Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

FORGIVENESS: HOW TO, Part 2

In last week’s show, we spoke about why some people choose not to forgive and why it’s essential to do so. There are many reasons and two of the biggest are: they feel the person is not deserving of being forgiven; 2. they feel that should they grant pardon, the other party will think the incident was not serious, will not have to be held accountable, or may very well repeat the offense. Although none of these is true, they are considered by many to be valid reasons. However, as I stated previously, to withhold absolution can have dire consequences for the one who was harmed.
“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” (unknown)
The act of exoneration has multiple benefits including freeing one from anger, animosity, bitterness, hatred or thoughts of revenge. It restores inner peace and joy. It reduces the risk of physical and emotional maladies or from interfering with having other healthy relationships. It also keeps the door open for a possible reconciliation of both parties at some point in the future. Forgiveness is not for the other person; it is a gift you give yourself, the gift of serenity.

Assuming you have made the decision to let go of the incident, how do you proceed? Forgiveness, for many, is not immediate. It is a process of healing emotionally and spiritually and can take some time. Keep in mind: one need not forgive and forget. To forget what has transpired, such as an assault, puts one at risk for the incident to reoccur. Forgive but remember without negative emotions. Keep in mind, too, that while some believe the old adage that time heals all wounds, in truth time heals nothing. It is the act of pardoning that heals.

Here are some steps you can take to let go of the anger and move beyond the incident.

1. Keep in mind that all of us are human and mistakes, selfish acts, fear, betrayals, disappointments and such are all a normal part of the human experience. One cannot journey through life without ever offending or disappointing others. To forgive means to refrain from judgment and to make allowances for man’s imperfections.
2. Change your perception of the person or incident. Life isn’t about truth and reality; it is about perception – how we choose to see others or the world. Perception is simply a thought. We choose a thought, either one that is kind or judgmental. So ask yourself, “Am I being fair in my assessment of this person or incident? Was there a misunderstanding? Am I over reacting to what happened?” Your thoughts create your feelings (refer to T~E~~C~O Magic*). Therefore, all one really needs to do to change how they feel is to change what they are thinking. See the offender through the eyes of kindness, understanding, and fairness.
“Do not judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes.” – Native American philosophy
3. Realize that every experience that enters your life is a critical part of your life’s journey. Each person and situation provides the opportunity for you to fulfill your Divine Destiny and to bring you into closer communion with God. Rather than find fault with or complain about what happened, find its value. Be grateful for the opportunity to further your spiritual development. Gratitude thwarts anger and bitterness.
4. Pray. Prayer is a powerful form of communication with the Divine. It’s like holding on to the hand of a fire fighter as he guides you out of a burning building to safety. Conversation with God provides us with guidance, comfort, and the strength to do God’s Will rather than succumbing to our anger or desires, for our need for justice. Our first responsibility is always to abide by the Father’s directives, not to surrender to our ego. “Align with the Divine” is a simple but powerful mantra to remind us that we must always respond to life from a spiritual perspective, in a way reflective of God’s Love.

Also, it’s important to pray for the one who committed the offense. Rather than seeking revenge, pray for their healing, for whoever commits a hateful act upon another is in need of healing not punishment. God’s Way is to heal and our way must be His Way. James 5: tells us to “Pray for others so that you may be healed.” This is a prayer I recite for those who have betrayed me:
“Heavenly Father, please help _____ to keep their heart and mind open to you today and everyday, allowing you to work through them, with them, and in them, helping them to become the person you created them to be. And help me also to remember every day that what is happening between them and me is not between the two of us. It is always between you and I. Amen.”

If necessary, one can also take the following steps towards forgiving:

1. Discuss with the other person what happened and why for the sole purpose of understanding their position. Clear up any misunderstandings. Discuss facts only. Refrain from blame or excuses. Accept responsibility for your part.
2. Discuss how each person felt. This may be uncomfortable but is necessary to more fully understand the impact this incident has had on both parties.
3. Decide what you both want to happen now. Do you want a reconciliation, a chance to rebuild your relationship, or would it be best to part ways, amicably? What can each party do to accomplish this?
4. Focus on and remember everything good about the person. Remember, thoughts dictate feelings. One act of bad judgment does not erase all the good in someone.
5. Separate the behavior from the individual. Behaviors are not who we are; they are outward expressions of our internal environment and issues. Remind yourself that this person is still a sacred child of God, deserving of love and forgiveness.
6. Detach and let go of all negative feelings. Revisit the incident as an objective observer, not an active participant.
7. Extract the value of the experience. Learn the lessons, be grateful, let go, and move forward.
Keeping in mind that this experience is a process and may take time and effort, how does one know if they have in fact truly forgiven the other party?

When the following elements are present:

1. Have you let go of the need to discuss it? It has served its purpose and needs no more of your time or energy.
2. Can you think about the offender without anger or animosity?
3. If you came face-to-face with them, would you feel at ease?
4. Are you at peace with what happened although not necessarily happy about it?
5. Does the thought of the other party suffering for their offense cause you sadness?
6. Can you be grateful for the experience and see how it has actually been a blessing in your life?

Remember, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It is the ultimate act of self-love for it enables you to live in the peace and joy that God intended for you.

Mark 11: 25 “And when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone forgive them so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.”

I invite you to watch a very powerful video on the importance of forgiveness at www.FromGodWithLove.net.
*T~E~~C~O Magic* in The Secret Side of Anger

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FORGIVENESS: WHY WE DON’T, BUT NEED TO AND HOW Part 1

Is there someone in your life that you either refuse to forgive or are having a hard time with? I’ve often heard people make statements such as “I’ll never forgive them for what they did!” Or, “Some things should never be forgiven.” Still others feel that some people simple do not deserve exoneration. Why are some reluctant to do so when others believe it is absolutely necessary and must be offered to the offending party? Shouldn’t the choice to extend absolution be a personal one?

Let’s first examine some of the reasons why people withhold this act:

1. People believe that some offenses are too heinous to be worthy of forgiving. Rape, murder, an affair, embezzlement, betrayal and others are considered too serious by nature to move beyond.

2. Some feel that forgiveness opens the door for the offending party to recommit the transgression as it appears to remove all accountability. Holding on to one’s anger and judgment imposes guilt and shame on the offender and therefore offers some reassurance that it will not occur.

3. Holding on to arrogance and judgment makes us feel powerful. It enables us to damage the offender’s reputation and credibility, influence others to rethink the nature of their relationship with the guilty party, and inflict pain and suffering on them, thus offering us some distorted sense of satisfaction and restitution for their crime. (We’re getting even.) Forgiving may make us appear weak. Ghandi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

4. Smaller wrongdoings are understandable as for the most part we all realize that people are not perfect and will make mistakes. But by a certain age, we feel they should know better. That is, they should know right from wrong, how to treat people, to recognize their own weaknesses and refrain from acting them out. We impose our values and expectations on others (“They should know…, they should do/be…”) and those who fall short are not granted exemption.

5. Those we are less fond of are often judged more harshly than those we care about. We deem them unworthy of forgiveness. They simply don’t deserve it. Yet were that same offense committed by a loved one or someone of greater importance to us, we might be more inclined to extend compassion. Our feelings towards the individual can play a role in who we determine is deserving.

6. The individual continues repeating the same offense or commits additional affronts against us.

7. Those who refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoing, take ownership, apologize, or make amends are often denied absolution.

8. If we forgive we fear it will send one of two messages: either the offense was not as serious as first believed or we are allowing the person exemption from facing the consequences.

However, those who choose to withhold absolution put themselves (and others) at grave risk. One can easily become consumed with anger or rage which can lead to an assortment of physical maladies, interfere with the health of other relationships, and impede one’s ability to be fully happy and enjoy life. It can also become a crutch for hindering one’s successes, such as in the case of a person who was bullied as a child and suffers with self-esteem and trust issues as an adult. The object may hold the other fully accountable and blame them for their continued suffering and failures. Long-term unresolved anger and blame can easily lead to bitterness and self-pity which will ultimately destroy a person’s life.
“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” (unknown)
Although one may not seek a reconciliation with the other party in the moment, holding a grudge will obstruct their chances of ever making amends and possibly reuniting in the future.

While all of the above grounds seem reasonable to a many people, each fails in comparison to the reasons why forgiveness is essential.

1. We need forgiveness because it neutralizes our feelings of anger, judgment, resentment, and thoughts of retaliation. Louis Smedes: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

2. It thwarts any chance of seeking revenge or retaliation, thus preventing both side from further harm.

3. It is the first step towards a possible reconciliation and at the very least enables both parties to part without feelings of animosity or hostility.

4. It restores inner peace. Some say that when you have your health you have everything. I say, if you have inner peace your life is truly blessed beyond measure. You have all you need and need nothing more. You cannot achieve optimum health or happiness if you harbor feelings of hostility towards anyone. “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. It prevents it from destroying your heart.”

Choosing to pardon someone from an egregious act in no way condones their behavior nor does it minimize the serious nature of the offense. One must still be held accountable, accept the consequences, and offer restitution whenever possible. Ephesians 4: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Forgiveness is freedom from the past; it heals all wounds and enables the individual to move beyond the incident and fully embrace the present. It’s akin to breaking a bone: in time, the pain subsides as the bone heals. One remembers the incident and the extent of the pain but no longer feels it. Forgiveness does not erase nor diminish the serious nature of what transpired. One remembers but without emotion, for they have been restored to wholeness.

One of our primary goals in life to continually improve the quality of our lives: to become healthier, not sicker; to gain intelligence, not to become more ignorant; to have more fun not less; to be happier, not miserable; to be more loving and less judgmental; to gain courage and relinquish fear; to be more peaceful and tranquil, not more hateful. Therefore, it is only logical that to forgive is a life-affirming method of self-improvement.

Mark 11: 25 “And when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone forgive them so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Watch a very powerful video on the importance of forgiveness at www.FromGodWithLove.net.

Tune in next week for the “How To’s” of forgiving.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

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NEVER BE A VICTIM AGAIN!

At some time in life, most people feel as though they’ve been treated unfairly to the extent that they would consider themselves a victim. Certainly those who have been the target of a violent crime fall into that category according to society’s standards. Even those of lesser offenses can view themselves as the target of injustice: a faithful spouse who’s partner has an affair or files for divorce; a child being tormented by a bully at school; one who has a rumor spread about them, particularly those that cause significant damage or distress.

By definition, a victim is one who is acted on and (generally speaking) is adversely affected by a force or agent such as robbery, physical assault, or murder. A person who is cheated, tricked or fooled by another (which may or may not cause them harm, such as the target of an innocent prank) or one who is coned out of their life savings for instance, can also be seen as a victim. There are also victims of unforeseen circumstances such as disease or natural disaster (hurricane, flood), or that which is out of their control (bad economy, company downsizing). Typically we perceive said person as being innocent of any wrongdoing that contributed to their unfortunate circumstance. One who engages in gang activity and suffers severe physical harm to their person is not seen as blameless but rather contributory to their injuries. Someone who is unproductive on the job and overlooked for a promotion given to the boss’s son is not a victim of nepotism for their prior actions (or lack thereof) are justification for their being ignored. However, one who has lived a wholesome lifestyle and diagnosed with a devastating disease receives much sympathy.

Yet even those who diverge from the universal criteria for victimization, there are still a significant number who believe they fall into this category. The reasons are several: a victim is one who feels powerless in a given situation. Statements such as “I can’t help it”, “It’s not my fault”, “I did nothing to deserve this”, “Why me?” are common complaints. They view themselves as completely innocent of any wrongdoing and shoulder no responsibility for what is or has transpired but are quick to hold others accountable (blame).They also perceive themselves as having no choice but to comply with or endure what is has happened and fail to see options that could have possibly prevented or could now resolve that which is unjust. Very often, those who feel they have been the deliberate target of an wrongdoing feel persecuted and are consumed with self-pity, resentment, bitterness, and rage.

In truth, the label of “victim” is a matter of perception alone. The Dalai Lama says that “There are no victims in life, only students.” This compelling statement illustrates the power of perception. In any of life’s circumstances, how I view myself is critical to how I react to and/or use the event in my life. Going through my divorce, the estrangement from my children, my dad’s Alzheimer’s, a domestic violence relationship – in each I could see myself as a victim since I was powerless to control, prevent, or correct many of these situations. Or I could choose to learn from each in order that I may grow, become a better person, and share my knowledge with others so that they may benefit as well. That choice is entirely up to me. The first leaves me angry and bitter; the latter grateful and determined.

One of the easiest and quickest means of eliminating a victim mentality is actually quite simple. When something unexpected enters our life, we may react by asking: “Why is this happening to me?” We are stunned that something of such an unpleasant nature could actually appear in our life. This question implies that we are being targeted by someone or some unseen force. In truth, there may be those who seek to deliberately hurt me or this could simply be a random act. In any event, I am not immune to so-called bad things happening. However, one simple shift in terminology releases me from the chains of victimhood to one of liberation and strength. By changing the phrase to me to for me I can experience the event as merely a challenge to accept or as a genuine blessing in my life to appreciate rather than a curse or trauma. In truth, there are no bad experiences; there simply are events that enter our lives. How we label and view them and how we choose to use them determines their value, nothing else. One can view a stroke as a nightmare or they can see it as an opportunity to reinvent their life.

The reality of what has transpired is irrelevant; all that matters is one’s assessment and use of it.

Victims believe they have no power and powerlessness is the very definition of anger. Therefore, victims are filled with anger and fear (a root cause of anger) and may experience rage or paralyzing anxiety. They fail to recognize that all humans possess authentic power which is found in the ability to make personal choices – how we view things, what we think and feel, what we say or don’t say, how we respond or not, and how we allow life to impact us. That is the only real control any of us have – our ability to make our own decisions.

In truth, none of us has dominance over anything eternal, anything outside of the self. I can only influence my surroundings but I cannot control them. Sometimes things work out as I anticipated, other times not even remotely close. I can choose to put forth effort to correct that which I am unsatisfied with or I can elect to accept and be at peace with it. My choice.

So how does one move beyond the mindset of being a victim to establishing authority over their own lives, success, and happiness?

1. Remember that everything that enters your life has purpose and value. The labels you assign determine their worth: good or bad are relevant terms on in the sense that they are dictated by your personal standards. Re evaluate their assessment, removing any derogatory notions and seek the meaning and importance of each. Once its significance is determined, one can find a way to use the experience for a greater good.
Life isn’t about truth and reality; life is about perception. The reality of what has transpired is irrelevant; all that matters is one’s assessment and use of it.
2. Check your perception for accuracy. Many times our expectations of life are unrealistic, such as “my life should be what I want it to be”. Unmet expectations lead to frustration(another root cause of anger), a sense of powerlessness, anger, and bitterness. Be honest and real with yourself about the unpredictability that life affords all of its participants.
3. Try to view each situation from every perspective. By gaining a greater understanding of the cause and nature of the event, we are better able to make sense of it. This can lead to a willingness to accept that which we cannot change.
4. Ask yourself, “What is this experience here to teach me?” Courage, determination, trust, self-confidence, forgiveness: life’s most profound lessons are most often found in our most difficult happenings. This, too, adds greater value to what has transpired.
5. Take control. Are there any changes that can be made to improve things for you and others who have been affected? If so, create a plan and begin putting forth effort. If not, acceptance of those things that we cannot change enables us to move beyond the occurrence with a peaceful determination to get on with our lives.
6. Forgive those who contributed to what happened. People can be mean-spirited, thoughtless, careless, selfish, and more. Their actions are a reflection of their issues, they are not about you. Forgiving acknowledges mankind’s imperfections and releases all judgments. It chooses to put to rest any anger, hatred, jealousy, thoughts of retaliation and so on. Again, learn the lesson, let go of the emotion attached to it, and move forward as a stronger better version of yourself.
7. Accept responsibility for your role, if applicable. Vow to learn and not repeat the same behavior in the future. Forgive yourself as well.

Buddha says, “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” All of us will experience some type of pain in our lives – physical, emotional, financial, etc. However, when we prolong the pain and keep it actively alive in our minds, it converts to suffering that can last a lifetime and destroy our lives.

Remember, victimization is an illusion, not a reality; it is a choice, not a given.

It is rooted in our perception of ourselves in the context of an event accompanied by feelings of self-pity and persecution.
Reclaim your authentic power utilizing your ability to choose. In the words of Pastor Joel Osteen, “You are a victor, not a victim” God created you to rise above and be victorious in every the challenge. You were not created to suffer and fail. Those are personal choices that you need to re evaluate.
Stand tall. Face life as it appears. Redefine each event and use them in such a way that benefits you and those around you. And in doing so, you will never fall prey to the illusion of being a victim ever again.

Q: No one journeys through life unscathed. Each of us faces hardships and challenges along the way. It matters not what enters our life but more importantly what we do with it: how we use it to better ourselves and those around us.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
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