FORGIVENESS

forgiveness-is-unlocking-the-door

Forgiving others is a hard thing for people to do. One may ask, why is it so difficult or why do we find it hard to forgive? All of us have different reasons, but one of the reasons is that some of us don’t have a full comprehension of what true forgiveness is and how it functions. When we gain the knowledge of true forgiveness, we might find it easy to forgive ourselves and those who have hurt us.

Since we do not have a full comprehension of forgiveness, our first reaction to someone hurting us is revenge. Revenge comes more naturally than forgiveness. Even though it is difficult to forgive others, it is also important to forgive for many reasons. First, we are commanded to forgive others if we want God to forgive us of our wrong deeds. Second, forgiveness is vital for one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. In other words, it brings healing to oneself and releases the offender. The importance of forgiveness is not only releasing a person who wronged you, but brings one’s self-healing, wellbeing, and health. Third, forgiveness allows you to release the burdens. Fourth, forgiving helps individuals to grow, free an individual from the past and to move forward to a healthier present and future.

Matthew 18:21-22 states that “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times I shall forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Forgiveness does not only bring healing, but it also empowers individual(s) and helps them to gain their power back. It assists any individuals in releasing themselves from the effects of bondage and opens the door to the Lord to bring a total healing their lives. “And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12).

Lastly, forgiveness is crucial for any person because it assists an individual in a reduction of physical symptoms of stress, decrease depression and increases self-confident. Among other things, it assists an individual to be healthier.

According to Rose Sweet from the Focus on the Family, “Granting Forgiveness” is as follows:

  1. Forgiveness is not letting the offender off the hook. We can and should still hold others accountable for their actions or lack of actions.
  2. Forgiveness is returning to God the right to take care of justice. By refusing to transfer the right to exact punishment or revenge, we are telling God we don’t trust him to take care of matters.
  3. Forgiveness is not letting the offense recur again and again. We don’t have to tolerate, nor should we keep ourselves open to, lack of respect or any form of abuse.
  4. Forgiveness does not mean we have to revert to being the victim. Forgiving is not saying, “What you did was okay, so go ahead and walk all over me.” Nor is it playing the martyr, enjoying the performance of forgiving people because it perpetuates our victim role.
  5. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciling. We can forgive someone even if we never can get along with him again.
  6. Forgiveness is a process, not an event. It might take some time to work through our emotional problems before we can truly forgive. As soon as we can, we should decide to forgive, but it probably is not going to happen right after a tragic divorce. That’s okay.
  7. We have to forgive every time. If we find ourselves constantly forgiving, though, we might need to take a look at the dance we are doing with the other person that sets us up to be continually hurt, attacked, or abused.
  8. Forgetting does not mean denying reality or ignoring repeated offenses. Some people are obnoxious, mean-spirited, apathetic, or unreliable. They never will change. We need to change the way we respond to them and quit expecting them to be different.
  9. Forgiveness is not based on others’ actions but on our attitude. People will continue to hurt us through life. We either can look outward at them or stay stuck and angry, or we can begin to keep our minds on our loving relationship with God, knowing and trusting in what is good.
  10. If they don’t repent, we still have to forgive. Even if they never ask, we need to forgive. We should memorize and repeat over and over: Forgiveness is about our attitude, not their action.
  11. We don’t always have to tell them we have forgiven them. Self-righteously announcing our gracious forgiveness to someone who has not asked to be forgiven may be a manipulation to make them feel guilty. It also is a form of pride.
  12. Withholding forgiveness is a refusal to let go of perceived power. We can feel powerful when the offender is in need of forgiveness and only we can give it. We may fear going back to being powerless if we forgive.
  13. We might have to forgive more than the divorce. Post-divorce problems related to money, the kids, and schedules might result in the need to forgive again and to seek forgiveness ourselves.
  14. We might forgive too quickly to avoid pain or to manipulate the situation. Forgiveness releases pain and frees us from focusing on the other person. Too often when we’re in the midst of the turmoil after a divorce, we desperately look for a quick fix to make it all go away. Some women want to “hurry up” and forgive so the pain will end, or so they can get along with the other person. We have to be careful not to simply cover our wounds and retard the healing process.
  15. We might be pressured into false forgiveness before we are ready. When we feel obligated or we forgive just so others will still like us, accept us, or not think badly of us, it’s not true forgiveness — it’s a performance to avoid rejection. Give yourself permission to do it right. Maybe all you can offer today is, “I want to forgive you, but right now I’m struggling emotionally. I promise I will work on it.”
  16. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It’s normal for memories to be triggered in the future. When thoughts of past hurts occur, it’s what we do with them that counts. When we find ourselves focusing on a past offense, we can learn to say, “Thank you, God, for this reminder of how important forgiveness is.”
  17. Forgiveness starts with a mental decision. The emotional part of forgiveness is finally being able to let go of the resentment. Emotional healing may or may not follow quickly after we forgive.

Are You Codependent?

are-you-codependentHas someone said, “You’re so co-dependent?”  “I can’t take it, you’re so needy!” and you begin to wonder “Am I?  What does this mean for me and my future?”  Simply put, being co-dependent means the relationship you are involved in is one-sided, as you are willing to sacrifice your happiness and emotional health for the benefit of your partner or child.

Some hallmarks of co-dependency are

  1. No relationship with self. You do not know your own needs, wants, and desires.
  1. Depends on others. You only receive total fulfillment and satisfaction from your relationships with your spouse, child, etc.
  1. Compulsive Helper. Helping others makes you feel in control and safe.
  1. People Pleasing. You will honor others’ needs and wants at the cost of your own needs and wants.

Co-dependents take on 3 roles in relationships with others – the rescuer, persecutor, and victim.

The rescuer’s survived a childhood home where where their needs were not met.  As an adult, they feel safe and at their best self when they are helping others.  They do not know how to set limits and make their well-being a priority.

The persecutor’s family was one where mental and/or physical abusive ran rampant.  They hide their pain by coming off overconfident.  As an adult, they cannot tolerate vulnerable feelings.  When vulnerable feelings arise, they feel weak and will develop unsafe ways to release their angry feelings.

The victim felt damaged and inadequate in their family.  They will allow others to take care of them because they do not feel capable of doing so themselves.

If you find any of these to be true, seek professional help through a mental health professional and or Co-dependents Anonymous.

Infidelity

Types of Infidelity

 

Infidelity, cheating and unfaithfulness has been around since the beginning of time; however it has become even more complicated by what constitutes being unfaithful in relationships. Traditionally, cheating was classified as having a physically intimate relationship with someone other than your partner.  But nowadays, cheating has many faces and colors.  Of course, this is not to say that physical intimacy with someone other than your partner is a lesser offense than any other type of unfaithfulness.

One type of infidelity is the texting and phone affair. Flirty, suggestive or sexually explicit text messages or pictures are sent to someone other than your partner.  You also can over share intimate information with this person as well. Another type of infidelity is cyber cheating. Again, this is flirting or over sharing with another person.  You may also be searching and/or posting on dating sites.  It can also include viewing porn regularly that negatively impacts your emotional and sexual relationship with your partner.  A third type of infidelity is emotional cheating that starts off as an innocent friendship with a “work spouse” and/or your best friend. You spend a lot of time with this person and, before you know it, you are confiding and sharing your thoughts, fears, dreams, and secrets with this person.  You have an affection for this person that is typically reserved for your partner.  Often times, emotional cheating can lead to physical intimacy.  And lastly, there is physical infidelity.  Simply put, physical infidelity is sexual intimacy with someone other than your partner.

No matter what type of infidelity it may be, it is equally damaging to a relationship.  If you are doing anything that you wouldn’t want to share with your partner (or God), or you know it would hurt your partner, then you probably are doing something that you should stop doing.

Listening Well

Listening Well

Listening well is a necessary skill as it impacts the quality of our relationships with others. How many of us have heard our children, friend, and/or partner say, “Are you listening to me?” or “You never listen to me.”  With the listening we do all day long, one would think that we all would be so much better at listening.  However, many times we are only hearing the other person because we are too busy performing several other tasks at the same time. Other times we are deep in thought about our own attitudes, thoughts, and feelings  about the subject. Then there are times we are just too sleepy to listen attentively. And of course, we are all guilty of selective listening.

Listening well isn’t just hearing what the other person is saying, but also paying attention to verbal and nonverbal messages as well.  So how can we listen by concentrating on how and what they are saying as well as what they are not saying?  It’s interesting how the lessons that we learn in childhood prove to serve us well in adulthood.  Below is a song that some learn in preschool.  Next time you really want to practice listening well, try implementing the words of this song.

The Listening Song

Eyes Are Watching

Ears Are Listening

Lips Are Closed

Hands Are Still

Feet Are Quiet

You Should Really Try It

Listening Well, Listening Well

 

MAY: Postpartum Depression Awareness Month

MAY Postpartum Depression Awareness Month

After having their baby, new moms may experience intense feelings of long-lasting sadness, or postpartum depression. Postpartum Depression isn’t synonymous with being a weak or bad mother. It is a medical condition and, like other medical conditions, can get better with treatment. Remember that many new moms experience a range of emotions from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety about bonding and bringing home a newborn.

Some signs that what you may be experiencing is more than the “baby blues” are feelings of intense and severe depression, thoughts of impending doom, withdrawing from family and friends, confusion, trouble bonding with your baby, fearful to be left alone with your baby, and contemplation about hurting yourself or your baby. We are still unsure as to what causes this, but the good news is that we can treat it!  Untreated postpartum depression can last for several months or years.  If you notice any of the signs above, tell someone and/or inform your doctor immediately.  He or she will be able to link you with counseling, support groups, and medication.

With a whole month dedicated to awareness around postpartum depression I hope this will encourage more mothers to speak up and get the help, care and support they deserve.

Every Couple Has Unsolvable Problems

Every Couple Has Unsolvable Problems

The idea that “every couple has unsolvable problems” sounds depressing.   That statement probably wouldn’t make a single person eager to get hitched.   Even thought this is a fact but it doesn’t spell doom for most relationships.   Once you comprehend this reality it’s a bit freeing in a sense.

Here’s a paraphrase of Dan Wile from his book “After The Honeymoon”:

“There is value in choosing a long term partner and realizing you will be choosing a set of unsolvable problems you’ll have for the next ten, twenty, or even fifty years.”

Most divorces and affairs occur due to these “unsolvable problems.”  Don’t kid yourself by thinking the grass will be greener with someone else.  If you leave your husband or wife and pick someone else you will only be choosing another set of unsolvable problems.  Perhaps the second set of unsolvable problems will be worse than your first set.   Problem is that often times couples don’t have a clue what these problems are until they are married a few years.   You will not find a marriage without perpetual and unsolvable problems.

For instance: Wife is a neat freak and husband leaves his underwear on the floor of the bedroom because he’s got “big” things on his mind.   This drives the wife NUTS!  She has repeatedly nagged him to “just put them in the laundry hamper!”  Husband claims he just didn’t think of it because he has been preoccupied with getting the bills paid, which he always manages to do even with the family’s small income.   But wife trades in her husband for another man that shows interest in her and who is a super neat freak.   She thinks “this will solve the problem I had with husband number one, him not keeping the house clean and respecting how hard I work to keep a orderly house.”   So she realizes new husband will keep the house very clean and she has less to do around the house and for a few years she is in heaven!   But the honeymoons ends abruptly.  After a few years wife begins noticing some patterns.  Husband number two is not concerned with how they will pay the bills and in fact often spends lots of money on things they don’t really need.  In a few short years this leads to their financial ruin.   Wife wishes she‘d learned to cope with underwear on the home’s floor in marriage number one because now she doesn’t even own a home; the bank foreclosed on it!

The difference between a happy marriage and one in trouble is how you address and cope with perpetual and unsolvable problems.  Realize that the grass is not green on the other side of the fence, it’s just a different type of grass but all lawns have weeds!