have a “natural” existence. If so, maybe it would not be difficult for people to start participating in collective actions to benefit the community and politicians would legislate in very different ways; probably parents would not complain about their kid’s insufficient housework participation, couples possibly would have more respectful ways to solve their differences and dissatisfaction, in short, many things would be different.

To me, collaboration is not something finished, it is not a one-sided task, neither something that is the will of “the good” that collaborates in opposition of “the bad” that behaves individually.

Collaborative actions and relationships, according to postmodern and constructionist approaches, need to be created and —even if they seem in a moment like they already are— they require permanent care and attention. To me, no action/relationship is completely collaborative; this is because human beings are changing all the time, even changing our minds, our interests, our priorities and our circumstances.

I think it is a bit naïve to believe that under any circumstance, in every moment and every relationship, collaborative actions are better. In general terms I privilege them, and a lot, but there are moments, relationships and decisions, that require us to act in different ways.

In my experience, to build collaborative actions and relationships involves more than will or intention to create an appropriate environment. It needs assuming the responsibility of working together, the openness to multiple perspectives, the sensation of feeling listened and valued, the possibility to share, to create and to do something together.

But, we already know that! The difficulty is to put them in practice, performing a philosophy of life congruent at speech. I think, our interactions with others, our ways of speaking and dialoguing, puts in evidence our way of thinking, our believes —we can call them discourses, conventions, constructions, interpretations of phenomenon— that move us to be in life and, with others in very particular manners.

To me, to develop a philosophy of life based on collaboration is not only theoretical, academic or informative. It is a learning of life that inquires about some ways to talk, to relate, to act and to make decisions that are always on review.

Collaborative actions and relationships are diluted over time if we are not conscious and responsible of its fleeting nature… and that they need a constant exercise of construction.