Dwayne Buckingham May 7, 2016 1 Comment


Hey Dr. B,

I have been going through some things in my personal life, and I do not know how to move on. I work very hard to remain positive and upbeat, but I have experienced a lot of adversity in my life. I was abused as a child, abandoned by my mother who used drugs and even experienced homelessness at one time. My mind is a mess. However, I keep pushing on because God has provided for me through the tough times. I have a heart of God and feel blessed because I am still breathing. Nevertheless, sometimes I still find it difficult to remain optimistic.

With such turmoil in my life, what can I do to remain optimistic?

Thanks in advance,

A Blessed Man


Dear Blessed Man,

The short answer to your question is to continue what you are doing, which is engaging in resilient thinking. You stated, “My mind is a mess, however, I keep pushing on because God has provided for me through the tough times. I have a heart of God and feel blessed because I am still breathing.” This is resilient thinking at its best.

Resilient thinking is the cognitive ability to identify and embrace realistic and optimistic thoughts that promote growth and forward progression after facing adversity. Resilient thinkers believe that experiencing adversity and/or misfortune is unavoidable at times. But seeing it for what it is and facing it with a positive attitude is the most effective way of coping with it. Resilient thinkers do not dread adversity because they view it as a pathway to succeeding in life, love and relationships. They also believe that opportunity can be found in hardship, and they understand how they perceive their situations will either propel them to a life of greatness or a life of despair. Resilient thinking enables individuals to operate out of faith and positions them to cope with vulnerability with confidence and hope.


As a resilient thinker, I often tell myself that I cannot control or change things that occur outside of my Resilient Zone (cognitive processing and coping); therefore, I have to create desirable outcomes through my thoughts before I take action.

Like you, I have been through some things in my life. In reflecting on my life journey, I realized that I have experienced a great deal of adversity. Listed below are eleven personal hardships that caused me a great deal of distress, but they also contributed to me becoming a resilient thinker.

  • The beginning. I was born into poverty and raised in the ghetto by my single-parent mother.
  • At age 7. I was teased daily by my peers because I had a speech impediment and repeated the second grade as a result of performing poorly in school.
  • At age 8. I was shot in the arm by my mother’s ex-boyfriend while riding in a car.
  • At age 10. I saw a local drug dealer gunned down as I walked home from school.
  • At age 17. I loss my single-parent mother to her battle with cancer.
  • At age 18. I fell asleep at the steering wheel and totaled my car while driving to college my fresh year.
  • At age 19. I was robbed at gun point in broad daylight after visiting the library in downtown St. Louis while on summer break from college.
  • At age 21. I attended my 17-year-old nephew’s funeral after he was gunned down while walking home from the store. No arrest was made.
  • At age 22. I received a phone call informing me that one of my close friends was murdered during an attempted robbery.
  • At age 23. I attended my 34-year-old cousin’s funeral after he was accidentally shot by one of my nephews.
  • At age 24. I received a phone call informing me that another close friend was shot and killed during an attempted robbery.

When asked how did I overcome poverty and my personal hardships to become a successful doctor, psychotherapist, military office and an entrepreneur who earns more than $100,000 annually? I humbly reply: I learned and embraced the power of resilient thinking. Engaging in resilient thinking helped me make lasting change in my life and has empowered me to continue to successfully navigate through life, love and relationships.

Like myself, you are a warrior and I am glad to hear that you realize that breathing is a blessing. Every day you wake up, you get another opportunity to create the life you desire.

Please visit my website: drbuckingham.com and consider purchasing a copy of my book entitled, Resilient Thinking: The Power of Embracing Realistic and Optimistic Thoughts about Life, Love and Relationships. My book contains personal quotes/sayings that I created and used on a daily basis in order to help me exchange a lifestyle filled with hardship, disappointment and dread with a lifestyle filled with favor, satisfaction and confidence. The quotes ignite positive self-talk and resilient thinking.

As you continue on your journey and strive to find positivity in your life, remember the following:

“Resilient people find solutions in problems. In contrast, troubled people find problems in every solution.”

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

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Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.