Sunday, April 2, 2017

Do I Want To Forgive?

Whether it is a friend who betrays a confidence, a parent who let you down as a child, a mean-spirited person who insists in attempting to make life miserable, we must all face the question  of whether and how to forgive.  I had a wonderful interview the other day with a reporter and the question of forgiveness was brought and how I would handle my situation moving forward.  After you are wronged and the initial wave of emotion has passed, you are presented with a new challenge:  Do you forgive the person?  By forgiving, you let go of your grievances and judgments and allow yourself to heal.  While this may sound good in theory, in practice forgiveness can sometimes feel impossible.

I am learning how to forgive.  In order to learn how to forgive, I must first learn what forgiveness is not.  Most of us hols at least some misceptions about forgiveness.  Here are some things that forgiving someone doesn't mean.
  • Forgiveness doesn't mean that I am pardoning or excusing the other person's actions or negative behavior.
  • Forgiveness doesn't mean that I need to tell the person that he or she is forgiven.
  • Forgiveness  doesn't mean that I shouldn't have any more feelings about the situation.
  • Forgiveness doesn't mean there is nothing further to work out in the relationship or that everything is okay.
  • Forgiveness doesn't mean I should forget the incident ever happened.
  • Forgiveness doesn't mean I have to continue to include this person in my life. 
  • Forgiveness is not something that I do for the other person. 
By forgiving, you are accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to live in a state of resolution about it.  This can be a gradual process and it doesn't have to necessarily have to include the person you are forgiving.  Forgiveness is not something you for for the person who wronged you; it is something that you do for you!

So if forgiveness is something that I do for myself and if it can help me heal, why is it so hard?  I believe that there are several reasons.  I am filled with thoughts of retribution or revenge, I enjoy feeling superior, I am not quite sure how to resolve the situation, I am addicted to the adrenaline that anger provides, I self-identify as a victim, I am afraid that if I forgive I will have to re-connect with the other person.  These reasons not to forgive can be resolved by becoming more familiar with yourself, with your thoughts and feelings, and with your boundaries and needs.
Now that I know that forgiveness is not and why it is so hard, I need to ask myself:  Do I want to forgive? Forgiveness requires feeling willing to forgive.  Sometimes I won't, because the hurt went too deep, or because the person was too abusive or expressed no regret.  Do not attempt to forgive someone before you have identified, fully felt, expressed, and released your anger and pain.  This can sometimes take days, months, or years.  Once you decide you are willing to forgive, find a good place and time to be alone with your thoughts.  Think about the incident that angered you.  Accept that it happened.  Accept how you felt about it and how it made you react.  In order to forgive, you need to acknowledge the reality of what occurred and how you were affected.  Acknowledge the growth you experienced as a result of what happened.  What did it make you learn about yourself, or about your needs and boundaries.  Not only did you survive the incident, perhaps you grew from it.  Think about the other person.  This is very difficult.  He or she is flawed because all human beings are flawed.  He or she acted from limited beliefs and skewed frames of reference.  When you were hurt, the other person was trying to have a need met.  What do you think this need way and why did the person go about it in such a hurtful way?  Decide whether or not you want to tell the other person that you forgiven him or her.  If you decide not to express forgiveness directly, then do it on your own.  Say the words, "I forgive you", aloud and then add as much explanation as you feel is merited.
Forgiveness puts a final seal on what happened that hurt me.  I will still remember what happened, but I will no longer be bound by it.  Having worked through the feelings and learned what I need to do to strengthen my boundaries or get my needs met, I am better able to take care of myself in the future.  Forgiving the other person is a wonderful way to honor myself.  It affirms to the universe that I deserve to be happy and because ..

I ride the dark horse ..

Copyright © 2017 by CandaLeeParker,

All rights reserved. This blog or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or similar cited with author's name and copyright.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Challenge of Adversity ..

Does it seem like every challenge that you experience becomes a big headache in your life?  No matter what adverse events you are currently experiencing, there is a purpose behind each one.  For most of us, it is difficult to imagine losing a child and finding out that a parent has cancer is a blessing.  I now know this from personal experience.  After experiencing an adverse event, you will be at a crossroads. You can either view it as a blessing or allow your past to control the rest of your life. 
Over the past months, I have been experiencing adversity but I am finding that these situations have become blessings.  I have been learning to surround myself with positive people.  I am being selective with the people that I surround myself with.  Indirectly they affect your mood and your outlook.  When you are in an emotional state of mind, it is important to surround yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging.  Human beings conform to those around them.  Conformity is the change of behavior caused by another person or group of people.  When experiencing adversity, it is crucial in your development to surround yourself with people who are accepting of your flaws, mistakes, and imperfections.  Overcoming adversity can be a challenge; when you have a supportive team helping you move forward and it is much easier to accept yourself.
I write! And I write a lot!  There is something peaceful in writing down your thoughts.  However long or short your written entries are, the process of writing down your emotions allows you to reflect.  I have found there are many benefits to writing; it allows for self-expression without judgment, helps to give feedback to my life, allows me to better understand my situation, allows me to think outside the box, and it makes me a better philosopher.  Write in a journal once a day and whatever emotions, feelings, or thoughts come to mind, jot it down.  Years from now you will be able to reflect and see just how much you have developed.  You never know; you could be onto a great novel like the one I am writing!
I love nature.  Nature is very therapeutic!  Living in a society where we are constantly moving around, we are often disconnected from the beauty of nature.  Whether it be hiking on a forest trail, riding my mare, or gardening at home, I love taking the time to connect myself with nature as it is a healing process.  There have been more that 100 research studies that have shown that outdoor activities reduce the level of stress.  With adversity comes stress and frustration.  Taking the time to be outside is a way for you to nurture your being and allow yourself a deep breath and relax.  The sun and the air give you a sense of calmness during the face of adversity. 
I am learning to start investing in myself.  There is not greater investment than the investment within your own personal development.  Experiencing adversity is a great excuse for people to not take charge of their lives.  I am experiencing the adversity of finishing a college education, a legal confrontation with not a nice person, building my little farm into a productive income, my employment, and planning for my daughter's wedding.  We all face adversity in some way.  What makes one individual succeed and another not is how they handle their challenges.  Many of us allows challenges to defeat us.  What we need to focus on is developing into a stronger and wiser individual because of the challenges.  There is no better way to do so than developing your internal world.
Adversity is a blessing in disguise.  I may not think so at this moment, but it will eventually make me stronger and wise because ..
I ride the dark horse ..

Copyright © 2017 by CandaLee Parker,

All rights reserved. This blog or any portion thereof may not be reproduced, shared, posted or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author/publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or similar cited with author's name and copyright.