Posts tagged ‘regret’

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

December 13, 2010

Do you get lost in a relationship?

by Dandy

It happens.  Even strong people can lose themselves in a relationship.  We can become so happily wrapped up in our partner that after a while we feel something is amiss within ourselves.  Where did we go?  When we are in love our partner gets high on the  list of priorities.  That’s ok.  They are supposed to be on that list.  Their time schedule, their hobbies and interests, their priorities, it all becomes our own priorities.  It’s when we get lost in them we become unbalanced.  How do we hold onto our selves and have a healthy relationship?

To have a healthy relationship you must be a healthy person.  A symbiotic relationship is an unhealthy one.  One person is needy and dependent.  One person has power over the other.  The result of this is the loss of integrity of both partners.  A healthy relationship is one where there is maturity, peace, and stability.  Both individuals have plenty of room to be themselves and there is genuine acceptance.  In a symbiotic relationship one partner is driven by fear that the other will leave.  In a healthy relationship, each individual is free to take up room in the others life and each person has balance in their own life.  A person will choose rather than be driven to give love to the other partner. 

  We have all seen negative, sick, grossly unhealthy relationships.  Many of us don’t even have much of an idea of what a healthy relationship even is.  In a healthy relationship we give our love freely, with no conditions and expectations.  Many of us have learned through our observances of other relationships, that to give love means to “give up” or “give away”.  In essence creating a deficit in our own selves.  We also learn to give only as much as we expect to receive, so that we don’t feel cheated by giving more.  In a healthy relationship, giving is very different from these types of messages we have received.

In a symbiotic relationship one partner gives up a significant part of themselves in order to keep the peace.  This unhealthy individual is ruled by a fear of being alone and they will give away parts of themselves for the sake of staying in the relationship.  So while short-term conflict is avoided, the status-quo will be maintained.  In the long run the price paid is high.  The price is the precious loss of self.  If one partner sacrifices themself too much then the other partner has more power and control over the entire relationship.  When there is an unbalance of power the relationship will feel very unsatisfying for both individuals.  The price paid for not being alone is to give up who and what they are, their wants and needs. For not wanting to be alone the individual will ultimately feel alone. 

To have a healthy relationship we have to love ourselves.  To give up ourselves or shrink it down to make room for the other partner, will haunt us.  We will feel resentment, regret, and anger.  Therefore, the relationship will deteriorate.  We all need relationships, but we also need to be fulfilled within ourselves.  When we give up pieces of ourselves for the sake of a relationship we do so at the cost of our identity and personal growth.

Our lives should never totally change when we enter into a relationship.  We have to maintain our individuality and personal goals.  We need to maintain and continue to develop our friendships, hobbies, careers, and interests that we had before we met our partner.  If we give these up, we give up our uniqueness.  Maintaining our individuality will enable us and our partner to build a healthy relationship.  We will also be more interesting for our partner.  They will want to stay with us.

Symbiotic relationships fail in many ways because they are unsatisfactory.  When we enter a relationship and give up all the wonderful things that make us who we are we aren’t giving ourselves the love we need.  We have to love and respect ourselves first before we can give love to another.  The loss of self, identity, authenticity, whatever you wish to call it is a profoundly sad loss.  It is devastating.

We also must not confuse identity and individuality with flexibility.  Identity is about all the great things that make us who we are.  flexibility and compromise are crucial to a healthy relationship and will always be necessary in any relationship.  To compromise we have to be committed to honest communication of our feelings and needs at all times.

Neither you or your partner should give up what makes you unique and the special person you both are.  It’s up to you and your partner to create and maintain a balance.  Healthy boundaries will accomplish this along with loving ourselves.

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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