Forgiveness

Why Karma works with forgiveness

 

‘Treat others how you would wish to be treated’ is a common truism that has grass roots in the notion of Karma. Some may even call it the law of attraction, others still Christianity. However you choose to describe the origins of this truism I firmly believe that when you extend forgiveness to others, others are more inclined to extend forgiveness to you.

 

Some of the greatest speakers in the world such as Tony Robbins, Oprah and Deepak Chopra all recognize and frequently advise that if you are seeking more of something in the world, whether it be kindness, peace or even love, you first need to extend this very same thing to others in order to see it fully manifest in your life.

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Why shame is such a destructive emotion and how to overcome it

 

Often shame and guilt are used interchangeably. Whilst guilt is a very positive emotion which prompts us to recognize we have done something wrong and serves to encourage us to make amends shame is much more pervasive and causes us to feel that we are something wrong, leading us to feel unworthy, socially disgraced and isolated.

 

According to the Free Dictionary shame is:

 

“A painful emotion caused by the awareness of having done something wrong or foolish: felt shame for cheating on the exam.

 

Brene Brown, an award winning speaker who has spent the past ten years researching vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame gave one piece of advice that stuck with me at a core level. Brene’s self confessed mantra is:

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How to overcome humiliations grasp

The Macmillan Dictionary defines humiliation as

 

the unhappy and ashamed feeling that you get when something embarrassing happens.”

 

We experience humiliation when a circumstance or event that is socially unacceptable publically lowers our social status. Humiliation is a powerful emotion and whenever I have experienced it I just wanted to run away and hide. And then I started to focus on those that humiliated me. Once I did that, not only was I deeply hurt, but I felt betrayed and angry which ultimately gave rise to resentment and hatred.

 

Worse still was when I was the cause of my humiliation and the resentment and hatred was internalized. Back in the days when I used to drink I experienced my fair share of humiliation which was caused mainly by my own actions. Although this caused me much distress my friends always said lightheartedly that it was harmless and funny, which serves as evidence that humiliation is based primarily on our perception and interpretation of what happened and not on what others may, in actuality, think.

 

Through my experience I discovered a four step attack on humiliation that is bound to help anyone overcome this toxic emotion.

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Why resentment is a slow burner and how to kill its flickering flame

Resentment is a slow burner, it gradually creeps up on you and often catches you by surprise. Although it isn’t as powerful an emotion as hatred, it can be a destructive force in relationships when those you harbor resentment towards are those closest to you.

 

According to Wikipedia, resentment is caused by:

 

publicly humiliating incidents such as accepting negative treatment without voicing any protest, an object of regular discrimination or prejudice, envy/jealousy, feeling used or taken advantage of by others, and having achievements go unrecognized.”

 

There have been many times in my life when I have overcome hatred for someone who had done me wrong only to discover that I was still struggling with releasing my resentment towards them.

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How to avoid the handgun of hatred backfiring

Holding onto hatred is literally like holding onto a faulty handgun that could backfire at any time. The dangerous thing is that when we hold onto hatred we are so focused on where the handgun is pointing that we forget it is faulty and backfires.

 

When hatred backfires, as it invariably does, we are hit by a lethal bullet of loathing and contempt and it impacts all of our senses. It impacts how we see the world, what we feel, how we interpret what we hear – everything is affected. Our experience of the world becomes negative and we adopt a cynical view of people and sometimes even on life.

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Why pride could be preventing you from finding peace of mind

When someone hurts us our pride is often hurt too. ‘How could they do that to me?’ and ‘how dare they?!’ are both questions our pride asks out of pain. A sense of righteousness and indignation are common themes when it comes to pride and these serve as very powerful blocks to forgiveness.

 

The dangerous thing about when our pride is in overdrive is that it usually feels good. We get to feel superior, we get to hold the ‘higher ground’. Don’t let these prideful feelings fool you – pride is keeping you captive to your pain and resentment!

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Make up, make up, never ever break up? Why we can walk away and still forgive

 

When I decided to forgive my friend I knew that ultimately I wanted to try to reconcile. She was one of my best friends and, although she hurt me very deeply and what I chose to forgive was considerable, our friendship was very important to me.

 

I remember talking about it with her for ages when we met for the first time after I found out. I was assertive and had planned what I was going to say, how I would say it (in a measured, non accusatory tone of voice) and what I wanted from her (not to do it again, obviously). We spoke about what had happened several times before I built up the strength to reconcile with her.

 

There may be someone who is very important in your life who has wronged you and it is understandable that you would want to salvage that relationship. The only thing I would say is that one of the reasons I was able to reconcile with my friend was because we were both willing to have difficult conversations in order to repair the friendship which I think is a prerequisite to repairing any damaged relationship.

 

If however the person doesn’t show remorse or a willingness to engage in talks about what happened, let alone offer reassurance it won’t happen again, you may be in a position whereby reconciliation isn’t possible or even desired on your part. And that’s ok! It is absolutely possible to fully forgive someone without having them in your life. And guess what? You can still achieve the same level of peace and calm should reconciliation not be possible or desired.

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To forgive and forget? Why it’s wise to forgive and not entirely forget

 

When I forgave a friend several years ago I did so wholeheartedly but that doesn’t mean to say I forgot. I ensured that what the transgression revealed about her character I remembered. The experience taught me that in certain situations she had an inclination to behave poorly and I made sure that I remembered this so that I could protect myself from anything similar happening again.

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Why forgiveness does not equal ‘It’s ok’

 

Have you ever thought that forgiving someone meant accepting or condoning poor behavior?

 

Well you’re not alone, this is one of the most dangerous misconceptions about forgiveness out there and until five years ago I believed the very same thing. This misconception about the nature of forgiveness is particularly destructive because it undermines the strength of character that one must have in order to forgive and suggests that in fact weakness of character is akin to forgiveness, the exact opposite of reality!

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Why forgiveness doesn’t require you to say ‘I forgive you’ (and how this sets you free)

For many years I struggled to forgive my bullies. One of the things that stopped me was the belief that in order to forgive them I needed to tell them that they were forgiven. Looking back I wish I had come to the realization that my confession of forgiveness wasn’t required in order for me to forgive and move on with my life.

 

As I’ve grown older I’ve realized that forgiveness is so much bigger than being about whoever has hurt or betrayed me – it is primarily about releasing the pain, hurt and resentment and starting afresh with an emotionally clean slate.

 

Is it possible to fully forgive whilst not stating you have done so to your perpetrator? Absolutely!

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