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About resilience: lessons from my 1-year old self | Support Hacks

About resilience: lessons from my 1-year old self | Support Hacks
By Sorin Alupoaie • Issue #8 • View online
Resilience is our inner strenght of adapting and coping with hardship.

This newsletter issue is different. Less of a support hack and more of a personal story.
2020 has been a harder year for most of us. This pandemic took its toll on our physical health, mental health, and our wellbeing in general. And the hardest part of it all: we can’t do much to change it. It’s been tough, although it isn’t the first time people, collectively and individually, are in distress. History is full of such adverse situations, some quite recent, unfortunately. Most times people managed to deal with the difficulty in their own ways and came out on the other side stronger and better.
In this issue, I talk about resilience. Our inner strength of adapting and coping with hardship.
Story of my 1 year old self
When I was 1 year old, I was often sick in hospital with a chest infection. Back in those days, the main line of treatment for this condition was not oral medicine, but antibiotic injections, mostly penicillin shots. Few times a day, for a week or more, each time I’d get sick. Usually given in the bottom muscle, these shots were extremely painful. As I remember from later on in my childhood, I used to feel a sharp pain in my whole leg minutes after the injection. Tough to take in for a 1-year old.
Most kids in the hospital cried their heads off, but I was the only one who didn’t. I would take it quietly with my eyes closed without shedding a tear.
I was often sick with chest infections throughout my early childhood and was treated with penicillin shots every time. Over time I learned how to cope with the pain in my own way. One of my favorite games was pretending to be a doctor and give injections to my dolls and teddies. I used to make fake syringes from whatever needles I would find around the house and I’d stick them into the “sick” dolls’ bottom to make them better.
It was late into adulthood when I realized what my doll play actually meant. How I developed a coping mechanism to deal with my little trauma. My own way of coping with the painful injections.
Having a coping strategy
Why am I mentioning this? 2020 was a tough year for most of us, even painful for some. Most probably the pandemic will fade away in time and the pain will dissipate. But this will take time. Until then it’s more important now than ever to build up our resilience and coping strategies with the discomfort of this situation. Same way as my toddler self did.
Although I stopped giving injections to dolls a long time ago, thankfully 😀, I keep finding myself developing new ways of coping with the difficulties of life. Habits and activities such as growing vegetables, hiking in the mountains with my kids, or working on personal projects, keep me sane in these strange times.
Coping as a team
Developing good coping strategies is important not just for us as individuals, but also for teams, communities, and even whole countries.
I’m from Romania, an Eastern European country that was under Soviet and Communist dictatorship for more than 40 years. We dealt with poverty, food shortages, and the constant threat of going to prison for saying something “wrong” to our friends or neighbors. There were tough times, although for me as a child it didn’t feel that bad.
So how did Romanians cope with all the hardship? I’m sure there were many, but one way I can remember of was tragicomic humor. Jokes about our “beloved” leaders, their party, and the tragic situation everybody was living in, were everywhere. Here is an example:
In Ceausescu’s time (Ceausescu was our “cherished” dictator back then), a stamp with Ceausescu came out. Ceausescu, disguised, goes to a post office to see how the stamp is sold.
“It’s not for sale,” says the clerk.
- Why?
- It does not stick.
Ceausescu asks for a stamp, spits on the glue, puts it on an envelope and shows it to the clerk:
- Why do you say it doesn’t stick? Look, it’s sticking!
“Yes,” says the clerk, “but they’re all spitting on the other side.” 😂
We would “laugh it off” on every occasion.
To a better year, in a better world!
This is what we, humans, do when we face some level of hardship we can’t do much about. We adapt and learn to cope with the situation in our own way until times are better. Individually and collectively.
Now, as 2o20 ends, I wish you all to find the inner strength to cope with these difficult times, one way or another. Same as my toddler self did when faced with the painful injections.
Here is to a better and stronger us in 2021!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Sorin Alupoaie

This is not your regular vendor newsletter. I write about new tech and proven methodologies applied to Customer Support. From Design Thinking to AI and everything in between.
An engineering twist on how to better and more efficiently serve customers.

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