Personal experiences are essentially what we feel and are aware of from moment to moment, often the outstanding events that resonate with us, we consider more of an experience.
Instead of pinpointing a specific event in my life where I could’ve applied resilience, I’d like to approach a more relatable and reoccurring personal experience of / sudden declines in self-confidence due to the deterioration of a positive body-image and self-esteem. Self-confidence is an internal state that decides self-belief and ability. It is important to understand that this state is changeable and reliant on many external influences. To improve our self-confidence, and eventual resilience, the elements of the RAW model can be applied during these periods.
Firstly, an element of the RAW model is ‘staying healthy’, this involves physical fitness, diet, and sleep. Maybe we haven’t gone to the gym this week, or the last 4… maybe we finished half a tub of ice-cream last night, or maybe we stayed up till 3am getting through stranger things when we had to be up for work at 8am the next day. These sorts of things can cause a personal guilt that leads to a decline in self-confidence levels and a decline in a positive perspective of one’s self. To develop and maintain strong resilience during these periods we can invest in the 7 elements of the RAW scale. However, when we are struggling to uphold 1 element, like staying healthy, how can we implement the remaining 6 to maintain resilience and support ourselves to getting back on track?
Initially, the issue arises as the sudden downfall in one element, like ‘staying healthy’ can actually have a ripple effect onto the other 6 elements. This is often due to the reliance on our self-confidence as a tool to overcome basic tasks like social conversations, being assertive in our actions and decisions and even our levels of anxiety. Often the impact of this can cause the facade that we are weak and being consumed by even basic stressors due the vulnerability we feel, and the causes a further decrease in our actualising tendencies.
However, a brilliant feature of resilience is that it is deep and dynamic, and therefore we can still manage everyday stress, learn from setbacks, and proactively strive for a brighter future despite feeling hopeless in one aspect of our lives. For example, a study investigated what sorts of factors allowed for a more positive body image in women. They concluded that support from family, low sociocultural pressure, rejection of the superwoman ideal, positive physical self-concept, and active coping skills all contributed to a more positive body image and improved levels of self-confidence. As we can see these factors can be traced back to more elements of the RAW scale than just ‘staying healthy’ and more centrally are all important to building and maintaining our personal resilience.
Focusing on the raw element of living authentically, for example, can allow us to realise that maybe we are ‘staying healthy’ but our recent actions or something we have seen or heard has falsified our body image. We can use the ‘building networks’ and ‘interacting cooperatively’ elements of the raw scale to encourage positive habits amongst our friends, for example spending time with friends and family that allow us to feel good within ourselves, maybe discussing our thoughts to shed some light on our negativity. Or even more simply find a friend to take to the gym to encourage fitness and boost our self-esteem? /These little habits along with consideration to the other elements of the raw model can allow us to maintain perspective, stress less, balance our moods, feel happier and overall reflect stronger self-confidence. The small improvements and practices inspire us to encourage a positive self-concept and improve our resilience. Henceforth, I pass you onto Niamh will now conclude the presentation and touch on some of these practices.