Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

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

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Forgiveness..The Ultimate Freedom

Sometimes in life someone does something that we may feel is unforgivable. We get hurt, angry, resentful, and at times it can be all consuming. More and more though it is being found that these feelings negatively impact our health:
“There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.”

Forgiving can be a real challenge and it is important to remember that when we forgive someone we are not excusing the act but instead are releasing ourselves from it. In other words, we do this for us not for the other person.  One thing I want to mention is that time is a healer. It may be too much to attempt forgiveness until some time has passed. Allow yourself to feel all your feelings related to the incident and act accordingly. If you are angry express it, if you are upset shed your tears, give yourself permission to go through it all.

One thing I have suggested to my clients is to write the person who wronged them a letter. Put everything in that letter that they are feeling and use whatever language makes the most sense to them. Once it’s done set it aside. After a length of time that is appropriate for them I tell them to read it. Should you send it? Should the language be toned down? How do you feel now? Based on the answers to those questions they determine if it should be sent. Sometimes if it is too strong I suggest creating a ceremony where the letter is burned allowing all their anger literally go up in smoke.

Here are a few suggestions that may assist in forgiveness:

  • Decide that you want to forgive. A positive first step.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Is there anything that you can think of that may have contributed to the way this person acted? Not justifying it but understanding it
  • Speak your truth about the situation. Talk to someone you can trust and who’s advice you respect. Get another viewpoint.

As you forgive take a look at the relationship. It may be that you can forgive and not have this person in your life any more. If that is not possible or practical being honest with yourself is key. Are you expecting an apology? If you don’t see one coming than accept that and realize this has more to do with them than you. Freedom is key here and to get your wings, forgive and fly!

On Tuesday, March 14th, 7:00 PM Forgiveness will be the topic on The Night Shift.  I invite you to join me.

Self-Forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of the powerful modalities we have regarding our spiritual and emotional healing. I have always found it easy to forgive those who hurt or offended me yet I am not as generous with forgiving myself. Professionally speaking, this is one of the topics I lecture on that I am most passionate about. I know I’ve enabled thousands of people to find peace in their hearts through the sharing of my knowledge and my own life experiences. In recent years, my spiritual journey has lead me to the understanding that forgiveness becomes obsolete with the awareness of two factors: first, when we recognize that every choice, every life experience, and every mistake is an essential part of our spiritual journey. What is essential for our growth does not require forgiveness. Secondly, the ability to view others through the eyes of compassion rather than judgment prevents the onset of anger or disdain, both of which require the forgiving process to heal from and move beyond.

While learning to forgive others can be challenging for many, forgiving one’s self can present an even greater obstacle. Why is it so difficult for some people to extend the same compassion and understanding to one’s self as they do for others?
Here are six possible reasons:

• While we may be understanding and compassionate of others for their perceived imperfections and mistakes, we often hold ourselves to a higher standard. “You did the best you could at that time”, “You didn’t know any better” are common responses to those who have committed a wrongdoing. Yet we put greater pressure on ourselves believing that I could/should have tried harder; I should have known then what I know now. While it is permissible for others to be weak or imperfect at times, I expect myself to be smarter, kinder, more fair, and courageous than what I displayed at that time.
• It can be hard to forgive ourselves if others refuse to put the past behind us. They continually remind us of how badly we hurt someone or of how selfish our behavior was. Still others try to impose guilt and shame for the poor choices we made. “Your gambling problem completely bankrupt us – we have nothing left for our retirement! This is all your fault!” One cannot move forward into reconciliation when trapped in past events. However, sometimes it is not the other party but ourselves who keep reliving the sins of our past.
• How often are we compared to others? “Your brother always been here for me since my diagnosis with MS. Now that I’m dying you come to visit me? Where were you all the years I needed help?” Typically comparisons are intended to hurt us, to point out flaws and so-called poor judgments. They keep us trapped in feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing. If one does not see themselves as valuable, how can they receive the gifts of mercy and compassion?
• There may also be a concern that if I forgive myself I am diminishing the serious nature of my offense. Am I in essence suggesting that the other party just suck it up, that it wasn’t as bad as they claim it to be, that they are not the only one who have ever been hurt in life? It can be misconstrued that I’m giving myself a free pass to repeat the same offense or another.
• It may be easier to forgive myself for the poor judgments or indiscretions that only impacted my own life. However, if my actions caused pain and suffering for another, how can I possibly excuse myself for involving someone who was completely without fault? They may have put the incident behind them but for me the remorse of unintended consequences imposed on one who was not deserving of such is a heavy burden to carry.
• Have I lowered my standards, abandoned my values, betrayed those who believed in me? Am I stuck in grief or remorse? Is the other party still suffering from my mistakes? Am I not worthy of forgiveness? If I irresponsibly caused a car accident due to driving while intoxicated causing an innocent passenger of the other vehicle to suffer traumatic brain injury they will never recover from, what right do I have to heal my anguish and resume my life of happiness and success? As long as they continue to suffer, is it not only fair that I do so as well? This should be my penance for the remainder of my life.

In each of these scenarios, we have a different set of criteria for forgiving others vs ourselves. Forgiveness is a universal gift afforded to each of us without stipulation. Jesus instructs us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” As yourself: one cannot love and judge simultaneously. We are commanded to be as kind to ourselves as we are to others. After all, if God can forgives us who are we not to extend the same mercy to ourselves?
Keep in mind that our God is a forgiving God who did not create us to suffer. The same gifts He bestows on others He blesses you with as well. So be kind and compassionate with yourself. Learn the lessons, make amends, let go, and love again. Be at peace for that is what our loving Father has intended for each of us. And without self-forgiveness there can be no inner peace.

Jeremiah: I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.
Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.

Please check out my very powerful 3 minute video on the healing power of forgiveness at www.FromGodWithLove.net.

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
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
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