Abiding and Reckoning: A Contrast

by Deborah Grassman

Opus Peace.org

This chart compares the processes involved in abiding and reckoning. Both are necessary to accomplish pervasive personal peace.



Heart Domain: Abiding includes feeling all our feelings, including uncomfortable feelings that we fear or don’t like. More importantly, abiding also includes opening up to the part of self that is generating the feelings. Abiding has two-directional foci: turned inward we abide with ourselves; turned outward, we abide with others. Head Domain: Reckoning includes identifying needs, as well as making a decision to change the relationship to the aspect of self experiencing a problem. To achieve reckoning, we must be willing to cultivate qualities that discover needed lessons: honesty, courage, and humility. Reckoning requires that we be willing to change and ask for help.
Abiding without Reckoning: Abiding our heart without engaging our head so we can change our relationship to a problem causes us to stay stuck in a victim mode. A victim perspective keeps us bitter and powerless (if the feelings relate to guilt, anger, fear, sadness) or irresponsible and cowardly (if the feelings relate solely to maintaining happiness and comfort). Reckoning without First Abiding: Healing is incomplete if abiding is not included in the reckoning process because the change won’t be whole-hearted. Will power might accomplish the goal, but it’s not heart-felt nor is it long-lasting. The vitality of the emotional dimension is also lost causing us to become less who we are rather than more because the aspect of self generating the emotion is left stranded and silenced.
Requirements: Abiding requires honesty to acknowledge all feelings. It requires courage to feel what we don’t want to feel. Humility is needed to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and acknowledge the existence of aspects of self we don’t like or want. Requirements: Reckoning requires honesty to acknowledge problems and confront distress, rather than “fighting/ flighting/freezing” distress. It requires courage to make a decision to change our relationship to the aspect of self dealing with the problem. Humility is needed so we can ask for help or reach out to others.
Tools: Abiding will not occur unless we value the role that feelings play in generating vitality. Abiding requires us to give ourselves permission to feel. Abiding requires us to acknowledge and value the part of self that is experiencing distress. Tools: Reckoning tools might include: forgiveness, integrative letter-writing, joining a Healing Community, 12-step programs, a good counselor or accountability partner, Post Traumatic Growth Inventory, etc.
Tension during Change: Anytime change is occurring, tension will arise. Abiding the tension requires that we develop a willingness to experience uncertainty, loss of control, and helplessness while change is occurring. (Deep breathing helps tolerate the tension while it is occurring). We have to learn how to stay “at home” in our own feeling skin so we don’t revert to old comfort zones. Tension during Change: It is crucial that we strategize ways to resist urges to revert to previous habits, comfort zones, or quick fixes. We have to make a decision to tolerate the struggle of change, developing patience and tolerance for the tension that occurs during transitions. We tell ourselves to stay “at home” in our own uncertainty skin, and we make a plan for how to do that.
Abiding with Others: Abiding is my job. I allow myself to vicariously experience whatever the other person is saying; I feel their feelings, and I am changed and touched by them. I also help the other person feel their feelings, especially ones they are afraid to feel. I help myself let go of their feelings by reminding myself that they are responsible for themselves, that they need to learn the lessons so that they develop their own inner resources, and that God is with them. I remind myself that I do not want to be guilty of enabling. Reckoning with Others: Reckoning is the other person’s job. We have to resist the urge to give advice, take the struggle away, or fix things for them. Instead, we create safe emotional environments whereby they can ask for help and receive support. Remember that there is always going to be tension prior to change; don’t rescue them from that unless it becomes overwhelming for them. Help yourself to let go of their problems by reminding yourself that you are responsible for you, that they need to learn the lessons so that they develop their own inner resources, and that God is with them. Otherwise, we become guilty of enabling.

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