Building circles of support for people

so that they have a good life even after their parents are no longer here to stand up for them

Building circles of support for people

so that their families have peace of mind about the future

Building circles of support for people

so that they are empowered to realise their aspirations and contribute to their community

Building circles of support for people

so that they form intentional friendships that broaden and enrich their lives

Building circles of support for people

so that they develop stronger links in the wider community

Building circles of support for people

so that they are as fulfilled and happy as they can be

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SISU – GRIT AND DETERMINATION

08 Jan 2018

The Finnish concept of Sisu (endurance and inner strength when facing adversity) is a great source of inspiration as we start the new year. This is the topic that Emilia Lahti, a social activist with a particular interest in applied positive psychology, is researching for her PhD.

"A society that holds integrity and courage in high reverence is one in which people flourish and have the chance to live free of fear," she says. "Sisu means to have the courage to take action against very slim odds, to stand up for what is right, and to have the integrity to take responsibility for one’s actions. Sisu can be used to create psychological safety and a culture of zero tolerance for abuse."

Emilia's work is based on a theory called systems intelligence. As she puts it, "The systems intelligence approach stems from a deep belief in human potential. It upholds what is good in us, as opposed to merely fixing what is broken. By tapping into our collective capacity for intelligent behaviour, we can create a paradigm-shifting opportunity to influence our immediate surroundings and ultimately, entire social structures. Because our connectedness is embedded within our very existence, seemingly small actions can create huge ripple effects."

If you'd like to read more about Sisu, we can recommend a recent article by Marta Velázquez Gil, a clinical psychologist and researcher in the PETRA II department of Complutense University of Madrid. Here's the link: Sisu, Not Silence: A Global Movement to Change the Narrative around Interpersonal Violence