Become aware of your inner hardiness

What is inner hardiness?

Inner hardiness, also called resilience, can be defined as an individual’s ability to cope with or withstand the pressures, adversity and stresses of life.  It also refers to the ability to bounce back from a negative or traumatic experience.  Some people, by nature, are more resilient than others.

We distinguish at least three types of hardiness or resilience:

1.  Physical hardiness:  The resistance of your body and immune system to neutralise bacteria, infections or diseases.

2.  Emotional resilience:  Your level of (in)vulnerability towards emotional challenges.

3.  Mental toughness:  The power of your mind (mind-over-matter) to take up a challenge and to commit to see it through.

The value of being aware of inner hardiness is to:

  • understand the different manifestations of inner hardiness (physical, emotional, mental),
  • be conscious of your own inner strength and abilityto deal with a challenge, or to bounce back after a setback, and
  • develop your ability to deal with the three manifestations of hardiness.

Kobasa refers to the three C’s of inner hardiness:


Commitment indicates a drive to succeed in life.  It can, for example, find expression in dedication to your family, work and other important priorities or values in your life.


Control refers to the ability to hold one’s own when faced with a challenge, or the gift to maintain inner control in the face of adversity or pressures.


Challenge refers to the ability to perceive challenges or problems as an opportunity.  A healthy, resilient person can face challenges with confidence, self-determination and assertiveness.

Developing resilience means developing a sense of control – of recognising that you are ultimately the one in charge of what happens to you.
What can you do to build resilience?

A few guidelines to consider:

1.  Avoid seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems.  Approach them as a challenge you want to overcome to prove your inner strength.

2.  Accept circumstances that cannot be changed.

Consider the CIA technique:

Control what you can

I = If possible, influence what is difficult to control

A = Accept what you can do nothing about

  • Develop realistic goals for difficult situations and move towards them
  • Try to take decisive action in adverse situations
  • Look for opportunities of self-discovery after struggling with loss (this could be the loss of a person, thought pattern or belief system)
  • Take care of your mind and body by exercising regularly and engaging in relaxing activities that you enjoy
  • Maintain good relationships with close family members, friends and others

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