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Carol Craig is the Centre's Chief Executive. She is author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People, The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow and The Great Takeover: How materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives. Her latest book is Hiding in Plain Sight: Exploring Scotland's ill health. She is Commissioning editor for the Postcards from Scotland series. Carol blogs on confidence, well-being, inequality, every day life and some of the great challenges of our time. The views she expresses are her own unless she specifically states that they reflect the Centre's thinking.

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Posted 26/04/2005 | 1 Comment

There’s nothing particularly Scottish about the idea that ‘resilience’ is in decline. One of the best articles I’ve read recently was in the New Yorker and was written by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point. In it Gladwell argues that contemporary western society overemphasises the psychological impact of adversity and turns people into victims. He argues that research shows that adverse childhood incidents do not have the impact we think they have. What does have an impact is neglect- ie when a child doesn’t get their needs met over a sustained period of time that does indeed blight their future life. So does systematic abuse and this is one of the reasons why many young women with serious drug problems, or who end up prostitutes, have often been sexually abused as children.

But while the notion of resilience may be eroding in various western countries, the reasons for this erosion may differ from culture to culture. In the US, for decades now there’s been lots of interest in analysis and many people have recounted childhood incidents to their shrinks. This may well have led to a culture which exaggerates the negative influence of external events and underplays the individual’s capacity to deal with them. In Scotland we haven’t had the same emphasis on psychology but, in poor areas at least, we have had a proliferation of public services to address people’s problems. Such services might, unwittingly, undermine the resilience of the individual and encourage them to feel like powerless victims.
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Joined: 19/10/2007

Comment Posted: 21/11/2007 21:36

Lately we were discussing the issue "what is the diffence between us" at the university with the students. When I was at their age, I was discussing who is valuable, who is superior, who is inferior.....I was in my twenties.....the professor I was discussing this topic with said to me that "when we pass away the worms under the soil are going to eat all of us....they are not going to say this individual is valuable or rich or this and that and I should not eat them." I have students from Africa, China, Europe.....What is the diffence between a black and a white or a chineese. When we are created, the Lord is creating us with love. We are so valuable for him. I think we are forgetting this fact and we are trying to categorize each other......titles....money, fame are means for us to forget the fact that we are all valuable, we are all lovable, we all deserve respect and happiness......we are here for an evolution.....for maturation.......for giving a hand.......for thinking, for producing, for constructing not destructing actually. But life is so full, we all need to rush......we have no time for our inner voice........inner voices are so human, so humble, so giving......I met some people, they were not comfortable with the softness in themselves......I have got various characteristics, I have got love, anger, pain, acceptance, rejection, humiliation, narrow-mindedness, broad-mindedness......all of them are me......and I should be proud of myself ........this acceptance will lead to maturation and development and change......I should ask myself: "when I do this or say this, do I feel comfortable?".......my uniqueness as we all are.......will add something to humanity....I am not perfect.....I need to learn many things from many events and many people........

As Virginia Satir says , "I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know -- but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I am me, and I am Okay."

Leyla Fetihi
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