Forgiveness Is a Process

Good morning to each and every one of you that visits today. May your day be filled with joy! Today we’re going to start a series about forgiveness… starting with the things you may feel that you cannot forgive, on through how to open your hearts, and finally, how to get to forgiveness and the peace and freedom that brings.

I am shifting gears here because, actually, forgiveness is what I’m all about. For me, it’s about an attitude of forgiveness…extending it, living it. Let’s start this discussion by talking about the things for which you likely cannot forgive another. To start that discussion, let’s talk about how you were wronged.

You may have suffered abuse at the hands of another, or been on the receiving end of a marriage or relationship that went sour, and you may be angry about these things. That’s a typical response and quite justified. The thing is, what are you doing with that anger? Are you feeling it and moving on to the next step, moving forward from it, or are you stuck in it, wallowing in it, turning it into a resentment?

A resentment is merely anger that one feels again and again until it affects them in all areas of their life, until they are consumed by it. Usually, the person is very bitter and justifies their bitterness with the wrongness of what happened to them. They blame the other person for their unhappiness, their misery, and they may drink or drug over their pain.

Is this you? It was me… for 38 years. For 38 years I carried the anger and resentment against my parents for my upbringing, blaming them for my emotional pain. Never once, however, did I consider that it was my responsibility to find a way to heal that pain. Never once did I consider that I could even move on from that pain. Never once in all those years…

For 20 of those 38 years, I also had my husband to blame for my unhappiness, never once considering that if I was unhappy in the relationship, that I could leave. So I stayed and was miserable, and made his life miserable. And I drank extremely heavily.

Is what I’m saying ringing true for you? Are you, or were you, in similar situations? If so, let’s take a look at those situations… gently, with quietness. This is what my series will be about… looking at our attitudes, our angers and resentments, and the final step we will take is adopting an attitude of forgiveness.

But we are not there yet. Forgiveness is a process, and I hope you will come back as I take a close look at how to go through that process. It will be a gentle and nurturing guidance, I promise you that. So come back tomorrow for the next part of this discussion on forgiveness.

Share

Seven Things You Can Do to Strengthen Your Sobriety Today

Good morning to each of you! I hope for you a wonderful day, a wonderful week! : ) I liked the search term “things I can do to strengthen my sobriety,” so that is what I chose to address this morning. This applies to you even if you are not a sober person, i.e., even if you do not have a drinking problem.

The following are some suggestions of things you can do to strengthen your sobriety:

1. Write, print, every day in a journal with your non-dominant hand, even if for only 15 minutes every morning. If you are right-handed, print with your left. You will find that all sorts of deep emotions will flow forth onto the page. This is especially useful if you are “stuck,” having difficulty with your emotions and moving forward because of them.

2. Take a brisk walk a few times a day, even for 5 minutes. This gets your blood flowing, which gets more oxygen to your brain. It also helps the flow of endorphins to your brain, which is the feel-good chemical.

3. Get in the habit of doing an on-going self-appraisal, also known as a self-assessment, of your thoughts, words, and actions. This will keep you on track internally, in your thought-life, as well as keep a watch over how you treat others. If you are not acting in kind, tolerant respectful, and loving ways to others and yourself, you can change that behavior throughout the day.

4. Be gentle with yourself. All the harshness and having unrealistic expectations of yourself will not move you forward in life, will not help your sobriety. Instead, when you are not gentle, when you have unrealistic expectations of yourself, you set yourself up to fail, to be in angst.

5. Begin to see others that are irritating to you as wounded people, struggling inside of themselves. Perhaps they endured abuse when they were growing up, or later in a marriage, and they have not yet worked through those feelings. Perhaps they never WILL work through those feelings, and you can see them as a wounded person. You can have compassion for them.

6. Forgive those who have wronged you. Take #5 above and apply it to those who have wronged you. Understand that by forgiving, you will set yourself free, and you will find peace from that forgiveness. Know that forgiveness does not mean you condone what was done – it just means you forgive them their transgression. Know that it is you who you are taking off the hook, so you don’t continue to live with poison in your psyche, in your heart.

7. Learn to forgive yourself for all the wrongs you have committed against yourself and to others. See yourself as wounded yourself, and cut yourself some slack. This does not mean that you are off-the-hook and not responsible for your actions and behaviors; you are. But you can see yourself as a fallible human being, and can learn from your mistakes. From that introspection, you can grow. Use your mistakes as learning experiences.

These seven things are things you can do right now, so start in on them. If you do, you will find your thought-life and external life will be more calm and peaceful, more fulfilling and richer.

What one thing are you going to do today to strengthen your sobriety? Leave a comment and share with us what that one thing is. We’d love to share in your growth. 🙂

Share

More Positive Effects From Sobriety

To echo yesterday’s topic, is sobriety worth it, let me tell you another story.

I spent a large number of years in great anger and bitterness over my upbringing. I was filled with self-pity over the shame and degradation that was done to my soul, my spirit. I lived as a victim, always justified in my victimhood.

And I was a victim. But what I learned in sobriety was to heal from the shame, the feelings of worthlessness, the anger and rage. In sobriety, I became willing to seek professional help for my mental difficulties, which led to the realization that I’d had PTSD all those years. That was one reason for the explosive anger. With EMDR treatment, it has lessened a great deal.

The other reason for my anger was just generalized rage against the folks. After several years of healing work, I stumbled across forgiveness. It came to me over time, little bit by little bit. The end result has been full forgiveness of my past, and even being able to see the purpose for my past. I discovered how to put it to good use.

I discovered that my life’s purpose is to help others learn to forgive, so that they, too, can experience the wonderful freedom that exists on the other side of forgiveness. Without the abuse in childhood, I would never have had to struggle with my anger and rage, and I would never have stumbled across forgiveness, which is something I can help others to find.

All of this is possible because of sobriety. I didn’t have a fighting chance to heal while I was still drinking because I was stuck in the victim role. I couldn’t see past my anger, my pity. Only in sobriety have I been able to do that.

You, too, can find healing and freedom from anger and rage, heartache and pity. It starts with your sobriety. Are you willing to take that journey? Let me know in the comments section…

Share

Forgiveness is the Key to Your Inner Peace

Do you live in the space of anger at others for things that happened long ago. resenting the heck out of them? Or, do you live in the realm of forgiveness, having moved through your resentment to the other side?

There is another side, you know, a side where there is freedom from the physical and emotional aspects of anger, resentment. I don’t know about you, but when I was angry for all those 36 years, I was tight as a drum in my muscles, went around with a scowl on my face a great deal of the time.

Emotionally, I was always in a turmoil, a continual thought process about how I’d been wronged by so-an-so, who had hurt me, whose fault it was. I definitely did not have inner peace. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. Peace? Being at peace in my heart, my mind? What’s THAT?

What I discovered after about 5 years of sobriety was true forgiveness and the effect of that forgiveness was that 36 years of anger and rage slowly receded. One day, I just noticed how my energy was being spent watching the world and other people around me, and that I was a witness to miracles, every day. This realization bred a great deal of joy for me.

All this was possible and had occurred, because I was willing to consider forgiveness when it looked me in the eye. It looked me in the eye when I realized I was doing to the men in my life the very same thing that had been done to me when I was a child. I used to get drunk and scream at them that they were worthless. I was heartsick and mortified when I remembered this, because I so denigrated their soul.

The thing is, I didn’t even feel that way about THEM, I was feeling worthless about ME. After realizing that, I was given the grace to feel compassion for myself, a small child being told she was worthless, and the permanent scars that these words caused in her life.

One day it dawned on me… if I didn’t feel the men in my life were worthless, instead that I was worthless and said it uncontrollably, then is it possible my father hadn’t meant it about me, but instead, about himself and was unable to keep those feelings of worthlessness inside? Suddenly, the door was opened ever-so-slightly. Through that crack, I saw a man, just a man, young at that, with lots of responsibility for a large family, under lots of stress, having endured the verbal abuse himself at the hands of his father.

I saw all of that through the crack in the door, and slowly, it crept open and compassion flowed in. Well, it actually trickled, but steadily flowed. Forgiveness came over me slowly, gently, with God’s grace and my actions and thought processes. Willingness and being open minded and open hearted helped a great deal.

Suddenly, I began to experience what I described before… the ability to observe the miracles happening all around me. I put my toe in these waters, slowly, cautiously, not sure if I was dreaming or if the feeling of freedom would be rudely yanked away. Time showed me that it was permeant and that I loved it as a space to hang out in.

You, too, can discover the willingness to consider looking at things with new eyes. That’s all it takes. Willingness to consider something and someone differently. Then it takes compassion and being willing to extend it to another. What lies through this all is peace, inner peace. And freedom. Join me tomorrow and I’ll walk you through the process of how to find forgiveness for not only others, but yourself as well.

My day would feel incomplete to me if I did not say this… May we hold a screed space for those who were directly affected by the events of 9/11, and also for those of us who stood helplessly watching… horrified. Many blessings for those brave souls who sprang into action to help.

Share

Forgiveness of Others

Tiers of Forgiveness

Good morning. I hope the day is dawning brightly for you, wherever that might be.

I saw a twitter post this morning from someone who said they did not have the guts to forgive someone. It prompted me to tweet and let them know of my forgiveness article that they can receive if they opt-in to my site. Having tweeted about that, I was led to thoughts about forgiveness.

The thing about forgiveness is we always do it for ourselves, never the other person. Nelson Mandella said once that resentment is like drinking poison thinking it will kill your enemy. Truer words could not be spoken. Your enemy usually has no clue you are resentful, and it is you who is tied up in knots over some issue.

That’s why you never forgive for the other person; you forgive for yourself, to clear the chains that bind your heart. By offering forgiveness, you are not saying you condone what was done, not in any way. The event(s) that happened were wrong, you were wronged, and it will always be a part of who you are.

But there is a way to look at a situation that takes the sting out, that allows you to find forgiveness.  It is a process. This process of forgiveness takes place over time, in tiers, of you will.

I experienced physical, verbal, and emotional trauma in my early years, and I grew up angry/livid and bitter about it. I refused to even consider forgiveness; I lived my life as a victim, filled with self-pity. To numb the sting of my feelings, I drank for 26 years. When I finally was an absolute emotional mess, I gave up the fight and became sober.

Through my sobriety, I became, after about two years, to look at forgiving. Actually, this is how it happened…

Soon after I became sober, I was doing a self-appraisal, looking at the relationships I had had with men over the years. What I remembered was getting drunk and yelling at them that they were worthless, would never amount to anything.

I was horrified to recall this, and felt badly that I denigrated their spirit, their soul, in such a way. Then I realized I did not mean that of them; I said it because I was lashing out in desperation with thoughts I had for myself. i.e., I thought I was worthless.

Then a while later, I began to wonder if the person who told me I was worthless actually meant these words about himself, and perhaps he, too, was lashing out at me in desperation. A light bulb went off as I began to consider this. It opened the door ever-so-much to be able to consider this person as a wounded soul.

When I was able to see him in this manner, I felt badly for him because I knew how horrible it felt to feel worthless about myself, and I assumed he felt the same way about himself at the time he said it to me. I began to have compassion for this wounded soul.

Over time, I was able to see his behaviors and treatment of me as merely an expression of how badly he felt about himself. Over a period of a couple of years, I was able to offer forgiveness to him.

This is how forgiveness came about for me. For you, I invite you to consider the following as a method of forgiveness:

  • consider whether you have ever done the same thing that was done to you that you cannot forgive for;
  • if you have, own your behavior, An apology may be in order;
  • if you haven’t, then look at the other person as a wounded person, unable to help themselves for what they did;
  • have compassion for this wounded individual, knowing how fallible and fragile they were;
  • allow the chains that bind your heart to slip away over time, as you continue to apply more compassion for a fellow human who is themselves scarred.

Try this out and let me know if you were able to find forgiveness by leaving a comment.

Share

The Power of Forgiveness

Tiers of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a powerful tool to use to get you closer to living your dream. Once you learn to forgive, you will find that you have more energy to devote to it.

How do you know that you need to forgive? If you hold grudges or are bitter toward another, you are a candidate for learning forgiveness.

Grudges and bitterness rob you of a great deal of energy. Rather than expending it on your resentments, you will be freed up to devote that same energy to your dream.

Furthermore, because the energy you now have will be positive, you will move more quickly through the process to fulfill your dream and reach peace.

You see, the main reason you are learning to live your dream is so that your soul will be in synch with your purpose, and you will know peace as a result. 

I explain in greater detail the process of forgiveness in my article which you get when you opt-in to my website, or in other words, when you leave your email. I will be setting this up next week, so feel free to return and leave your email.

The article talks about the effect that lack of forgiveness produces, as well as how I achieved it from a life of bitterness and misery. I then give the specific actions to follow that will lead you, too, to forgiveness.

Basically, it involves six stages:

  • Identify the person against whom you are bitter and holding a grudge.
  • Feel in your heart how they have wronged you. Feel the hurt beneath these feelings, maybe confusion over betrayal…
  • Offer yourself compassion, a wounded person in need of comfort.
  • Consider that this person is and was a wounded person, whose wounds led them to the action they took against you.
  • See that person with compassion, just as you would any wounded person.
  • Allow the resentment to melt away a little at a time until you can forgive.

You may find yourself  re-visitng old issues, and this is okay. They are being brought up for you to look at so you can heal. Try to sit with them without self-medicating or escaping them. Once you apply compassion, they will begin to resolve.

Today, ferret out the grudges and resentments you hold against others, as well as yourself. Follow the process I have outlined above and see if you can get a bit of the resentment to melt away. Keep doing that process until you have achieved forgiveness.

What is it like for you to forgive? What does it feel like?

 

Share

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.

 

 

Share

The Process of Forgiveness

Thank you, Sherry Gaba, for your wonderful post. We had a lot of veiwers reading it.

Today, I wish to continue with the topics in the book, which brings us to forgiveness. This photo is entitled Tiers of Forgiveness, because, in my experience, forgiving is a process that occurs over time, in layers. It could be referred to as the process of forgiveness.

Sherry’s post is a good lead-in to forgiveness, as the ability to forgive is an ideal end- point when we deal with resentment. When we have identified the object of our resentment and have worked through it, we are ready to gain peace through forgiveness – peace with ourselves and, hopefully, peace with the other person(s). There is great freedom in forgiveness.

So, we have identified the person with whom we have a resentment, and we begin the process of looking at ourselves – our behavior and actions, our words and thoughts, and we accept responsibility for these. By that, I mean we hold ourselves accountable, make any amends necessary, which includes to ourselves, if we have treated ourselves badly. We “own up” to our bad behavior and compliment ourselves on the good.

It has been my experience that when I do such an appraisal, I see that, often, I have done the very thing for which I am angry at another. How can I be angry at someone, when I have done the very thing that brings me anger? I soften, recognizing our humanness, our woundedness, and I feel compassion, both for myself and the person I resented. Suddenly, the resentment has diminished. Done over time, this method is the process of forgiveness and can lead to peace. At least, that is what I have experienced.

Deciding to forgive is is a difficult decision to make. For me, it meant backing down from that stance which allowed me to be self-righteous, and, frankly, to play the victim. I believe I played that role in an effort to hurt and perhaps punish, the person I felt had wronged me. I find that I no longer need that role, and, again, life has been freer, and I have enjoyed a closer relationship with those I forgave.

If you went through the process of forgiveness, what improvements have you seen in your relations with others? Have you experienced peace as a result of forgiveness?

 

Share

At A Crossroads

Good morning. We are at a crossroads. We have completed all the topics in the book. I will start over with fear and progress through the book again. And I am requesting your help.

The whole idea of this blog is to acquaint you with my book’s topics, which go from fear, worthlessness, and despair through self-awareness and discovery, to joy and peace. I can do this in one of four ways and would like you to tell me what you, as the readers, would like to see.

I can: 1) go through the topics again and talk about how I learned and grew from them. 2) I can talk in the “we” voice, about how each of these topics relate to us in general, in my observation. 3) I can talk about sobriety and what I have experienced and learned about each topic while sober. 4) I can intersperse my writing with video. Just bear in mind, I am much better writing then when in front of a camera.

Those are my options. I would love to take this blog in the direction which you would like to see. Please provide me feedback. It would be most helpful. Please include if you would like to continue to see the picture associated with each topic. Thank you!

Share