Posts tagged surrender

Grasping At Water

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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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    Send Up The White Flag

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    Everyone has at least one major secret. “Yeah, there’s one that you keep that you bury so deep no one can tear it out!” – Billy Joel Code of Silence

    I have two major secrets that I carry. Failings. Burdens. Potentials for blame or humiliation. I can stop them a bit at a time, but I have not been successful in eradicating them altogether. The saying goes, “You are as sick as your secrets.” It stands to reason, then, that as I aspire toward health and wholeness, I must surrender my secrets.

    Resiliency provides a dynamic and fluid realm from which healthy responses emerge for each particular situation. Major secrets indicate rigidity, tripping points, compulsions that keep us spinning our wheels and not moving forward. To succumb to our secrets is to perpetuate sickness.

    In order for me to begin to release my major secrets, I would have to begin to see myself as equal to every person, and I would have to forfeit hypocrisy and love myself as much as I expect others to love themselves.

    What major secret(s) keeps you from health and wholeness? And what would you have to begin to do in order to release your self from any rigid pattern(s) that keep you from health and wholeness?

    If your major secrets are holding you back from health and wholeness, you are part of the human race. You do have options! Contact me,, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will help you navigate the surrendering of unhealthy patterns.

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    Saying “No” for a Higher “Yes”

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    • 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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