I've heard two trains of thoughts around this.
One is that resilience is a human trait that acts as a barrier or protection against hardship. The other is that resilience only exists as a coping mechanism to acknowledge that there is some sort of adversity present. Let's explore...
What does it mean that resilience is protection against hardship? If it were tangible, would it be an invisible cloak or hard amour perhaps? If this were the case would your resilience get stronger as you faced more challenges in life?
In my adult life I have been made redundant twice from roles I absolutely adored and put my heart and soul into, I have been let go due to health issues and finally the most challenging - I have faced and survived a traumatic brain injury which comes with a substantial amount of side effects and it's own issues. I'd like to think I know a thing or two about resilience. There were many times in all of the above circumstances where I felt it was all too much. We've all been there.
Acting on thoughts and thinking them, are miles away from each other, but that doesn't mean that dark thoughts alone aren't damaging. If resilience is indeed a cloak of armour then surely we are protected. How can some individuals be more resilient or others less? Is it their DNA? Their upbringing or perhaps how many times they've faced challenges themselves?
How does one build their resilience - do they put themselves in challenging situations to toughen up? Or do they take the time to realise that sometimes shit just happens?
... sometimes shit just happens.
Let's talk about the other train of thought - that resilience doesn't exist. Now bear with me while I write this... Resilience only exists WHEN there is something to be protected. Get it? I recently went to a seminar which stated that resilience doesn't exist unless you allow it. Similar to affirmations. When you state an affirmation eg "I am rich" - it implies that you are NOT rich. So therefore manifesting the opposite.
I was a little dumbfounded at this, but the more I thought about it - the more I started to agree. Not that it doesn't exist, but that we as humans think too hard about EVERYTHING! So with all this knowledge at my fingertips, I'm choosing to just let it be - ala John Lennon.
The ability to cope isn't a science, and there definitely isn't a process that works in every case. What has worked personally for me, may not work for someone else - but that doesn't mean it isn't right (or wrong).
I think resilience comes from a place that determines how much you want to get through a situation.
For example, if you aren't ready to get over a breakup, your resilience to the situation may not be that strong. However, if you were made redundant from a role in a toxic environment, you may be in a "me against the world" type aura!
To me, resilience is what you make it and what you are willing to front in times of need. I don't think resilience is real. I think the need to get through a situation or not, is real.