Tag Archives: forgiveness

K is for ‘Kicking a habit’: A Spiritual Vista From the Precipice of Addiction.

wine glass merlot splash

I didn’t think that I had an abnormal relationship with alcohol until I realized that I’ve been trying to stop drinking since January. Six months of broken promises to myself have not been good for my self esteem, nor has it been good for my waistline which will be gracing the beaches of San Diego in 3 weeks time. I swore to myself that if I touched another drop before my trip, that I would write this post and out myself. So here I am; I need your advice.

I’m not an alcoholic…at least, I don’t think I am (way to be in denial!) but I am definitely teetering on the precipice of some sheer rock face of addiction that I want to take a step back from…so what’s stopping me?

I don’t know exactly what is stopping me, but I have found it very difficult to stop drinking alcohol. I don’t drink every day, I don’t think about alcohol when I’m at work or studying. I don’t drink every weekend, I don’t drink to get wasted, nor do I drink because I feel depressed. I do, however, drink a bottle of wine per week…sometimes a bit more, which I know is too much. I drink alone at home because my boyfriend doesn’t drink (why do I need to do this?), and the thing that concerns me most of all is that I’m having difficulty stopping drinking even though I want to. I don’t feel in control of my compulsion to drink and I find it irresistible on some occassions. I’m at a very weird place right now because I genuinely don’t know if I need help to stop drinking, or if I need help to stop being so hard on myself and just let myself enjoy wine! This is why I need your help. Have you ever experienced the feeling that you are on the edge of an addiction? Have you had the voice at the back of your mind say ‘this is getting out of control?’ Have you ever felt trapped into a cycle of wanting to stop something but struggling and feeling guilty? If so, what did you do about it?

I think I may be addicted to addiction. In my young adult life, I hopped from addiction to addiction, managing to defeat each one as I went. Yet shortly after said defeat, I would unconsciously find something else to bestow my compulsive, cyclical and patterned behaviour upon (why is it never the gym or knitting?!). I am now pretty tired of beating bad habits and I want the pattern beneath them to stop. I stopped my compulsive behaviour with men (we won’t go into that…my mum might be reading this!), I stopped smoking two years ago and haven’t touched cigarettes or thought about them ever again, and I stopped partying with no cravings whatsoever to take it up again, but I know that the underlying pattern of behaviour that caused me to choose these things for myself in the first place is still there. And at the moment, it hides in bottles of merlot and beckons me over as I walk past. Can anyone else relate to this addiction-hopping behaviour?

I also think that I’ve had difficulty stopping drinking because my good old pal alcohol and I have had some really great times together. I definitely associate drinking with happiness. I drink when I see my family, I drink when I see my friends, I drink to be relaxed after a challenging day, and I drink to reward myself. I can see that I associate drinking with feeling good, and by the magic of neural-plasticity, my mind now instructs me to drink as a fast way to bring about good feelings. But having knowledge of this devious mental trickery doesn’t seem to be helping: why can’t I stop? I know that the ‘good connections’ between drink and happiness are illusions for two reasons: First, because I also feel great when I’m not drinking so drink is not the only cause of my good feelings. And second, because on more than one occassion, drink has definitely NOT made me feel good. (Admittedly, I am still in the process of forgiving some of my alcohol-related shame.) Intuitively, I know that I need to replace alcohol with something else that’s going to have positive associations, and I feel silly writing this, but I don’t yet know what that thing might be.

wine spill side glass

Get away you fiendish temptress!

This might sound weird, but I feel that my experiences with Spirit have allowed me to feel such heights of love, peace, forgiveness and security- such an intense and natural ‘high’- that when I don’t have those feelings (like when I’m a bit stressed about University or dealing with other earthly issues) I compulsively try to replicate the spiritually authentic ‘high’ feelings of peace, comfort and connectedness with whatever mind-altering substance or behaviour I am focused on at that time. It is as if I seek a fast-track back to secure spiritual feelings when I feel at my most insecure. I wonder if I am alone in this, or if any of you spiritual people out there have also found yourselves trying to replicate the high that you feel when you remember your divinity?

I must carry a subconscious thought that I am receiving some great benefit from drinking alcohol. Why would I continue to do it otherwise? My mind is still convinced that whatever good feelings/benefits I’m receiving from alcohol are more valuable than the benefits of stopping- even though I know in my heart-of-hearts that it’s not true.

Maybe I need therapy.

Maybe I need therapy to figure out why I am so independent in some ways, and yet I seem to fall into such deep patterns of dependency. Perhaps I need some help to understand why, when I go to buy a bottle of wine, my mind is thinking ‘woohoo!’ and choosing to focus on the good times, and not the the feelings of remorse and guilt, or the times I’ve been horrid to one of my loved ones, or said something embarrassing under the influence. I just want to understand why the big part of me that wants to stop is completely drowned out when I have the choice to drink wine…

I appreciate that this post has deviated from the blog’s usual content. I hope you don’t mind. A lot of personal stuff has been coming to the surface from within me lately, because I have been writing about my past for a book that I have coming out in January. I think it’s ‘meant to be’ that I’m digging and crying and re-visiting and writing at the moment. I think that Spirit is helping me to work through some stuff that needs worked through, and that I’m going to come out the other end somewhat unburdened and relieved. I really hope so- the habitual behaviour stuff is definitely a heavy issue that I’d like to let go of. So thank you for reading and in doing so, helping me to work through my issues. (We all have ’em, right?)

So what do you think about my drinking dilemma? Your thoughts are most gratefully received.

Next Week: L is for Love. (One of my favourite things to write about!)

Come and gimme some love over at:

www.angellauren.com

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…and get your daily love and happiness tweets @angellassie.

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I is for ‘Injustice’. (A spiritual perspective on the tragic murder in Woolwich. Why do we let fear do the talking?)

I sat down to write a blog post on ‘intuition’ yesterday, and as I turned on my computer, I was met with the horrifying and tragic news that Lee Rigby, a young soldier, had been murdered in broad daylight outside an army barracks in Woolwich, London yesterday afternoon. My thoughts and prayers go out to the man, his family and friends.

I did the rounds on facebook and was also surprised to read the reactions of some people from behind the safety of their computer screens.

And the horror continued…

It is alleged that within a matter of hours of the incident, groups were gathering to riot with police, and two individuals entered mosques with weapons, one with intent to arson, because the perpetrators of this crime supposedly made a remark that they were Muslim.

Of course, I know that if you are reading a blog about spirituality, it is unlikely that what I am about to say is addressed to you, but nevertheless it must be said.

The aftermath of an event such as this is not the time to reject our spirituality. It is the very time when our spirituality is needed: patience, forgiveness, understanding and introspection are ways that you can help as an individual, and are also ideals that all of us, as a collective, should try to remember. In the wake of this tragedy, let us react with rationality and love; and not irrational knee-jerk fear. Anger is a natural response to this horrific act, but retaliation through anger is a bad idea: that’s how any act of violence is escalated and perpetuated.

The very nature of ‘tit-for-tat’, ‘an eye for an eye’ is never-ending. So, we hit them twice as hard, then they hit us back even harder, then we get really pissed off and attack their country (which country?), then they buy a nuke from somewhere, then we nuke them first, then they nuke us twice as hard, then there’s three people left living in a cave with the cockroaches. Ok, perhaps that scenario is slightly hyperbolic. But the point remains: Where does the violence end? It ends where we choose it to end. Let the desire for violent retaliation end here.

Human being to human being, soul to soul, I am telling you, from wherever in the world you are reading this: You can choose not to retaliate. Here in the UK, we must choose to be ‘the bigger person’ at this time, even if it is difficult.

I know that many of us are scared and shocked by the murder of this poor soldier but fire cannot be fought with fire. Raising fear in others through retaliation is not going to heal the fear and anger that will be felt by many in the days and weeks to come. The desire to retaliate is like an overwhelming urge to scratch an itch, where if you do, you know the itch will just move somewhere else. So you scratch it again, and again, and again…and before you know it, you’ve scratched your skin off. Before thinking, saying or acting through impulsive anger or fear, we all should take a deep breath, take a step back and ask ourselves, ‘are my thoughts, words and actions a spontaneous fearful reaction right now?’ Yesterday, my answer was ‘yes’ so I went away to go do something else before sharing my thoughts with you. I gave myself a chance to calm down and think it through.

Here’s a problem. If someone chooses to incite more fear, hatred and discrimination, through words or actions, whether he or she feels justified or not, then that person is fanning the flames of violence and retaliation. Here are some things I hope will be taken into consideration before a decision is made whether retaliation is the right course of action- be it by an individual on facebook, or from within our government:

1. Unless someone was actually there in person and witnessed the scene, he or she doesn’t know exactly how much of the information being fed to us by the media is correct at this point. Buzzwords like ‘terrorist’, ‘muslim’, ‘soldier’, ‘death’ catch like wildfire, and are used rhetorically to make us feel scared. It just takes for one news story to use them and the rest of the internet jumps on the bandwagon. The information reaching us is not, and cannot, be the full story. Some information that was given to us when the story broke has now proven to be incomplete or false altogether. And so none of us can possibly make a full and correct assessment of the situation. This is why retaliation is a bad idea. No one has any idea what to retaliate against.

2. When someone hits back with racist remarks, anger, violent action or discrimination, it really just looks like he or she hates their own life and is looking for any excuse to express their own sad and frustrated feelings. If you don’t believe me, look back to point 1. We don’t know the whole truth of the situation, so an individual’s remarks about it are not actually comments about anything true…they are just that person’s feelings.

3. No one has any right to discriminate against a race of people, or a religious group, just because two individuals have done this. First of all, both the perpetrators are thought to be British and second, they are not representative of the Islamic religion, nor are they spokesmen for the Islamic people of this country. Do we want Muslim children being scared to go to school for fear of being racially attacked because of the actions of these two men? The children did not do this and Islam did not do this so we must resist blaming them. Some individuals need to be reminded that no religion has a clean sheet when it comes to violence, but what almost all religious violence does have in common is fear, anger, hatred and retaliation.

4. I have heard some outrage that both perpetrators are being treated in hospital. What purpose does this outrage serve? Denying medical treatment to them is just another form of retaliation. We live in a society, for better or worse, that is supposed to be democratic at its core. To live here is to accept the way things are done. If someone really feels strongly against the way things are done, then that person has the inalienable right to protest that x person/s who commit x crime should not be treated in hospital at expense of the taxpayer, but how many armchair fist-wavers on facebook will actually use that right? To express such an idea in a public forum without backing it up with action is simply to express outrage and incite more fear. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I don’t think that that is the true opinion of many outspoken individuals: it is the fear talking. In living in the UK, we give assent to the justice system, (I live in Scotland and we have a slightly different system to England, but that’s a conversation for another day), perhaps, this tragic event will show up areas of the law that need improvement, but I highly doubt that any meaningful changes will occur through the mighty court of facebook! As it stands, in order to be tried, the perpetrators must be fit to stand trial which involves being conscious, in order to be conscious and fit to stand trial, they must receive medical treatment. We do not condemn people to death in the UK so leaving them to die is simply not an option (would you really want it to be?). Being in receipt of medical treatment does not mean that the perpetrators of this crime are excused.

I wonder, why should these people in particular be denied medical treatment?…And where does the withholding of treatment end? I’m sure all of us know someone who has gotten into a physical fight; many of us will know someone, sadly, who has been killed. Should none of those people have received medical treatment? What about someone who has attempted suicide? They tried to take a life so should they be refused medical treatment? Where does the refusal end, if we were to really start on down that road?

I’m going to suggest something now that may be uncomfortable for some of you to read. What if the people who did this felt loved instead of scared and angry? What if the two perpetrators were not angry or afraid – would this have happened? To see the devastation that is caused by anger, fear, hatred and retaliation, we need only look at the act itself. When I look at those men, I see two scared little boys. Two scared and disturbed boys who do not feel loved by their God, who do not feel loved by their fellow man, who certainly have no love for themselves, who see no value in their own existence, and who have a heartful of anger and hate. One has to wonder, who taught them to hate so deeply? Who loved them so little that they felt that murdering another human being was the solution to their bad feelings? Who retaliated against who in their past, thereby teaching them that retaliation is the answer?…And back and back it goes. Let us make the decision that this tragically lost life will not be in vain, and will not simply be another cog in a never-ending cycle of tit-for-tat on an individual, inter-continental, religious or global scale. Let the tragic and unnecessary loss of Lee’s life remind all of us that a cycle of violence can only be broken when we realise that a reaction motivated by love, patience, foresight and forgiveness, however hard it may be, is the only progressive way to scratch the itch of retaliation.

Until Next Week: Visualize love for Lee and his loved ones. Visualize love for anyone in your life who is scared and angry and is reacting as such and, if you can, forgive.

Next Time: J is for Joy! (Why sublime happiness is good for your health.)

Come and gimme some love over at:

www.angellauren.com

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Get your daily love and happiness tweets @angellassie

If you are in the UK, and you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this blog post, you can get support here.

H is for ‘Happiness’. Is there a secret to being happy?

Is there a secret to being happy? I used to think that happiness was a property possessed by people, places, things, habits and distractions. I used to think that to be happy, I had to have all of those things in my life. Imagine my shock and surprise when, the more I tried to cram ‘happiness things’ into my life, the less happy I felt.

Now that I am a little older and wiser, I have learned that happiness isn’t a property of anything outside of myself. Happiness is a property of me- if I choose it to be so. And happiness is a property of you- if you choose it to be so.

Happiness is a lens that you click over the camera of your consciousness. It is a way in which you choose to see the world. Happiness is a repetitive choice- if you wanna be happy, you gotta keep choosing to be happy, and here’s something that was a real revelation to me:

You can be happy, and still give yourself permission to feel other emotions. Happiness is NOT the repression of other feelings: it is the loving acceptance of all your feelings (and your beautiful self, more generally!)

Image

Happiness is being so so comfy in bed. Photograph used with kind permission from Jassy Earl @ http://www.jassyearlphotography.co.uk/

 

The thoughts you choose to think influence the way you understand the world: fact. If you wake up in the morning and immediately think, ‘I’m tired.’; ‘I’m miserable.’; ‘ I’m stressed.’;  ‘I have too much to do today.’; ‘I don’t want to go to this meeting.’; ‘I don’t like my job.
‘I’m dreading getting stuck in traffic.’; ‘ I’m always running late.’; ‘I look bloated today.’, etc. etc., then you are creating your world within a framework of negativity. A good technique to encourage happiness into your life is to bring positivity into your morning routine. Consider ‘deliberate positive thinking’ as important to your daily routine as brushing your teeth! Deliberately think about something positive right now. ‘Today is going to be a great day!’; ‘I look beautiful today.’; ‘I am a walking success!’; there’s a few to get you started! My personal favourite right now is simply:

I deserve happiness.

Go ahead and try that one on for size. Thinking positive is like going to the gym- it might take some time for you to get into the habit of it, but keep practicing.  Every time you choose to think positively, it’s a win for ‘happiness’. Think of it as those one or two extra reps at the gym – they are a worthwhile effort.

So what about when you don’t feel happy? Well here’s a thought: Worry, for example, is a state of mind that can only be achieved when thinking about the past or the future (as is fear, disappointment or anger). We worry about what has been, how we’ve been treated, how we’ve reacted.  We worry about past events, people in our past and past decisions we have made.

Or we worry about the future.  We worry about the rest of the day, the rest of the week, month, year- we worry about the rest of our lives that haven’t happened yet!

If you are worrying- or experiencing any fear-based emotion- then you are either living in the past that cannot be changed, no matter how much you worry about it, or, living in the future, and worrying about something that has not happened yet, and may never happen!  Fortunately, there is a place where worry does not exist.  You’re in it right now.  Right here, right now, in this present moment.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath, feel your whole body relax: everything is at peace.

When you catch yourself worrying or getting stessed out, bring your mind back to the present moment.  Take a few deep and natural breaths, and focus on your body, your breathing, your heartbeat. In the here and now, there is nothing to worry about. When you begin to worry, focus your mind on something beautiful in the present moment; look out the window at nature, think about something that makes you laugh, think about someone that you love. Happiness and contentment come very easily when we give ourselves permission to exist in the present moment.

What does your inner critic say about you? In order to be happy, you must have a good relationship with your inner ‘self’, perhaps you call that ‘self’ your ego. Be aware of what you think about yourself.  When you criticize yourself, you bring your energy way out of alignment with happiness.  If you think negative things about yourself, then you are thinking in a way that suggests that you don’t feel you deserve happiness.  Don’t be an enemy to yourself, instead, be your own best friend.  Think, speak, and act towards yourself, the way that you would act towards someone you love very much. Look in the mirror. The person looking back is a person with feelings, who is vulnerable, who will flourish like a flower when watered by love. You must count yourself amongst the people in your life that you love.  Speak to yourself in the way that you would speak to your best friend. You wouldn’t criticize them, speak badly of them and be unsupportive of them, would you?  Of course not! So why do those things to yourself?

Every day, look in the mirror and say, ‘I love you.’ And really mean it.

Choose to focus on your good qualities and the things you like about yourself. Think about those instead of criticizing yourself. If you catch yourself thinking something critical about you, then you have to think three positive and genuine things that you love about yourself to balance up the scales of happiness (hey, I don’t make the rules!). To make the most of the happiness that the world has to offer you, you must also think happy about yourself.

It is scientifically proven that being kind to others, receiving kindness from others, and even watching people be kind to each other, is good for your health! To be happy, you must be kind. Perform an act of kindness every day. It need not be a massive gesture, kindness comes in many forms, and as little effort as it takes to smile at someone in the street can help them remember their own inner happiness. Take a moment to reflect on the kindnesses that you have performed, because, guess what?, even thinking about being kind is good for you! As you consciously make kindness a part of your life, happiness will follow. Kindness and happiness are siblings who do everything together.

A great way to make room in your heart for happiness is to practise forgiveness. Believe it or not, making mistakes in life is allowed! It may also surprise you to know that when you make a mistake, you are not obliged to replay it over and over in your mind and hang on to it for the rest of your life!

Forgive yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about things. It wastes your energy and does not help you to feel better. Unforgiveness actually prevents you from experiencing happiness! For more on this, see my post on forgiveness. Forgiving yourself allows you to move forward into a place of increased happiness as you let go of some emotional baggage.

If you feel yourself getting stressed, worked up, unhappy or angry about something in your life, that is ok.  Accept the emotion, forgive the emotion, and just breathe!  There are many mental, emotional and physical benefits achieved just from taking a nice, deep breath.  Breathing helps you to become calm, it allows more oxygen to your brain and brings you back into the present moment.  For a quick fix of happiness, no matter what is going on around you, just take a nice, deep breath, in through your nose, expanding your ribcage and your tummy as you do, and out through your mouth, visualizing all your stresses being expelled by your breath.  Repeat a few times, and feel calmness and happiness return.

The best way to bring happiness into your life is to be grateful for what you have that already makes you happy! When you get snuggled into your pyjamas and get warm under the duvet, take a few minutes to list the things in your life that you are grateful for. For more on this, see my post about gratitude. What are you grateful for today?

Until next week: Do one thing every day that makes you happy. Do it with gusto. Savour it. Enjoy it. Appreciate it.

Next Week: H is for Healing.

Come and gimme some love over at:

www.angellauren.com

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Get your daily love and happiness tweets @angellassie.

G is for ‘Gratitude’. Define Gratitude…

Parrot, kiss, love, gratitude, laguna beach

Gratitude is love and trust from a feathered friend.

 

In a slight change to the advertised program, this weeks post is about the amazing, magical, and seemingly life-changing properties of gratitude. (Next week G is definitely for ‘Ghosts’, I know you’re all desperate to find out who my special guest is!)

Gratitude is munching my absolute favourite chocolate in the shape of an egg. Gratitude is the gentleness in the face of a child or animal who loves you. Gratitude is being aware of your breath. Gratitude is choosing to make yourself knowledgable. Gratitude is feeling good about making someone else feel good. Gratitude is accepting a painful lesson. Gratitude is savouring your success. Gratitude is realizing when you have realized a dream. Gratitude is being conscious of the world around you. Gratitude is accepting yourself exactly the way you are. Gratitude is focusing on the good health that you do have. Gratitude is creating positive thoughts. Gratitude is using positive words. Gratitude is inspiration. Gratitude is the force that continues to bring good things towards you. Gratitude is trusting that you are on the right path. Gratitude is loving your partner even when they’ve pissed you off. Gratitude is letting someone else stand in the limelight and celebrating with them – safe in the knowledge that your time is coming around. Gratitude is extracting wisdom from suffering. Gratitude is extracting love from loss. Gratitude is extracting comfort from being alone. Gratitude is taking the time to sort out your re-cycling. Gratitude is a call to action. Gratitude is being, not just grateful, but thankful. Gratitude is taking a little less so that someone else can have a little more. Gratitude is giving a little more and realizing that in giving more you are getting more. Gratitude is experiencing incovenience willingly, to help someone who needs you. Gratitude is a choice. Gratitude is a repetitive choice. Gratitude is a journey, not a destination. Gratitude is a way that you can always make someone feel good about herself. Gratitude is a way that you can always make someone feel good about himself. Gratitude is a way that you can always feel good about yourself. Gratitude is an expression of love. Gratitude is an expression of love in the face of adversity. Gratitude is an expression of trust. Gratitude is your acknowledgement of the value of your life. Gratitude is showing the Universe that you know that you are blessed. Gratitude is giving thanks. Gratitude is giving respect. Gratitude is giving meaning and purpose. Gratitude is giving value. Gratitude is writing it down, saying it out loud, or singing it out. Gratitude is in your heart, quietly. Gratitude is the sister of forgiveness and the child of love. Gratitude is the power to change. Gratitude is the power to stay the same amidst all the change. Gratitude is claiming your place amongst the Universe. Gratitude is understanding the Universe’s place in you.

I am so grateful for you. I am so grateful for your attention, your kindness, your thoughts and your inquisitive mind. I am grateful for your support, your good wishes, your interaction and your admiration. I am so grateful for your disagreement, the challenges you bring, your doubt and your disbelief. I am grateful for the unique and beautiful contribution that you make to this world, and I am grateful for everything I have learned, am learning, and will learn from you.

I love you, thank you for just being you.

What are you grateful for? Share your gratitude in a comment!

Until Next Week: Get a notepad and pen. Sit it next to your bed. Every night, just before sleep, write down everything that you are grateful for, no matter how small. As you write, take a moment to savour the feeling of gratitude and enjoy how good that makes you feel. When you start to notice all the wonderful things that you have in your life, life can only bring you more wonderful things for you to be grateful for.

Next Week: G is for ‘Ghosts’.

Come and gimme some love over at:

www.angellauren.com

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Get your daily love and happiness tweets @angellassie

F is for ‘Forgiveness’. 5 Reasons Why Forgiveness is the Best Revenge.

5 Reasons Why Forgiveness is the Best Revenge.

Forgiveness Freedom

So, what is so great about forgiveness? Can we really forgive and forget? Have you experienced the healing power of ‘forgiving yourself’?

Someone wise once told me: ‘Unforgiveness is like punching yourself in the face and expecting someone else to feel the pain.’ That being said, why is it that we often find it so difficult to forgive the past and move on with our lives? The answer, I believe, is because we get caught up in the erroneous idea that forgiving equals excusing, condoning or giving pardon to other people’s past behaviour that has really hurt us. When we have been really hurt by someone’s actions, we become so angry, and feel so betrayed and vulnerable, that we just want revenge. Sweet and slow revenge!!

When you have been badly hurt, forgiveness is the last thing on your mind (it’s ok to admit this, you are human!) – you want the perpetrator to understand the pain that they have caused, and to suffer as you have suffered: ‘An eye for an eye…’ and all that. You are so wounded that you cannot forgive and that unforgiveness is a strong fuel that powers your desire for revenge. You feel entitled to vengeance and dishing out retribution feels to be the only salve for your inflamed sense of hurt. And yet…you do nothing. You are a good person and you do not want to go to jail so you resist the urge to batter the perpetrator’s door down with an axe! You swallow down your anger, your hurt, and your need to administer suffering as you have suffered. Over time you get sick, maybe you get angrier, maybe you can’t form meaningful and loving relationships because you cannot trust that you won’t get hurt again. The unforgiveness becomes your dark and poisonous companion who builds a re-inforced wall between you and your natural resting-state of peace.

But it’s not too late to break down that wall! What if I told you that you can achieve the revenge you seek in a way that really will make you feel better, and for which you won’t go to jail? What if I could assure you that it is forgiveness itself, that is the best revenge for past hurts?

‘But what happened to me was really bad. He treated me like garbage, I was abused, I hate this person, I really don’t think I can forgive them.’ I hear you say. If that is so, then the weapon of forgiveness will be even more powerful for you, if you learn how to use it. Get ready to take back the sense of peace that is rightfully yours! Here are some examples of situations that hurt, and 5 reasons why forgiveness is the best revenge…

1. Forgiveness is the best revenge because there is nothing more infuriating to someone who would deliberately hurt you, than you moving on with your life and being happy.

What happened? : My boyfriend of two years cheated on me. I forgave him and I thought that because I had forgiven him, I should take him back. He cheated on me again. I was devastated and hurt and broke up with him immediately. I now hate him, I hate myself fo being such an idiot, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to forgive again. Forgiveness didn’t work for me.

Take revenge! : Forgive him again. Don’t get confused and think that forgiveness means that you have to take him back- it’s not so. True forgiveness actually has nothing to do with condoning the behaviour of a cheating ex. It’s all about you. The extent to which you are willing to forgive is simply the extent to which you are willing to keep giving your cheating ex control of your suffering.

Forgiveness = Taking Control.

When you forgive, you acknowledge that you have been hurt, and you make the choice that hurt will not continue to define you in the present. Of course, you are entitled to grieve when you have been hurt; let yourself get mad, get it all out of your system, and when you’re done, visualize the offender in your mind and say. ‘I forgive you. I release you. I release myself from your control.’ (Go here for more on positive affirmations.)

2. Forgiveness is the best revenge because you’ll live a longer and healthier life.

What happened? : My mother abandoned me as a child. She left when I was 3 years old and I never saw her again. I have felt bitterness towards her all my life. I have often thought about hurting her the way she hurt me. I don’t think I could ever forgive her.

Take revenge! : For a moment, lets forget that this is about your mother. Let’s forget that forgiveness is about anyone or anything outside of yourself. I want you to think about yourself only. Forgiveness is a process that you can go through to bring peace, contentment and physical wellness to yourself. Being in a constant state of unforgiveness is really bad for your health. The emotions associated with unforgiveness cause chemical, hormonal and immune changes in your body which, over an extended period of time, can make you physically ill. Don’t let the past ruin your present and future health. Forgiveness is as much an important part of your healthcare routine as brushing your teeth and eating well! Forgiveness benefits your health in a similar manner to kindness. For an in-depth look at the science behind the health benefits of forgiveness and kindness, head over to Dr David Hamilton’s website.

3. Forgiveness is the best revenge because when you forgive, you take back your own power.

What happened? : My ex-boss was such a bully. Every day he made embarrassing remarks to me and singled me out from the rest of my colleagues when he felt like taking out his rage on someone. I put up with this for 5 years before being made to feel so miserable that I had to leave a job that I essentially loved. I’ll never forgive him for that.

Take revenge! : When you choose to forgive, this is the best kind of revenge because you re-empower yourself. This empowerment comes from recognizing that you have a choice: You can choose to continue to feel hurt, resentful and angry, or, you can choose to take responsibility for your reaction and work on being a person who forgives, even if it is difficult. Recognizing that you have a choice is truly empowering. Bullying is a terrible thing and it is understandable that you would find it difficult to forgive- but ‘finding it difficult’ to forgive is a whole lot better than having no choice at all. You can always make the choice to forgive and release all the tension and anxiety within you, that is embodied by unforgiveness. When you choose to forgive a bully, you release yourself from the feeling of victimization and you can begin to heal. What could be more empowering than that? Give yourself love and positive acknowledgement when you are able to forgive, it is a big ask.

4. Forgiveness is the best revenge because learning how to forgive protects you from Forgiveness dove monkeyfuture hurts.

What happened? : I got scammed! Someone hacked into my bank account and withdrew all my money 4 days before Christmas. I have 2 kids and if it hadn’t been for the generosity of friends and family, Christmas would have been ruined. These soulless thieves left me broke. The people who did this have never been caught and I’m having difficulty forgiving because there has been no justice.

Take revenge! : Forgiveness is the best revenge here because when you forgive, you make space in your heart for two very important questions. First, did you learn anything from this experience? Second, (and this is a hard one!) Is there anything positive that you can take from this experience? If you can forgive, you will be able to see what can be learned. Forgiving, here, has nothing to do with forgiving bad actions, you are using forgiveness for you. Can you imagine forgiving stealing to the extent that you are able to see something very precious in the experience? Visualize having a conversation with the thieves. In your mind say: ‘I forgive you. I know you act out of fear. I wish you love and I hope that you can overcome the things that make you afraid.’ If you are able to do this, you will discover within yourself, that you can protect yourself from future hurts simply by deciding to be a person who forgives. You can choose to be a person who forgives no matter what, and in doing so, you protect yourself from future hurts which are deepened and extended by unforgiveness. Practice forgiving now and you will be able to cope, forgive, and move on in future. Forgiveness can only make you stronger and less fearful when applied in this way…try it!

5. Forgiveness is the best revenge because it really is the cure for feeling sad, angry, frustrated and hurt.

What happened? : My father passed away several years ago. We weren’t on good terms because he was largely absent from our lives when my brother and I were kids. The times when he was around, he was violent and angry. He never apologized or admitted his mistakes and now that he’s gone, I still can’t forgive him. I don’t believe he was sorry and now I’ll never know.

Take revenge! : Some people who hurt you cannot apologize because they have passed away. Some people who have hurt you will not apologize for various reasons. If forgiveness was dependent on the apologies of others, human beings would have blown the world up already. Think of forgiveness like the antidote to a poison. It doesn’t matter how much someone in the past has tried to poison you with anger, hurt, fear, bad behaviour, selfishness, insensitivity etc., you can choose to administer the antidote at any moment. Let that moment be now.

Until Next Week: Practice forgiveness whenever you can. Start with the person in the mirror. You deserve forgiveness, you are a good person, you don’t need to be so hard on yourself. Look in the mirror, put your hand over your heart and say, ‘I forgive you’.

Saw something particularly horrible in the news? Close your eyes and say ‘I forgive you’. Get familiar with what it means to forgive, what it feels like, and why it’s important.

Have you had any inspirational experiences with forgiveness? Is there something that you have struggled to forgive? Comment below- I’d love to read what you have to share.

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Next Week: G is for ‘Ghosts’. I will be conducting a video interview with a very special guest. We will be discussing many aspects of ghostly phenomena…not to be missed!

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