Tag Archives: Value

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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What It Really Means To Be In Love

How to get past your own defenses and learn to build a real relationship?

While many of us may have sensed it intuitively, there is now science behind the statement that “Love is all you need.” A 75-year longitudinal study by Harvard researchers suggests that love is indeed a key to a happy and fulfilling life.

While love seems to be a universally valued attribute, defining it in behavioral terms can be a challenge. As the Harvard study’s lead researcher, Dr. George Vaillant, wrote of his team’s findings, two essential ingredients are proven to correlate with a happy existence: “One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”

While many of us believe we would like to be in love, we face many hurdles in taking the actions that allow love to flow freely throughout our lives and relationships. We have many ways of defending ourselves against love and can struggle to give and receive love with ease, openness, and vulnerability.

With love being so closely connected to meaning and fulfillment, it’s valuable for each of us to define love as an action or series of actions we can take to bring us closer to the people we value. In a romantic context, some essential characteristics that fit the description of a loving relationship include:

• Expressions of affection, both physical and emotional.
• A wish to offer pleasure and satisfaction to another.
• Tenderness, compassion, and sensitivity to the needs of the other.
• A desire for shared activities and pursuits.
• An appropriate level of sharing of possessions.
• An ongoing, honest exchange of personal feelings.
• The process of offering concern, comfort, and outward assistance for the loved one’s aspirations.

Love includes feeling for the other that goes beyond any selfishness or self-interest on the part of the loved one. As such, love nurtures and has a positive effect on each person’s self-esteem and sense of well-being. Love never involves deception, because misleading another person fractures his or her sense of reality.

So how well do we meet these standards for being loving? When we think about a relationship that is meaningful to us, we have to ask:

• Do we both behave in ways that nurture each other?
• Do we take actions to make the other person feel good?
• Do we consider what lights that person up, separate from our own interests?

Too often, we think of love as an almost passive state of being, as opposed to a conscious choice we make. When we regard love as something we simply fall into, we can easily slip into routines with the person we value or lose a sense of separateness and respect. Instead, we view that person as a part of us. We then run the risk of creating a fantasy bond, an illusion of fusion in which real feelings of fondness and attraction are replaced by the form of being in a relationship. In other words, we come to see ourselves and our partner as a single unit. We then fall into roles rather than appreciating each other as individuals and experiencing the exciting, loving feelings that result.

A fantasy bond offers a false sense of security—the illusion that we are no longer alone. However, when we connect to someone in this way, we lose our sense of vitality, and we give up significant aspects of our relationship. The behavioral operations of love are replaced with a fantasy of being in love, which does not nurture either partner.

Relationships tend to go south when we stop taking actions that our partner would perceive as loving and instead start looking to our partner solely to meet our own needs. It’s important to distinguish emotional hunger from real love. Have you ever witnessed a parent hugging a child and wondered whether the hug was intended to comfort the child, offering reassurance and care, or to soothe the parent, taking something from the child? When we reach out to our partner, it can be valuable to examine whether our behaviors are for them or for ourselves. Are we looking to them to fulfill us in some way that is unfair to them? Are we hoping they will make up for an emptiness or hurt from our past?

A couple I’ve worked with recently recognized an example of this dynamic. The wife would often compliment her husband, but he rarely felt acknowledged by her words. When she recounted some of the recent comments she made, she noticed that they were less of a reflection of him and more a reflection on her. Statements like: “Aren’t I married to such a handsome, well-put-together man?” Or: “Haven’t I picked a winner?” didn’t capture qualities that were important to him. They were traits she valued in a partner that reconfirmed her own self-esteem and sense of worth.

Love should never be an act of manipulation. It is not a mark of ownership over another person, but the exact opposite—a genuine appreciation of a person as a separate individual. When we see a person this way, we allow ourselves to fully value them for who they are and for the happiness they bring to our lives. We are driven to be generous toward the person, to show compassion and kindness in a way that both they and the outside world would view as loving.

Of course, there are many barriers we put in place that not only keep us from finding this type of relationship but from achieving it with the person we love. One reason we wind up in less-than-loving relationships is the ways we were treated in our past. We may have become familiar with family dynamics in which we were rejected or intruded on, in which case we tend to seek out or recreate these same dynamics in our adult relationships. To become more loving thus means recognizing ways we self-sabotage: How are we recreating past hurts in our current relationships?

As we reflect on these behaviors, we learn a lot, not only about how we interfere with our naturally loving feelings for others but about the negative ways we feel about ourselves. It’s difficult to express love outwardly when we don’t feel our own sense of self-worth. One of the biggest reasons we shut out love is because we feel unworthy or self-denying. Therefore, to have a loving relationship, we must challenge our negative self-concept or critical inner voice. When we do this and take the loving actions that contradict our critical self-image, we enhance our own sense of worth and are able to get closer to the people we love.

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10 Practical Ways To Handle Stress

Stress is inevitable. It walks in and out of our lives on a regular basis. And it can easily walk all over us unless we take action. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to minimize and cope with stress. Here are 10 ideas for handling stress without causing more strain and hassle.

1. Figure out where the stress is coming from.

Oftentimes, when we’re stressed, it seems like a big mess with stressors appearing from every angle. We start to feel like we’re playing a game of dodgeball, ducking and darting so we don’t get smacked by a barrage of balls. We take a defensive position, and not a good one at that.

Instead of feeling like you’re flailing day to day, identify what you’re actually stressed about. Is it a specific project at work, an upcoming exam, a dispute with your boss, a heap of laundry, a fight with your family?

By getting specific and pinpointing the stressors in your life, you’re one step closer to getting organized and taking action.

2. Consider what you can control—and work on that.

While you can’t control what your boss does, what your in-laws say or the sour state of the economy, you can control how you react, how you accomplish work, how you spend your time and what you spend your money on.

The worst thing for stress is trying to take control over uncontrollable things. Because when you inevitably fail — since it’s beyond your control — you only get more stressed out and feel helpless. So after you’ve thought through what’s stressing you out, identify the stressors that you can control, and determine the best ways to take action.

Take the example of a work project. If the scope is stressing you out, talk it over with your supervisor or break the project down into step-wise tasks and deadlines.

Stress can be paralyzing. Doing what’s within your power moves you forward and is empowering and invigorating.

3. Do what you love.

It’s so much easier to manage pockets of stress when the rest of your life is filled with activities you love. Even if your job is stress central, you can find one hobby or two that enrich your world. What are you passionate about? If you’re not sure, experiment with a variety of activities to find something that’s especially meaningful and fulfilling.

4. Manage your time well.

One of the biggest stressors for many people is the lack of time. Their to-do list expands while time flies. How often have you wished for more hours in the day or heard others lament their lack of time? But you’ve got more time than you think, as Laura Vanderkam writes in her aptly titled book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.

We all have the same 168 hours, and yet there are plenty of people who are dedicated parents and full-time employees and who get at least seven hours of sleep a night and lead fulfilling lives.

5. Create a toolbox of techniques.

One stress-shrinking strategy won’t work for all your problems. For instance, while deep breathing is helpful when you’re stuck in traffic or hanging at home, it might not rescue you during a business meeting.

Because stress is complex, “What we need is a toolbox that’s full of techniques that we can fit and choose for the stressor in the present moment,” said Richard Blonna, Ed.D, a nationally certified coach and counselor and author of Stress Less, Live More: How Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Can Help You Live a Busy Yet Balanced Life.

6. Pick off the negotiable tasks from your plate.

Review your daily and weekly activities to see what you can pick off your plate. As Vanderkam asks in her book: “Do your kids really love their extracurricular activities or are they doing them to please you? Are you volunteering for too many causes and so stealing time from the ones where you could make the most impact? Does your whole department really need to meet once per week or have that daily conference call?”

Blonna suggested asking these questions: “Do [my activities] mesh with my goals and values? Am I doing things that give my life meaning? Am I doing the right amount of things?”

Reducing your stack of negotiable tasks can greatly reduce your stress.

7. Are you leaving yourself extra vulnerable to stress?

Whether you perceive something as a stressor depends in part on your current state of mind and body. That is, as Blonna said, “Each transaction we’re involved in takes place in a very specific context that’s affected by our health, sleep, psychoactive substances, whether we’ve had breakfast [that day] and [whether we’re] physically fit.”

So if you’re not getting sufficient sleep or physical activity during the week, you may be leaving yourself extra susceptible to stress. When you’re sleep-deprived, sedentary and filled to the brim with coffee, even the smallest stressors can have a huge impact.

8. Preserve good boundaries.

If you’re a people-pleaser, saying no feels like you’re abandoning someone, have become a terrible person or are throwing all civility out the window. But of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, those few seconds of discomfort are well worth avoiding the stress of taking on an extra activity or doing something that doesn’t contribute value to your life.

One thing I’ve noticed about productive, happy people is that they’re very protective of their time and having their boundaries crossed. But not to worry: Building boundaries is a skill you can learn.

9. Realize there’s a difference between worrying and caring.

Sometimes, our mindset can boost stress, so a small issue mushroom into a pile of problems. We continue worrying, somehow thinking that this is a productive — or at least inevitable — response to stress. But we mistake worry for action.

Clinical psychologist Chad LeJeune, Ph.D., talks about the idea of worrying versus caring in his book, The Worry Trap: How to Free Yourself from Worry & Anxiety Using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. Worrying is an attempt to exert control over the future by thinking about it, whereas caring is taking action. When we are caring for someone or something, we do the things that support or advance the best interests of the person or thing that we care about.

LeJeune uses the simple example of houseplants. He writes: “If you are away from home for a week, you can worry about your houseplants every single day and still return home to find them brown and wilted. Worrying is not watering.”

Similarly, fretting about your finances does nothing but get you worked up (and likely prevent you from taking action). Caring about your finances, however, means creating a budget, paying bills on time, using coupons and reducing how often you dine out.

Just this small shift in mindset from worrying to caring can help you adjust your reaction to stress. To see this distinction between worrying and caring, try this activity where you can list responses for each one. For example:

Worrying about your health involves…

Caring about your health involves…

Worrying about your career involves…

Caring about your career involves…

10. Embrace mistakes—or at least don’t drown in perfectionism.

Another mindset that can exacerbate stress is perfectionism. Trying to be mistake-free and essentially spending your days walking on eggshells is exhausting and anxiety-provoking. Talk about putting pressure on yourself! And as we all know but tend to forget: Perfectionism is impossible and not human, anyway.

As the researcher, Brene Brown writes in her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth and it’s not self-improvement.”

Nothing good can come from perfectionism. Brown writes: “Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction and life-paralysis [‘all the opportunities we miss because we’re too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect’].”

Plus, mistake-mistaking can lead to growth. To overcome perfectionism, Brown suggests becoming more compassionate toward yourself. I couldn’t agree more.

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How To Deal With Inferiority Complex?

Deal with your inferiority complex. First of all you must determine the root cause for your inferiority. This root cause may be as simple as a bad childhood experience such as rejection or being called names like dumb or stupid.

Determining the root cause for your inferiority is an essential step that can help you get over it quickly. Try to recall your childhood and remember the bad experiences you have been through. In many cases these bad experiences might be buried in the unconscious mind because of the pain associated with bringing them to the surface.

After determining the root cause of your inferiority complex you can use the following methods to overcome it.

1. Change your thoughts by changing your negative self talk.

Negative self-talk are the phrases or words you use while talking to yourself. Whenever you find that you are using phrases like “I know she won’t accept me because I am ugly” or “I am the worst dressed person in this party”, just stop and fix your self-talk. It is a very effective method that can help you fix your negative self-talk and get over your inferiority complex.

2. You don’t carry the blame for the ignorance of others. 

Always remind yourself that you can’t be worthless just because someone who was uninformed called you stupid. Do you believe that you’re of no value just because you met someone who shouted at you or made you feel worthless? You can’t determine your worth based on previous experiences that you can’t be blamed for. You just accepted the input you heard from others. If others called you stupid because of their own inferiority then this doesn’t mean that you must believe them. Keep on repeating those thoughts to yourself whenever you feel inferior until they become an unconscious thinking pattern that automatically fires whenever you feel inferior. You can control your emotions by controlling your thoughts, to create thinking patterns that can help you end your feelings of inferiority.

3. Fix your mental self image. 

In some cases when a person feels inferior his self image becomes affected too. Your self image is the image you have for yourself in your mind. Sometimes this image gets permanently modified as a result of the feelings of inferiority a person experienced. Fixing your mental self-image is one of the most powerful actions you can do to combat the inferiority complex. When the inferiority complex is based on a false belief (such as thinking that you are stupid/ugly) then fixing the mental self image will certainly end the inferiority complex. Once you convince yourself that you were fooled and that you were carrying a false belief you will be able to get rid of your inferiority complex.

4. Remove the labels that you have acquired.

Removing labels is another effective thing you can do to get rid of an inferiority complex. Labels are words that describe certain bad traits such as fool, idiot, stupid or whatever. Getting rid of those labels can give you a strong push forward towards overcoming those feelings of inferiority.

5. Install new beliefs.

Installing new beliefs about yourself is very powerful for combating inferiority complex. However, it might require a lot of effort for you to do it alone and you might need someone knowledgeable to help you.

6. Build your self confidence. 

Increasing your self-esteem or self-confidence will help a lot. Self confidence and inferiority are opposites. If you managed to acquire one of them the other will leave you. Building self confidence will certainly help you feel worthy and thus overcome your inferiority.

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Teach Your Child To Respect Women.

One of the most important values you can teach your child is how to respect women. Children, especially young children, learn to respect others by modeling behavior. Children learn appropriate and respectful behavior by observing the behavior of those around them.

Below is a list of parenting techniques to help you teach your child how to respect women.

1. Be a Good Role Model.
Treat all of the women in your life with fairness and equality. Treat all women in the manner in which you would like to be treated. Value the women in your life. Your child will learn to respect women from observing your respectful behavior towards women.

2. Value Your Child.
The most effective way to teach respect is to show respect. Valuing other’s opinions, accepting people as they are, being polite, kind, and admiring the people closest to you are key components of respect. Teach your child to respect women by valuing, accepting and admiring your child. Your child will learn through personal experience the importance of treating women with respect.

3. Be Honest.
Teach your child, through example, the value of honesty. Admitting when you do something wrong and apologizing for your actions will help your child learn the value of honesty and respect.

4. Be Positive.
Do not tolerate sexist language and attitudes. Do not embarrass, insult or make fun of your child or the women in your life. Instead, compliment your child and the women in your life. Remember, your child will learn from your behavior.

5. Be Polite.
Teach your child the importance of being polite and courteous to others.

6. Be Caring. 
It is important to teach your child to be empathetic to all individuals. Doing so will teach your child to be accepting of diversity.

7. Self-Respect.
It is important that you teach your child to value themselves. It is much easier to respect others when we respect ourselves.

8. Listen to Your Child.
Listen to your child’s concerns and ideas. Only by listening to your child can you help them mold positive values such as respect for women.

9. Show Your Child Love.
Make your child feel loved on a daily basis. Even if they make a mistake or behave inappropriately, remind them that they are loved. Remind your child that although their behavior was inappropriate and unacceptable, they are still loved and valued.

10. Do Not Tolerate Violent or Aggressive Behavior.
Teach your child that it is NOT acceptable to act violently towards others. If your child acts in an aggressive manner towards women it is important to take the time to explain why this behavior is unacceptable. Explain to your child alternative ways in which to resolve conflict other than through violence.

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The Art and Soul of Apology.

UH OH. NOW YOU’VE REALLY DONE IT! 

You’ve messed up big time! You said something you shouldn’t have, did something you shouldn’t have, let someone down, hurt someone’s feelings, took something that didn’t belong to you, gossiped, lost your temper, made false assumptions, took someone for granted. You’ve hurt someone you love, someone with whom you work, a neighbor, a friend or a relative.

It’s time to pay the piper. Your debt has come due. You need to apologize.

The Debt of Apology.

Why do we say, “I owe you an apology.”?

Apology is a debt of sorts. When we hurt, let down or disappoint someone, we have taken something from them. Usually that something is trust. Lose your temper with a loved one, and you’ve taken away their trust that you will treat her with respect and love. Let down an employer, and you’ve taken away his trust that you will do your job. Gossip about a friend, and you have taken away his trust that you will treat him with respect. Strike out at your child, and you have taken away his trust that he will always be safe with you.

It is your relationships that are on the line when it comes to paying the debt of apology.
If you value your relationships, you have to work at earning and keeping the trust of those people whose relationships you value. That’s why when you mess up and we all do, it’s best to apologize right away.

The Art of Apology.

An offhanded, “sorry” isn’t enough. Throwing the word out there is meaningless unless you also communicate that you truly understand how you hurt the other person and what you intend to do to make things right.

Here are some ideas for making meaningful apologies:

– Timing is critical. Apologize as soon as possible. Don’t let the anger, hurt or resentment stew in its own juices. It will only grow.
– Deal directly with the person you have offended. Don’t e-mail, call or send someone else to apologize for you. Think about what you need to say and then talk to the person face to face if at all possible.
– Tell the other person that you value your relationship with him or her and that you want to make things right.
– Ask for the other person’s view of what you did and how it made him or her feel.
– Explain what you did. Tell the whole story. Leave nothing out, because what you leave out will ruin whatever trust you are trying to re-build if the person hears about it later. Tell the whole truth. Admit that you were foolish, lazy, too short tempered or whatever the infraction was.
– Don’t make excuses for yourself. Never say, “You made me mad.” You are ALWAYS responsible for your own feelings and actions. ALWAYS.
– Pay the debt by doing something to make things right with the offended person, because actions speak louder than words.

The Yin and Yang of Apology and Forgiveness.

Hopefully, the offended party will forgive you. But, understand that this may not happen right away. Forgiveness can take time, and it may not come to you just because you have asked for it. Hurting someone’s feelings has consequences. The apology may be an ongoing process as you continue to work toward earning back the trust the offended party has lost in you.

Whereas apology is a debt to pay, forgiveness is a gift to be given. They are wrapped up in each other. Both apology and forgiveness are behaviors that often must be learned. They don’t come easy to many of us. We think it’s easier to hold the grudge or refuse to lower ourselves to the level of apology. Both behaviors, the refusal to apologize and the refusal to forgive, are relationship killers, particularly when the behaviors are both present in a relationship. Learning to apologize can begin to break the stalemate that often occurs.

The Soul of Apology.

In reality, you don’t “lower” yourself to apology. Rather, you stand up tall and admit that you made a mistake. Such an admission is a mark of courage, not fear. Working to earn back the trust of a loved one is a sign of strength rather than weakness. Recognizing your mistake is a sign of intelligence, and working to change your behavior is a sign of growth.

The soul of apology is love. When you love someone, you feel what he or she is feeling. That’s called empathy, and it is the very hallmark of humanity. It is what separates us from the lower forms of life.

After you have apologized to the injured party, then work on forgiving yourself. Use the situation as an opportunity for learning about yourself and the one you hurt. Then ask God’s forgiveness. He’s the only one who always forgives!

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