Posts tagged strength

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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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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Raise Your IQ, Genius!

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“Okay, so you’re a rocket scientist. That don’t impress me much.” – Shania Twain


You have got genius inside of you! That is a fact. Discovering the roots of that genius and cultivating it depends upon your IQ. I am not referring to the standardized, culturally-biased Intelligence Quotient. Neither am I referring to any particular cognitive talent you may have; there are plenty of talented people who forfeit the strength, endurance, and power to develop their gift(s). What sets the thriv-ers apart from the languish-ers is their Investedness Quotient.


Just as money invested wisely yields dividends that contribute to personal wealth, your Self invested wisely yields dividends that contribute to personal enrichment. When people criticize others saying–“She is so self-centered.” “He is so self-involved.” “How selfish can you be?”–they speak about a particular kind of behavior pattern that alienates others. Self-investedness, however, conveys a focus on the Self regarding what matters most to us, what relationships and activities we pursue, and what dedication of time we allow based on our values, principles, and ideals.


I know a young man who is a self-involved drug addict. (As it happens, addicts tend to have low Investedness Quotients.) When I inquired into his motives for developing a drug habit, he blamed it on boredom. My response, had I the opportunity to do it over, would have been, “Get a LIFE, man!” This perpetually regressive adolescent, no doubt, self-medicates pain that he discusses with nobody. But more than that, he lacks self-investedness, and this down-fall defines him unless and until he takes steps to invest in himself.


What do such steps look like?

  • A rational decision to love ourselves enough not to pollute and impair ourselves.
  • A regular involvement in pro-social activities–to leave situations better than how we encountered them.
  • A daily commitment to be of service to at least one other human being.
  • A generous dedication of time and attention to a rewarding skill or ability.
  • A judicious willingness to share about our pain (sorrows, frustrations, anger, etc.) with a person wiser than us.
  • A heartfelt endeavor to assume responsibility for shortcomings and to make amends as warranted.
  • A bold admission that, if there is a Higher Power, each of us is not it.
  • A continuing inquiry into what these steps look like in our uniquely personal experience.



As for the genius inside us, it is our birthright. We may not conceive of its wherewithal, but we are called to find it. Just as the best possible way to manage a problem–the optimal coping strategy–always exists, and we are called to find it. We were not made to languish but rather to thrive. To the degree that we are disconnected from that, we need to raise our IQ. Take a risk. You are the best investment you could ever make! (https://twitter.com/ Good_Vibes_Only)

If you are ready and willing to self-reflect, re-evaluate your behavior, and make judicious decisions about your Life, please Contact Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will develop a “portfolio” that makes you rich.

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Your Claim To Fame

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The greatest gift that we can ever give to people and the world is the example of our lifeour claim to fame. It is the only gift that, as individuals, we alone can give. The gift speaks to matters of character. Everything that we ever embody–qualities, values, principles, beliefs, opinions, ethics, morals–colors our responsibilities (our ability to respond) and contributions, and our reputation stems from the pattern that we thereby establish.


When people discover that I have a trauma background–challenges, hardships, adversities, illness, injustice–and they also discover that I have become a strong, spiritual, insightful, compassionate, courageous, resourceful, and tenacious individual rather than a bitter and brutalizing one, people ask me how I managed to embrace a Loving legacy.


First, I must confess that, in my darkest times, I have been bitter and brutalizing. There are sins of speech and deed for which I must account, and I live with the burden of remembrance for inexcusable behavior. My conscience, despite apologies, rages at me. Because of this, self-reflection, re-evaluation of my actions, and genuine amends shape my personal development.


Despite occasions of contemptible behavior, my reputation and the overarching example of my life demonstrate my conviction to uplift myself and others. From an early age, I nurtured a curiosity about people who, despite disadvantage, forged an honorable and admirable legacy—Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Jr., and everyday people spotlighted in the media. The gifts of others’ examples prompted my resiliency. I further owe my resiliency to my ability to self-reflect, my willingness to seek recovery and accept help, my capacity and desire to give and receive love, and my cultivated gratitude.


Clearly, my life has not proceeded as planned. The story of my life defies all early indicators that I would go on to enjoy a priceless marital partnership, to contribute to society through a stellar career, and to craft a retirement of continuing contributions. Yet there remains a single legacy that I aspire to leave in my wake–this above all else–that I chose Love and loved well.


What is the gift of the example of your lifeyour claim to fame? What is the first next right thing that needs to happen within you in order for you to realize this? What reputation stems from your responsibilities and contributions? What is the legacy you aspire to leave in your wake? We await your inimitable reply!

If you would like to build your character, shape your reputation, and forge a legacy, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will claim your fame together.

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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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Merry-Go-Round of Possibilities

A person faulted me for not acting quickly enough (in his estimation) to do what I said I wished to do. He treated me with disdain, accusing me of being all talk and no action. Subsequent to his shameless mistreatment of me, he cornered me and coerced me to name the date that I would begin courting clients and go about the business of my work. I was not ready to take action yet I took his bait. This person offered me no good will yet I felt I had to prove myself.

Shakespeare wrote: The native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought and enterprises of great pith and moment, with this regard, their currents turn awry and lose the name of action. (Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 1) We can spend too much time in our heads, inventing scenarios, taking action only when we feel in control. But control is an illusion because the outcome is never assured. And we find ourselves ruminating, making up fantasies about how we think the situation might unfold–favorably or unfavorably–and taking all painstaking possibilities into account.

What did I need in order to be ready to act? I needed a plan of action that included anticipated consequences. Being premature undermines my progress as much as hesitation does. I needed to be able to answer three questions: What do I offer? What are the outcomes? And why should someone listen to me? Finally, I needed to be prepared to discuss the particular interests of those whom I would serve and how I would address them.

Two months after my conversation with that disdainful fellow, I was as ready as I was ever going to be. Any consequences that would transpire would warrant responses one step at a time. Kind and knowledgeable people who had my best interests at heart supported me. I was ready to co-create a transformative experience with people with whom I shared a vision.

What are you waiting to do? What must happen for you to be ready? Are you spinning your wheels, waiting for a feeling of control? Understand what you need in order to be ready so that you do not merely play at life but, with STRENGTH and POWER, live it.

If you are stuck on a merry-go-round of possibilities and wish to be ready to take action, Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation (Resiliency Coaching) and I will guide you in decision-making and goal-achievement.

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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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Saying “No” for a Higher “Yes”

  • When a friend suggests getting together spur of the moment when I have made a decision to accomplish some work, I wobble.
  • When I see something non-essential on sale that I would like to have but would not buy at full price because I do not have the discretionary funds, I wobble.
  • When I look at the dessert menu even though I have had enough to eat and have intentions to maintain a more healthful diet, I wobble.


Temptation pulls at us on a regular basis. We can choose to be impulsive and indulge our appetites. It is important at these times to remember our commitments to ourselves and to not betray ourselves.

We can choose to say “no” for a higher “yes.” In doing so, we invite a different sort of satisfaction–the proper discipline and maturity that allows us to accept the challenge to honor our priorities. Then there is satisfaction in keeping order. For this strength, we can reward ourselves with other gestures of self-care.

On occasion we may indulge our impulses. But be sure that the decision to indulge is a conscious choice to forgo the discipline and the challenge to adhere to our priorities. Perhaps a compromise is fitting and the consequences of shifting priorities can be addressed given a change in the short-term plan.

However, if impulsiveness and/or honoring your word prove difficult patterns, first establish a good track record of discipline and maturity. Practice every chance you get: Exercise the strength and power to keep your commitment to yourself; flexibility and balance will come later. Build credibility within yourself and tend the seeds of maturity.

For strategies on how to handle difficult patterns, hire a Resiliency Coach for three months and learn how to navigate discipline and maturity, commitments, and priorities. Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation (Resiliency Coaching) and I will accompany you along the way.

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We Need To Talk….

A common experience in human relationships is the offense of someone who, then, feels angry. Coupled with frustration, anger can result in an outburst! And the target of that outburst–you–can respond defensively with equal fury and the dynamic escalates, or with stubborn silence which fuels resentment.

Different people handle anger in different ways. Nevertheless, you can learn a more calming yet assertive response. You simply allow the person to run out of steam and then affirm what is going on in that moment:

“I can see that you are very angry with me.”
“I understand that you were hurt by what I said/did.”
“I would like to resolve this with your help.”

Usually by this time the affirming statements calm the angry person. If the need to communicate can be met immediately, find a private space perhaps with two chairs facing one another. In the event that you cannot address the issue immediately, state your desire to resolve the matter, set a day and time to do so, and keep that commitment.

You cannot control someone else’s outburst, but you can control your response. Your response, with practice, can become a habit of strength and courage, and eventually will be instinctive. Are you noticing a chronic pattern of your anger or of anger in one or more of your relationships?

For more strategies on how to handle the ensuing conversation, hire a Resiliency Coach for three months and learn how to handle confusion, conflict, and criticism. Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation (Resiliency Coaching) and I will accompany you along the way.

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