Discovering Forgiveness

Discovering Forgiveness

Forgiveness soothes the angry bees in our belly and it makes it easier to be. To let go and forgive we must tend to the issues fueling our pain. Sometimes solving this problem can be as complicated as a Cenobite’s puzzle box. In many ways our life is a series of games. Hopefully they become easier along the way as we learn from each.

A big part of forgiveness is accepting everyone makes mistakes. Once we realize and accept this it should become easier to forgive, but it typically isn’t. We are so quick to damn others we fail to see how horrible we are making the world and how vile we are acting. Before getting angry about what someone else did, pause and take a breath then try to empathize with them. Empathy is a key component to solving the Forgiveness puzzle.

If we want forgiveness we must be willing to forgive. The world can be a terrible place, why make it any worse? The more we demand others to suffer, the more we are camouflaging vengeance as justice.

One reason Forgiveness is challenging is because we hurt. Most have not figured out how to give purpose to the pain and so we live a life of suffering. The more we hurt the more suffering we can dispense.

A lot of people refuse to forgive because they confuse it with forgetting. It is important to remember forgiveness is not forgetfulness. When we forgive it is a personal journey of letting go. As we release all those bad feels our suffering begins to diminish and the pleasant glow of peace manifests on the horizon.  By forgiving others we protect ourselves and slow our downward spiral into bitterness.

Mistakes and Fairness

Mistakes and Fairness

Should the sum of our existence be calculated by a small window of time or a few mistakes? Do you believe every good deed ought to be dismissed because of a few decisions?

We all make mistakes and decisions that lead to disaster. No one was given an instruction manual or granted a good guide. Each and everyone of us are bumbling through life for the first time.

If we want fairness we must be fair to others. We achieve this by forming a relationship with Forgiveness, Wisdom and Hope. Forgiveness helps us ease the ferocity of vengeance; Wisdom, especially empathy mutes the sharp edge of judgement; and Hope reminds us we can learn from our mistakes.

Pain can blind us

The world is an insane place and there seems to be no end in sight. It spins us round and round, twisting our gut till we are about to throw up. With the challenge of life, you’d think we’d be more understanding, but people hurt so much they are blinded by their pain.

We get kicked over and over even after being knocked to our knees. When the assault stops we are granted a reprieve, but we must raise our fists for the next beating. With so much strife it becomes hard to fight. Its difficult to give a pass when we feel like shattered glass.

I know how much it hurts to feel broken, but we cannot close our eyes. If we do, we lose more than magnificent beauty and infinite wonder. We lose our empathy and ability to see. We must hold onto our wisdom and continue to use empathy. The more empathetic and understanding we are, the more forgiving the world will be.

Forgiveness is not Forgetfulness

Forgiveness is a spiritual experience and a relationship with our inside zones. It’s a philosophy of responsibly letting go. A decision to walk away from suffering to come closer to peace. It’s a path of personal protection and a barrier against bitterness.

Its important to know Forgiveness is not forgetfulness. If someone violates, hurts or wrongs us, we should protect ourselves. Do what needs to be done, but don’t desire their destruction. Stop the cycle of bad by treating them better than they treated us. Let our abusers see how they hurt us and give them a chance grow from it.

Vengeance is easy, but imagine what kind of life we would be living if someone enacted vengeance on us for every wrong or crime we committed?

My message here is to be fair to others. Do to them as we want done to us. Be understanding while protecting ourselves. If we must protect ourselves, our goal should be to end the threat and receive fair compensation.

I know what it feels like to feel pain, it can be terrible, but making someone else hurt isn’t going to take away ours. When we strip vengeance from justice we can give Forgiveness and live with peace.

We can learn from our mistakes

At the end of the day I believe everyone can learn from their mistakes. Every day I take a misstep, sometimes I stumble, and if I fall I hope someone is rooting for me to get back up. We all make mistakes and decisions that lead to disaster, everyone has hurt someone else, and no one is perfect. Have faith that others can become the better version of themselves.

 

Hold onto the light
Boundaries

Introduction to Boundaries

Would you like to have healthier relationships, a more peaceful existence and a higher quality of life? Well look no further, all the answers you need are right here!

We’ve come accustomed to hearing this claim from life coaches, MLMs and late-night TV. Every one of them want to sell us the secret to a better life, unfortunately they too have no clue.

Instead of spending money on tips and tricks, invest in yourself. Search inwardly to see how you hurt to prevent others from hurting you. Use this knowledge to establish and enforce your personal boundaries and achieve the life you’ve always wanted.

Walls are important to us because they,

Discover your Boundaries

How do we discover our personal boundaries? There is not a universal system that is appropriate for everyone. We all walk different roads, wearing different shoes and walk at a different pace.

It gets frustrating sometimes because we can feel so lost. We run this way and that trying to find our way through this terrible maze. Eventually we stop and fall to the ground in tears because we’ve lost the will to keep going.

I have been there, it can be so horrific, but in every second there is a snap of infinite beauty. In this moment that beauty is an opportunity. When our life feels like it’s about to fly off the road we learn to steer our momentum by carefully pressing on the brakes. In this moment you can see everything for what it is because everything is unlocked, and we can walk through any door.

The Tree of Life series explores our boundaries by showing the best way to have them is by getting to know ourselves. If you would like some direction, feel free to look, maybe it will inspire you to find your inside parts and the walls you need to protect them.

 

Relationships – Boundaries – Personal Advocacy

Experiencing a long-lasting friendship can be incredible. It feels great having someone in our corner, especially when we’re confident they’ll be there forever. The longer we are friends with someone the more we lower our guard to build new boundaries for them. It can be a beautiful experience to fall in love and explore a relationship.

Sometimes it is not so wonderful. Some people don’t want to be a part of the construction crew and build something new. They are content with jumping the wall and doing as they please.

I’ve had many people in my life take that course of action, Ino and Pea Weasel are prime examples. Being abused, violated and betrayed are all insightful experiences that test our resolve and push us harder to protect ourselves. We learn over time the best defense is effective personal boundaries. They serve as our eternal champion protecting us from harm. As our guardians they are the supporting structures of our relationship bridges.

These bridges are our relationships and they are the roads that connect people. They require upkeep and understanding and must be built from a foundation of empathy and respect. Everyone in the world is an island and these bridges connects us. The stronger we build and upkeep them the less likely they are to crumble or burn.

If we are living safely we have a strong wall around our island. This is our outer boundary, it protects us from the harm others may try to commit against us. Beyond this wall is another surrounding our palace, this wall is our inner boundary. It protects us from everything unhealthy we may try to do to ourselves.

Maintenance

In relationships we must maintain a vigilant eye on many moving parts. Our first concern is our palace, are we enjoying our stay? The most important relationship we can have is within ourselves. Are we doing everything we can to live the highest quality of life? Are we chasing our dreams? How are we feeling? Are we happy with our relationships and are they happy with us?

The second most important is a tie between our inner and outer boundaries. Are we doing everything we can to reinforce them? When was the last time one was breached and why was that allowed? What can we do to prevent that from happening in the future?

Next, we have our bridge. Are we spending enough time and resources to maintain it? Do we even like it being there, and if not, what must we do to remove it?

Finally, our last concern is the outer boundary of those around us. Are we respecting their walls? How dangerous are their boundaries, could they compromise ours? Are we empathizing and doing our best to treat others better than we have been treated?

Our Boundaries are not the same for everyone

When I was going through chemotherapy I was prohibited from hugging people. My immune system was so weak it was simply too risky to touch anyone. I had to be extremely careful about who and what I interacted with. The chemotherapy made me feel like death, so there was no way I was going to risk my life for a hug or a handshake.

I was coupled at the time and though I was told not to touch, there was no way I would deny myself any touch. Her hugs and kisses and the occasional massage were the only exceptions.

One day I was standing in line waiting to buy a delicious liquid refreshment at Picassos my favorite coffee house. I was chatting it up with a young man named Tello when a close friend of mine walked through the door. Immediately my friend wanted to give me a hug, but I had to quickly refuse and inform them I can no longer hug people.

Tello took this as a challenge. He said, “I’m going to give you a hug.”

I turned to him and with a stern voice I commanded him not to touch me.

Strangely Tello ignored my demand and continued forward to embrace me. I was filled with a cocktail of anger and fear, my survival mechanism kicked in and I yelled at him. “If you try to hug me I am going to knock you to the floor!” I meant it. Though I hurt all over there was no way I was going to let him touch me without consequence.

His eyes locked with mine and his urgency slowed to a halt.

If you ever try to touch me without permission, I will hurt you.” I warned Tello.

Enforcing Boundaries

In a loving relationship our boundaries can be a gentle hand, encouraging words, even a stern look. We can secure our walls without weaponizing them. In most situations we don’t have to aggressively enforce our boundaries like I did with Tello.

The core principles of personal advocacy: Hope, Wisdom and Forgiveness are easily applied here. Empathize, take a moment to imagine what their intent was when they crossed your boundary. Were they trying to hurt and take advantage of you or was this a misunderstanding? Whatever the answer is we must make it clear to them they crossed the line. Then we must embrace Hope and have faith we will both learn and grow from this experience.  

Links

If you would like to continue your adventure through personal advocacy consider clicking on one of these fancy links.

We Must All Become Advocates, All of Us

Introduction to Boundaries

Empathy

Empathy – Boundaries – Personal Advocacy

Empathy is essential when establishing and enforcing our boundaries. When we use the word empathy we are referring to intellectual empathy. What does that mean?

“Understanding the need to imaginatively put oneself in the place of others to genuinely understand them… It correlates with the ability to accurately reconstruct the viewpoints and reasoning of others and to reason from premises, assumptions, and ideas other than our own. This trait also requires that we remember occasions when we were wrong, despite an intense conviction that we were right, and consider that we might be similarly deceived in a case at hand.” [1]

A challenging but useful exercise is to imagine yourself as someone else. Let your eyes find someone nearby, now look at their shoes. Imagine what it would feel to be wearing those right now. How do you think they would feel? Now think about someone you know, perhaps someone who’s hurt your feelings recently. Ignore your feelings and imagine being them. What do you think they were feeling at the time when they were hurting you? Why do believe they were feeling this? What if you’re wrong? What else could they have been feeling at this moment?

We are going to do an exercise, first I want you to write down the premise they were acting from when the event occurred. Next, what assumptions might they have been operating from and finally what do you think their thoughts, opinions or plans were?

Intellectual empathy is an effective critical thinking tool. When implemented correctly it serves as a valuable resource to establish and enforce personal boundaries. It also helps us identify the walls of others. With this information we improve our ability to treat others fairly while encouraging them to do the same.

[1] Paul, Richard, and A. J. A. Binker. Critical Thinking: What Every Person Needs to Survive in a Rapidly Changing World. Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2012.

Fight Abuse – Boundaries – Personal Advocacy

Abusers are thieves plotting to steal what we need. They feed us spoonfuls of bullshit to veil their taking as giving. Their agenda is to weaken our walls with the goal to gain access to our soul.

Ordinarily life is pretty damn hard. When we get sick or injured it gets even more difficult. There are people in the world like Ernest the life coach who teaches people their pain is their fault. They instruct us that our anger is the reason we are ill and if we wanted to heal we would.

Anger and heart break are healthy feelings. They help us cope with change and trauma. Without exploring anger, we would never be able to grieve anyone or anything we’ve lost.

When I was going through chemotherapy I was told I shouldn’t be angry, sad or fearful. I needed to express my feelings but there was no where to vent it. Every time I tried someone would tell me I was wrong for feeling these negative emotions.

In my last month of treatment, I attended a group meeting at the Cancer Support Community. It was everything I needed. I was surrounded by so many insightful, loving and enduring souls. They were the first to give me permission to feel what I felt. As a result, the emotional acid of my heart stopped burning my insides, instead it started to pour out. Over time the hurt healed, and I relearned to live.

Its hard to give yourself permission to feel when we have people like Ernest in our life. Telling us we should never explore or express our anger or trying to convince us the only true emotions are love and fear. Having an Ernest in our life is like trying to light a fire with someone continually dowsing our flame with dirt.

If you’ve been hurt, feel what you feel. In this confusing world lets make it easier by accepting that our emotions are important and are a part of us. Treat them like little creatures who must be housed, fed and handled with care. As you experience each emotion, tend to it with love. Explore it with Hope, Wisdom and Forgiveness.

Our Boundaries are our Weapons

Abusers will insert subtle suggestions to slowly condition their mark to be more pliable. After the abuser has infected their mark the abuser can begin their assault. The manner of an abuser’s assault will vary widely. Some, like Pea Weasel and Ino might dismantle relationships and support systems until their mark no longer has control of their life. While an Ernest holds their cards tighter to their chest, playing a longer game.

Whatever their game might be, the best strategy to beat them is to not play at all. The most effective way to defeat an abuser is to make sure they never have the chance to hurt us. We achieve this by exploring our emotions and discovering what they need to feel safe. Then we look closely at our past to learn how to protect ourselves from the predators who hurt us before.

With this information we can begin setting our internal and external boundaries. We maintain these walls by keeping our vents open, loving our feelings and having the willpower to say no.

Fight Abuse

To fight abuse, we have to set effective personal boundaries.  We must draw a line in the sand and say “No, Stop, Do Not Cross!” We must have the force of will to stand up for ourselves without compromise.

An effective personal boundary is one that we will enforce at all costs.

Boundaries are proactive, not reactive.  A proactive boundary is one we’ve explored through introspection. We’ve poured concrete and stacked stone blocks to build fortified walls.

A boundary without introspection is unfair, offensive and dangerous.  If we are unaware of our boundaries we cannot protect ourselves from our enemies. We leave ourselves open to the assaults from abusers seeking to violate us and we also create circumstances where we might abuse others.

Those who have been abused have a hole in their defenses and the Inos, Ernests and Pea Weasels will always try to exploit it. Abusers are predators, once they find the weakest in a crowd, they start their hunt. Since we are their prey, we must develop a way to defend ourselves. The best way is to investigate ourselves and see where the hole is and how it got there. Knowledge is power, with this power we’ll plug this hole and prevent them from hurting us. This is achieved with effective personal boundaries.

Personal boundaries are the only way to end abuse.  If we don’t stand up for ourselves no one else will. Abusers will find us whether we are healthy, sick, young, old, hurt or healed. However, if we build sturdy walls, learn to say no and have effective boundaries we will free ourselves from the bondage of abuse.

Links

If you would like to continue the road of personal advocacy consider clicking on one of these friendly links.

Introduction to Boundaries

Help for the Abused

Caretakers – Personal Advocacy

Abuse – Personal Advocacy

Empathy – Critical Awareness

Empathy

When empathy becomes reality, your empathy has failed you.  Watching someone experience something is not the same as experiencing it.  This goes both ways.  It is not fair to claim you know something, when you don’t.  This post is about exploring the reality of cancer, our perception, empathy and our roles.

Empathy

Perception

Recently I was having a conversation with a friend.  She said that I wasn’t appreciating her and that I haven’t given her that appreciation for six months.  I told her that the reason was because I was going through chemotherapy.  She said that chemo was no excuse, then continued to say that she knows what chemo was like because her father went through it.  Her father was able to make her feel appreciated while he was going through treatment, so I should have too.

I told her that chemo was not an excuse, that it was a reality.  That for the last six months I’ve faced the most terrifying and painful experience of my life.  Things that she has never experienced and has no true understanding of.  That she would never understand what it feels like until she’s gone through chemotherapy (something I hope she never does).  I told her that I’m not her father, boyfriend and she is not my daughter and my role in her life is not as a significant other or parent.  That it sucks to feel unappreciated and as her friend I wished her feelings were not hurt.

Empathy

Friends do things that we may sometimes consider deplorable.  Her comment could easily be considered as such.  In the moment I was calm and didn’t allow it to hurt my feelings.  Later my feelings were hurt by it a little bit, but I vented to my significant other.  Then those bad feelings dissolved.

Friendship is about more than just the good times.  Sometimes we say things when we are really stressed that hurts those close to us.  I believe the fair thing to do here is to accept what they say as stress and move on.

Roles

If you have a loved one with cancer, it doesn’t mean you know what the experience of cancer is like.

Just because you…

  • have walked with someone in their cancer journey doesn’t mean that you know what its like to have cancer.
  • watched someone go through chemotherapy doesn’t mean you know what its like to go through chemotherapy.
  • know someone who went had surgery, doesn’t mean you know what its like to go through surgery.
  • know someone who had radiation treatment, doesn’t mean you know what its like to experience radiation treatment.

If you have cancer, it doesn’t mean you know what its like to watch someone you love suffer through cancer.

Just because you…

  • have cancer doesn’t mean that you know what its like to watch someone go through cancer.
  • went through chemotherapy doesn’t mean you know what its like to watch a loved one go through chemotherapy.
  • had surgery, doesn’t mean you know what its like to be there for someone going through surgery.
  • went through radiation treatment, doesn’t mean you know what its like to watch someone go through radiation treatment.

If you would like to read about the journey of cancer feel free to continue your exploration by clicking on this link.