Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Grief and Forgiveness

In the midst of your grief, you may be wounded by someone's insensitive remark or by something they either do, or don't do, that disappoints you. What bereaved people have taught me is that you have a couple of options to consider in this type of scenario.

  • Educate the person
  • Ignore the words or behavior
  • Confront the person
  • Disconnect from the relationship
  • Forgive the person

You may feel that the burden should not be on you to educate this person, but if you look deeper, you may realize that it was not their intention to hurt or insult you. If they have not experienced a personal loss, they may not be able to empathize with you, or to anticipate your needs. This may be a communication issue. You could ignore the words or behavior, but that may build resentment, and increase the odds that they will repeat the words or actions with you or someone else. You might confront the person, but risk either person losing his or her temper, causing the problem to escalate, or jeopardizing health and safety. You might end up in a total breakdown of communication, or a decision to end the relationship. There is always a trade off or a shadow side with this option. You can empower yourself to choose forgiveness. This is often described as a "win-win" solution, in that you maintain the relationship and treat yourself and the other person with respect and compassion. This does not mean that you condone what the person said, did, or did not do. It does mean that at the end of the day, you can be at peace with your decision to make your world and our world a kinder, gentler place.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Focus on Forgiveness

Do you feel stuck? Do you wish you had the courage to try something new? Do you want to empower yourself to forgive, so that you can live your life more fully?
When we begin a new year, we are mindful of the opportunity to change, to do things differently.
We can look at what has been working well in our lives, what needs tweaking, and what needs a major renovation. We have the power to change our thinking, our environment, and our situation, regardless of the challenges we have had. Perhaps you had a blend of unpleasant and joyful experiences. This is life. Rather than focusing on the shadow side, consider lessons learned, even from the difficult situations. Have gratitude for the everyday kindnesses and miracles that are happening all around us. Instead of blaming others, accept them for who they are and what they have done, and take ownership of your own life in relationship to others. Forgive the people who have wounded you, but distance yourself from those who are toxic or depleting to you. Forgive yourself as you would forgive others. Trust your inner wisdom to guide you in making healthy decisions and to keep fear in perspective. Believe that wonderful things are in store for you. Meditate. Pray. Allow others to help you. Be of service to others. Remain hopeful.