HUMAN NATURE

HUMAN NATURE

Humans come by certain characteristics naturally. This is called human nature or the essence of humankind.  Humans in large measure feel as if they are dying on the inside but put on a pretty face to hide it.   We are hiding from our true selves and putting up a false front that develops over time—a learned characteristic.  Confusing at best—why do we act this way and how is it part of being human.

The fundamental dispositions and characteristics that humans are said to have naturally include ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. The term is often used to denote the essence of humankind, or what it ‘means’ to be human.

Most animals stay with their normal behavior patterns. But humans have language skills and greater brainpower which permits us to develop many more elaborate systems of rules, taboos, and etiquette

Humans are constantly sorting the world into categories, predicting how things work, and testing those predictions which is the essence of science.

Our feeding behavior is also exceedingly odd. Most animals just eat. I watched a squirrel sit in place under our bird feeder and munch on sunflower seeds dropped by the birds. He just ate.  On the other hand, we make it a meal usually at a set time with different foods for each timeframe.  Is it fun to eat eggs or pancakes at dinnertime?  For some humans, this is too far outside the norm.

Nothing is quite as puzzling as our predilection for clandestine copulation. Why do humans have sex in private?  Why is sex a fearful subject for humans?  We are preoccupied with denying and escaping it. We need a therapist to tell us how to do something that is wonderful and so natural.  Our religions, particularly Christianity, have not helped to appreciate the intimacy and wonder of our sexuality.

The truth is that while much attention has been given to the need to love each other and the environment, the real need is to find the means to love the dark side of ourselves—to find the reconciling understanding of our ‘good-and-evil’-afflicted human condition that is causing so much suffering and destruction!

Certainly, we have invented excuses to justify our imperfect competitive, selfish, and aggressive behavior, the main one being that we have savage animal instincts that make us fight and compete for food, shelter, territory, and a mate. 

It overlooks the fact that we humans have altruistic, cooperative, loving moral instincts—our conscience—and these moral instincts in us are not derived from situations where you only do something for others in return for a benefit from them.

We have an unconditionally selfless, fully altruistic, absolutely lovinguniversally considerate, genuinely moral conscience. an unconditionally selfless, fully altruistic, absolutely lovinguniversally considerate, genuinely moral conscience. Our original instinctive state was the opposite of being competitive, selfish, and aggressive: it was fully cooperative, selfless, and loving

Once our self-adjusting intellect (EGO) emerged it was capable of over the management of our lives from the instinctive orientations we had acquired through the natural selection of genetic traits that adapted us to our environment.

It was at this juncture, when our conscious intellect challenged our instincts for control, that a terrible battle broke out between our instincts and intellect, the effect of which was the extremely competitive, selfish, and aggressive state that we call the human condition.

Our intellect (EGO) began to experiment in understanding as the only means of discovering the correct and incorrect means for managing existence, but the instincts—being in effect ‘unaware’ or ‘ignorant’ of the intellect’s need to carry out these experiments— ‘opposed’ any understanding-produced deviations from the established instinctive orientations.

The intellect was left having to endure a psychologically distressed, upset condition, with no choice but to defy that opposition from the instincts. The only forms of defiance available to the conscious intellect were to attack the instincts’ unjust criticism, try to deny or block from its mind the instincts’ unjust criticism, and attempt to prove the instincts’ unjust criticism wrong.  So, we became ego-centric, self-centered, or selfish, preoccupied with aggressively competing for opportunities to prove we are good and not bad. The EGO unavoidably became selfishaggressive, and competitive.

Our True Self was banished to the wasteland of our being—submerged deep within. It takes massive effort to bring the True Self to light.  The EGO wants to separate and project uniqueness.

But I want to love and be a part of humanity. The struggle continues.

ON BEING IGNORED

ON BEING IGNORED

One of my greatest fears is to have no purpose for my life—the feeling of being superfluous.  I no longer want to be the center of all things and I no longer want to be separate or unique. I want to be part of the human experience and be engaged with my brothers and sisters.  This is the way I will grow, learn, and love.  I do not want to be ignored.

It is far worse to be ignored than to be disliked.  Ignoring someone is a not-so-subtle form of abuse. Purposely ignoring someone is rude, immature, inconsiderate, cruel, and petty.  It is extremely damaging emotionally to the ignored.

I cannot abide being ignored by people who want to hurt me for some reason.  These folks are generally selfish and have little respect for me or themselves. It gives them power and control over me in their mind.  In fact, many of them think they are the victim, thus making my feelings irrelevant.

It is amazingly easy to blame someone else for your problems.  If so, ignoring someone is a means of avoiding the problem until it goes away.  Being angry with someone and ignoring them is an immature way to avoid dealing with a situation.  Ironically, it usually makes matters worse.

Punishment for perceived slights is the common reason to ignore someone.  It becomes clear that these folks are too selfish to care about me and my feelings.  They do not realize the damage the silent treatment may cause.

When someone gives me the silent treatment, they think it will make me better.  Also, these folks could just be avoiding a confrontation, and not realize they have gone about it the wrong way.

At times life is hard and individuals handle problems in different ways.. Figuring out the right way to deal with things is not always easy. Nonetheless, when someone’s existence and feelings are dismissed and disrespected, they feel devalued, unworthy, and insignificant.

The silent treatment can be a mind game for some people, and in some cases can be used as a form of psychological manipulation. It also increases stress levels, which leads to more feelings of grief and abandonment.

So you are being ignored and you are left with a slew of unanswered questions and uncomfortable emotions. What to do? What to do?

Each time you feel ignored by someone, the causes, and potential solutions will be slightly different. In some cases, it may not be possible to get a full picture of what has happened.

However, there are ways to properly deal with these circumstances regardless of how you know the person and what they mean to you in your life.

Through trial and error, I have found a cooling off period to be the best first step.  You will not get to the bottom of the problem right away. Let the person have an opportunity to reflect and consider whatever has caused them to ignore you. Try to find other things to occupy your time and attention!

This cooling off period is just as important for your well-being as it is for the other person. You both need ample time to consider what actually happened. If a resolution is possible, it is much more likely after a break.

You would be surprised at how many people assume they are being ignored when in fact they are not! It is possible that other explanations exist.  It may be that the person is busy or in a stressful situation or is in a bad mood and ignoring everyone.

When you know for sure that someone is ignoring you, it is so easy to jump to all kinds of dramatic conclusions.  In the majority of cases, being ignored is temporary and does not mean that something awful is going to occur. And, in fact, you can reduce the likelihood of a bad outcome by ensuring that you do not overreact.

When you think you know why the person is angry, you can begin to work out how to talk to them about it. Think about how they might have read too much into your actions or how they could have been over-sensitive about a conversation topic. Remember that even if you do not think the anger is justified, understanding it will still help the relationship.

Most likely you will end up talking to the person who has been ignoring you.

If you are dealing with someone who has been ignoring you because they are hurt or angry about something you have done, it’s often the case that an apology is the quickest way to move on. It is always safe to believe you played a part in causing things to go wrong. Offer a sincere and explicit apology that stresses your understanding of what you did. This proves you are serious and not just lazily doling out a token apology.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Happy Holidays!!

Looking for a stocking stuffer?

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FOREVER STALKING JOY?

We often confuse joy with happiness, but they are not interchangeable. Joy is from within, regardless of what is going on around you. It is deep seated and life altering. Happiness can be a transient emotion, dependent on a situation. Joyful people make a commitment to be grateful regardless of the circumstances.


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We often confuse joy with happiness, but they are not interchangeable. Joy is from within, regardlees of what is going on around you. It is deep seated and life altering. Happiness can be a transient emotion, dependent on a situation. Joyful people make a commitment to be grateful regardless of the circumstances.

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GENEROSITY IS A VIRTUE

GENEROSITY IS A VIRTUE

Generous people are able and willing to give. They give both financially and of themselves, in a way that benefits the recipient. Their gifts may include time, money, things, and encouragement.

People that give truly and freely do so because they care. They hope to see a better world and hate to see others suffer and are willing to do something about it.  Some people actually give to get, but truly generous people give simply to give. They don’t ask for anything in return. The only benefit they receive is the knowledge that they are doing their part to improve the world.

True giving happens when you are overflowing from the inside and cannot help but share. When there is so much love within you that it has to flow to others or you would burst open. There is no thinking involved, no willpower in such sharing. It just flows out. If you have to force yourself to be kind, to love, to feel compassion, you have missed the first step of filling in your own self with these emotions.

Generous people are optimistic and do not get tangled up in the misbelief that their small contribution is seemingly worthless in the grander scale. These people recognize the impact they can make through their giving and they continue doing it. They don’t give in order to impress others or broadcast how much money they donate or their impressive works of service. They do so quietly and humbly.

Giving of your time and talents often requires patience. The world isn’t going to change overnight. People who are giving understand that this process takes time.

They understand that life is about more than them. It’s about humankind in its entirety. Generous people acknowledge their part in the overall scheme of things and actively pursue their role to make the world a better place.

It takes a lot of energy to give of yourself. It requires time and motivation too. People who give not only tend to be more energetic, but also become even more energized by the very act of giving to others. They take a stand for their cause and help spur others into action. They recognize areas of need and help connect people and resources to fill these gaps.

Do you wish you were a more giving person? Generosity doesn’t always come naturally for some of us, but it’s our hope that this list of characteristics of generous people will help reveal areas to cultivate in our own life to become a truly generous person. Generosity is therefore not a random idea or haphazard behavior but rather, in its mature form, a basic, personal, moral orientation to life. Indeed, generosity is a virtue and to practice it for the good of others also necessarily means that doing so achieves one’s own true, long–term good as well.

Generosity is a learned character trait that involves both attitude and action. The virtue in this action is giving liberally along with an actual practice of ongoing giving. In a world of moral contrasts, generosity entails not only the good expressed but the rejection of many vices such as fear, greed, and selfishness.

Generosity also involves giving to others those things that are good for them, not just things that are in abundance. Generosity always intends to enhance the true wellbeing of recipients. Given that generosity is a virtue, to practice it for the good of others also necessarily means that doing so achieves one’s own true, long–term good as well.  So generosity, like all of the virtues, is in our genuine enlightened self-interest to learn and practice.

Generous folks have the right attitude about money and wealth.  It is so easy to use money as the scorecard for achievement. Instead, they treat money as means to acquire things they need, and not an end in itself.  This belief enables them to spend money on others as well themselves.  Having their name on a donor list is irrelevant.

Acting generously makes you feel good because you are helping others.

I think there are times that I have given to satisfy my ego which is not a good practice. Many people appreciate music and the arts and have given to assure that the orchestra stays in tune and the opera is available, but these often are done with fanfare and acclaim. Yet there is something very satisfying to give someone help that they need to survive.

I am concerned that generosity may an endangered character trait in today’s world. Our survival is conditioned by our ability to negotiate contracts and engage in the economic exchange of goods and services.  Do we have the time or the inclination to be generous?  There is so much suffering in the world that our efforts are never enough and we get discouraged.  Still, it is better to be a part of something than do nothing at all.

THE POWER OF SMALL THINGS

THE POWER OF SMALL THINGS

Black Lives Matter! A Pandemic is Serious! What Happened to Compromise?  Should schools open?  Why is the CDC being cut out of the Covid-19 reporting loop?  Why is wearing a mask an issue of freedom? Russians are not on our side.  Is my country, the country of my birth, the country that I love, declining like the Roman Empire?  All of these thoughts have been rampaging through my mind recently. I don’t know any of the answers, nor do I have any control, except with my vote, which may not be counted this year..

So, I am going back to the simple pleasures that have been so important to the quality of my life.  I am starting this better path simply by identifying and expressing gratitude for something small.  After all, most everything started out small, so why not focus on simple, small things.  I thought about those things that made me smile yesterday, in the last few minutes. There are lots of small things that can make your day.  

Here are some of mine:

  • getting lost in a novel
  • my old blue sneakers
  • I enjoy biographies, who would have thought!
  • my meditation that connects me to the day
  • my favorite coffee cups
  • taking a walk
  • dinners with family
  • a really good hug
  • watching a bird going about its business and paying me no mind
  • reading in the shade of a large oak tree
  • sitting on my balcony in the sun reading a good book on my kindle
  • petting my cat, Charlie
  • looking at my garden
  • morning coffee
  • large glass of water and time with God
  • perusing through my favorite bookstore
  • walk in the woods
  • Linda’s smile

Experiencing any one of these small things can make my day joyful.  I get lost in a good book a lot but I do not spend enough time reflecting on why the book held my attention.  Reflecting on the joy of the book can bring a smile to my face all day. I encourage you to make your own list of small things that make you smile and feel good about yourself.

For years, I thought that having the desire to be the best-of-the best at my job would bring me happiness. But I eventually learned and have been reminded many times that this simply is not the case. I do believe, however, that many folks have that desire because doing your best is not good enough. Indeed, if you have that burning desire to achieve and accomplish important things, then please take along a list of small things to make your way more enjoyable.  Develop this as a habit, and you will be amazed at its power and impact. Through the power of small things — adding new things regularly, they will build upon one another and over time have an extraordinary impact on your performance and serenity.

POWERLESSNESS

POWERLESSNESS

One of the alarming trends of our time is that more and more people feel powerless. Powerlessness seems to be the root of all negative emotions. Whether it is the large divide between rich and poor, the disturbing political setting, the controversy over climate change or the increase in violent action by thugs and the police gun violence – the world is frightening and all we, citizens of America, do is to stand by and watch.  We are guilty about the past and fearful of the future. We are depressed about our situation today and angry because the prospects of change seem remote.

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Guilt. Depression. Fear. Anger. All stem from the feeling of powerlessness. We are imprisoned by these strong negative emotions. As a result, we accept and tolerate a miserable life. Afterall, we face daily struggles on a personal level, such as a demanding job, a stressful relationship, unpaid student loans and the social-media-driven fear of missing out, and it is no wonder that a rising number of men and women feel so overwhelmed with life, that all they want to do is to check out by taking drugs, alcohol or medication.  Why not find something better.

The difficulty with feeling powerless is that it smothers our innate desire and potential to change and improve ourselves and the situations we are in. The biggest problem with powerlessness is, that it is often an illusion.

We can overcome the paralyzing sense of powerlessness, by changing the dynamic to face our challenges from a place of courage and optimism. We do not get robbed of our power we give it away!

  • You let others make decisions because you do not trust yourself.
  • You make yourself silent and invisible to not get judged and to avoid conflict.
  • You tell yourself that you have to hold onto an unfulfilling job or a dysfunctional relationship because you do not believe you can have something better.
  • You deal with disappointments by putting yourself down and questioning your abilities.
  • You focus more on what is not working in your life and the “what if’s” of the future, than spending time to appreciate and embrace all your blessings of the day.
  • You make excuses for those who put you down or treat you as their punching ball.
  • You complain about your challenges but tell yourself there is nothing you can do to change them.
  • Your lack of control makes you angry.

Personal power is an energy, which is based on the proper alignment of mind, body, and spirit and leads to confidence, competence and compassion for others and oneself. You know that you are in touch with your personal power when you feel safe and secure within yourself and take responsibility for your life. When you trust that you have the wisdom and capabilities to learn and grow from anything life brings you. And personal power means that you allow yourself to discover and express your true, authentic self while being appreciative, patient, and compassionate to all beings in your life including yourself. This is not easy or everyone would do it.

As earlier expressed, being powerless is often an illusion. Let us say you did not get the promotion you hoped for or that lovely lass you met on Tuesday is not taking your call. You could argue that you are truly powerless here because somebody else made the choice. Yes, you do not have the power to control others. But, your real power lies in choosing to either let your mind latch on to these situations and continuously wonder “why?,” “what did I do wrong?” or you could simply let it go. Letting go does not mean rolling over and giving up. It just means that you decide to accept the situations as they are without letting yourself be defined by them.

  • Whatever happened does not say anything about your intrinsic worthiness,
  • that you have the innate potential to learn and grow from any situation,
  • that you are grateful for situations like this because they make your determination to learn to love and accept yourself unconditionally even stronger.

And then there is God. When we have power and are in control, or at least believe we are in control. We do not have much need for God. We do not need to examine ourselves critically or see just what we are made of spiritually. But when powerlessness comes, we are forced to see what we are made of, what matters most, and on what or whom we rely. This is a time of reckoning. When we live in our powerless moments, God can get to the deep places of our being and more thoroughly work in us.

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When we are most weak, vulnerable, and powerless, in a somewhat miraculous way, God’s strength becomes real to us, making us strong. Not only does our powerlessness bring us closer to God, God’s glory is revealed through grace. It is often said, that out of suffering comes change and growth. The power we feel through these growth periods comes from God. God wants us to be meek so we can learn, grow, and do His will so we can truly inherit the earth now.

Meekness is powerlessness that is part of a person’s developed character, not forced upon them. It is intentionally exercised. It is restraint by a person who “can but won’t” stand out, exert influence, leverage strength or demand attention. It is an exemplary characteristic … for someone else to exhibit. We like meek people because they refuse to take too much attention from us or insert themselves too much into our story.

Exercising meekness means that we render ourselves intentionally powerless. We subordinate our will to something or someone greater than us, God. We seek the will of someone else rather than our own. Meek people are not small because someone makes them small. They just realize that something greater is what they need to be about. They realize that someone greater is present that should be acknowledged.

Meekness does not mean that a person is insecure or lacking in self-esteem or talent. It is admittedly difficult to have words to say, but not say them if it is better to withhold them. The meek can do that. It is hard to have opportunity and not to seize it. The meek can see what the opportunity will produce for good or bad. It is excruciatingly difficult for many to have resources and withhold spending them on whatever a person wants to spend them. The meek will look at the bigger picture and choose how to use resources for larger gain than personal gain alone. It is rare to see someone with power who refuses to wield it for personal advantage for the sake of something bigger. Meekness does just that. It is intentional powerlessness when the potential is present.

So take stock of yourself—do an inventory of the good things happening in your life and make note of things that need to change. You may be powerless but God is not. With God and the Spirit inside me, I have power in my life right now. I have the power to overcome temptation, change my life for the better, be healed,  forgive, and enough power to seek God’s will for my life. The real purpose of hope is to allow us the capacity to suffer with wisdom, calmness, and generosity. The ego wants to separate and seek material success. For the soul, it is purpose and meaning. Act with a hopeful heart.

Often God comes to me disguised as my life and my life is a pathway built by actions I have chosen to take. I form an intention to walk the right path, but that intention is not real until I start walking and act. The only power I have to choose between right and wrong is in the present moment when I make the decision to act. By seeking God’s will I receive the power of the Spirit to stay on the right path.

Think big and ask big! What a better way to live.

DIS—EASE

There is a natural connection between the way we live and the diseases that come our way.  Science is just beginning to discover the linkages between specific negative emotions and specific physical disorders, but already many of these connections can be made. 

Negative emotions damage the body. When we perceive a situation to be dangerous, adrenaline and cortisol are released by our bodies to facilitate “flight or fight” responses.  The problem is that most of the “dangers” that cause stress cannot be resolved by fighting or running away! I have tried both and neither ever worked. 

Modern life is characterized by a tsunami of stressful events and daily pressures coming at people from every conceivable direction. And yet the real culprit isn’t the situations which surround us – it is the emotional reactions to these events.

Emotions are not confined just to the mind or heart, but they are often translated into chemical reactions which occur at both the organ level and the cellular level! Apparently, the “most damaging” emotions are feelings of un-forgiveness, anger, worry, fear, resentment, and frustration.  Clearly, no one with an emotional life is immune to the danger, particularly FEAR (FALSE EVENTS APPEARING REAL!)

These negative emotions which place so much stress on our bodies come in two forms: those that arise out of present situations and those that are embedded in our deepest memories. These unhealed memories are actually concealed as false beliefs and negative images in our mind, formed as destructive remembrances.  Our immune system is the primary healing source in our bodies. Stress is the one thing things that diminishes the immune system.  Healing these memories is the only way to allow the immune system to do its job.

Reducing the emotional symptoms of stress starts with reducing the sources of stress in your life. There are a variety of stress-reducing techniques.You have to find the ones that work for you in providing relief, but they don’t eliminate the reasons for your stress.

  1. Physical activities such as running, jogging, and aerobics are a great way to relieve stress and tension.
  2. Relaxing physical activities such as yoga or tai chi can help to work your body while relaxing your mind. 
  3. Mindfulness techniques such as contemplative meditation and prayer can strengthen your emotional responses to stress.
  4. Reducing stress in a particular area of your life can help to lessen your exposure to chronic stressors.
  5. I use some mobile apps, such as Calm, that engage my mind through guided conversation which helps me manage stress and anxiety.

Over time, you may find that your resolve against stress becomes stronger and that your symptoms improve.  However, if you find that you’re still struggling to handle the emotional aspects of everyday or chronic stress, it may be best to reach out to a mental health professional. You cannot allow these techniques to mask the underlying problem.

Learning how to recognize sources of stress in your life is the first step in managing them.  Everyone has different stress triggers, but work stress tops the list for most people.

Causes of work stress include:

  1. Being unhappy in your job
  2. Having a heavy workload or too much responsibility
  3. Working long hours
  4. Having poor management, unclear expectations of your work, or no say in the decision-making process
  5. Working under dangerous conditions
  6. Being insecure about your chance for advancement or risk of termination
  7. Having to give speeches in front of colleagues
  8. Facing discrimination or harassment at work, especially if your company isn’t supportive.

Everyday life and personal relationships also have a big impact.

  1. The death of a loved one
  2. Divorce
  3. Loss of a job
  4. Increase in financial obligations
  5. Getting married
  6. Moving to a new home
  7. Chronic illness or injury
  8. Emotional problems
  9. Taking care of an elderly or sick family member
  10. Traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, theft, rape, or violence against you or a loved one.

Sometimes the stress comes from inside, rather than outside. You can create stress just by worrying about things. All of these factors can lead to stress:

  1. Fear and uncertainty. When you regularly hear about the threat of terrorist attacks, global warming, and toxic chemicals on the news, it can cause you to feel stressed, especially because you feel like you have no control over those events.  Also, major fears develop over money issues and paying the bills, particularly when an unexpected bill arises and the budget is thrown off. Shit happens.
  • Attitudes and perceptions. How you view the world or a situation can determine whether it causes stress. For example, if your television set is stolen and you take the attitude that’s why we have insurance you’ll be far less stressed than if you think the robbers are coming back to hurt you. Similarly, people who feel like they’re doing a good job at work will be less stressed than those who worry that they are incompetent.
  • Unrealistic expectations. No one is perfect. If you expect to do everything right all the time, you’re destined to feel stressed when things don’t go as expected.
  • Change. Any major life change can be stressful — even a happy event like a wedding or a job promotion. More unpleasant events, such as a divorce, major financial setback, or death in the family can be significant sources of stress.

Your stress level will differ based on your personality and how you respond to situations. Some people let everything roll off their back. To them, work stresses and life stresses are just minor bumps in the road. Others literally worry themselves sick.

FORGIVENESS

FORGIVENESS

Forgiving someone or an entity of some sort is a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you. It makes no difference whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. The action of forgiving brings peace of mind and frees you from corrosive anger. True forgiveness does not require positive feelings toward the offender, but 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.

When you forgive, don’t 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. Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for improved health and peace of mind.

Forgiveness can lead to:

  1. healthier relationships.
  2. Improved mental health
  3. Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  4. Lower blood pressure
  5. Fewer symptoms of depression
  6. A stronger immune system
  7. Improved heart health

We can appreciate the benefits, but letting go is not so easy, or everyone would do it. There are a few folks that are just naturally forgiving. Being hurt by someone, particularly a relationship partner or someone you love, can cause anger, sadness and confusion. If you dwell on hurtful situations, feelings filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. Resentment is a killer and is particularly difficult to deal with. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you will find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness.

If you’re unforgiving, you might:

  1. Bring anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience
  2. Become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present
  3. Become depressed or anxious
  4. Feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you’re at odds with your spiritual beliefs
  5. Lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others

Forgiveness is a commitment to a personalized process of change. To move from suffering to forgiveness, you can:

  1. Decide that forgiveness may improve your own life.
  2. When you feel resentment enter your thinking, look carefully at the circumstances and see if you had a role in the situation.
  3. Identify what needs healing and who needs to be forgiven and for what. If you had a role in the situation, even a slight bit, make sure to enter your apology as a part of your forgiveness.
  4. Acknowledge your emotions about the harm done to you and how they affect your behavior, and work to release them.
  5. Choose to forgive the person who’s offended you.
  6. Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life.
  7. In many cases, the person that harmed you may not realize what they have done and they have been renting space in your head for free.

As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.

Forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the person who’s hurt you doesn’t admit wrong. If you find yourself stuck:

Practice empathy. Try seeing the situation from the other person’s point of view. Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way.

  1. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation.
  2. Reflect on times you’ve hurt others and on those who’ve forgiven you.
  3. Pray or use guided meditation — or talk with a person you’ve found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider, or an impartial loved one or friend.
  4. Be aware that forgiveness is a process and the other person doesn’t really have to accept your action.  The healing is for YOU. Accept their feeling and let it go.

It is important to remember that you cannot change another person.  People have to changes themselves.  Forcing another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words isn’t the point of forgiveness. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — to bring you peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness can take away the power the other person through the elimination of your resentment.

What happens when I have a role in creating a resentment or I have offended someone? The first step is to honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you’ve done and how they have affected others. With this knowledge of harms done, admit it to those you’ve harmed. Tell them you were wrong and speak of your sincere sorrow or regret and ask for forgiveness — without making excuses.

You can’t force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever happens, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.

Men seem to have more trouble with forgiveness. The difficulty really lies in cultural attitudes about forgiveness and masculinity, and men have to do some extra work. A forgiveness program for guys might include contemplating examples of powerful, forgiving men, or reflecting on how forgiveness is actually a form of strength and courage.  Admitting you were wrong is a difficult thing for a man, even though most of us have had ample practice at being wrong.

“I am so very, very sorry sweetheart! I was wrong.”

“Yes, you were! Why do you do stuff like that?”

“I honestly don’t know, but I am going to work on it!”

The guy is clueless—he doesn’t know what he did, why he did it, or what to do about it. Not the best situation but better than silence.

In the meantime, both men and women who are suffering from an unforgiven wrong they committed may benefit from forgiving themselves. If you had known that your action would cause pain to others or yourself, you probably wouldn’t have done it. And even if you knew that you were causing damage at the time, you had no idea how much you would regret it in the future. Seeing ourselves as imperfect is difficult at best. So, we try to avoid mistakes at all costs, and when we do make a misstep, our first impulse is to ignore it.

In order to forgive ourselves, we first have to admit to ourselves that we were wrong. We have to acknowledge the wrong—which feels almost counter to our sense of well-being. Mistakes, failures, and even incredibly stupid acts are part of being human. It’s how we learn and grow.  It is hard to be human and not do something stupid every so often.

Forgiving others is the better way!