8 personality traits of resilient people (even when things are going against them)

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Life is never easy or predictable.

And all too often, hard times don’t ease up as quickly as we would hope they do.

That’s why if we are to live and thrive in this world we live in, we must learn to be resilient.

If you’re wondering what traits you need to have to become resilient, here are 8 personality traits of resilient people.

1. Resilient people keep their expectations realistic

Some people have this idea that to be resilient means that they should act like nothing’s wrong, or that they should do their best to remain cheerful no matter what.

But trying too hard to stay cheerful like this is just as bad as being completely and utterly pessimistic.

It’s exhausting and blinds them to things they should be paying attention to.

The answer to enduring hard times lies in the middle—one needs to acknowledge the severity of their situation, yet at the same time avoid catastrophizing by staying calm.

2. Resilient people know how to cope with humor

Humor is one of the things that can help people cope with stressful and undesirable circumstances.

There have been studies done on how humor can help one handle stress and improve mental health, but to talk about the specifics would take way too much time and even bore you.

And with this in mind, it is no wonder then that resilient people, more often than not, are quite good at finding ways to laugh about their struggles.

Don’t take humor to mean that one isn’t taking their troubles seriously. It might just be one of the many things they’re using to make hard times more bearable.

3. Resilient people make do with what they have

Sometimes you just don’t have everything you wish you had.

You might find yourself hungry with nothing in the pantry but a head of cabbage and a single potato.

Or you might want to become an artist and yet have nothing but an ordinary pencil and some pieces of scrap paper.

The resilient person will find themselves in this situation and then proceed to make a soup with the cabbage and potato.

And while the pencil they have might not be one of those fancy graded art pencils, it is still more than good enough to draw with.

Resourcefulness and resilience go hand in hand because there simply is no way you can survive through the worst of times if you’re not the least bit resourceful.

4. Resilient people don’t stand alone

There is no strength or resilience in standing alone, as “brave” the idea might be. And resilient people know this.

We humans are naturally social beings and even the most introverted among us need support or reassurance of some kind to keep on fighting.

This help can be something as simple as being told “you can do this!” or having someone to talk to—anything at all that can give one the hope to carry on.

Resilient people know that those who try to do the whole “I don’t need anyone!” routine will end up crumbling sooner.

So they’re not shy to ask for help, and they’re willing to extend their help when needed.

5. Resilient people have a growth-oriented mindset

One of the ways resilient people stand out is that they’re focused on making the most out of their situation.

There’s a saying that goes “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and resilient people live by that saying.

If they’re struggling because they burnt through their paycheck too quickly, they would try to learn how to handle their finances better.

If they had to break up with an abusive S.O., then they’d do it despite the pain…and then teach themselves to recognize red flags early on.

Instead of seeing their struggles as a defeat, they see them as building stones for future success

6. Resilient people aren’t too harsh on themselves

You might have accidentally thrown away your grandmother’s keepsake or left your wallet behind on the train home and then beat yourself up over it.

And while understandable—things like these are truly tragic—the last thing you want is to just keep beating yourself up over it.

When you are going through tough times, the last thing you want is someone actively trying to discourage you.

If you made a mistake, then what’s done is done and your time is better spent focusing on your current circumstances.

There’s no point in crying over spilled milk as they say, and no amount of regret will ever un-do that mistake.

7. Resilient people have gone through a lot

One can’t be truly resilient without having gone through hard times.

Sure, one’s friends and family can do a lot to help them get a head start and handle difficult situations better, but preparation can only go so far and some things just can’t be taught.

People who are truly resilient are the way they are because they’ve already seen a lot and have learned the best ways to handle themselves, and their problems.

They will have figured out the coping tactics that work best for them.

But of course, if you yourself want to become resilient, throwing yourself into a bad situation headfirst is definitely not a good idea—stick to learning from others and doing what preparations you can.

8. Resilient people try to find joy no matter what

Having something to live for can do wonders for giving one the will to endure tough times.

Think about it—if you have nothing to live for, why even bother with this annoying thing called “living”?

It does not always have to live for some big, grand mission like “I will be a millionaire at 40!” and in fact relying on one single thing or goal to give them fulfillment and joy does not make for a resilient person.

All it takes is for that one thing to slip between their fingers and they’re suddenly lost.

Instead, truly resilient people try to find joy in as many small things as they can.

Things like looking forward to playing chess with their best friend every Sunday, or binge-watching a Netflix show every weekend.

Last Words 

Resilience is not a singular trait in itself that you can learn, and it even has many different forms, such as emotional, physical, and stress resilience.

They are all things you can build up in yourself, and the role that humility, confidence, interpersonal connections, and personal coping techniques have in building one’s resilience up can’t be understated.

There’s no doubt that it’s a good thing to have, especially given how unpredictable life can be. One day you might be coasting comfortably through life, and be down in the mud trying to crawl out the next.

So while it’s not always the easiest thing to cultivate in yourself, it’s a must if you want to be able to handle life’s unpredictabilities.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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