Coping vs. Reckoning

by Deborah Grassman

Opus Peace.org

Coping is often used as a mechanism to try to bypass reckoning with uncomfortable feelings. Reckoning is a distinctively different process than coping. Reckoning might mean liquefying old habits, relationships, and beliefs that we need to let go of so we can grow.

On one end of the coping spectrum are people who don’t assume enough responsibility for hurtful actions. When there’s conflict in their relationships, it’s the other person’s fault. On the other hand, some people assume too much responsibility. When there is conflict in their world, they not only shoulder their own guilt, but everyone else’s as well. When something goes wrong, they assume they’re at fault. They drown in “false remorse,” taking on guilt that isn’t theirs. The goal is to realize what we are and what we are not responsible for, which is a reckoning process.

Coping

Reckoning

  • Is like cutting the tops off our weeds.
  • Is a passive, automatic process.
  • Wastes suffering by not getting needed lessons.
  • Purpose is to maintain sameness; no change.
  • Either fails to confront others, living in the illusion that this is “keeping the peace,” or bullies others.
  • Maintaining the status quo is the goal.
  • Focuses on containing and managing.
  • Breaks a person down.
  • Diminishes consciousness in the situation.
  • Criticizes failures in others or self.
  • Is defensive with criticism, only wanting to hear compliments.
  • Instinct is to cover up deficiencies.
  • Has difficulty saying, “I was wrong.”
  • Does not recognize the consequences of their actions toward a problem.
  • Acknowledges problems in generalities.
  • Waits for others to resolve a conflict.
  • Thinks that either everyone else but themselves needs help or that everyone else is right and only they, personally, need help.
  • Is either arrogant or has low self-esteem.
  • Is either independent or needy.
  • Is self-conscious. Compares self to others.
  • Keeps others at arm’s length.
  • Creates an illusory world generated with wishes, wants, and excuses.
  • Desires respectability, protecting their reputation.
  • Has difficulty sharing needs with others.
  • Strives for comfort, control, and pride.

 

  • Is like pulling our weeds out by the roots.
  • Is an active, conscious process.
  • Uses suffering as a doorway to awakening.
  • Recognizes that confrontation is necessary, which might stir things up so that change can occur.
  • Changing one’s self by letting go of same and opening up to different is the goal.
  • Focuses on opening up to the source of distress.
  • Breaks a person open.
  • Inserts consciousness into the situation.
  • Accepts own humanity. Acknowledges faults.
  • Receives criticism with an open spirit, opening up to justified criticism.
  • Willing to be exposed. Willing to be human.
  • Is quick to admit failure and seek forgiveness.
  • Recognizes how they’ve contributed to a problem.
  • Acknowledges specific contributions to problems.
  • Takes initiative to reconcile a conflict.
  • Has a continual need for inner renewal and discernment. Sorts through ways they need to change and ways they don’t need to change.
  • Esteems others as no better or worse than self.
  • Recognizes need for others without demanding it.
  • Is not controlled by appearances or need for approval.
  • Is willing to risk getting close to others.
  • Lives from a place of integrity generated with hopes, intentions, and reasons.
  • Is concerned with being real, protecting their integrity.
  • Is willing to be open, transparent, and vulnerable.
  • Strives for courage, honesty, and humility.

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