Today, Petro, one of my readers and followers, has allowed me to share his story on resilience. I hope you enjoy his story.

What does resilience mean

My parents, Olga and Josef, were War refugees in Germany in early 1946. Mum was from Poland, and Dad was from Ukraine.  I was born in Germany after World War 2 in late 1946. When I was only a small child of 2 years old. Alex, my brother, was 7, William was 10, and George, my younger brother, was still to be conceived. My parents were fortunate to migrate to Australia in 1948.

To my parents, Australia seemed an attractive place to come to as a new country with many opportunities. The people were friendly and helpful to us migrants from Europe. I am grateful for the opportunities Australia has given me over the past 60 years since migrating here.

From my recollection of life and the stories from my mother and father, it was very harsh in Germany; food was scarce and difficult to come by, and many people were left standing in queues daily to receive their loaf of bread and milk. Day-to-day life became more complex and gruelling, a difficult time for everyone. Survival for many individuals was just too much to face. Many would give up under the hardships of remaining in Germany. They perished and died.

We, as a family, looked forward to a better future in Australia, which helped us survive and build on our inner strengths because inner strength is what we need to adapt and survive. I now understand that it was my innate internal drive and inner strength that I got from my close family unit and that gave me these vital building blocks of life.  Many of my parent’s friends, who didn’t have such inner strength, told me they gave up because it was too much to face… The inner strength I found in our family unit empowered me to face life’s challenges.  I believe these hard times became a factor to build on my resilience. 

Perhaps falling on hard times and surviving them, inner strength and resilience play a part in individuals’ lives!  After all, survival could ultimately lead to life or death!

Resilience is inner strength. It’s being able to “bounce back” from challenges and difficult situations in life. One’s inner strength helps one cope with tough times and bounce back from life’s adversities. For some people, inner strength comes from deep inner confidence or inner peace. For others, they can find something in their relationships or an internal drive to succeed at work and be the best they can be for themselves and those around them.

Life in Australia back in 1948 was good; people felt safe and secure, gladly leaving the trauma of Eastern Europe behind them. Australia was a peaceful country with friendly people. There were many opportunities for them to be fulfilled. The inner spirit of new migrants and their character-building was ever-present even though they had faced war and turmoil at home!

What is character building?

Character building is formulating inner strength through life’s experiences, enabling one to cope with daily challenges. I distinctly remember my parents telling me what they survived back in Europe and how they left Germany. Character building in these times was paramount; unconsciously, we commenced to experience some form of resilience.

  • The question is, during this life journey, when does resilience occur?
  • Could this life development begin before adolescence or before we finish our schooling? 

When inner strength is built, inner resilience comes out with inner confidence. It can become an internal drive for success in life. Life has its challenges; everyone must learn the inner strength of resilience, building on their inner strengths. Every individual has inner strengths that need nurturing, and learning how to find these inner strengths will help individuals deal with life’s adversities.

The inner strength built from learning to face life’s adversities can help us prosper in unexpected ways, including inner peace, happiness, contentment, calmness, and harmony.

Facing life challenges without mastering some form of inner strength could be perilous. It is difficult to argue that all your required skills, tools, and coping mechanisms will be learned and understood during your youth and schooling. Indeed, for me, my learning school years were the best.  The English language was complex, but through persistence, encouragement, and resilience, we mastered the language with all the grammar and spelling to go with it. Regardless of the obstacles, we managed as a family unit to achieve what we set out to do, and my parents managed to survive against the odds.

Does Religion, Regardless of Denomination, Give Us Some Form of Resilience?

Religion itself, no, but inner strength and inner resilience do. It is still worth mentioning that inner peace can help one cope with difficult times. The inner resilience can be found within oneself; inner strength can often be gained through what one person may have learned from history or understanding this human condition. 

Inner strength keeps one going, knowing the inner resilience is there when needed most.  Inner strength is the stuff that comes from within; it’s having faith in your inner heart and emotional intelligence; this kind of inner strength is most evident when times are tough.

Petro – Thank you so much for your story and honesty; it is truly written from the heart. I am sending lots of kind wishes to you.


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