Coping vs. Reckoning

by Deborah Grassman


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.



  • 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.

Education. Compelling workshops presented in unusual and engaging ways on intriguing topics: Soul Injury, Soul Restoration, Aging, Personal Healing, Veteran issues, Self-Care, Chronic Illness, End-of-Life care, Spiritual Growth, PTSD, Forgiveness, Good Grief.

Low-cost Retreats. 1, 2, or 3-day retreats in your city or ours (Tampa). Topics include: Soul Injury, Soul Restoration, Personal Growth and Healing, Forgiveness, Aging.

Soul Restoration Ceremonial Workshops. Caregiving, whether personal or professional, takes a toll! Understandably, we often disconnect from the pain. Disconnecting from the part of self carrying the pain contributes to loss of energy, emptiness, and compassion fatigue. This 4-8 hour ceremonial workshop will provide a restorative experience for your staff or your patients’ families.

Soul Injury Ceremonial Workshops. We will help your community organize, plan, and implement a ceremony for combat veterans which helps them lay down any burdens of unmourned grief or unforgiven guilt they may still be carrying. The gaping hole in our society from the aftermath of war can be healed!

Book Circles for Personal Growth.Utilizing the book, The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill, we will help you grow small communities of people who want to cultivate pervasive personal peace.

Book Circles for Veterans. Utilizing the book, Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans and Their Families, you can become an agent of healing for our nation’s heroes by hosting a book circle for veterans and their families.

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We offer these services with our Opus Peace prayer: Cultivate in me, oh God, the willingness to re-own and re-home scattered pieces of myself so that I might be restored to Your wholeness. Grow in me the honesty, humility, and courage to release my fears of who I am and who I am not. Fuel me with your Grace. Amen