Posts tagged rational

Don’t You Believe It!

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A friend of mine thinks that if she reaches out to a neighbor in friendship after so many years of silence, she will come under judgment and criticism or be subject to questions about her motives. As a result of this thinking, she remains isolated in her community. I suspect the fundamental beliefs that inhibit her exceed these surface concerns.


Whatever her primal concerns are, she will not question the way in which she explains them to herself. She believes the story she tells herself. Were the situation were reversed–if a neighbor reached out to her after all these years–would she judge and criticize them or deem their motives questionable? Ultimately, the prospect of meaningful connection and rewarding relationship gets mired down by fear of connection and exposure.


We convince ourselves of many notions because we think them. However, our perceptions may be skewed by negative assessments that are questionable if not untrue. David Burns, MD wrote a book on cognitive behavioral therapy entitled Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy which delineates ten (10) cognitive (thought) distortions that dictate our beliefs and shape our mood.

  • All or Nothing Thinking: If I am not successful, then I am a failure.
  • Over-generalization: My friend ditched me. Everybody ditches me.
  • Mental Filter: I messed up in the middle of my speech; the presentation went terribly.
  • Discounting the Positives: I won that award due to sympathy and not merit.
  • Jumping to Conclusions: He didn’t talk to me for more than a minute; he is not interested in me. (Mind-Reading) – and – I am never going to get that promotion. (Fortune-Telling)
  • Magnification/Minimization: I need to lose weight. I look like a hippopotamus. – and – This work assignment is too tough. I can’t do anything right.
  • Emotional reasoning: I feel incompetent. I must be unqualified for this job.
  • “Should” Statements: I only accomplished three things today. I should have more discipline.
  • Labeling: That was such a stupid mistake. I am a complete idiot!
  • Blame: The group project earned a C-. I probably dragged the group down. – or – She told me to “go for it”! She is the reason that I wasted money on dance lessons.

Disarm thought distortions through the analysis of assumptions and irrational errors that APPEAR real.


When we make harsh judgments and criticisms about ourselves (and others), we risk forfeiting ACCURACY, dearly underestimating STRENGTH, and essentially undermining POWER. Similarly, when we give in to fear, we likely languish in or succumb to a lower resiliency status. The next time we tell ourselves a story about why and how we cannot rise above limitations, we must remember that we can’t always believe everything we think. And the next time we uncover fear at the root of limitations, we must remember that we can Face Everything And Respond!

If you are ready and willing to challenge your thinking, re-evaluate your “story,” and make rational decisions about your Life, please Contact Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will invite a paradigm shift that brings clarity.

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Suicide… Make A Plan


The 4th of August marks the 28th anniversary of my sister Heidi’s suicide. She had been a patient in a state psychiatric facility at the time. The belt from a robe became her noose. A fellow patient found her hanging in the shower. She had left no note.


I physically feel the terror of the horrific course of events. How could Heidi come to conceive this ending to her life? How long was she suffering with suicidal intent? Was the gesture impulsive or did she know when she awoke that morning that this would be the last day of her life?


Anyone who is considering suicide needs to have a plan–a Suicide Aversion Plan to STOP the mind from killing–and it is advisable to devise one in advance of a crisis. The best time to create one is when we are well so that the plan goes into effect in the event of a suicidal emergency:

— What actions can we take to postpone the decision to act on a suicidal impulse?

  • Participate in a diversion activity, e.g., listen/dance/sing to music, create art, take a bath
  • Call a caring friend
  • Go for a walk, preferably with a caring friend but alone if necessary
  • Pray/meditate (This is a valuable daily habit)
  • Make a gratitude list (This is a valuable daily habit)
  • Take a nap
  • Tell yourself that you can think about it TOMORROW


— Whom will we tell about the immense pain that spurs thoughts of suicide?

  • A psychotherapist or psychiatrist
  • A hotline worker
  • A chaplain
  • A support group
  • A family member
  • A dear friend
  • An Emergency Room nurse


— What are/were our dreams? What one thing can we do to sustain them?

— Who would wish for us to live? What one thing can we do to return in love to others?


The critical aspect of the Suicide Aversion Plan is that it must command full credence, having been composed by the rational mind, even if the suicidal mind tries to argue against it. Our full faith and trust must remain with our rational self. The immense pain that spurs thoughts of suicide will change and will pass. If we are incapacitated by the pain then we must convalesce. Treat yourself with the utmost of tender care.


A wise person once gave me a sign that read: Keep breathing! I always thought that meant to not hold my breath, a rigidity that suppressed feelings. Only recently did I realize that this was an instruction to release anything that impelled me to kill myself and therefore stop breathing! Keep breathing!


If you are feeling suicidal, resiliency education is not of utmost importance right now. If you are in imminent danger, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room, preferably at a hospital that has an excellent reputation for behavioral healthcare. If you need to see your psychiatrist or psychotherapist on an emergency basis, please contact him/her and express the urgency.

“Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, it is not the end!” – Unknown

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