Posts tagged ‘forgiveness’

April 4, 2011

Women and anger

by Dandy

The past couple of weeks I’ve received a few emails from women concerning my post on Boundary Lessons.  This has created some lively discussion on women’s issues, anger, betrayal, forgiveness, expression.  So I’ve been asked to write about this topic some more. 

There was a rough patch in my life awhile ago that caused me to have some serious anger issues.  I didn’t like experiencing  that emotion and sought out counseling and read many, many books about the subject.  I would like to share some of the tools I’ve learned. 

Know your triggers

For most women, our triggers are around issues of power, justice, and responsibility.  We  become angry when we cannot meet our own expectations, when we cannot change frustrating circumstances from work or home, and being treated unfairly or disrespectfully.

The self-esteem factor

Venting anger is even more harmful than keeping it in.  Labels like bitch, shrew, ball-buster mean to undermine self-esteem.   To enhance self-esteem people need to feel loveable, and competent, and venting anger does neither of these.  Having low-self esteem makes people more likely to be easily provoked and to express their anger in volatile ways.  When we are angered we  tend to regard innocent acts and words as personal affronts, further undermining self-esteem. 

Another counterproductive response to anger (this one was so me) is a tendency to ruminate and brood about the precipitating event, construing it as unfair and deliberately provoking said rumination only worsened angry feelings.

When we have high self-esteem we have fewer anger symptoms and are much less likely to brood about the events that provoke anger.  We also have a less propensity to become angry or to keep anger in, or to vent it. 

Rather than suppressing anger or negatively expressing it, women with high self-esteem tend to discuss their anger in a problem solving way, either with a confidante, or with the person who provoked it, or both.

Women with high self-esteem also do not have to busy themselves with protecting a fragile sense of self, but can identify the salient aspects of the anger producing situation and approach it from a problem solving stance.

Women who suppress their anger also suffer from low self-esteem, because they’d allowed themselves to be treated as doormats or punching bags.  Occasionally after prolonged suppression, their anger would erupt in a way that was out of proportion to the triggering event, making  them feel guilty and worthless, further lowering self-esteem( this was me too).

 

The difference between venting and expressing

*Analyse what makes you angry with out walking around it.  Without blaming or reaching for complaints.  Recognize it.  Validate it by writing it down. 

*Admit your anger, feel it out.  Exercise, yell into a pillow.  Go running.  Tear apart old phone books. Depending on the intensity of the emotion this may not always be necessary, some may prefer to draw, paint, or write in a journal.  Expressing anger in this way is so positive and healthy, and it is not venting out, hurting people.  Regardless of whether or not they make sense our feelings are an essential part of who we are – no longer allow repression.  With expression there is no room for it!

* Understand the deeper meaning.  Once you’ve allowed yourself to really feel it and you are aware of where or who it has been directed to.  There is almost always another feeling behind anger. 

* Set boundaries!  Plan ahead.  Say what you want.  Hold yourself responsible for your own happiness.

* Know your limits.  Recognize those triggers.  Find the roots of them.

* Value yourself and forgive.  Forgive others for not always getting it right.  Forgive yourself.

On a side note, any emails sent to me will absolutely, positively be private.  I do not share emails or names, and do not discuss private conversation with anyone, ever.  Privacy is a huge issue for me!  If there is anything you would like to discuss or comment on in private please email me at thereflectiveself@hotmail.com

February 28, 2011

On Seeking Closure

by Dandy

Do you need to close the book on an event that has caused you pain?  Is it a book you take out often and reread it in the hope of finding a different ending only to feel the same old anguish?

It is inevitable, there will be times when we hit a bump in our relationships, leaving us wondering what happened and why.  If you are in need of closure continue reading.

Loose Ends

What is behind that lingering feeling?  What thoughts are still tying you to this person?  Usually anger and guilt are the emotions felt.  Anger over what someone did to you, their lack of accountability.  Guilt over what you did (or didn’t do) to someone else and your resulting feeling of regret.

Acceptance

In order to free ourselves from anger and guilt requires acceptance.  To look at the truth for what it is without self-deception.  Accept your mistakes.  They happened, there’s no going back.

Forgiveness

Another thing that unties the binds that hold us is forgiveness.  In order to free ourselves from someone who has hurt us and all associated negativity is to forgive.  Our hatred has tied us to the person responsible for our anguish.  When the one who has harmed us or their negative actions come to mind, send them a blessing.  The first 100 times we try this it may seem forced or empty, but keep tying.  Eventually, it will turn into a habit.  Then peace will come to us.  Peace will replace anguish.

The Apology

If we have guilt or shame because we were the transgressor then apologize.  It’s not as simple as a, “I’m sorry.”  There must be genuine depth and full accountability.  No excuses.  An apology with an excuse is a false one.  Take complete responsibility for your actions.  Also no blaming.  Do not bring the other persons actions, behavior, or feelings into your bad choices.  Explain the underlying problem or issue, describe it, then tell them what you intend to do to rectify the problem, so that you can avoid making the mistakes again.

Symbolism

If it isn’t possible to have direct closure with the transgressor we can still have a formal goodbye.  This even helps if we did have a face to face meeting with the person.  Gather things that remind you of the person and burn them, or donate to charity.  Write a eulogy to the relationship and sy it out loud, then burn the paper it is written on.

Write it Out

It may be helpful to document the relationship with the offender, from beginning to end.  This can be very painful, but it will give us a broader perspective.  We may choose to keep the story or destroy it.  The very act of documenting and “closing the book” will help us to find emotional closure.

Start a New Book

The memories of the person we need closer from will never be erased.  But we can use the experience to our advantage, to better ourselves  and to help others.  If we are the transgressor, resolve to never make the mistake again, then go another step forward and help others to not make your mistakes.

Make the end of this relationship a turning point.  We can move forward in a positive new direction.

Remember, we must give ourselves time to heal.  The healing process never happens overnight.  Also visualization can do powerful things.  Whenever we think of the person send a blessing and visualize them in front of us, then imagine blowing him or her away with a breath.  Let them go.  Everytime we find ourselves we must do this visualization.  So take a deep breath and let them go.

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.  -Anon

February 14, 2011

How to be a couple extraordinaire

by Dandy

In honor of Valentine’s Day I wrote a list on how to be a great couple all year round.  Being in a relationship is one thing, but being in a healthy, happy relationship is another.  I’ve been with my sweetheart for over 7 years.  We’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t.  We are still learning actually.  People grow and change over the years.  It’s important to grow together, to support each other, to be friends as well as lovers. 

  1. Reminisce about happy times.
  2. Accept one another.
  3. Have time with each other that doesn’t involve the tv, phone, internet, etc;
  4. Make future plans together whether it’s a camping trip, or trying out a new coffee shop.
  5. Watch comedies and laugh together.
  6. Be courteous – always.
  7. Always kiss goodnight and good morning.
  8. Read books, poetry, or bible verses to each other.
  9. Act silly together.
  10. Never, ever speak badly about your partner behind their backs, ever.
  11. Everyday tell someone one nice thing about your partner.
  12. Tell them about your day.  Did something make you think of them?
  13. Don’t compare them to anyone.
  14. Give them your full attention when talking.
  15. Lavish them with praise.
  16. Ask about their thoughts, opinions, and feelings.
  17. Take pride in them and show it.
  18. Say you’re sorry.
  19. Do nothing together.
  20. Pray or meditate together.
  21. Give each other space.
  22. Encourage their interests.  If something feeds their soul, it should be held sacred by you.
  23. Learn something new together.
  24. Make each other cookies.
  25. Forgive them.
  26. Let go of pettiness.
  27. Leave love notes.
  28. Keep promises.
  29. Give them a deep, wet kiss that lingers forever.
  30. Whisper I love you, in their ear.  It sounds so nice that way. 

A good marriage is that in which each appoints the other guardian of his solitude”    -Rilke

What have you found that promotes growth and happiness in a relationship?

November 22, 2010

Self-forgiveness

by Dandy

In our quest for peace, healing, and self-esteem finding forgiveness for ourselves is crucial.  When we do not forgive ourselves the result is guilt, shame, and inadequacy. The benefits of forgiving others lifts the burdens we carry.  Resentments, anger, and destructive behaviors are freed when we forgive our trespassers.  We free ourselves from the prison bars we never should have been behind.  Forgiveness allows us to soar out of the role of victim and be more of who we were meant to be.

But what about self-forgiveness?  Maybe you are caring onto a past mistake.  It can be small or very big.  When we carry regret that is a way we fail to forgive ourselves.  Why are we so unwilling to forgive ourselves?  We believe that we deserve happiness, peace, and acceptance, but somewhere back we started to believe that the rules and regulations of society defined who we are supposed to be.  We stopped believing in our inherent worth.  We stopped trusting ourselves.  We received the message that, “we are not good enough”.  Messages such as, “if you would only just”, or “you failed”, or “this isn’t good enough”, became such a never ending litany for us to abuse ourselves with guilt and shame.  It is abuse when it is painful and damaging to our selves, and when we do it to ourselves it is just as scarring as when others do it.  To these perceived offenses, we became judge and jury and found ourselves guilty.  When parents, teachers, and other societal influencers are unable to love and accept themselves unconditionally this “learned attitude” is passed on as shame and guilt in attempt to control behavior. 

Shame and guilt are very different even though both are harmful and soul damaging.  Guilt is about behavior.  Shame is about being.  Shame reaches down deeper in its pervasiveness.  Children who grow up thinking they are “not good enough” become care givers and influencers for the next generation.  I’m not blaming caregivers and parents, for this is how they were parented.  True maturity can only be reached by forgiving our parents and care givers for being human, damaged humans at that.

When we start to believe that we are worthy, that there are no mistakes we begin down the path to self-forgiveness.  We must stop perceiving that the opportunities to learn as mistakes.

So how do we forgive ourselves?  There are many steps.

  • Think of a certain situation in which you carry regret.  Change your perception of it.  Remember that our thoughts create behavior, and it is our perception that creates our interpretations.
  • Accept yourself – perfection is non-existent anyway.
  • When you make an error in judgement, always admit to it, apologize, and let it go.  The lessons that have contributed to our growth and made us who we are need and deserve our appreciation.
  • Think of how you would respond to someone who has made the same “mistakes”.  Would you berate that person the way you’ve berated yourself?  How would you respond if you learned that a loved one was treating themselves in the way you treat yourself?

When we don’t love ourselves we tend to treat others harshly.  When we don’t forgive ourselves we tend not to forgive others.  It is a long and rough path to walk through life on.  Ease up.  Forgive yourself.  Let go.

Dandy

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