Tag Archives: Responsibility

Forgiveness: Letting Go Of Grudges And Bitterness

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward.

Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps your mother criticized your parenting skills, your colleague sabotaged a project or your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance — but if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

What is forgiveness?

Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:

• Healthier relationships
• Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
• Less anxiety, stress, and hostility
• Lower blood pressure
• Fewer symptoms of depression
• Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse

Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?

When you’re hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.

What are the effects of holding a grudge?

If you’re unforgiving, you might pay the price repeatedly by bringing anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Your life might become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present. You might become depressed or anxious. You might feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you’re at odds with your spiritual beliefs. You might lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others.

How do I reach a state of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you might:

• Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
• Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being
• When you’re ready, actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you
• Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life

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.

What if I have to interact with the person who hurt me but I don’t want to?

If you haven’t reached a state of forgiveness, being near the person who hurts you might be tense and stressful. To handle these situations, remember that you can choose to attend or avoid specific functions and gatherings. Respect yourself and do what seems best. If you choose to attend, don’t be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. Do your best to keep an open heart and mind. You might find that the experience helps you to move forward with forgiveness.

What if the person I’m forgiving doesn’t change?

Getting 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 — by bringing you peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness can take away the power the other person continues to wield in your life.

What if I’m the one who needs forgiveness?

The first step is to honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you’ve done and how those wrongs have affected others. At the same time, avoid judging yourself too harshly. You’re human, and you’ll make mistakes. If you’re truly sorry for something you’ve said or done, consider admitting it to those you’ve harmed. Speak of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically, ask for forgiveness — without making excuses. Remember, however, you can’t force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever the outcome, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.

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How Your Friends Influence Your Life?

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” — Anais Nin.

Friends add meaning to our life, they enrich our experiences, bring joy, and share our problems. If there were a fourth need besides food, water, and shelter, we could say it would be the need for human interaction, closeness, and friendships. After all, what if great things happen in your life—you got a new job, a promotion, or fall in love—and there is no one to share the news with? What is the use of getting that new dress, purse, car, or house if there is no one to tell you, “I’m so happy for you!” And what can give you more relief in time of frustration, grief, sadness, or “the blues” than talking to a friend? Our friends are an important part of our lives, and also a necessary part; they are our mirrors, and our sounding boards.

Choosing a friend is not an easy task, for we all had one or two experiences in our life when a person who we thought was our friend let us down. Those lessons were hard to swallow, yet necessary to our inner growth. Later we learned that it is better to be alone than to be in wrong company.

It is of utmost importance to carefully choose the people we will associate with, for they will have great influence on our life. ‘‘Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.’’ (Assyrian proverb). We are the average of the five people closest to us, and that relates to their lifestyle, manners, income, etc. If you make friends with someone who is always looking for an easy way out, tells “white lies,” makes excuses, is envious, sarcastic, and avoids taking responsibility, it is only a matter of time before you start slacking off in those areas and justifying your own behavior as acceptable. Somehow what seemed unthinkable before, will gain a new perspective and become the norm, for if you run with the wolves you too will learn how to howl, and just like a mirror you will start to reflect the behavior of your friends—the good and the bad.

Stop for a moment now, and take a little inventory of the person you are right now compared to the person you were a year or two years ago. What qualities have you adopted from the people you surround yourself with? What character traits, attitudes, vocabulary, even quality of your self-esteem, confidence, acceptance of yourself and others? How did your friends (consciously or unconsciously) influence you in those areas? If the change is positive, and you feel yourself moving toward more, that’s great! How about if the change is negative, slowly but surely getting you down, making you feel that you are less instead of being more?

It is up to you to make the change, for as long as you tolerate mediocrity from others, you too will find mediocrity in your own life acceptable. Know, however, that this will be one of the hardest changes you will have to make, for your friends will not want you to grow. They have spent months or sometimes years getting you to a point where they themselves are, and now they are feeling comfortable with you right there, and it will not be of benefit to them if you should decide to change that. They don’t want you to grow, for the result of your personal growth will be outgrowing them and their comfort zone. At all cost they will want you to stay where they are, where they can continue to influence you and will not have to worry that someday you may become better than them. Their intentions may not even be based on jealousy but rather on fear, so forgive them quickly so you can go on your way to become the person you are meant to be.

Sometimes you have to leave behind those who are not willing to climb the mountain with you, if they refuse to share your vision of personal growth, then they should not try to discourage you in reaching your dream. How will you know what their true intention is for you? Look at their own lives, in which areas have they already reached the success that you are striving for? If they tasted the victory, they will want the same for you, however if their life never left their personal comfort zone they will be eager to share thoughts of fear and discouragement with you. So on your travel to a greater you, only take counsel from those who have already been there. Surround yourself with friends who are models of something instead of experts of nothing, for if you share your problems with someone who is incapable of contributing to a solution dipping in their own life’s experiences, your time and energy is wasted. Oftentimes though, it is those who never did anything who are the first with their ill-fitted advice. Know then, that at those times you can reserve the right that not everyone has the privilege to speak into your life. Instead of wasting your time with those people, invest in some time spending a few hours with people who have ‘‘been there and done that” and came out of it successfully.

It is said that there are three kinds of people in this world:

• Those who watch things happen.
• Those who make things happen.
• Those who wonder “What happened?”.

So let’s make things happen. Start today!

Choose good friendships in your life, the kind of friends who will enrich your life, pull you up when you are down, and push you when you can’t go on by yourself, who will be generous with praise at your successes and eager with encouragement at your struggles, those who will not patronize you to make you feel good for a moment, but those who will tell you the truth and help you get better for a lifetime.

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Dealing With Disappointment

Most of us will come up against disappointments, both big and small, as we journey through life. Often we choose to complain to anyone who will listen, or to blame others when things don’t go our way.

It’s important to acknowledge our disappointments and not just shove them under the table, and to maybe examine why we had certain expectations.

I firmly believe that our feelings are our own responsibility and that no-one else can make us feel good or bad. It is our reaction to other people and situations that determines how we ultimately feel. But how can we learn to deal with disappointment in an effective and constructive manner?

Coping with Disappointment :

The first thing you need to do in learning to deal with disappointment is recognize your coping mechanisms. Everybody has their own way of dealing with events and situations – their self-medicating strategies. For example do you reach for food, (chocolate, ice-cream, cake); alcohol, (get drunk and try to forget); take yourself off somewhere to hide, (under the duvet), or indulge in a spot of retail therapy, (credit card blow out)?

These strategies may make you feel better temporarily but rarely get to the root of the problem and often will bring new issues to give you grief, such as being overweight, in debt, or lonely. And then the cycle will start again.

So how about breaking that cycle and developing some new strategies?

5 tips for effectively dealing with disappointment:

1. Acknowledge what you’re feeling. You can honestly express the emotions you’re feeling without blaming or punishing others. This is about how you feel about the situation, not other people. Articulate your feelings without attacking others. Always be respectful, but don’t be afraid to let them know how you feel.

• There isn’t a right or wrong way to feel.

Your feelings are valid and if you don’t voice your opinion then you’ll harbour resentment and stress yourself out. Be honest with yourself about how you really feel about the situation. If you don’t have another individual to talk to, then journal your feelings. In some way or another get them out and expressed.

2. Put things in perspective. Even small disappointments can seem monumental at first, especially if we have built up our expectations. But once you’ve expressed your hurt, frustration, or anger, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. How much of an effect is this disappointment going to have on you tomorrow, next week, or next year?

• Take a deep breath, go for a walk, or go do something different for a few minutes and try to put your disappointment into perspective.

Taking time to reflect and step away from the situation will help calm your thoughts and emotions so you’ll be better able to handle the disappointment.

3. Refuse to doubt yourself. Sometimes disappointment can make you feel like a failure. You may wonder why these things happen to you or you may think you were stupid to get your hopes up in the first place. But none of that is the truth. Don’t allow yourself to give in to these negative thoughts!

• Disappointment is not unique to you.

Everyone has been disappointed at some time in their life. Instead of putting yourself down, think about what could have been done differently and learn from the experience.

4. Look for a solution or compromise. Things may not always turn out as you hope, but often there is another option or a different way of looking at things.

• Take a few deep breaths, relax, and look for the silver lining.

It’s possible to find something positive in almost every situation.

5. Re-evaluate and make changes if necessary. Sometimes when we experience disappointments, it may be a sign that we need to re-examine our priorities or expectations. Depending on the degree of disappointment you’re facing, you may need to make minor or major changes to your life.

• Learn to be flexible.

Refocusing your attention on your new goals and on what is really important to you will help you manage or avoid future disappointments.

Above all, don’t become discouraged and don’t give up.

All successful people have had to learn to deal with setbacks and disappointments somewhere along their journey. However rather than giving up, they learn from their failures and disappointments; and go on to achieve their goals.

You must not allow disappointment to lower your self-confidence. That’s not to say that you need to gloss over your feelings, but learning how to deal with your disappointments effectively will allow you to learn and grow, and then you will be better placed to move on to bigger and better things.

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How To Deal With A Selfish Spouse?

1. Share Your Feelings.

If your spouse is acting selfish, it means he/she is unconsciously hinting at something. Try to talk with them to find out if there is actually something bothering them. You both have to respect each others feeling and decisions.

2. Ignore Your Spouse.

If that does not help and your spouse continues to act like a child then ignore your spouse for a while. Your spouse will realize that this tactic is not working and give up.

3. Divide Parenting Responsibilities.

You both are responsible for household and parenting works, so divide your responsibilities and do not accept any excuse from your spouse on why he/she cant able to complete their task.

4. Motivate Your Spouse.

You can encourage your spouse to do social service or charity work. You could take up the initiative and involve them.

5. Take Professional Help.

If you feel that you can’t cope with your spouse’s behavior then take the help of professionals. Marriage and family therapists can teach you the skills that will help you deal with your spouse’s behavior.

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How To Deal With Uncomfortable Feelings & Create Positive Ones.

“Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn’t’t permanent.” ~ Jean Kerr.

We are driven by two connected motivations: to feel pleasure and avoid pain. Most of us devote more energy to the latter than the former.

Instead of being proactive and making choices for our happiness, we react to things that happen in our lives, and fight or flee to minimize our pain.

Instead of deciding to end an unhealthy relationship and open up to a better one, we may stay and either avoid confrontation or initiate one to feel a sense of control. Instead of leaving a horrible job to find one we love, we may stay and complain about it all the time, trying to minimize the pain of accepting the situation as real—and enduring until we change it.

A girl, from her very young age felt overwhelmed by pain. As a pre-teen, she ate her feelings. As a teen, she starved them away. In college, she drank and smoked them numb. And in her twenties, she felt and cried her eyes red and raw. 

She sobbed. She wailed. She shook and convulsed. And she wished she had never chosen to feel them, but rather kept pushing them down, pretending everything was fine. Except when she did that, they didn’t just go away—they compounded on top each other and built up until eventually she exploded, with no idea why she felt so bad.

One time when she was 17, she couldn’t open a jar of jelly. After ten minutes of twisting, banging, and fighting, she finally threw it at a wall and broke down.

You may think that was a sure sign of emotional problems she had, and assume there was some pill to help anesthetize that sadness.

That’s what a lot of people thought. But the reality was a lot simpler: She simply never dealt with her feelings from events large and small, and eventually they dealt with her.

As unpleasant as it may sound, she needed to learn how to feel bad—but first she needed to understand why she felt bad so often. It’s a whole lot easier to deal with pain when it’s not the default feeling.

This, I’ve learned, comes down to three steps:

1. Developing emotional intelligence.
2. Learning to sit with negative feelings.
3. Creating situations for positive feelings.

– Emotional Intelligence:
Researchers originated this idea as the missing link in terms of success and effectiveness in life. It didn’t seem to make sense why people with high IQ’s and superior reasoning, verbal, and math skills could still struggle in social and professional situations.

If you have a high EIQ, you likely regulate your emotions well; handle uncertainties and difficulties without excessive panic, stress, and fear; and avoid overreacting to situations before knowing the full details.

If you have a low EIQ, you might be oversensitive to other people’s feelings in response to you; obsess about problems until you find a concrete solution; and frequently feel a tsunami of emotions that you can’t attribute to a specific life event. Or in other words, you may feel bad far more often than you feel good.

Some Steps to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence:

1. Understand what emotional intelligence looks like.
There are five elements to EI: self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. This means you understand what’s going on in your head and heart; you don’t make hasty decisions on impulse; you can motivate yourself to delay gratification; you listen to, understand, and relate to other people well; and you’re able to focus on other people.

2. Use meditation to regulate emotions.
It’s infinitely easier to deal with emotions as they arise if you’ve already done a little work to create a calm inner space.

3. Take an honest look at your reactions.
Do you frequently jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts? Do you need other people’s approval to feel comfortable in your own skin? Do you assume you know what other people feel and take responsibility for that? Do you freak out over stressful situations, blaming other people, getting hard on yourself, and panicking over possible consequences?

4. Practice observing your feelings and taking responsibility for them.
It’s not always easy to understand a feeling when it happens, especially if you think you shouldn’t feel it; but forget about should. Instead, try to pinpoint exactly what you feel—scared, frustrated, worried, ashamed, agitated, angry—and then pinpoint what might be the cause. 

Simply find the cause and effect, i.e.: your employer seemed unhappy with your work, so now you feel stressed, or your significant other expressed dissatisfaction, so now you feel scared. Anytime you feel something uncomfortable that you’d rather avoid, put a magnifying glass on it.

Once you know what you feel, you can now challenge both the cause and the effect.

You can ask yourself whether or not you’re overreacting to the event or worrying to find a sense of control. And then you can accept that there is an alternative—you can choose to interpret the situation a different way, soothe yourself, and then feel something different. No one else causes our feelings. Only we can choose and change them.

– Learn to Sit with Negative Feelings:
Even if you re-frame a situation to see things differently, there will be times when you still feel something that seems negative. While not every situation requires panic, sometimes our feelings are appropriate for the events going on in our lives.

We are allowed to feel whatever we need to feel. If we lose someone, we’re allowed to hurt. If we hurt someone, we’re allowed to feel guilty. If we make a mistake, we’re allowed to feel regretful. Positive thinking can be a powerful tool for happiness, but it’s more detrimental than helpful if we use it to avoid dealing with life.

Pain is part of life, and we can’t avoid it by resisting it. We can only minimize it by accepting it and dealing with it well.

That means feeling the pain and knowing it will pass. No feeling lasts forever. It means sitting in the discomfort and waiting before acting. There will come a time when you feel healed and empowered.

Our power comes from realizing we don’t need to act on pain; and if we need to diffuse it, we can channel it into something healthy and productive, like writing, painting, or doing something physical.

Pain is sometimes an indication we need to set boundaries, learn to say no more often, or take better care of ourselves; but sometimes it just means that it’s human to hurt, and we need to let ourselves go through it.

– Create Situations for Positive Feelings:
This is the last part of the puzzle. As I mentioned before, we tend to be more reactive than active, but that’s a decision to let the outside world dictate how we feel.

We don’t need to sit around waiting for other people to evoke our feelings. Instead, we can take responsibility to create our own inner world.

We can identify what we want to say yes to in life and choose that before struggling with whether or not to say not to someone else. If you love dancing, take a class. If your greatest passion is writing, start a blog. If you daydream about being a musician, start recording.

Don’t worry about where it’s leading. Do it just because you love it..

We need to do the things we love—or as Sonya Derian phrased it: make feeling good our new religion.

– Concluding Thoughts:

Negative feelings are only negative if they’re excessive and enduring. We won’t hurt ourselves into eternal misery if we let ourselves feel what we need to.

Still, we don’t have to feel bad nearly as often as we think.

If we choose to foster a sense of inner peace, challenge our perceptions and interpretations when our emotions could use some schooling, and learn to take responsibility for our joy, we can not only minimize pain—we can choose to be a source of pleasure, for ourselves and the people around us.

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