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OVERCOMING TRAGEDY



     Why is it that some people seem to bounce back after a disaster or tragedy in their lives and come back stronger than ever, while others just seem to wilt or crumple and stay that way?
     The answer lies in personal resilience. And while some have more of it than others, it is a skill that can be taught and an attitude that can be developed overtime, according to reports on the public broadcasting system. It is a skill all families can learn, and teach to their children.
     According to experts, quoted on P.B.S. in the fields of psychology and social work in more than 20 countries, new findings have shown that after a tragedy, about thirty percent of the people rebound stronger than ever, another fifty to sixty percent of the remainder eventually cope, while the remaining ten or 15 percent never seem to totally recover from their tragedy. These rough percentages seem to hold up world-wide, despite variations in culture, race, language or religion.
     Those who didn't cope blamed their circumstances, race, prejudice, education, job, family or others. But blaming, according to the experts, is a no-win game when used as a substitute for positive actions and factors that are to a great extent, under your control.
     Six major factors were identified in the recovery process. These factors, which can be found on the web at www.resillency.com, are as follows:

1. CARING AND SUPPORT
     Real caring and support, and a listening ear from someone who is non-judgemental is a big factor in recovery and resiliency. Religious or school work and support is also helpful, as it is a self-caring attitude towards your own health and well-being. If you have no one, make a friend and find someone.

2. HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR SUCCESS
     People who encourage you at home, work, school, church or social life and believe in your ability to overcome problems and succeed are a big boost. Most important, however, is positive seIf-talk, constantly. Norman Vincent Peale was right; there is power in Positive Thinking.

3. OPPORTUNITIES FOR MEANINGFUL PARTICIPATION
     Having your opinions and ideas valued at home, work, school, social groups and/or among friends is a big boost to self-esteem. If you don't feel value in one environment, choose another, such as a sports team, social or hobby club, etc.

4. POSITIVE BONDS
     Making friends in a positive social environment, feeling "close to" people at work or school or clubs, and seeking out opportunities for such relationships helps overcome tragedy. If they are in place before a disaster, so much the better, but they can be developed after a disaster as well. The long-term positive effects are the same.

5. CLEAR AND CONSISTENT BOUNDARIES
     Having clear and consistent boundaries in school, work and home set a positive example. Keeping personal boundaries of mutual respect: "give and take," and standing up for oneself, saying "no," honoring commitments and not allowing others to take advantage of you, give you a personal, ethical center of control.

6. HAVING AND DEVELOPING LIFE SKILLS
     Having or developing the skills to function well at work, school or social situations help people cope in all situations. These include listening, honest communication, conflict resolution, and knowing how to set goals and achieve them.

     All these talents and skills can be developed by families in their children, for themselves, and for succeeding in life.
     Success in life is not just a monetary thing. It's the ability to cope with the daily stresses of living, and bouncing back positively when disaster strikes.
     "Everybody is fighting a tough battle." That saying is true. But success is coping with triumph and disaster, and still being a "whole human being."
     In almost all cases, those with a strong religious faith seem to recover more quickly than those without it. "Perhaps it is because," said one minister, "they always know they have a friend in God who will listen to them, and answer their prayers."




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