Why It’s Enough Just To Cope Today

What is the difference between “coping” and “resilience”"?

Until the last few days, I explored this as an academic question.  Literally.  My dissertation is about resilient high-achieving high school girls who are graduates of an extraordinary Boston nonprofit, Beacon Academy.

In my dissertation, I explore how these girls do not simply “cope.”  They are resilient.   What’s the difference?  When we cope, we’re just trying to manage the stressors in our lives.  They might be large or small.  We might be successful at coping or we might not.  But a “resilient” person faces adversity, and then does more than only cope with these pressures or hardships.  Resilience involves overcoming those challenges in ways that are far more successful than a typical person.  Just being exposed to a risk factor and trying to deal with it is not enough to be resilient.  Resilient people excel.  They triumph.   They learn lessons and apply them to new situations.

The events in my former hometown weigh heavily on mind mind.  I’m not ready to be resilient.  I don’t want to move on or apply lessons to what’s happening in Boston and Cambridge, my beloved town where I lived until last year when we moved to upstate New York.  For my research I spent years figuring out how a bunch of Boston kids moved on from the traumas of their childhood and became exceptional.  Right now I think it’s enough to cope.  There are some of us — the rescuers, the police officers, the Watertown residents who heard gunshots and explosions last night and must explain that trauma of hiding in the basement to their children — that need to be resilient right now.

But for the rest of us, right now, it’s too much.  It’s too shocking.  It’s enough just to cope.  Get through the day and process this.  Lessons, courage, knowledge, defining what resilience means for each of us and as a country… that can all come later.

And here’s what I’m reading from other writers who are just trying to cope:

1.  Lindsey Mead: “I Just Want To Live In That World

2.  Boston Mamas: “Day of Dissonance

3.  The Good Men Project: “No One Deserves This To Be Their New Normal

4.  Goody Blog:  “We’re On Lockdown and My Daughters Have No Idea

What’s helping you cope?

 

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Comments

  1. I remember having such feelings like this after 9/11 living in NY and having been to NYC more times then not growing up. I actually almost took a job a month before this in downtown NYC right across the street from the Twin Towers and would have taken the subway into the city and gotten off in one of the towers. So, I remember the feeling of shock, disbelief and even a bit of numbness after. It took quite some time to feel more like myself and still when I think about that time I get a bit weepy. So, I will say my heart goes out to you and others from this area and who are feeling this way right now. We are truly resilient though and amazing what we can cope and deal with.
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Finish the Sentence Friday Blog Hop #15My Profile

  2. Yes. For today, it’s ok to just get through today. It’s hard for me not to let my mind gallop off into the future and into what-ifs, but I know that that’s futile. xox

  3. I agree that sometimes we just need to cope…the resilience can come later. My brother and his family live in the Boston area, but happened to be away this week. Because of them, Boston has always been a special place for me too. As I type this, the 2nd suspect is “down.” Not sure what that means, but I hope this crisis situation is coming to a resolution.
    Emily recently posted…I Thought I Was So Cool When I…My Profile

  4. I’ve been digging my head in the sand. I try not to turn on the news, because otherwise I get sucked in.
    Julie Chenell DeNeen recently posted…I Thought I Was So Cool When I….My Profile

  5. I am still working on finding the magic answer as to what helps me cope. Sometimes its space to process and be alone, sometimes I want closeness to loved ones. I need to nail down the “right” thing for me!
    Kate recently posted…Impressions lastMy Profile

  6. I think it was on Facebook that I saw the photo of Mr.Rogers with this quote: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” and it is so true that people make all the difference. I try to surround myself with positive people, and be positive for others when I can. And that has meant learning to ‘just cope’ instead of trying to overdo it like I used to. Great post.

  7. I think it was on Facebook that I saw the photo of Mr.Rogers with this quote: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” and it is so true that people make all the difference. I try to surround myself with positive people, and be positive for others when I can. And that has meant learning to ‘just cope’ instead of trying to overdo it like I used to. Great post.

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