Are you forgiving yourself? Others?

IMG_0755

Who aren’t you forgiving?

Does your boss, a co-worker do things that drive you crazy? Is your family life a consistent cause of negative feelings?  Do you blame and bad-mouth yourself for little mistakes? How do you respond to being cutoff in traffic? Set aside life changing events you’re not capable of forgiving and focus on small occurrences where you’re stuck in a cycle of irritation, blame and accusation.  How do you respond to your perceived slights on a daily basis?

Our personal life, family, friendships and workplaces can be riddled with self-righteous and stubborn resentment, justified by all kinds of crap.  I challenge you to reflect on a person, situation or experience you’ve had where you’re holding onto justified anger and resentment.  Chose one you’re somewhat flexible with and start there.  Can you forgive? Why are you holding onto the anger?  What purpose does it serve?

Generally we’re holding onto these things because we’re hurt.  We hold on because of fear.  It’s amazing what happens when we let go and forgive.  Forgiveness can be challenging for people, so start small.  It’s like a muscle, it takes acknowledgement practice and consistent effort.

I’m not suggesting we must forgive the actions of others, but we can forgive the actor.  People do all kinds of stupid and ridiculous things that aren’t forgivable. As humans we’re well aware we make mistakes and might even want to take certain actions back. Our global community benefits when we’re capable of forgiving circumstance, other people and ourselves.

Think about the endless victim/perpetrator cycles taking place today and the unimaginable suffering caused by them. What’s holding us back from forgiveness?  Take a deep breath and imagine a world where forgiveness is common practice.

Ask yourself. Who, what, am i not forgiving? What is holding me back from forgiving them?

A few quotes on forgiveness

“True forgiveness is not an action after the fact, it is an attitude with which you enter each moment”

David Ridge

“Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace”

Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness”

Robert Muller

Inspiring stories of forgiveness

Nelson Mandellahttp://www.ibtimes.co.uk/nelson-mandela-forgiveness-south-africa-apartheid-528153

Everyday people – http://list25.com/25-unbelievable-inspiring-acts-forgiveness/

Starts With Me

How are you?

The ‘how are you?’ – conundrum.

“How are you today?  (Wait… did I just say that? Now’s a bad time to chat. Neither of us are interested in having a conversation)  See you later.”

Does this narrative sound familiar?

What I meant to say was, “hello”

Today the question “how are you?” is a meaningless greeting that reflects the sad state of our immature communication skills.

What happened to saying “hello?” Asking “how are you?” should imply you will look a co-worker, friend or acquaintance in the eyes and listen to them.  If you don’t care how they’re doing, or don’t have the time to listen, don’t say “how are you?” say hello.

If you don’t care how the person you’re greeting is doing, you should. For one, as humans, our well-being is collective. Two, learning to care for others is a fundamental human trait which seems to be absent from our day-to-day lives. Three, improving our individual relationships is core to resolving the challenges we face as a  global community.

We’re more concerned with our toys, social media stats and other meaningless status symbols we’ve come to worship.  There are more reasons why you should care about co-workers, friends and acquaintances but I’d need to write an essay to cover them.

Over the next week, bring awareness to how often you ask someone “how are you?” Bring attention to your thoughts and feelings at the time. Figure out if you’re interested or open to a response.  When the time is right ask someone how they’re doing sincerely. Listen and be there for them, enjoy experiencing this fundamental human interaction.  As you get more comfortable in these moments, your ability to be present and compassionate will blossom and you’ll empower others to communicate their emotions.

When we show each other compassion, sincerity and honesty, amazing things happen. These are essential to our mental health and well-being. Practice conscious and sincere communication in your life and we’ll enjoy the benefits together.

Starts With Me