7 – Day Forgiveness Challenge – Day 6

Hello to all who are joining in on the forgiveness challenge! You are awesome for hanging in there! How did yesterday go, writing your not-so-hot behaviors and actions down?

Today, we’re going to look at a key factor in your ability to get to a place of forgiveness. Let’s jump right in…

Now that you have identified that your gripe is legit, i.e., that you don’t do the same things for which you are angry, and you didn’t get the ball rolling, it is time to look with new eyes, from 180 degrees.

Consider the ways in which your resentment has taken its toll on your life emotionally and physically. You may be trying to cope with damaged relationships, a divorce, etc., because of your resentments. So, the emotional toll for you may well be poor relations with others. I would suspect you are stressed over the issue and revisit it frequently, which leads you to great angst.

Physically, you are most likely affected by constriction of every part of your body, by a sour stomach, by clenching your gut, your jaw. There are many ways our emotional stress manifests physically. What is true for you?

You know, medical research has shown that being in a state of forgiveness leads to decreased risk of heart disease, heart attack, and cancer. Obviously, the opposite is true, and that’s something to consider as you look from a 180 degree perspective.

So, now look 180 degrees from where you are currently looking. Consider that you want peace in your life… peace for yourself… peace for your heart.  Remember, you forgive for yourself, not the other person. Is it worth the emotional and physical toll your resentment is taking? It never is, in my experience.

Here are the next steps to take. It involves some writing…

  • List out the ways in which you are consumed by your resentment; how does it affect you in your daily life – your work life, your home life, your life out in the world?
  • Consider that you want something different for yourself. Consider that you want to have emotional peace, no matter what it takes.
  • List out the things you want to be different in your life, or, if you have a need to hang on to the resentment, write about it and why that might be.
  • Consider the possibility that you can leave this misery and create a new story.
  • Visualize yourself in that story. How does it feel? What do you like about it? Write about it. If you cannot see yourself in a positive story, know it will come in time.
  • Spend some time and energy becoming willing to hear about how to devise a new story. Write about any resistance.

Sit with this desire to make changes in your life. It will resonate with you and feel good. Tomorrow, I shall talk about the one way to create forgiveness, as we wrap up the challenge. If you are struggling with this, I offer my coaching services to you so we can work together to get you unstuck. Simply call me at 415-883-8325 to schedule a session.

I’ll see you tomorrow. I wish you well in the writing exercise.





7 – Day Forgiveness Challenge – Day 3

Good morning to each of you! May this be a glorious day, a fabulous week for you all! Today I continue with the forgiveness challenge.

I’d like you to turn your attention to looking at your willingness to offer forgiveness to that person you identified yesterday. Now, we’re going to look at the way your anger has affected your life. I suggest you follow the next sequence of steps:

  • Consider how your anger has consumed your life and darkly colored it. It may even be affecting your physical health. Numerous studies have shown that when you forgive, you have less chance of developing heart disease, heart attack, and cancer.
  • List out the ways in which you are consumed; how does it affect you in your daily life – your work life, your home life, your life out in the world?
  • Consider that you want something different for yourself. Consider that you want to have emotional peace, no matter what it takes.
  • List out the things you want to be different in your life, or, if you have a need to hang on to the resentment, write about it and why that might be.

Now, consider the possibility that you can leave this misery and create a new story. Visualize yourself in that story. How does it feel? What do you like about it? Write about it. If you cannot see yourself in a positive story, know it will come in time.

Spend some time and energy becoming willing to hear about how to devise a new story. Write about any resistance. Remember to write with your “other” hand, as this will bring forth your deepest feelings.

When things get tense emotionally and you need a break, take a brisk walk. Talk to someone about what is going on for you. Meditate or do yoga, if you do these things. Practice stretching and deep breathing as a way to reconnect with your body.

The above are all the things I suggest to my clients when we are working together on how to find forgiveness. Many times, they are resistive, are not willing to go to the place of forgiveness, are not able to get to willingness, but after we work together, they become willing and are able to work toward forgiveness.

This concludes day three of the forgiveness challenge. How is it going for you? Would you leave a comment about that? Thank you.




Ways To Be Compassion to an Angry Person

Good morning all! I was interested in addressing the search for “ways to be compassion to angry person.”

Let’s face it. We all experience angry people in our lives. And, we may even be that angry person. Look closely at yourself and be honest. Look at whether your anger is covering up hurt or disappointment. If this is you, you may want to change that anger and be honest about what the real issue is.

But we’re going to focus in this post on ways to be compassion with an angry persons, on ways to look differently at an angry person.

The first thing to consider is that anger is the emotion we usually revert to when we are hurt, frustrated, or disappointed.  We can have an understanding of this and that allows us to be compassion, to have compassion.

A further thing to consider when dealing with an angry person is to understand the hurt from which they are operating. What did they experience in their earlier life, for example, that is leading them to react with anger today? What is the pressure they are under in their lives that is leading them to be angry? We can have compassion for what they dealt with or are dealing with.

Interestingly, I am in the middle of such an experience… dealing with an angry person in a situation at home. I have to look at the situation and realize that, in some way, I invited the anger in the process of speaking up for my rights. Yet, I handled it poorly. So, I can have an understanding for their anger because I can see my behavior through doing a self-appraisal.

The point is, one thing we can do is to check our behavior first in dealing with angry people. Did we start it? Do we owe an apology? If so, we need to give it. In the situation I am dealing with, I can understand the pressure the other person is under, so I can cut some slack and I can apply compassion. I also apologized for behaving poorly.

Above and beyond that, we need to understand the effect that someone’s upbringing brings to the situation and we can have compassion. Through compassion, we can come to forgiveness.

What are the ways in which you can offer compassion to the angry person in your life? For me, I am needing to practice what I am suggesting. Leave a comment if you have a situation you are dealing with and how you are handling it.




What Will This Day Hold For You?

Yes, what WILL this day hold for you? Are you up-in-the-air, welcome to anything that comes along? Or, do you have plans that you are following through on, and waiting to see where that action takes you? Which ever way you are doing it, the point is to be open to what comes along.

Be willing to be flexible, to change your plans or how you do something. Be tied to the surprise of the outcome rather than your outcome to an action. When you approach everything that happens as a surprise, things have a feeling of newness, of delight. Disappointment is lessened.

The thing is, you have a choice of your attitude. You can choose to stay firmly aligned with a certain outcome and when it doesn’t occur the way you planned or wanted, you get angry, disappointed, hurt. But when you approach everything as a surprise, you are always appreciative of what comes up.

What do you choose for the day? Surprise and delight, or anger and disappointment? Leave a comment and let us know which you chose.


How to Find Forgiveness

Yesterday, I spoke about how forgiveness found me. It was quite by accident. Now, I know how to recreate that for myself and I thought I’d share it with you how to find forgiveness.

Tiers of Forgiveness

Tiers of Forgiveness

It happens in tiers, or stages, over time. There are many emotions to deal with, and the original anger and resentment will resurface for you to look at. It gets easier if you apply the following process.

  • Identify the original anger. Recognize it as hurt and let yourself feel that hurt. Be willing to feel it.
  • Don’t get into how justified you are about your anger. Allow yourself to hurt.
  • Take a look at yourself and determine if you may have done something to provoke the other person. Be really honest about that, even if it is embarrassing to admit. Better to know this up-front. Be willing to look honestly. Be willing to be responsible for your own actions and words.
  • If you did do something to provoke the other person, perhaps an apology is in order. Drop your pride and apologize if you were the one who set the ball in motion.
  • If that is not the case, then look further at yourself and examine whether you have ever done the very thing for which you are angry.
  • Chances are, you have in some form or another. Think about how you felt about yourself when you did that. Were you feeling badly about yourself and took it out on another in some way?
  • Have compassion for yourself for how badly you were feeling about yourself when you did that act, or said what you said to be hurtful to another. Really hold yourself and give yourself comfort. Be willing to show yourself compassion.
  • Now, think about the other person and consider that they most likely were feeling badly about themselves when they did what they did to you.
  • Now, try to see them with the eyes of compassion for the wounded soul they were at that moment that they hurt you.
  • Don’t condone the hurtful actions. Forgiveness is not about condoning the hurtful actions or words of another. It is about freeing up your heart from the resentment you harbor. It is about clearing your heart.
  • Once you see with the eyes of compassion, try to bring forgiveness into your heart.
  • Know that they were doing the best they could at that moment, just as you always do the best you can in any moment, even if you are hurtful to another.

Try this series of ideas for one with whom you are angry and resentful, one whom you are unable to forgive, and see if it is helpful. See if it shows you how to find forgiveness.

If it is yourself you need to forgive, the same stages of self-examination and compassion apply. If you try this method, let us know the results. Leave a comment with your success, or let us know if it just didn’t work.


How I Found the Gift of Forgiveness

There was a definite advantage for me in finding the gift of forgiveness. It is a gift for you, as it frees your heart of the resentment, anger, and hurt which you harbor. When you forgive, it adds a great deal of inner peace to your life.

According to Webster, to forgive is to give up resentment and the desire to punish someone, to pardon them, to overlook one’s transgressions. This is not to say you condone what another has done. Yet, you give up the need to punish them with your silence, or scorn, or anger.

Finding the Gift of Forgiveness

Tiers of Forgiveness

Forgiveness for me happened in tiers. And it involved many years of tears. There was a period of years in my life when I endured much physical and verbal abuse; the details are not important.

What is noteworthy is that I was told repeatedly during those years that I was worthless, no good, and would never amount to anything. Needless to say, I started to feel very worthless.

I went on with life, resenting this person who had bestowed the extreme physical and emotional hurt upon me. I seethed inside. I made snide comments to punish them, or withheld my love and attention as a way to further punish. 

Then I became sober. I had to look at what was done without having alcohol to numb the pain, and it was excruciating to do so. I did it because I had no choice but to go through the pain if I wanted to heal. And I wanted desperately to heal. 

I was doing a self-appraisal one day, looking at all my relationships with men that I had had over the years. I realized that for each of them, I would get drunk and scream at them how worthless they were, that they were no good, and would never amount to anything.

I was horrified to remember and to admit this to myself! What a horrible thing to have said! I realized I did not mean it, that I was feeling those things about myself, and just took out my anguish on them.

Suddenly, I wondered if the person who said those things to me felt the same way – felt worthless and no good about themselves, and that is why they screamed those words at me.  I saw myself with compassion, knowing what extreme pain I was in at the time. This allowed me to believe that the person who abused me was also in great pain at the time, and I was able to feel compassion for them, also.

This didn’t excuse my behavior, and I have since apologized to these men, but the psychological and spiritual damage was done. Yet, by acknowledging how I said these things, and applying compassion to both myself and the person who abused me, I was able to forgive myself, and the person who had said them to me. Years of anger and  resentment slipped away. I have since gained peace from years of abuse. 

What are the ways in which you are withholding forgiveness? Is it getting in the way of your peace of mind? Tomorrow we will look at ways you can learn to offer forgiveness, so you can gain peace, too.




Do Your Resentments Serve A Positive Purpose?

Guest Post By: Sherry Gaba, Recovery Coach & Author

Please welcome Sherry Gaba, who has written the dynamite book, The Law of Sobriety.

Revenge, negativity, hatred, scorn are just a few of the emotions that an individual can be carrying around with them without even being aware of the impact they have on their day-to-day lives. Every person on the planet has had experiences that are less than pleasant, some experiences that could even be described as horrific and traumatic. A question that you need to ask yourself is what are you doing with these emotions that you are carrying around like chronic baggage?

Have You Faced Your Resentments?

When facing your resentments, have you ever taken the time to evaluate the exact purpose those resentments have in your life? Are your resentments living in your head rent-free? This is a popular saying in the program and it makes a great deal of sense. Every human being is given 24 hours in each day, no more and no less. Time is the one resource that we cannot get more of.  Are you investing emotional energy in things that will benefit you or are you investing emotional energy by carrying around negative resentments? When you take the time to evaluate your resentments you may see how your choices aided in the outcome of situations that resulted with resentments.

Take Responsibility

The Law of Sobriety tells us that we need to take responsibility for the choices that we made in the past and the choices we will make in the future. When examining specific resentments, maybe towards a past romantic partner, a parent, an old friend, you will see where choices you made create a level of accountability. This is not to say that horrific things that happened to you are your fault, but it does reinforce that you no longer need to live in the land of victim. There are tools that you can use to help examine specific resentments with the desire of moving past that negative emotion that doesn’t serve you.

A Tool For Healing

Journaling is a great way to document your journey of recovery and can be used to let go of resentments. In your journal write a letter to the individual that caused you to have resentment. In this letter write down how you experienced the situation, what you felt and how this experience affected you. Use as many specific and detailed descriptions as possible to paint a very clear picture. While writing this letter try to express your accountability for your actions during this experience. Close the letter with a sentiment of forgiveness, even if you don’t believe it at the time.

The act of writing this letter and reading it out loud if desired begins the process of letting that negative energy go, releasing it into the universe. Continue to read the letter over time and you will find that you begin to believe the words of forgiveness and it is at this point when the universe knows that you have finally released that negative resentment that was taking up space in your mind and in your heart. Remember that if you are experiencing emotions that are negative, these emotions don’t serve you in a positive way. If something doesn’t serve you in a positive manner, you must learn to release those negative emotions to make room for emotions that will serve you.


Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Life and Recovery Coach on Celebrity Rehab on VH1 and author of The Law of Sobriety which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addictions. Sherry can be reached at sherry@sgabatherapy.com for coaching packages, therapy, teleseminars, workshops, or speaking engagements. www.thelawofsobriety.com or www.sgabatherapy.com.



Developing Awareness

Birth of Awareness

There came a point in time after I dispensed with the false bravado that awareness began to creep up on me, that I began to be aware of myself  in the world. In the book, in this image and verse, I see the lushness beyond the opening, and after allowing myself to feel my anger and sadness, my grief and sorrow, I decide to walk through the gate to awareness. I make a choice.

The first area in which I developed awareness was how to identify my feelings. I had kept them numb for so long with my drinking, that they were raw when I quit. I also did not know how to name them, I often struggled to determine what I was feeling. My ability to identify my feelings has grown tremendously, as evidenced by my last post.

Part of my awareness includes identifying how I “am” in the world, i.e., how my actions or words have affected another. Again, referencing my last post and the issue with which I was dealing, I sorted out my feelings and resolved my impatience and anger. Then, I decided to share with the person involved the process I had gone through, as I was trying not to hide my feelings. I would not recommend that, as in this case, it only served to upset and hurt the other person.

In searching for the mature way to handle the situation I described in my last post, it would have been better to talk with a trusted friend about my feelings, write about them, and resolve them without mentioning my difficulty to the other person because I identified that their actions were appropriate, even though I did not like them.

A large majority of my awareness has been in the area of learning lessons – learning that experiences come to me for the purpose of healing and growing. When I think of unpleasant situations in this way, my energy is directed toward the lesson and what I can learn, rather than on blaming another person or situation for my grief, or whatever. I am able to detach myself from those things and learn the lesson the experience is trying to teach me. This habit has helped me to reach my goal of inner peace.

How about you? What does awareness look like for you?


Surrender of Pretense

Surrender of Pretense

Giving up, letting go, surrendering. In the case of the book, I was referring in this verse to giving up the pretense that all is fine with me when, in fact, it is not. It is a reminder to come out from behind my gate of false bravado, letting others see the pitted and rusted metal that is me.

For me, surrender is a release that feels freeing. It is interesting that I am given a true life situation in which I find myself having to surrender my pretenses, because the situation is not ok with me. It causes pain. Do I tell the other person? Or, do I swallow the hurt and just keep going on?

That is what I did all my life and it is not how I choose to be today because it led to a life of deep resentment. So, I am looking for an appropriate way to convey my thoughts and feelings, without attacking or blaming or hurting back the other person. I am looking at the issue of whether or not it’s even appropriate to speak about my feelings to the person who is involved  in this situation. I just know that the old way of stuffing feelings did not work.

The trick is to not come at the other person with anger, trying to hurt back. For me, it involves realizing what is behind my anger and, upon looking at it, I discover what I’m really feeling is hurt and disappointment. I need to be honest and relay my thoughts. Once I identify the source of my anger, then I can move forward and talk about what’s really going on for me.

I am afraid to do this. It is new behavior for me. I fear the other person’s reaction. Yet, it feels like the mature thing to do, versus being passively-aggressive. So, I will surrender the pretense and come out from behind my gate.


Feeling Hopelessness Change to Hope

Ray of Hope

ray of hopeA ray of light across the bars of my being lights my way, instills hope in my heart.”

Hope- An expectation that a desire will be fulfilled. A wish, a dream, a thought, an idea, a creative concept, a prayer, a gratitude for that which has not yet happened. In sobriety, I developed such a habit that delivered me to better understand myself as a new being, unfettered by the chains of continual self-doubt manifested by my drinking. I became a new, positive being that integrated hope in my life as a necessary component…

Hope is faith in Source, or God, the expectation that He exists and cherishes my existence as much as I cherish His. Hope is that which allows me to fulfill the desire to create and allows God to guide my path along the way. Hope is waking up in the morning, stretching to see the dawn of day and having the expectation that God will fulfill the day with His presence around me.

It was not always this way for me. For many years into sobriety, I dealt with despair, sorrow, and hopelessness. It got to the point that I prayed to die, as I could not stand the pain any longer. Then one day, everything changed.

I was talking to a man, sober for 10 years, who was distraught over old childhood issues. He described feelings similar to those with which I had been dealing, feelings for which I had been doing a lot of healing work by reading and undergoing therapy. I relayed to him all that I had learned in my search for peace of mind.

He was so appreciative that he cried. I was humbled that my information had been useful to him. As I left and walked to my car, I was overwhelmed and began to cry. I began to realize that perhaps all of the experiences in my life with which I had struggled have been for the purpose of helping another heal from their wounds.

I began to feel that all the experiences of pain that I had endured were for the purpose of me healing and then for sharing how I have healed with those who approach me. In essence, it became about me telling my story. In an instant, I had hope about my life’s purpose and about myself. There was a reason for my pain. I asked God to ignore my prayers to die. Since that day, I have been telling my story in the hopes that it will be useful to another. That is one of the things which prompted this blog. Since that experience, I have been graced with hope every day.

How do you experience hope in your life? Or, are you dealing with hopelessness. I welcome your thoughts.