Posts tagged attitude

Do You See What I See?

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What is stronger than concrete but weaker than love? There is no correct answer, only supposition. Think for a moment before you continue.












I assert PERCEPTION is stronger than concrete but weaker than love.

How is perception stronger than concrete? What is “perception”? … the act or faculty of comprehending by means of the senses or of the mind.” More specifically, I believe that perception is the particular experience of a stimulus—a thing, a sensation, or an issue—from the perspective of a particular person. Two different people may respond to the same stimulus in two different ways. For example, what do you perceive this image to be?


“It is obviously a vase.” “No, it is two heads face-to-face.” “No, it is clearly a vase.” “Yes, I see, but…”

Either way we respond, both perceptions are true. Our point of view or interpretation becomes a Truth which establishes the backbone of our actions and responses in the world. Our Truth informs the thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs, principles and values, emotions, and behaviors that make sense to us. Our Truth informs the way we get our needs and desires met. Our Truth informs our best judgment and our ability to understand and cope with experience.

The aggregate of our perceptions forms the basis of our very lives, and the earlier or greater the impact of our perceptions, the more formative the experience. In this way, perception, like concrete, structures experience and structure provides security. To ensure our security, we will defend our perceptions and insist that we are, at most, correct or, at least, more sensible or more justified than others.

For example, some people believe that climate change is a fiction. Allegations have been made that scientists and institutions involved in global warming research are part of a global scientific conspiracy or engaged in a manipulative hoax. Some of us contest the conspiracy theory and perceive abundant evidence that climate change currently threatens planet Earth as predicted. In this matter, perception may be stronger than concrete.

How is perception weaker than love? What is “love”? … a feeling of warm personal attachment and affection. More specifically, “love” to me means a warm personal attachment based on trust and good will that promotes personal growth for the parties involved.

When we love, we assign credibility to another, and we allow ourselves to feel vulnerable to another. In doing so, we become susceptible to influence. Our perceptions may become flexible, and our thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs, principles and values, emotions, and behaviors may shift. For example, we may change our attitudes and habits about diet and exercise, convert to a different religion, or bend our political leanings.

Whether we unconsciously wish to avoid conflict and to be accepted, whether we feel confused and undecided, or whether we intentionally shift our perspective, we may be more receptive to what a loved one has to say than to what a stranger has to say. In this way, when attachment based on trust and good will are at stake, perception may be weaker than love.

Do you have STRENGTH and FLEXIBILITY to establish your point of view and to receive others’ points of view even if they contradict established interpretation of reality. If striking this balance challenges or confuses you, Contact Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will bring clarity to your perceptions.

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Grasping At Water


Often circumstances in life are beyond our control, and the unknown or unfavorable outcomes can instill discomfort. One human response is to control whatever we can control as compensation for that discomfort. In 1988 I experienced a great lack of control in various areas of my life–e.g., family, school, friends, self-image. My attempt to grasp control expressed itself as an eating disorder. The one thing I could absolutely control was food. I believed I was in control but, in fact, when I tried to stop restricting food and vomiting what I did eat, I discovered that I was powerless. The addiction had taken over control.

Another way in which we attempt to grasp control over circumstances is to anticipate all possible outcomes and thoroughly prepare, particularly for the outcomes we FEAR. We think that if we are ready for the imagined misfortune or catastrophe, somehow we will be able to control it. The truth is that, while some preparatory measures suggest intelligence and reduce the element of surprise, focusing on the outcomes we fear render us no more effective in controlling them than if we focus on the outcomes we desire.

Some people become so radicalized by a FEAR of lack of control that they impose control on others. Have you ever known anyone who has a monopoly on how to fold clothes? fill the dishwasher? re-close the cereal box? Have you ever known anyone who arbitrarily tells you what to do because they have appointed themselves to be in control. My housemate forbade me to use my laptop at the dining table–even when nobody was eating there–because I had a computer table upstairs.

Control presents a tricky dynamic. Societal influences suggest that we are in control of our own destinies; that we create our own lives; and that, when we feel disappointed, despondent, or devastated, we must accept the responsibility for that. Such notions deliver half-truths. We shape our destinies given what circumstances arise. We make choices about action given the access to resources at our disposal. We remain responsible for our actions and attitudes, and how we learn our lessons.

A fundamental tool that helps me to manage control lies in The Serenity Prayer:

  • Grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
  • courage to change the things I can,
  • and wisdom to know the difference.

  • When I find myself in circumstances that I cannot control, I habitually invoke The Serenity Prayer. With practice, I have learned to manage my FEAR of unknown or unfavorable outcomes in constructive ways, and have ceased obsessive controlling behaviors and controlling the behavior of others.

    Healthy coping strategies involve surrendering control where we have none and ceasing attempts to control others. If you would like to foster skills that support these strategies, please contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and I will guide you in the development of coping tactics.

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    This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen!!


    Anastasia lost her job. Bonnie received a cancer diagnosis. Conrad became a victim of an apartment robbery. When we encounter turns of fate that are unfavorable and unexpected, we confront emotional distress. However we interpret the experience and whatever emotional material it evokes, we cannot avoid the reality of the situation.


    Faced with loss, illness, hardship, injustice, the ability to respond effectively may seem impossible. But we can gain insight into our process of making sense out of difficulties when we observe the process of GRIEF. A theory that I find useful in coping with the death of safety and security proposes five stages set forth by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her treatise entitled On Death And Dying:

    • Denial
    • Anger
    • Bargaining
    • Depression
    • Acceptance

    These stages are not discretely linear. Stages may overlap, and prior stages may be revisited in the course of healing.


    Given the benefit of this knowledge, we can work with GRIEF, allowing ourselves to feel the emotions that come up and giving ourselves permission to be patient with our particular process. We can proactively cope with our reaction by journaling, by talking with a trusted friend or counselor, by joining a support group, by relying on or building a support network, and even by engaging in recreation, e.g., exercising, and by serving others.


    Many times we do not have control over losses, illnesses, hardships, or injustices, but we do have control over our attitudes and behaviors in response to them. Why not take control where we have it!? Approach the process of GRIEF with permission and intention. We will then shape our emotional landscape, exercising the STRENGTH and POWER to move forward, and regaining the FLEXIBILITY to be at ease again.


    If you desire a way to better address crises and grief, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in making attitudinal and behavioral changes for the better.

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    Rise To Your Own Occasion

    “It’s not how many times you get knocked down that count; it’s how many times you get back up.”
    — Colonel George A. Custer



    When we encounter distress, our vulnerability and hurt may interfere with our ability to respond effectively. The initial coping response may be to fall apart. Other possible responses stem from the fight or flight impulse, or the freeze impulse. Sooner or later, the opportunity to face the distress and its consequences arises. And this engages the ability to rise to our own occasion.


    For example, halfway through my graduate education, I took ill–my health fell apart–and obtained a one-year medical leave of absence. Many people felt concerned, not only for my health but also for the possibility that I might not return to finish my master’s program. As sick as I was, I did not know how I would be able to resume–or face–the responsibilities that I had undertaken while I was well. During that year of medical leave, I tended to my “incompletes.” When I did return to the program, I only took two courses. Eventually, my health restored, I did complete my degree. People who had expressed concern that I might not finish graduate school commented to me about my strength, endurance, and power, and I understood precisely what that meant. Ultimately, I was able to rise to my own occasion,


    Life coaches, psychotherapists, or academicians who address resiliency encourage us to rise above the circumstances that shape our experience, but the methods they use vary, resulting in a random mixture of approaches. HEROES offers a standard, comprehensive method that can be tailored to fit each individual situation. Comprised of nine coping strategies among other elements, the Resiliency Fitness Paradigm™ provides the backbone for this method.


    To rise to our own occasion amid distress, we first need STRENGTH. Considering the circumstances with which we must cope, what responses would reflect courage, fortitude of heart? Continued coping requires ENDURANCE. How do we monitor the situation and take care of ourselves in order to persevere and preserve our character. Finally, the POWER to define the situation begins with what actions we choose. Even situations in which we are powerless allow us to choose our attitudes and self-governance amid distress.


    The Resiliency Fitness Paradigm™ expands further on the nine coping strategies that support our endeavor to rise to our own occasion. Doing so may not be easy, depending on the situation, but the Paradigm™ offers a simple approach to discovering the next right thing to do.


    If you desire a way to better cope with challenges, hardships, and adversities, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in adjusting yourself to the situation.

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    Ambivalence, Resignation, Or Creative Discontent

    Veterans, Returning Citizens (formerly called Ex-offenders), and Mental Health Consumer/Survivors experience a transition between a controlled environment and civilian life. The adjustment period poses challenges, some more difficult than others. Whatever the differences between these populations and among individuals within them, the transition and, more specifically, the process of adjustment impacts the trajectory of resiliency.

    Resiliency Fitness status differs from one person to the next and, for the same person, from one situation to the next. For example, I am a wiz at adapting to an unexpected change of plans but I have difficulty expressing my displeasure with friends and loved ones.

    Declines in status may be met by resignation, ambivalence, or creative discontent with disadvantage and the motivation to thrive. And intermediate status may provide a latency period in which, despite appearing inactive, we are actually cultivating our adaptation skills.

    Think of a life predicament and figure out your Resiliency Fitness status:

    • Delinquency… We exhibit misbehavior or willful negligence that indicates the rejection of recovery and resiliency, and that harms both self and other (e.g., aggression, vengeance, dishonesty, injustice/crime, addiction);
    • Succumbing… We buckle under the strain of distress that prevents the progress in recovery and resiliency or indicates a reversal in recovery and resiliency (e.g., regression, depression, struggling or stuck, exhaustion);
    • Impairment… We experience a deterioration of coping with distress that indicates an inconsistent level of functioning and uncharacteristic negative changes in attitude, thought, mood, or behavior; overwhelmed);
    • Languishing… We survive with low expectations for recovery and resiliency, tolerating a lackluster existence. We remain risk-averse and tolerate mediocrity lest we upset the seemingly tenuous balance of the status quo;
    • Synthesis… We enjoy stability that indicates successful development of recovery and resiliency, and that enables measured advances in personal mastery; and
    • Thriving… We flourish and prosper with a vitality that encourages calculated risks for the sake of continued personal mastery and indicates the appreciation of challenges.


    The keys to recovery and resiliency—the Optimal Experience Strategies of strength, endurance, power, flexibility, balance, grace and so on—inform our practice on the spectrum of Resiliency Fitness status. Resiliency Fitness status differs from one person to the next and, for the same person, from one situation to the next. Declines in status may be met by resignation, ambivalence, or creative discontent. And intermediate status may provide a latency period in which, despite appearing inactive, we are actually cultivating maturity and discipline in order to advance recovery and resiliency.

    In order to do so, we proactively develop internal and external resources. Of all the internal resources we can cultivate, maturity and discipline are the most broadly applicable to all situations and perhaps the most challenging to develop. What are the good habits that shape your maturity and discipline?

    If you desire better strategies for coping with the crests and shallows of life, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in the development of personal mastery.

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    Pigeon Under A Microscope

    My housemate annoys me. She seems cordial at times and then just as randomly she ignores me for lengths of time. There exists no cause for animosity and yet she usually engages me only when she has a problem with me. Since our rapport is meager at other times, I do not feel warmly toward her. I also notice that she is quite critical of the world. To me, she appears as a cold-hearted woman. However, she carries herself as beloved by family, friends, and students.

    My view of “Melody” pigeon-holes her even when my initial impression meets evidence to the contrary, which I perceive as exceptions to the rule. What if she experiences life with great sensitivity and her coldness is compensation for that? For example, she lost a daughter–her first-born child–to a disease that was not understood until the body sustained too much damage. Surely, Melody carries that heartache and quietly so regarding me.

    I deliberately behave with all manner of courtesy around Melody, and it neither endears me to her nor allows rapport to develop. My fear is that I am always one small step away from her discontent and that she will be more concerned with her interests than with negotiating a peaceable or win-win scenario.

    In an effort to remove Melody from the pigeon hole, I must give credence to the relationships in which she enjoys rapport and mutual support even though I am not privy to such benefits. Melody may or may not like me. Nevertheless, it has been months since any problem his arisen between us. Finding the GRACE to clarify her presence with good will and making my attitude toward her more favorable allows me to change my perspective on Melody.

    If you are caught in a relationship where your microscopic view of another person limits your perspective on that person, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in shifting your approach to the person in question.

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