August 7, 2012 in Featured
As I mentioned last week, forgiveness is a process and a choice. Forgiveness requires desire, action, and intention. So how do you do it? One way is to write a letter to the person you are forgiving, share the emotional pain that they caused, and decide to let go of the negative feelings rather than seeking retribution. Maybe you decide not to share the letter with the person and instead share it with someone close to you instead. Or maybe you feel compelled to share it directly with the person who hurt you. Either way, the process of forgiveness is moved forward through the writing, sharing, and releasing of the thoughts and feelings. However, there is no “light switch” transformation that occurs from this exercise, instead expect that the intensity of the emotion lessens and the healing progresses. Forgiving oneself can also be addressed in the same way and can be equally as powerful. Self-forgiveness helps with self-esteem since those that continually beat up on themselves for mistakes have a hard time generating self-confidence. As I watch Olympic athletes deal with mistakes, I’m reminded of the importance of letting go and moving on from our imperfections. This often separates good from great athletes. Can you let go of your mistakes, flaws, and imperfections which we all have? We are all a work in progress and need to continually forgive ourselves and others in order to grow, mature, and maintain healthy relationships. Forgiving empowers the forgiver and enables positive healing. By forgiving, you release yourself from the misery that you have allowed past events to create in your life now.
August 29, 2011 in Uncategorized
Do you feel a need to control or are you the one being controlled? It really doesn’t matter if you are the control-lee or the controller. Over time both positions create frustration, anger, resentment and hurt. As mentioned in last week’s blog, control destroys relationships. So what can a person do to relinquish control or take some back? The controlling person needs to move to the passenger’s seat and allow others to drive without micromanaging and directing. Learn to delegate more often and trust that others can complete tasks too, even if they don’t do it your way. In other words, perfection is not the mandatory outcome and some latitude is acceptable. The paradox of control implies that when you relinquish control you actually gain more of it. When we try to force others to do something usually they resist and we become out of control, yet when we allow them to come to the decision with our influence, but not control, the outcome is sometimes what we had desired all along. Letting go of our need for control can be liberating and freeing since we’re allowing others to take responsibility for themselves. As our children grow older and more mature, we should move from a position of control to influence. The reality of life is that we have little control over most things, especially other people. The only person we can control is ourselves through our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We can share our thoughts and feelings with others, but don’t expect change from them since it may or may not happen. We then have a choice to make about the relationships we maintain. Briefly, those being controlled need to learn to be assertive, speak up, set boundaries, and confront conflict directly. Focus on building self-respect and self-esteem through taking charge of your life. The ultimate goal in healthy relationships is for shared control.
December 8, 2008 in Uncategorized
What is it about the holidays that brings out the worst in us? I know it’s the busiest time for my practice as a psychologist. The past memories or emotionally baggage seem to ooze out of people during the season. Many folks reflect on the past and so many never let go of the past. I work with people on releasing the pain from the past and forgiving others or maybe themselves in order to achieve closure. Forgiveness starts the healing process and helps with internal resolution. Forgiveness is not about forgetting, condoning or even reconciliation, but it is about letting go of the pain. Humans make bad decisions all the time, but there seems to be a higher incidence during the holidays. Maybe the stress of the season, need to create a perfect household once per year, and realization of conflicts that remain unresolved is enough to set us over the edge. There is hope! We can choose to forgive, let go of the anger or hurt, and make better choices in our life. We can also focus on our blessings and appreciate the joy in giving rather than focusing on receiving. Do you have people in your life that you need to forgive? Have you lost contact with a good friend or family member? Make the decision to re-establish that connection and forgive the past hurt. It will be the best gift you could ever give yourself.