Archive for anger

Forgiveness Day

… just a quick note to let you know that today is Global Forgiveness Day.

Is there someone you need to forgive or even want to forgive, but just haven’t had it in you? And if you did finally forgive, how would that affect your relationship with that person or group? Even more importantly, how would it affect your relationship with yourself?

The great, late Nelson Mandela said,

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

It’s true that when we haven’t forgiven someone or some group, anger turns into resentment, resentment festers within us, and eventually it becomes like an open wound, going with us everywhere we go, and quite possibly poisoning everything we do. Yikes!

Forgiving doesn’t mean that we condone another’s behavior. The Greater Good Science Center has this to say about what forgiveness is and is not:

“Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.

“Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability.

“Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.”

Although it’s not pretty, I’ll admit that I, too, have succumbed to the temptation not to forgive. And don’t worry, I won’t ask you to report in on whether or not that’s true for you. My only request is that you take a risk and join me, if only for this one day, and do yourself the giant favor of forgiving just one person or group, and just as GreaterGood says, empower yourself to… heal and move on with your life.”

If you’re wondering how in the heck to do that, go back to that Greater Good page, and look at the column on the right. It has additional articles on forgiveness, even one called “How to Cultivate Forgiveness,” as well as book recommendations, videos, and a quiz.

While it’s certainly vulnerable, and it may not be very fun for us to do this, both the relief and release will be liberating, won’t they? And just think of how much energy we will free up. What will you do with that energy? Whatever it is, I hope it allows you to be all that you are and to have the positive impact on the world that only you can.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll feel so good that we do it more than one day a year. 🙂

 

PS FYI: In the spirit of multi-purposing, I’m calling this post on Forgiveness Day the “F” installment in the AB…Zs of Self-Care series of blog posts.

The Gift of Uncollapsing

Later this week, I’ll begin delivering a newly designed class called “Creating a Wholehearted Life,” based on the work of  Brené Brown and the studies I’ve been doing with her and her team. As I prepare to do so, I am aware of so many things we’ll be covering that I didn’t learn in school – and that would really have helped me along the way.

To start with, we didn’t learn things like:

  • The dangers of perfectionism,
  • The all-important art of self-compassion,
  • The value of experiencing the full spectrum of emotions, or
  • The fact that the armor and masks I was wearing to fit in were barriers to getting the love and belonging I really wanted.

We didn’t learn about collapsed distinctions, either, but as a coach, it’s a phrase I use often. It’s referring to when we take two distinct ideas and get them confused, or think of them as the same thing. An image that works for me is that of two individual columns that have fallen down into the same pile of rubble between them.

Maybe seeing it this way will help you, or maybe a common example will. The most common collapsed distinction I know of is that of self-care and selfishness. See what I mean? They’re not only not the same thing, they’re actually quite different.

While it may seem somewhat cerebral, it can prove to be quite empowering, to become aware of where and when we do this.

A few of the collapsed distinctions we’ll be addressing in the class are:

  • Guilt and Shame, and how knowing the difference can allow us to take action and heal, rather than shut down and/or disappear,
  • Imperfection and Inadequacy, and how being imperfect is not something to hide, but when embraced, allows us to connect and experience love and joy, and
  • Vulnerability and Weakness, and how our willingness to be vulnerable is actually the greatest measure of courage and strength.

Are there any concepts, feelings, or beliefs that you collapse? Are the ones I mentioned familiar to you, or are there others you’re more acquainted with, like maybe understanding and agreement, anger and rage, or hope and fantasy?

I invite you to take some time with this – if you’re so inclined. I’ve found it to be quite a powerful exercise and a gift to myself and my clients. I’d love to know what you find, too. So I’ll see you later, either below in the comments, or maybe even in my new class (let me know if you want to know more)! 🙂

 

Is it Winter in Your Heart?

Regardless of what or how we celebrate this time of year, there is an unspoken expectation to be joyful, grateful, giving, and loving.  And for some of us this is simply not how we feel, not what we are experiencing.  Whether it’s due to the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a connection to the spark within us, the holiday cheer can be a painful reminder, if not downright heartbreaking.

To put it more beautifully, I’d like to share with you a poem, written by my dear friend, Janie Cook, on her blog, Living with the Loss of a Child.

 

in the shadow of blinking Christmas lights

of holiday parties and celebrations

surrounded by gift shoppers

and promises of peace, hope and joy

it is winter in my heart

i am the cold, cloudy days

the damp leafless trees

the stark stillness of the night sky

filled with longing

so . . . Holy One who knows the seasons of our hearts

be the sunrise that warms

be the breeze that freshens

be the light that illuminates

and help me give birth to The Love that is ever deeper and more sustaining

(To read Janie’s post in its entirety, click here.

Regardless of what it is you are feeling during this holiday season, please consider this note a kind of permission slip to feel whatever that is – whether it’s joy, sadness, grief, gratitude, indifference, anger, etc.  You may even want to share with someone close what is true for you so that you don’t feel so alone in your seemingly unique situation.

Remember, we can’t put our feelings on a timer, and only feel them when they are welcome.  We must welcome them when they are present so that they don’t overtake and cripple us for even longer a time…

May you find some peace with your feelings this holiday season, and know that I’ll be joining you in doing my best to honor my feelings.  May we all find peace, all over the whole wide world.  Amen.

Love,
Laura

PS  This post is directly lifted from my December, 2012 newsletter, True Voices Express.  To make sure you don’t miss another offering like this, please go to the the top right of this page, and sign up to receive future issues.  I’d love to be in contact with you more often – but not too often, I promise.  Thanks!