Adoption Triggers Intense Feelings

“Life is an endless trial. Death is the certain verdict. Pain teaches you more than pleasure. Adversity teaches you more than comfort. Even a small glimmer of hope tantalizingly far in the future, can help adoptees overcome the anxieties and traumas of daily living.” Judith Land 

Adoption Detective | Judith Land | Emotions

“Adoption is a huge life-altering event that triggers complex emotional responses in adopted children. A lack of control and power leads to anxiety, fear, and anger, resulting in attachment disorders, a negative sense of identity, difficulty with intimacy, and emotional trauma.” Judith Land

When the adoptee mind reaches for understanding and relevancy during times of darkness, confusion, and deep distress, powerful emotions and intense feelings are evoked in the conscious mind.

Emotions are the outward display of our feelings about circumstances and the people we are with. Emotions are reflected in our behavior, mood, body language, thoughts, and verbal responses. The world cannot be fathomed or described without talking about how we feel about things. Many of our emotional responses are triggered by speculation and abstract concepts, rather than concrete facts and events. Glory, love, honor, courage, death, beauty and poetry are examples of abstract thoughts that trigger complex thoughts, sentiments, and reactions that are often difficult to describe in ways that others can comprehend. 

Adoptees with the highest levels of ‘emotional intelligence’ are more likely to possess a higher degree of empathy for others. By understanding how another person feels about certain things, they can profoundly understand with deep insight what the other person is communicating. Those who understand the profundity of others share the greatest insights and depth of knowledge and often sense these things without words. 

Emotions are a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, and relationships with others. Understanding the consequences of emotions is critical to healthy living and future success. Sadness is emotion characterized by feelings of disappointment, grief, hopelessness, disinterest, and a dampened mood. Fear is the emotional response to an anticipated negative social situation. Disgust is a sense of revulsion to things we hope to avoid. Anger has negative mental and physical consequences on our health. Surprise triggers flight or flee responses that trigger spontaneous memories. Happiness is a pleasant emotional state characterized by feeling of joy, gratification, contentment and well-being. Happiness is also linked to increased longevity and satisfaction in relationships. 

No one is born with success. Our emotional reactions to circumstances, tribulations, and frustrations test our faith, temper our passions, shape our character, and help us succeed. The higher our destiny, the greater the obstacles we are forced to overcome, and the more important it is to display emotional intelligence.

Judith Land

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Adoption—Transcendence is Key to a Better Life

“Transcendence refers to the very highest and most inclusive levels of human consciousness. Adoptees that learn to ‘transcend’ the limitations of conventional thinking and common obstacles of daily living are best able to overcome continuous dull pain to achieve good health, discover purpose, and find happiness.” Judith Land

Adoption Detective | Judith Land | Transcendence

“Transcendence is a way of expanding personal boundaries, stimulating individualism, and defining uniqueness based on critical thinking, creative thinking, and other skills that are vital to success in life and beyond.” Judith Land

What is it that makes attitudes and perceptions different from person to person? Is it the ability of some individuals to transcend the stale, mundane, commonplace, clichéd, platitudinous, conventional perceptions of adoption to overcome the severe life-long consequences of maternal separation?     

There is a common thread among adoptees that the possibility of ‘self-actualization’ is reserved for individuals who have been lucky in life that haven’t had to struggle for their day-to-day survival, living with individuals that don’t honor or respect them. And yet, there are many examples of people in basically the same circumstances that have turned out very differently, which indicates that the ability to transcend life’s trials and tribulations has an enormous bearing upon one’s fate and happiness.

Transcendence is the highest and most inclusive level of human consciousness, a holistic way of behaving and relating to oneself, to nature, our relationship with the world, all things and all people. It is the act of rising above prevailing trends, traditional points of view, and common ways of thinking to achieve a higher mental state, sense of well-being, sense of purpose, sense of wholeness, and greater connectedness. 

Spiritual transcendence is the part of humanity that separates us from all other species—the very highest and most inclusive level of human consciousness. It is a skill of incalculable individual worth that allows individuals to achieve self-actualization. Transcendent thinking leads to a greater sense of awareness, well-being, serenity, connectedness, wholeness, sense of purpose, and expansion of consciousness beyond the self, to something of much greater importance.

Self-actualizing individuals are high achievers that have a comfortable acceptance of self, others and nature. They rely on their own experiences and judgement. They are passionate, task centered, self-sufficient, independent individuals with a spontaneous freshness of appreciation and profound interpersonal relationships; individuals that strive to see beyond the normal range of colorless, mundane, and common experiences of a material universe. It is essential to the mental fortitude and health and happiness of adoptees that we dedicate ourselves to some kind of mission and purpose that helps us ‘transcend’ the mundane limitations of daily living.

Transcendence is definitely one of the keys to a better life.

Judith Land



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Adoption Stories

“In the mind of a writer, the protagonist of an adoption story is usually an isolated figure that brings a strong will to bear against great sufferings.” Judith Land 

Judith Land | Adoption Detective | Celebrity Writer

“Life for adoptees is not as simple as finding a garden path of flagstones leading directly home.” Judith Land

“Nobody writes books about silence and all the things that nobody ever said. Blank paper makes me cry knowing that adoptees have so many pent-up emotions and strong feelings inside waiting to be spoken. Adoptees living in fear and shame, too afraid to share their personal feelings of hurt with others, may be tempted instead to use a fountain pen to obliterate the sky.” Judith Land

In most adoption stories, maternal deprivation results in a series of traumatic emotional reactions during which the child engages in an anxious period of calling and active search behavior followed by a period of declining behavioral responsiveness. Victims are plagued by insecurity, nightmares, and worries. Adoptees lacking the very essence of maternal nature, exhibit emotional and behavioral problems, and suffer from terrible feelings of isolation. Psychological and biological responses are deep and long-lasting, including problems in bonding, attachment disorders, and other effects that extend into adulthood.

The plot usually hinges on a child separated from its biological mother that the characters in the story investigate and attempt to solve. Adoptees are often depicted as disadvantaged, insecure individuals, seeking solace in the beauty of nature and quality relationships with others. The story unfolds as the trials of a lone survivor who is eventually martyred to the cause of liberty, independence, self-expression, and freedom.

Mimicking reactions to their own experiences, many adoption writers emphasize historical and cultural knowledge gained from personal incidents and perspectives. Following a series of harrowing events, only the narrator survives unscathed.

Judith Land



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Adoption, Cursive Writing and Communication

“Beware of exposing your secrets to Mother Nature and Father Time. The sea is boundless, if you expose your confidential thoughts to the ocean, don’t blame the waves for revealing them to the shore.” Judith Land

Judith Land | Cursive Writing | Adoption Detective

“When your emotions, feelings and fears are powerful, you become an instant poet, song writer, moon-gazer, and philosopher.” Judith Land

Communication is very important when it comes to the topic of adoption. Some letters and documents may become cherished possessions many years after they are written. The timing of knowing when, where, how and who to share your most intimate thoughts, feelings and fears with are crucial decisions with lasting ramifications. 

 I lament the fact that poetry, handwritten letters, cursive, and clear writing have become lost arts, relics—ways of communicating made popular by previous generations that are now a thing of the past. Many people in today’s world, brag about their multi-tasking ability and speed reading skills. They rip through news headlines, Facebook pages, sporting scores, and emails in one gulp, the way that a dog consumes a steak. I prefer to work at a slower pace, allowing time to reflect on the true meaning of words, the way that a caterpillar munches on a leaf one tiny bite at a time; believing that literature is meant to be relished, enjoyed in full, delighted in, and appreciated the same way that we delicately savor the delicious taste of sweets that melt in your mouth, the lingering smell of perfume in the air after a woman walks past, single piano notes floating into the air, and the comforting flavor and aroma of a favorite glass of wine in a Waterford crystal glass.

The primary problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place. In this age of Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumbler, Instagram, dozens of social dating apps and social networking sites, casual writing is at an all-time high. Computers allow anyone to put themselves out there in crazy ways with no restraints. Modern communication has shifted entirely toward the informal and the difference between creepy and romantic has become entirely hazy. Casual communication without much thought often occurs by chance. Lacking a high degree of interest or devotion and showing little concern, intent or commitment, modern conveyance of ideas is often insensitive to the feelings of others. We seldom write in cursive anymore and pay little attention to the real meanings of words, classic literature, poetry, the lyrics to songs and quality writing. The social fears of ostracism, criticism and misunderstandings prevent adoptees from taking action or saying how they really feel about adoption with any depth or clear perspective, and when they don’t express themselves with clarity, dignity and honor, what they intended to say isn’t always interpreted correctly.

In this modern era, it is far quicker and easier to communicate with abbreviations, emoji, and acronyms than it is to take the time to thoroughly compose our thoughts, transmit our ideas, and clearly express ourselves from the heart. We are reluctant to use poetry to express a yearning for love and communicate our sentiments with the words of a song because we fear what others may think. Poetry is an inherently dramatic method of communicating tangled abstract thoughts and simple expressions of complex ideas. Songs stir our emotions, make perception inevitable, and leave residual feelings of satisfaction as understanding merges into appreciation. In this world of text messaging and emails, good old-fashioned handwritten love letters and valentines have become very rare special treats. Personal notes have evolved into commercial Hallmark cards and copied quotes. I cherish ancient love letters, poems and songs that cinematically paint images with words that clearly project the personal thoughts, perspectives and experiences of the writer to convey eternal sentiments and messages of love and hope—memories of a bygone era recorded somewhere in time in handwritten script on parchment paper and encapsulated in a faded envelope.

If you’re an adoptee or an aspiring author, try writing some of your thoughts on paper, the old fashioned low-tech way. Daily writing makes you smarter when you write in a cursive style of penmanship. Writing makes you think. Some studies even show that writing by hand increases cognitive activity and can actually make you more intelligent in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. The more you pay attention, the better your handwriting will be. 

Judith Land


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Adoption—The Vicissitudes of Life

“Nothing contributes more to the amusement of the reader than the tempo of significant life events and the vicissitudes of fortune, evolving circumstances that create the emotional ups and downs that adoptees face every day.” Judith Land

Vicissitudes | Judith Land | Adoption Detective

“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you really have. When a person is never satisfied with circumstances and the way things are, it may be because they are chasing the wrong things, doing what they think will bring fulfillment without realizing that whatever they’re chasing will not fill the void in themselves, that’s why they are never satisfied.” Judith Land 

Life to adoptees is about strength of character and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses, and even death. Some lives have more vicissitudes than others, but no life is without events that test and challenge us. When we talk of the vicissitudes of life, we’re referring to the difficult times that we all go through, separation from parents and loved ones, sickness, job loss, broken relationships, and other unwelcome episodes in our lives. Some adoptions unfold as irredeemably as a disastrously bad performance at a junior high school talent show, while others seem made in heaven, floating on air with hugs and smiles, positive reassurances, and warm cookies and milk. 

The vicissitudes of fortune are as fickle as the weather, favorable or unfavorable fluctuations that occur by chance. They are the successive alternation from one condition to another, variations in circumstances at different times in your life, changing fortunes that sometimes lead us into a dark tunnel of confusion and frustration. They are variations in circumstances that test our character, alternating circumstances that one would rather avoid but must get through. Vicissitudes are literary alternations between opposite and contrasting events, abrupt reversals of fortune, moods, sentiment, and emotions, radical opposing events alternating between cozy snow days, sweltering hot summer nights, and rainy day pub weather, contrasted with pillowy white clouds, sunshine and rainbows; reoccurring frames of mind alternating between understanding and confusion, order and chaos, fear and nostalgia, calm and stormy, mental stability and loss of control; stressed and unstressed changes of circumstances and fortune that are often unwelcome and unpleasant, like the stinking corpse of an unpopular politician that keeps rising to the surface.

Adoptees must learn to cope with the good and the bad because only those who let go of who they are, can become what they truly might be. Only those who risk going too far, learn how far they can go. If everything is under control, you probably aren’t going fast or far enough. Keeping your boat in the harbor is a safe place to be, but that isn’t what boats are made for. Success comes to those who are too busy to look for it. The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Remind yourself that you don’t need permission to ask yourself, “Who’s going to stop me from making a better life?”

Judith Land



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The 4th Side of the Adoption Triangle

“The adoption triangle is a 2-dimensional shape with three sides. A simple pyramid is 3-dimensional shape with four triangular sides congruent.” Judith Land

“The adoption process is an economic pyramid scheme—keep piling on money until it’s finished. Some adoptions are like an Egyptian pyramid with thousands of stones piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, accomplished by brute force by a small army of bureaucrats. The lightest participant should always be placed at the top of a human pyramid but be reminded that a child positioned at the apex of a pyramid has a long way to fall.” Judith Land

Three is a symbol of completeness. Time is divided into the past, present, and future. Three is a number favored in art, as well as science, with three primary colors, three points required to locate a point in space, and three notes to form a musical cord. The Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are one God in three Divine persons. The Triad represents the whole as it contains the beginning, a middle, and an end.

In the state of Wisconsin people often respond to a question vaguely using the phrase, “A couple two-three!” 

“How many donuts did you eat? How many beers did you drink? How many games will the Chicago Bears win this year?”

“Oh, a couple 2-3.”

“And how many sides are there to the Adoption Triangle?” 

“Oh, a couple 4-5 sides.”

Thinking that this novel way of communicating was technically imprecise but rather humorous, I kept asking myself, “How can that be?” until it dawned on me that there was some truth to their way of thinking.

In addition to the birth parents, adoptive parents, and the adoptee, there is an endless procession of helpers; assistants; government bureaucrats; social workers; extended family members; foster parents; lawyers; judges; legal staff; psychiatrists; counselors; doctors and medical assistants; your other children; close friends; grandparents; mentors; research associates; neighbors; religious leaders; advisors; bankers; scientists; international agencies; and politicians with a unique perspective, points of view, influence on the process, and a stake in the outcome.

Using this Midwest way of reasoning, lacking conventional wisdom and exactness, the Adoption Triad would be more appropriately named the“Adoption Salad Bowl Committee”or the “Amalgamated Polyhedron Adoption Pyramid” as a term of endearment.

Is anyone else feeling a little less serious today?

Judith Land


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Adoption—Calming the Monkey Mind

“Have you ever found yourself dominated by the ‘monkey mind’ part of your brain that insists on being heard—the voice inside of your head that is always chattering, making it impossible to stay focused on the moment. This is the subconscious part of your mind that becomes easily distracted and over stimulated, so if you want to get anything done in life, your challenge will be to shut down the monkey mind part of your brain.” Judith Land

“Mindfulness means non-judgmentally paying attention to the present moment. Research is incontrovertible that cognitive behavioral therapy is the gold standard when it comes to reducing negative thoughts. Meditation is a tried-and-true method that is so robust and well-illustrated for quieting fear-based thoughts when the negative voices in the Monkey Mind part of our brain are particularly meddlesome.” Judith Land

Adoption generates an extraordinary number of things to think about. Overthinking during the day and excessive rumination during the night leads to a loss of happiness, fatigue, and poor health. It is important to learn to manage stress by taming your monkey mind to stop the mental chatter.

“Monkey mind” is a term that refers to being unsettled, restless, and confused, resulting in mental and physical fatigue. It is a preoccupation with whimsical, fanciful, inconsistent, and capricious thoughts, resulting in indecision, confusion, and a lack of control. The mind is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it becomes caught in a repetitive loop. Monkey mind is the part of your brain that becomes easily distracted, stifling your creativity, and preventing you from moving forward with your passions. The constant babble in the mind never stops. The voice in your head blocks out the message your heart wants to convey.

We all have plans, dreams and goals we are working towards but the future is always uncertain. None of us can predict exactly what is going to happen tomorrow. Irrational fears made real by our own constant attention are infuriating and exhausting. We’ve all had days where it feels like we’ve achieved nothing. There’s a mountain to climb tomorrow, and yet we can’t relax.

When we give our attention to too many things at once, spending our lives rushing from one appointment to another and focusing on what we are planning to do next week, instead of what we are currently doing, our Monkey Mind sends us into an out of control tailspin, a spiraling mental descent, leading to an emotional letdown and collapse. Apprehensively approaching the new day in a mental state of nerves, frayed by a lack of sleep, inhibits our ability to think clearly in the moment, and truly love the journey that we are undertaking.

Monkey Mind depletes executive brain functioning by reducing focus and attention, suffocating emotional intelligence, and stifling analytic thought. Observable signs and symptoms include inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity; behaviors that make staying on task difficult, leading to more mind-wandering, and reduced cognitive reasoning.

Our brain has an innate capacity for thinking, making it easy for the Monkey Mind to feed on stimuli, requiring considerable self-control to shut it off, and making it no surprise that depression, anxiety, and stress disorders associated with adoption are commonplace. Focusing on who to blame spoils the present. Instead of dwelling on who has caused you pain, forgive them. Focus on present events and leave behind any blame or hurt you feel. If there is someone in your past that has hurt you, choose to forgive and forget.

To find harmony and peace in this life, learn to meditate, practice mindfulness, write down your thoughts, and practice acceptance to defuse the rhetoric. Clear your mind, break the cycle of overthinking, avoid unwanted thought, stop worrying so much, and sharpen your mind to release the demons that come along with the Monkey Mind.

Judith Land



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Adoption—Trauma and Dissociation

“The psychological effects of early parental loss have been ruminated on since ancient times. Infants are vulnerable and dependent on the maternal bond with the mother. Separation comprises everything that they know. The latent effects of the emotional pain caused by early childhood attachment loss are known to be deep-rooted, long-lasting, and profound. Separation from the primary attachment figure constitutes a trauma, which may precipitate a dissociative response that may look like a totally frozen state of mind, or a mild zoning out, so low-key, that you may not even notice that you spaced out.” Judith Land

Adoption Detective | Judith Land | Dissociation

“Dissociation is a way that the mind copes with too much stress. It is a normal response that allows people to distance themselves from a trauma that would otherwise be unbearable. Symptoms include amnesia, depersonalization, derealisation, and identity confusion. People who dissociate feel disconnected from the world around them.” Judith Land

Adoptees experience a higher prevalence of dissociative anxiety as a means of coping with the loss of the first attachment bond. They have more conduct and behavior problems, including hyperactivity, aggressiveness, delinquency, conduct disorder, conflicts with peers, and running away. They tend to have a significantly higher prevalence of depression and reactive attachment disorder. This is particularly true with emotionally stranded adoptees torn between two cultures and two families, and adolescents lacking a cohesive sense of identity, with a significant part of themselves attached to their biological heritage.

Disassociation is a psychological defense mechanism associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, including daydreaming, highway hypnosis, losing touch, becoming inattentive and distracted, and mentally remote; a complex psychological condition linked to a history of trauma, lapses of attention, compromised emotional memory, and a disintegrated sense of self associated with a loss of memory and amnesia. Victims feel emotionally numb, detached from others and their surroundings, and disconnected from the world around them. Symptoms include daydreaming, spacing out, eyes glazed over, and changes in behavior due to an emotional overload triggering anxiety.

Dissociation is of great concern in the therapeutic treatment of adopted individuals because this pattern of behavior threatens harm to the quality of personal relationships and self-evaluation. Adoptees with this condition should seek advice and practice grounding techniques.

Contact Judith Land

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Adoption—When things go utterly right…

What would your life be like, if things always went the way you wanted?

An adoption plan cannot be created without the birth parents making a life-altering decision. Adoptive parents take full parental and legal custody of the child with no turning back. The adoptee is the tip of the triangle, the highest priority, and the reason the triad was formed.

“Having a positive attitude is all about maintaining a positive mindset, a mental attitude that focuses on the pragmatic brighter side of life; an optimistic mindset that uses the words ‘I can’ and it’s possible.’” –Judith Land

Adoption gives us numerous complex emotional things to think about and talk about. For many adoptees, there seems to be a continuous mildly irritating background hum raising concerns generated by negative thoughts of abandonment, isolation, and deeply held primal fears. The backstory of many adoptions is often complex; resolution of specific issues may become cumulative, ongoing and progressive, with new and unexpected concerns surfacing along the way. Many of the emotions, sentiments, feelings, and confusion generated by adoption are esoteric problems that many outsiders are rarely cognizant of.

If adoption is the reason you are seriously plagued by doubts, fears and perpetual worries, have you ever purposefully tried projecting a better image and outlook? Have you ever noticed that when you expect everything to go well for no discernable reason, they generally do? Coaches, councilors, and parents preach this message tirelessly with the expectation that positive thinking leads to higher achievement, better outcomes, and a more balanced brighter outlook on life. Thinking about what you want and expect to happen in a positive way makes your attractions grow and your aversions shrink and your troubles melt away. The outside world instantly becomes more attractive and less menacing.

Next time you feel frisky, and nobody is looking, try whistling, hopping and skipping, and jumping for joy. Be an everyday adventurer, leisurely shuffling through natural places at your own pace. Take deep breaths of fresh air. Absorb the ambient sounds, smells and sights of nature. Learn to love trees, meadows, and lakes and looking up at the sky. Never be afraid to tell others how you feel. Remind yourself that the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

Judith Land



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Adoption—Chasing a Rainbow

“If you are an adoptive parent, a birth parent or an adoptee viewing the world from a stationary perspective on one side of the adoption triangle, you may be optimistically chasing a rainbow or even a halo on the opposing side of the triad, but don’t be fooled by the illusion that others can also see the rainbow because the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” —Judith Land

“Rainbows have every shade and hue found in a brand new box of crayons. To fully enjoy life, allow yourself to view the world in cinematography in living color with all the colors of the rainbow because rainbows aren’t very inspiring in a black and white photograph, a monochrome image in shades of gray tones where all the color has been removed.” Judith Land

Do you feel like you have been chasing rainbows all your life?

A rainbow is an arc of color in the sky that can be seen when the sun shines through falling rain. The rainbow serves as a symbol of peace and serenity, a sign of hope and promise often seen after a rainstorm when the sun finally breaks through the clouds. The appearance of a rainbow signals an inner spiritual awakening, a process that holds promises of new knowledge and truths. A double rainbow is believed to be a symbol of transformation and a sign of good fortune. Some believe a rainbow is a message that their loved one has made it to heaven and sent the rainbow to let them know, especially when accompanied by converging parallel beams of light, “God rays” radiating outward from the sun’s position.

The best time to see a rainbow is in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky. Sunlight passing through raindrops causes rainbows via a process called refraction, which is the bending of light as it passes from one medium to another. Each color has a meaning, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony and purple for spirit.

Chasing a rainbow is viewed as a fruitless quest, constantly pursuing illusionary goals that are unrealistic, fanciful ideas that are impossible or unlikely to happen. Since a rainbow can only be viewed from a distance, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow inspired by popular folklore, is forever illusive. You can never reach the end or find the pot of gold because a rainbow is an optical illusion, no matter how you move, the rainbow will always be the same distance away from you. Some members of the adoption triad are dreamers searching for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow where all things are perfect, a habit that is fine when you are young but everyone eventually needs to learn to see the world from the other person’s perspective and circumstances to prove that you worthy as an adult. Empathetic people are curious and possess a desire to know and understand others. Empathy is important because it helps us understand how others are feeling so we can respond appropriately to the situation. Empathy reduces stress and fosters resilience, trust, healing, personal growth, creativity, learning and nourishing connections. Empathy also transforms conflict, and supports sustainable collaborative action and positive social change.

My advice is to be inspired by rainbows but avoid chasing illusionary goals that are unrealistic. To build truly effective relationships, practice facing in the same direction as the other person to fully understand their perspective, situation, and points of view. It is far more exhilarating and delightful to view a rainbow when sharing the experience with someone you care about.

Judith Land



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