Sometimes You Must Swallow Your Pride and Apologize

Have you ever had a conversation with many friends and felt like half your comments get ignored? I have. Have your friends ever supported stuff their friends did, but never supported you? Even if you asked them to. I have. Have you ever shared your ideas and dreams only to have others give you a blank stare? Or tell you why your ideas will fail? I have. Have you ever found that person who gets you only to drift apart in a couple years? I have. Several times. Have you ever felt ignored and alone in a noisy, crowded world? I have.

Most of the time, when people treat me the way I’ve described, I leave. I usually haven’t known them for long. I move on without much upset. My family often treated me this way and I learned to move on at an early age. Learning to move on is important. But building relationships with others requires sticking around. That’s where I struggle. How do you approach your close friends with these issues? I’ve begun speaking up more. I voice my concerns and share my feelings. I attempt to explain to prevent confusion. I tell them why I’m angry. Sometimes they continue believing I’m angry for another reason.

I thought I was clear. Either they weren’t listening, or I wasn’t clear. I’ve apologized more often. Even when I feel I shouldn’t. I do it to show I’m willing to compromise. I’ve asked for apologies too. Friends have often apologized for the wrong thing, still not understanding why I’m angry. I accept it and move on because I’m tired of arguing. Mark Mathews said, “Apologizing does not always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.”

Apologies are hard because people are prideful and full of ego. I’m trying to ignore my ego. With apologies comes forgiveness. I need to work on that. Forgiving people when I feel they ignore or abandon me. When I feel anger or resentment towards someone, the feelings are valid. But that’s when I know I should forgive and apologize. I don’t mean one should feel guilty for being angry. Never feel guilty for feeling. But I am trying to apologize when I take things to personal. I try to apologize when I let my ego get in the way of my relationships with others.

I used to think I wasn’t egotistical. The way most people describe the word, I’m not. But every time I feel alone or think no one cares about me, that’s my ego. I’m so important and no one is paying attention to me. My thoughts are deceivers. My ego uses my thoughts against me. Don’t believe everything you think. Easier said than done. I’ve walked away from people who hurt me. Instead of fixing the problem, I ran from it. Sometimes you must remove yourself from a situation. Sometimes you have to work things out. I’m alone because I pushed myself into loneliness. I’m letting go of my ego. I’m not running anymore. 

Forgiveness

I have recently been listening to a podcast called “Ordinary People, Ordinary Things” by Melissa Radke. It talks about appreciating the small things and that “every day we have tiny miracles happen all around us and we call them ordinary things.” I definitely recommend it! You can find it on Spotify or iTunes. The episode I listened to today was about forgiveness.

Forgiving Others

Forgiving someone who has wronged you can be a really hard thing to do. I struggle with it all the time, as I’m sure all of us do. When someone has wronged me, my first instinct is to get back at them in some way; but that isn’t the best option. If we all did that, then it would be a never-ending cycle of hurting each other. Forgiving someone is something we should choose to do over and over and over; totally and completely. If you don’t forgive someone completely, then you will still be holding on to and I promise you, it will eat at you and will probably cause you to still have negative feelings to that that person.

I saw a video on Facebook by Jay Shetty that I think represents this well. I’ll put the link here.. It starts off with a professor holding a bottle of water and asking her students how much they think it weighs. They give various answers; but then she holds it out in front of her and asks what would happen if she held it like that for a few seconds. They all answered that nothing would happen. Then she asked about hours, and they said that her arm would start to hurt. The professor then said “This bottle represents our challenges, our problems, our worries, our stress and anxiety. It shows that the longer we hold onto them, the more damage and harm they could cause us.” Melissa, in her podcast says that “unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” The longer you put off forgiving someone, the more it will harm YOU. The person that betrayed you, will go on and live their life, and you will be stuck with all the negative feelings. LET. IT. GO.

“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on” -Eckhart Tolle

Forgiveness is for yourself, not anyone else. You cannot change what already happened. But you can change how you respond. Do not hold on to the anger or hurt, it does not serve you. Hold on to things that lift you up, make you happy, and bring abundance to your life.

Forgiving Yourself

Now, forgiving others is hard, but forgiving yourself is harder. I’ll be the first to say that forgiving myself is not something I do often. I beat myself up over a lot of things- how I acted when I was up, my weight, school work, almost anything and everything. Jay Shetty, in his video says “Sometimes the weight you want to lose isn’t on our body. The most expensive real estate in the world isn’t Dubai, it’s not Singapore. It’s not New York or San Francisco, it’s your mind. Don’t let anything or anyone stay there for free. You have to understand that people come and go. Stop holding on to those that let go of you a long time ago.” Forgiving myself is hard. How do I apologize to something (myself), I spent half my life trying to break? As I’ve gotten older, especially in the last 6 months, I’ve really been focusing on myself and trying to forgive myself more for mistakes that I have made and will make. I don’t want to hold on the toxic feelings. It isn’t healthy. Which brings me to my next point.

Forgiveness and Mental Health

I know from first-hand experience, at least for me, that with mental illness forgiveness is one of THE hardest things. With depression, when someone wrongs you, you immediately think “What is wrong with me? Why don’t they like me? What did I do wrong?” We never even consider that it didn’t have anything to do with us. If someone wrongs you, that is on them. They made the mistake. Everyone makes them, forgive them. Now, I’m not saying that if someone does something to you that really hurts you, you have to continue being friends or whatever. You can choose to forgive someone but not keep in contact with someone. The forgiveness will bring you peace and you can move on with your life without them, if you so choose. On the flip side of this, if you wrong someone, including yourself, FORGIVE YOURSELF, and ask for forgiveness. That is basically all you can do. Or it will eat you alive.

“If we don’t heal the pain of our past, we will bleed all over our future. “ –Jay Shetty

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Resolutions Undefined

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It’s that time again, time to list resolutions for the year ahead, defining a “new” start, a “new” year, a “new” you. Well, pardon me if I say, forget that noise. Don’t get me wrong, I believe setting goals and working toward them is healthy in all aspects of life, however I do not believe success or failures of your “list” should ever define you. Life has unexpected events, twists and turns, hardships and successes, and we are not given the play by play of what the next chapter will bring, so while we strive to be better every day, let us strive to accept who we are as enough.

That list, and whether or not we stop even looking at it in a week or in a few months does not define you, and is not the judge or jury on your track toward living your best life, but it can be a reminder. For me, I will be making a list of goals because I feel it’s important to visualize our dreams, but in the process I will also remind myself that this list is only a guide on the path of continuing to be the best version of me for the present moment of each day, and not a list that defines me, because while…

I will make healthier and realistic choices for me, my weight/body type, food choices and gym time do NOT define me;

I will make smarter financial decisions for me and my family, my wealth or material things do NOT define me;

I will strive to turn my “job” into my dream, my title does NOT define me; and

I will make attempts to forgive myself and those who have hurt me, my past does NOT define me.

These reminders not only allow me to see what does not define me but what does, and that is the love in my heart, the kindness I share and the peace in my soul. I am enough, and I wouldn’t trade this me for a “new” me any year, because this me is pretty darn awesome no matter where I am in the journey of this life.

You are enough, every little quirk, every scar, every smile, every choice and every piece that makes you, you. Set your goals for you, work to accomplish them for you, but always remember what truly defines you.

Reflecting on 2018, I am grateful for every lesson, fear overcome, goal reached, and connections made and look forward to each in the year to come.

Much love and happiness for the new year!

Lisa J.

Love Them Anyway

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As we walk through the journey of life we will experience the presence of many different people who will touch our hearts in numerous ways. Some are with us from birth and some enter our story in different chapters, however each of them can bring a kaleidoscope of inspiration, disappointment, joy, heartache, happiness and pain. Those who bring us joy, those who show us happiness, are those that allow this journey toward purpose and peace simple and effortless. However, realistically, there will be disappointment and we will feel pain, and the source may be from those we love.

The pain that they may bring, the heartache they may cause and the disappointment you may feel can bring you to your knees, question your faith and, at times, destroy your hope. It is our most human trait to believe in the purity of love. We are wired to believe that if one loves another, they will not cause the other harm. When that trust is shattered, to believe again seems like a pointless endeavor. I know this, I’ve felt this, and I’ve wanted to pretend that the pain was a figment of my imagination. In response, my heart hardened, and my world may have been darker, but the path was smoother, risk-free with no cliffs, no valleys and no chance of falling again. The loneliness and the pain that came when the center of my being shut down was something I never expected.

The pain of shutting off and closing my heart to just walk this earth without really living was a pain I didn’t realize I was feeling, but when I did, I knew it was not a path I wanted to travel. For so long I didn’t want to believe that those who happened to enter my life were imperfectly human, yet they are human. They are breathing, feeling, heart-pumping humans with battles within themselves that we are unaware, and we are not to judge. It was difficult for me to accept that each one of us is an imperfect soul that strives to piece together this puzzle of life, and that while the choice of crossing paths may not be ours, the choice to love them anyway, whether we choose to stay, or to walk away is ours to make.

I recently heard an interview where the author spoke of a conversation she had had with her priest. She asked him if he felt people do the best that they can in this life. His response led me to reassess my entire outlook on those who cross our paths. He asked, if God were to come down and tell you that these people that have hurt us, disappointed us or caused us heartache were truly doing the best they could, they were living their life the best they were capable, would your perspective change? It was a powerful concept that has been difficult for me to shake, and I have used in my process of understanding and forgiving. What if they are doing the best that they can, and while understanding may be difficult to ask, love them anyway, even if it must be from afar.

So…love flower

When your parents shatter the perfect image, you have carried in your mind since you were a child, love them anyway;

When your children don’t act like the perfect angels you wish them to be, love them anyway;

When your spouse/friend/partner disappoints, betrays or hurts you, love them anyway;

When family doesn’t treat you like family, love them anyway;

When the random stranger shows you nothing but angst, love them anyway;

When you cross paths with someone who emits hate, hurt and sadness, love them anyway; and

When you feel like you are not worth the effort or feel alone, love you anyway;

…because honestly, we need more love in this world.

The more love we emit, the more love we will receive. We don’t have to agree with the actions or surround ourselves with those who are blind to the beauty of this life, but we can wish them love in their hearts, and love them anyway.

Much Love,

Lisa J

Find the Courage to Forgive Yourself

I wrote this post a year ago when I set out on my journey to find my purpose or my reason to write and my path to happiness, before I quit for the fourth time, and started again a month ago. I wanted to share because its a concept I believe we all forget sometimes, but is so very important in order to find the answers we seek. 

The greatest act of courage is to be & own all that you are. Without apology. Without excuses & without any masks to cover the truth of who you truly are. – Unknown

You hear it all the time, whether it be in self-help books, spiritual seminars or inspirational stories — the power of forgiveness, and how it can set you free. For so long, when I heard these words, my mind immediately went to those who had hurt me in some way or another, and how forgiving them would heal me. Not until recently, after diving into all the spiritual and inspirational books I could get my hands, did I realize I was missing something so obvious if it were a snake it would have bit me.

The concept of forgiveness should not only extend to those around you, but also within you. Mind. Blown. This was an eye-opening concept when I truly thought about it, and the same reason I started with the idea of forgiving yourself as my first official post on my journey to happiness.

There are so many things I want to share that I struggled for a few days trying to determine what the subject of my next post would be. My head was swimming with ideas, but the concept of self-forgiveness kept nagging at me. I finally understood why. To begin any journey, whatever it may be, you must forgive the past to move forward. The fact is though, those words can be so over-stated that they become background noise. You see it and hear it in memes, affirmations and posts all around social media, but what does it really mean? Forgive your past to move on to the future. Ok. Done — If only it were that easy.

To truly forgive yourself, it is necessary to dig deep and probably face some truths you’ve been trying to avoid. You will need to let go of the guilt kept so close to your heart that sometimes you forget it’s even there. You know, that guilt that tricks you into believing you don’t deserve to be happy. For me, this was a very scary concept to face.

My past was something I never dealt with on that level. I mean, I looked back on it, and I acknowledged it, and even blamed a lot of people for it, but never really faced it internally. I never allowed myself to own it so I could let it go. Among many reasons, my heavy guilt mostly came from what I felt I put my children through. Two divorces were hard enough, but I moved my daughter 10 times by the time she was ten, and my son 8 times and he turns twelve this year.

I’m not proud of these stats, and even though I did, and still do believe, those moves were necessary for our future, that guilt halted any belief in the possibility of happiness without me even realizing it.  Subconsciously, I had convinced myself that someone who could do what I did, whether it be for a good reason or not, should not be allowed happiness or an opportunity to succeed. Because these thoughts were subconscious and based on the belief that other people’s judgment of me is what mattered, I would consistently convince myself that it was those people who determined my truth, and only if they would understand and except me for my decisions, then all would be ok. I lived like that every day.

It wasn’t until I decided it was time to get real about finding my purpose/path in this amazing life, did I realize that the I had to give myself a break. It was time for me to stop the smoke and mirrors and face my past and my decisions, own them, and then forgive myself for being human. Then, Let It Go.

So where do I start and how do I let go of something I’ve held onto every day of my life? It wasn’t easy, and I won’t lie, it’s an ongoing process that I work on consistently. For me, I began the forgiveness process when I recognized the guilt and pinpointed what it was I was truly feeling and why. I did this by practicing meditation and self-reflection. Once I determined that there was guilt and where it came from, I journaled it, I put it on paper so I could see it, I even cried as read it back to myself, as that guilt can run deep to your core, and then I tore that shit up, and I let it go.

After physically and mentally letting it go, I made a commitment that I would be more gentle with myself, I would allow myself to feel, and as hard as it may be for me because it is so engrained, let the judgment of others run off me like rain.

I had to learn to love myself, for all of who I was, and who I now am. Although some days are harder than others, I practice this commitment Every Day, and it has made a tremendous difference in my life. I am lighter, happier, and this piece of the puzzle has helped me gain the confidence to write this blog. It takes remarkable courage to face your past and your guilt, and it takes even more strength to let it go, but it is an extremely important and necessary step to find your true happy.

No matter what your inner thoughts believe, no matter what past you may have lived, no matter what you may think others will think because of who you once were, YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. Repeat that to yourself, repeat it as many times as it takes for you to believe it, YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY.  Holding on to the guilt of your past will drain you and your spirit, blocking the ability to have real joy in your life, so give yourself a break, be gentle, learn to love your whole self and let go. You will find that the door will swing open to incredible possibilities.

Much love,

Lisa

Lexel