Posts tagged impairment

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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Freedom from Death

Emotional hurts have a way of making a lasting impression while all the big and little daily happiness-es can run like water through a fist.

I have been faced with hurts that have been difficult to clean up. One in particular was the loss of one of the great loves of my life. Losing my bearings and stalling on my life course, I became vigilant about preventing such vulnerability from happening again. So, I asked myself, “Self, if you found a loving partner and he leaves, would you regret allowing this person close enough to hurt you?” And Self hesitated.

Would anybody ever be worth that kind of power over me? The more interested I would be, the less willing I would be to take the risk. I would have my heart and mind trained to receive familiar signs of impending danger–red flags. However, with my heart and mind trained to notice every red flag, every possible joy would figure less prominently through that lens. That orientation would only lead me entertain the affections of someone whose hurtfulness would not mean much. This is a position of resiliency impairment, defeating the whole purpose of being in a relationship with someone whom I could love deeply and and who could love me deeply in return.

My only recourse from defeating my wish for another great love involved grieving the original loss and regaining my strength, or courage… and deliberately so. To grieve deliberately requires that I allow the thoughts and feelings where I resist letting go (grasp) to be expressed–thoughts, feelings, and physical discharge (crying, yelling, hitting pillows, etc.). To facilitate this, I need to allow someone else to witness my expression without judgment or personal commentary.

One way that I find helpful to guide the grief process involved Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ model from her book, On Death And Dying–denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. By focusing my attention on each stage, I have my say; whereas I had not had my say in the death of the great love. One way to gain perspective on the situation was to view it as a story: I called it “the loss of one of the great loves of my life.” I explained it as “he left me.” I described it as “heartbreaking,” saying “I absorbed the blow.” How else could I tell the story? The result of the call to grieve deliberately enabled me to release my resistance to the death of a dream.

Every grief is different between one person and the next and, for the same person, between one situation and the next. The time required to diminish the pain of grief likewise varies. If you are enduring a grief for a longer period than you would like, I can help. Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will accompany you along the way.

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What Makes a Resilient Person Think Well

When, at times, a person asks me what makes me resilient despite an upbringing and youth that was so damaging, I first think about how I was no different than anyone else. I feel the self that is me and feel ordinary in my extraordinari-ness. I believe anyone else in my situation could have responded as I did. But the inquiring person tends toward doubtfulness. Then I consider what made me rise above my circumstances.

First, I knew instinctively that the way I was being treated at home and later at school was wrong. It was not loving and supportive. It was abusive. It disconfirmed my humanity. The way I was treated felt awful, and so I decided that such behavior was the opposite of how I would treat others. I learned a lot by doing the opposite, and it prevented a good deal of heartache on my part. For example, I stayed away from drugs and gangs, vandalism and crime, truancy, and pregnancy. A few key exemplary figures demonstrated kindness, appreciation, and compassion and these influences shaped my principles and values.

Second, I noticed that many people around me insisted that their way of life was correct and anything different was wrong. History is littered with examples of this type of human defensiveness and the wars that breed from such narrow perspectives. As it happens, I became the “identified patient” to my mother, and she did plenty to make me think that I was crazy. She achieved her aim in part as my emotional woundedness prompted me to see myself as flawed. This perspective enabled me to get help to determine out what WAS wrong with me, and this willingness to get help early made it possible for me to address my problems.

Third, I had a great affinity for stories of heroic figures in history. The lives of Helen Keller, Anne Frank, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were among those that spoke to my own desire to embody strength, endurance, power, and other resiliency competencies. Given the challenges, hardships, and adversities that I faced in my youth and young adulthood, I had to leverage my wherewithal to cope with pain; and I often felt that I was not resilient because my lack of ease over-shadowed the ease that ultimately characterize people who are resilient. Now I believe differently: Resiliency is the process that moves us through stages of coping–impairment, succumbing, languishing, synthesis, and thriving.

I have visited all the stages of resiliency according to the H.E.R.O.E.S. model. The challenge is to keep our resiliency status evolving, moving ever upward toward thriving. We all have the native potential to thrive, regardless of how difficult the process. The opportunity for resiliency always exists, and we must find it. And we must know that we are each extraordinary. We are born of free will so that we may be our own HEROES.

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