Archive for November, 2015

A Few Words About Forgiveness

November 19, 2015

I often write about forgiveness, so I’ll make this brief. Here is the thing: forgiveness is not for the person who offended, it is for the person who was hurt.

Today, I facilitated a workshop on recovering from betrayal and hurt. One of the main comments I heard was that people equate forgiveness with letting the other person get away with hurting them. This belief is a sure way to stay miserable!

Here is what forgiveness is NOT….

Forgiveness is not an emotion…it is a choice of will. And it is a wise choice for us to make because it frees us from reliving the past over and over again. Refusing to forgive gives power to our pain and eventually, it will weigh us down. We will become victims rather than victors.

Forgiveness is not about saying the words but still acting as if they were not said. When we allow our egos to get in the way, we subtly (or not so subtly)constantly remind everyone of how we were damaged. We are essentially giving  lip service to forgiveness, but we aren’t releasing the toxins of anger that will eventually eat us alive.

Forgiveness is not based on another person’s behavior. No matter what anyone else does, you must own your reaction.

Forgiveness is not allowing yourself to be abused or hurt again. It does not mean we continue being a victim.

Forgiveness is not excusing what someone did….it is refusing to allow their actions to destroy your heart and steal your joy.

Here is what forgiveness IS:

Forgiveness is giving yourself permission to let go of the bitterness while remembering very clearly your rights to healthy boundaries. In one sense, it is impossible to truly forget hurtful acts that have been committed against us. The phrase “Forgive and Forget” is really unrealistic. We cannot selectively “delete” events from our memory. But although we can’t forget what someone has done to us, we can try to live as if we don’t remember it.

Forgiveness is like setting a prisoner free and finding that the prisoner was you.

Forgiveness is a process.

Forgiveness is a clog remover. It allows the healing process to begin.

Holding onto anger and holding out for revenge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die! It has been said that forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others are just two currents in the same river, both hindered and cut off completely by the dam of resentment. Once the dam is lifted, both currents can flow.

 

Linda Henley-Smith is an author, speaker and coach. Check out her website at http://www.lindahenley-smith.com

Walking Through Fear Storms

November 16, 2015

It has been said that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”

In today’s world, fearsome things are swirling all around us; things that we never could have imagined. Terror is in every headline and fear is at epidemic proportions. Some of the anchors on which we relied have disappeared and we are living in a polluted “atmosfear.”

People can be afraid of any number of things…the dark, being alone, snakes, spiders, heights, water, flying, politicians, giant meatballs, etc. Personally, I am afraid of trying on bathing suits. Some are afraid of dying, but worse…many are afraid of living, because of the risks. Some of our fears are unfounded and we need to separate those from the real threats. Sadly, the events of the past few days are looming large over our sense of security and peace.

Fear is a paralyzing vampire that chokes and sucks the joy right out of our souls! We are mostly afraid of things that we cannot control. So when the world seems to be topsy turvy, how do we move through the fear storms?   Referring to the above quote, courage is the judgement that something else is more important than fear. So how do we connect with this courage?

Here are some steps I have found to be helpful when I feel that I am succumbing to “interfearance.”

  1. We do not have to be a reflection of the negativity that is occurring. What is happening on the outside doesn’t have to be what is happening on the inside. When we see the horror unfolding and we can’t change it, what we CAN change is the way we are letting it affect us. Easier said than done, of course…but it is possible. When we allow fear to consume us and live as if we are doomed, of course we will find little peace.
  2. We should let our hope be greater than our fear. When we lose hope, we lose ground in our battle against fear. I like to think of hope as Holding Onto Positive Expectations. Hope is much more powerful than we give it credit for being. If we want to live in a world that is richer in love and joy, we must not feed our fear but we should nourish our hope!
  3. Don’t desert laughter and joy! Some may think that it is disrespectful, frivolous or useless to practice laughter in times of great challenge. Ding Dong…that is wrong! Appropriate laughter is always healthy and participating in it certainly doesn’t disrespect a terrible situation; indeed, it is just the opposite. Allowing ourselves to be robbed of joy is much more disrespectful than taking a stand against fear. Nothing is gained by falling into a pit of despair, and evil thrives on hopelessness. We should surround ourselves with positive people and support one another in our search for hope and joy. We should not let terror shut down our dreams, but rather live the words of Nelson Mandela, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

 

“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” —Edmund Burke

Linda Henley-Smith is an author, speaker and trainer. Check out her website at www.lindahenley-smith.com

 

I Took the Road Less Traveled…Now Where the Heck am I?

November 3, 2015

                                                          country road

I was raised to take the safe path. Although I certainly wasn’t stifled in any way or discouraged from trying new things, I was taught to act rather conservatively when it came to trying new things or taking chances. There is nothing wrong with that, and most parents probably try to protect their children with the “better be safe than sorry” theory.

I heeded that advice for a while, even into adulthood and then I began to wonder what would happen if I stepped out of the box, climbed up onto the box for a better vantage point and looked to see what other roads were available to me.  I did just that and guess what? I saw lots of great opportunities and took advantage of some of them. And guess what else? At times, I fell off of the box and flat onto my face!  Things haven’t always gone the way I planned and I often find myself wondering where I’d be if I had taken the well-traveled and proven road. But, the bigger picture is that I usually end up counting the failures as successes because at least I dared to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

But what happens when you take a new path and you end up lost or somewhere you don’t want to be? As I see it, you can become fearful, hit the panic button and stand screaming in the middle of the road; or you can use your wits and creativity to find your bearings, try another road and enjoy the journey!

It’s scary to make plans and have them go wacky! It can be disheartening when you think you’re on the right path and then a troll jumps out and scares you! There are roadblocks and detours and there will always be those who say, “I told you so” when you try something new and it doesn’t work. There might even be times when you wish you were back in your familiar territory because at least you would know where you were and it would be less lonely.

Every one of us has to make that decision for ourselves, but the older I get (and in dog years, I’m dead), the more convinced I am that when I am a little uncomfortable about a new path, but still willing to venture out; I know that I’m still alive!

Linda Henley-Smith is still traveling on unfamiliar roads and is still alive to talk about it! Check out her website at www.lindahenley-smith.com