Resilience is the correct word if used in the context of a person’s ability to ‘bounce back’ ie. recovering from shock or trauma. However, when it is used about:-

  • our ability to cope with everyday life;
  • going through a shared adversity such as a natural disaster;
  • an adverse personal event (ie. death or illness);it is often used out of context because these experiences encompass much more than just ‘bouncing back’.

Both on an individual basis and as a community it is not until we experience a traumatic event or been pricked by a circumstance that we will find out how resilient we are. The public is telling us that all the time.

Consequently, when we use the word ‘resilience’ we are pigeon holing an individual and/or community into a category that ‘so called’ experts want us to fit into. For example, after a traumatic event the experts are quick to say that the community and/or individual is ‘resilient’ rather than acknowledging that we all have a random ‘capacity’ when operating outside our comfort zone. I suggest that a better baseline word to use to encapsulate all the times in our lives (the good as well as the challenging) is the word ‘capacity’.

Capacity is the capability to contain and accommodate stuff in our lives. This conveys a positive vibe to us as we endeavour to maintain the right balance.

We are all born with a random capacity to deal with life’s issues. It is a bit like a rubber band and we all know and recognise an individual’s capacity to operate fully, half, or to not appear stretched at all. No matter what we are challenged by, we all have ups and downs, and the word ‘capacity’ allows us to capture our entire range of qualities be they good, bad or ugly and to then carry on and cope with what hand we are dealt with.

Our total state of physiological wellbeing is encapsulated in our individual capacity to both build stuff into our lives (something that is important for us blokes) and deal with stuff thrown at us from time to time through our life’s journey.

When we combine the capacity of us as individuals with us as a collective community we have harnessed an enormous capacity to live and thrive in rural and regional Western Australia.

When talking about individuals/communities we should coin our comments around capacity from a strength base platform rather than resilience …this in turn will have a positive influence on our wellbeing.

Owen and the Team

The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401
Phone: 08 9690 2277