Forgiveness

Graphic source: funnypictures.picphotos.net

Martin Luther King understood forgiveness. So do the victims, pushed into the media spotlight by unfathomable, agonising crime, who publicly – and genuinely –  forgive the perpetrators.

And us? You and me? If we’re honest, we admit that we struggle with forgiveness. Where’s the justice? What about my feelings, my agony, my heartbreak, my broken life? Don’t they count? Why should I let that rotten so-and-so off the hook?

4 reasons why forgiveness is important

  • Forgiveness is a gift to yourself as well as the forgiven – it lets you move forward
  • Forgiveness liberates you – from being stuck, from negative emotions, from stress
  • Forgiveness is essential for healing
  • And, most important of all, Jesus told us to forgive.

“And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” [Matt 6:12 NLT]. 

The Aramaic word for forgiveness means to untie.

Whether you’re angry, distressed, plotting revenge, cursing or just flinching at the memory, you are tightly bound to the event, albeit by invisible cords. This ‘stuckness’ can prevent you moving forward with your life or influence the way you think. “I’ll never trust another man/girl/boss” is just one example of this.

And the instigator  of your misery probably isn’t  giving you a second thought and is enjoying life. To put it another way, you’ve given away your power to enjoy life and prosper.

Furthermore,  you’re being avidly stalked by the  Terrible Trio of resentment, bitterness and anger. These guys are destructive and can eventually crush your emotional and physical health as they release toxic chemicals into your body.

poison

There are common misconceptions about forgiveness which muddy the water and make it seem more difficult. Understanding these helped me enormously. Let’s take a look at what forgiveness isn’t as well as what it is.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation

You have choices:

  1. Has the relationship run its course and is now over?
  2. Do you want to keep the person in your life but add boundaries or make changes for the future?
  3. Are you happy for the relationship to continue as before?

Forgiveness doesn’t mean minimising

You can be real:

  1. You don’t have to pretend that the incident never happened
  2. You don’t have to justify how upset you are
  3. You don’t have to forget before you forgive
  4. You don’t have to condone what happened

Forgiveness is purposeful

It’s not called an ‘act of forgiveness’ for nothing. It’s an action not a feeling. It’s something you do, not something you feel. You choose to forgive, and then you work  on it. How long it takes depends depends on the circumstances and the original offence. There have been people in my life that took me a long time to forgive fully, others not so long.

“We think that forgiveness is weakness, but it’s absolutely not; it takes a very strong person to forgive.” T.D. Jakes

Help with forgiving

Believe that it is possible. God never asks us to do anything that’s impossible. Pray for help. Admit that you’re finding it hard and ask GodThis prayer offers some ideas what to say if you’re stuck [scroll down the page]

Pray for the person who wronged you. Pray that you both can understand each other’s position and viewpoints.

Write out your thoughts and  feelings in your journal as you go through the process.

Consider whether it is in both your interests to have a conversation with the other party and/or to let them know you have forgiven them.

“Deepen your understanding of God’s forgiveness through Bible study and meditation. God has been astoundingly, absurdly generous to us. Let that grace prompt humility and gratitude.” Charles Swindoll

Forgiveness is challenging but it is possible and it benefits you immeasurably.

If you have any ideas to add to this post, please let me know in the box below and please feel free to share this post.

You may also find these helpful as well.  Forgiveness:When you forgive but they won’t let you forget by Minister Desiray Lewis  and  Overcoming Hurtful Words. 

Let’s finish with a message from St Paul.

Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. [Colossians 3:13 GW]

Please share your comments and questions below.  And, if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.

We’ve All BeenThat Dog That Walked 30 Miles! (dealing with rejection)

Graphic via Daily Mail

Graphic via Daily Mail

Thousands  fell head over paws in love with  Lady, the gorgeous, greying Lab who walked almost 30 miles, despite being arthritic, to be re-united with her second family, who were unable to take her back. [Read the full story]

I’m guessing zillions of tears were brushed away.

It was  just so achingly sad and poignant.

Lady’s story got me thinking because we’ve all been there, haven’t we? I know I have!

And when it happens,  it’s painful. Oh boy, does it hurt to be shunned!

 

Graphic source - Copy Blogger, google images

Graphic source – Copy Blogger, Google images

We feel unlovable, unwanted, lacking, embarrassed  And as rejection can occur in  romantic, social, family or work relationships it’s going to affect all of us.

Of course, some professions invite rejection. My daughter is in the midst of editing her first novel, which will, hopefully, soon be published. Along the way, she has faced many rejections from literary agents.

Why Rejection Hurts

Much like Lady and her doggy pals, we are social animals and need to feel that we belong to ‘the pack.’  We want to feel loved and accepted.

This desire  is stronger when you are invested in a relationship. Somebody you don’t know well  gives you the cold shoulder and you shrug it off. If you’re turned down for a job, you can recover reasonably quickly and start the search again.

However, if it’s someone you really care for, then it’s much, much harder to deal with.

It’s to do with value and self worth. When someone important rebuffs you, it’s inevitable that you feel judged and found wanting in some way, Even worse, you may have no idea why the other person feels like that. So you’re left floundering, wondering what you did.

We tend to personalise rejection, and our brain runs an endless loop – ‘what should I have done differently? what’s wrong with me?’

And that feeling that you’ve done a few rounds with Mike Tyson is real – Recent research indicates that social rejection triggers the part of the brain  that causes the physical pain we feel when we trap our hand in a drawer or spill a hot drink on our hand.

Dealing With Rejection

“Rejection is merely a redirection; a course correction to your destiny.”  Bryant McGill

I love the sheer bravery of that quote!

It flies in the face of our natural tendency to shut ourselves away, to guard our hearts against future rejection.

And we can’t live like that. In fact, the fear of rejection can become greater than the hurt of the actual experience.

There are ways of dealing with rejection:

  • Don’t take it to heart. Ok, I know that’s easier said than done, but remember that you don’t always know all the factors in a situation. There may be a reason that you didn’t get that job that had nothing at all to do with you and your skills and experience.
  • Accept that you don’t always know what drives others, what inner hurts or pain that cause them to behave in certain ways.
  • Don’t anticipate rejection. It’s natural to want to protect yourself against further hurt – but stay open to new relationships, new opportunities. It’s Ok to be cautious but don’t lock yourself out of life.  If you do that, then you’ve given away your personal power.

 

  • Hang out with people who love you and encourage you. Believe what they say about you!
  • Write a list of all your skills, talents and positive characteristics. Ask others for suggestions. Keep reading it!
  • Forgive.  You may have to work on this over of time – and pray a lot – but it’s totally worth it. Forgiving the people who have hurt you frees you and enables you to move forward.
  • Pray for strength and wisdom. Jesus knows how rejection feels. He understands what you’re going through. His love never falters and He is your rock and your safe place when you are journeying through the pain of rejection. Ask Him to show you what you need to see.

And finally – Lady’s story had a  happy-ever-after ending – she was rehomed by a millionairess!!

You never know how your story will end – so keep on trusting in God’s plan for your life.

By the way, if you found this post helpful, you’ll enjoy this one:  Overcoming Hurtful Words

Please share your comments and questions below.  And, if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.

 

Defeat Resistance; Be A Winner!

depressed

“Many of us have two lives. The one we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”  [Steven Pressfield]

Ouch!!

When I read Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art,  those 2 sentences hit home.

Hard!

And  it’s not just me.

I’ve listened to people in an agony of despair and self-criticism as days drift by without any decisive action.

Maybe you’ve been there too……..

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

You can defeat resistance and be a winner!

Resistance affects many areas

  • Creative projects
  • Business building
  • New exercise and healthy eating plans
  • Our walk with God
  • Relationships
  • Studying/writing essays
  • Making a stand for what we know is right
  • Getting involved in community/charitable projects
  • Projects around the house
  • Anything that you might be able to add to this list

Know the enemy

Truth is,  Resistance is far from futile – it’s a strong, overwhelming force that can knock us off our path, overcome our hopes and dreams and leave us reeling in despair and  futility with our self-esteem in tatters.  Over time, it can become a vicious cycle – we procrastinate or give into our fears or self-doubts and we feel a failure which makes taking the right action at the right time harder so we feel more of a failure…… and on it goes.

Slowly over time, not taking the right actions at the right time becomes a habit.

You know how Resistance operates – every time you go to start, something stops you, You don’t feel like it, the weather’s wrong, you should hoover and do another load of washing first, the car needs something doing to it, blah blah blah.

It might look a little different each time, but basically it’s all Resistance.  The result is the same – stuff doesn’t get done – whether it’s running, eating well, writing another chapter, making business contacts.

Resistance is the enemy!  It is the enemy of your life, your success, your purpose and your destiny!

You know when it’s got you in thrall.

Your plans aren’t happening, your work isn’t happening, your progress isn’t happening.

I am reminded of St Paul’s heartfelt lament in Romans 7:15

“For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” [HCSB]

Don’t be fooled – You can defeat Resistance

beat r

Resistance might shout loudly and fill our heads with ‘you can’t’, ‘not now, do it later,’  ‘this isn’t gonna work, it’s not worth doing’ and other variations on the same theme, but the truth is, Resistance is all talk.  It has little substance.  A toothless lion, if you will.

It’s important for you to grasp this, because it is incredibly important, so important that Resistance doesn’t want you to know it and will fight to stop you implementing it.

It can be defeated!

How?

[drum roll]

Action!

“Action Always Defeats Resistance!”  [N.M.Franklyn]

What to do to defeat Resistance

  • Decide that this is a battle you are going to win.
  • Accept that it will take a while – there’s no magic bullet.
  • Commit to creating new habits.
  • Start small – decide that you will work on a task for a short period of time (even if it’s only 5 minutes)  and do it. Then give yourself a small reward 🙂  Then go back and do another 5 minutes or 15 minutes – whatever you’ve decided.  Then have another reward/break. Keep this pattern going.
  • Alternatively – decide that you are going to devote 90 minutes first thing every morning to work and do it. Set a timer so that you can see the time counting down 🙂 Then when you’ve finished, give yourself a little treat.
  • Work on your tasks/projects every day – build new habits
  • Know the benefits of what you are working to achieve – this will inspire and motivate you
  • Forget perfectionism – do the very best you can right now.
  • Find an accountability partner. Choose someone you can trust, who will support and encourage you to stay on track.
  • Seek out someone who is attempting to do the same as you – either in real life or through the internet – and join forces to share the journey together.

Get into the Word

“Be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.” Romans 12: 2b The Voice

“Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He led you out of your dark, dark cell,
    broke open the jail and led you out.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves;
He shattered the heavy jailhouse doors,
    he snapped the prison bars like matchsticks!”

Psalm 107:12 TM

I will leave you with a great talk by Nancy Missler

Please share your comments and questions below.  And, if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.

Overcoming Hurtful Words

Source@ Google images

Joyce Meyer says that “Words are containers of power.”

 And we’ve  experienced that power. The kind word that lifts your spirits at the end of a tough day,  the compliment that makes you feel good, the encouragement you are given during a difficult task.

Words also damage.  Words can HURT. A LOT!  I suffered a lot of verbal abuse as a child and young woman. By the time I was a teenager I had developed anxiety and other emotional problems – anorexia, agoraphobia. The negative beliefs  that had grown deep inside me encouraged me to pick relationships with men who would continue the abuse.

“Words have more power than atom bombs.” (Pearl Strachan Hurd)


Humans are social creatures – we need to love and feel loved and share pleasant, meaningful interaction.

So the pain from ‘word bombs’ lobbed at you for whatever reason –    anger, blame,  criticism,  or venting over a situation that has nothing to do with you –  is excruciating.

And it’s worse if they are uttered by someone important to you, such as a valued colleague, friend, partner.  All kinds of emotions are triggered – shame, embarrassment, anger. And it can leave a permanent scar unless you deal with it.

deal with words

You can’t control what others say  but you can evaluate what was said:

  • Was it sparked by envy about something you have or have achieved? A backhanded compliment.  Can you put it in a more positive context?
  • Was there some truth in it? Is it highlighting an area you need to work on?
  • Was the speaker having an off day? If so, take a deep breath and let it go. As Christians we shouldn’t take offence.  Proverbs 19:11 states, “A person with good sense is patient, and it is to his credit that he overlooks an offence.” [GW] We’ve all said things we regret when we’re dealing with ‘stuff’ and we hope that others will overlook.
  • Is the speaker generally negative?  Some people just are like that. The best way to handle this,  is to accept that’s who they are and pray for them.

joyce meyer words

Action steps for overcoming hurtful words:

It’s OK to cherry pick the steps that are most useful to you – personally I’ve found steps 1, 2, 5 & 7 helpful.

  1. The most important and effective action step you is to choose to let it go, bless the person and move on. Yes, it’s difficult, but it is possible. It’s like they say – all you can control is your reaction to situations. Think of it as a gift to yourself, setting you free from someone else’s negativity.
  2. Write down how you feel in your journal. Putting words on paper clarifies your thoughts and brings insights. Plus, you can plan what to say if you decide to speak to the person about what was said.  Read more here.
  3. Discuss the situation with someone you trust. Another person’s input often reframes events, giving you objectivity, reassurance and affirmation.
  4. Write a letter to the person who spoke the hurtful words – pour out how you felt when they said them and how you feel now. Let it all out. When you’ve finished, don’t read it, either tear it up and flush it down the lavatory or burn it. Don’t send it!! 🙂
  5. Forgive. I’ve had to do this. It needed a lot of prayer and determination and sometimes it seemed like it was a case of two steps forward and one step backwards.  But it made a MASSIVE difference – forgiving others is one of the best gifts you give yourself.
  6. Remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to go back to the same situation – you can set boundaries or make adjustments. Sometimes, you need to ask God to bless someone and then let them go out of your life.
  7. Ask God to help you overcome the pain, anger, feelings of rejection etc then believe that He will.
  8. If you have been a long term victim of verbal abuse, you may benefit from seeing a counsellor or other expert.

It is possible to overcome hurtful words – I know this from personal experience of years of negative input.  Make a decision to move beyond the pain of hurtful words, pray, trust and believe.

If you found this post helpful, you’ll enjoy: Forgiveness and  We’ve All Been That Dog That Walked 30 Miles: dealing with rejection

Please share your comments and questions below.  And, if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.