apologize http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10635/all en-US Letting Go: 8 Steps to Forgiveness http://www.wisebread.com/letting-go-8-steps-to-forgiveness <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/letting-go-8-steps-to-forgiveness" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3991444275_982a7e87df_z.jpg" alt="people hugging" title="people hugging" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="136" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Valerie Poteete was a single mom who had just started her own business. She had no insurance and was, much to her dismay, quickly diagnosed with cancer. When she lost her home, her sister came to help her pack up to move. Valerie went to the store to pick up some more packing materials, and when she returned, her sister had stolen every bit of cash from her home. On top of that, her sister had stolen a check from her checkbook, which she used to pay her own bills without Valerie's permission.</p> <p>Her sister was a gambling addict. This wasn't the first time that her sister had stolen from her, but it was the worst.</p> <p>It was the last in a long line of wrongs that her sister committed, and it was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. Although they are no longer in touch, Valerie knows that her sister has pulled herself together and is holding down a steady job. Valerie's sister has never apologized, and yet, Valerie has forgiven her.</p> <p>&quot;Forgiveness is for the victim, not the abuser,&quot; Valerie explained to me. &quot;Harboring resentment keeps the emotional toxins active and thus damages the one holding on to them.&quot;</p> <p>Whether you are still in contact with someone who hurt you or not, you can benefit from learning to let go of your anger, and forgiving. It isn't easy, but it's better for you in the long run. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage">How to Be Happy and Married: 24 Tips From a 24-Year-Old Marriage</a>)</p> <h3>Why Should You Forgive?</h3> <p>From childhood bullies to abusive spouses, most of us have a certain amount of residual anger that we hang onto. Why bother confronting these feelings to begin with?</p> <blockquote><p>A great amount of energy is exerted and needed to harbor unforgiveness. Unforgiveness locks a person into a past incident and that same unforgiveness dictates a person&rsquo;s future, altering not only they way they view life but also the outcome of each day.&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash; Dr. Daniel &amp; Penny Loosenort, authors of <em>We Promise &mdash; 18 Foundational Stone for an Unshakeable Marriage</em></p> </blockquote> <p>There is a misconception about forgiveness that we often repeat <em>&mdash;</em> when you refuse to forgive someone, the only person you hurt is yourself. While it's true that a refusal to forgive someone who has hurt you is probably more detrimental to you than it is to them, refusing to forgive someone has repercussions beyond your own mental health. When we refuse to forgive someone for something, the anger that we feel toward them can color everything that we do. It doesn't matter if the anger is righteous <em>&mdash;</em> it changes the way that we feel, and the way that we interact with others.</p> <p>It takes a great deal of energy to continue being angry with people who may or may not even remember upsetting us.</p> <p>Anger also stifles personal growth. &quot;Forgiveness is the process by which we learn, grow, change and transform from our mistakes,&quot; explains <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/Ari_sherbill">Rabbi Ari Sherbill</a> of <a href="http://www.thebethisrael.com/author/rabbi/">Beth Israel</a> in Halifax. &quot;The person who understands that life is growth understands that life is also mistakes. Everyone constantly makes them, and as you let go of your own and of others, you're freed to move forward.&quot;</p> <p>But how do you go about forgiving? Like mourning, forgiveness can take a long time, and it will only be possible once you are ready to forgive. Here are eight steps to help you begin the process.</p> <h3>1. Acknowledge Your Feelings</h3> <p>The first step to dealing with emotions is recognizing that they exist to begin with. This might seem obvious, but plenty of emotions are buried beneath mountains of denial, blurred memories, and attempts to forget. When we talk about true abuse, especially that we suffered as children, it's possible that the memories themselves have been obscured by years of trying to forget. These feelings can run the gamut from anger to despair to guilt. Trying to pinpoint them can take some time.</p> <h3>2. Reach Out for Help</h3> <p>There are some instances in which a wrong is so wrong that the occurrence is serious enough to warrant professional therapy. There is nothing shameful in seeking a mental health counselor who specializes in past abuse to sort through your memories. Don't hesitate to get help if you feel like you are unable to cope with the feelings of pain on your own.</p> <h3>3. Look to Your Faith/Spiritual Discipline</h3> <p>Many religions have sophisticated doctrines that deal with the issue of forgiveness and acceptance. Whether you are religious or not, it is likely that there is a discipline that can help you at least visualize the forgiveness process.</p> <h3>4. Accept Your Role, and Forgive Yourself</h3> <p>Understanding your role in the wrongs that you have suffered doesn't necessarily place blame on you. If your parents beat you to within an inch of your life as a kid, you obviously weren't at fault (although you probably thought you were).</p> <p>Sometimes, we do hold some responsibility in a situation that requires our forgiveness <em>&mdash;</em> like a falling out with a friend that could have been prevented. Other times, while we technically aren't to blame for a bad or abusive situation, we blame ourselves for not ending the relationship sooner, or for not seeing the signs that led to the wrongdoing. But being angry with yourself is even less useful than being perpetually angry at someone else <em>&mdash;</em> anger can be a destructive emotion if wielded too long. You have to forgive yourself for whatever blame has been heaped upon you, by yourself or others.</p> <p>On a similar note, if you feel like YOU owe someone an apology for any reason, now would be a good time to reach out and make it.</p> <h3>5. Walk a Mile in Another's Shoes</h3> <p>There are some kinds of wrongs committed that don't necessarily warrant much empathy from the victim <em>&mdash; </em>violent crimes, for instance. But there are some situations, like a fight with a friend or an unfaithful partner, in which trying to see the other person's perspective can help guide the process of forgiveness.</p> <h3>6. Ask for an Apology <em>&mdash;</em> But Don't Expect One</h3> <p>Apologies are extremely powerful <em>&mdash;</em> a few choice words can sometimes wash away years of hurt feelings. The crux of an apology is the acknowledgement of bad behavior. Sometimes, the person that hurt you is blissfully unaware of your pain. Other times, you may be dealing with someone who either doesn't think to apologize, or who feels that they have done nothing wrong.</p> <p>Maybe you are no longer in touch with the person who hurt you (perhaps for your own safety or sanity). Perhaps the person who hurt you is dead. Or maybe you're still married to her/him. Whatever your situation, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">express your feelings</a> and request an apology. It might be in the form of a letter that you never send or a speech that you give in front of the mirror.</p> <h3>7. Take Your Sweet Time</h3> <p>Forgiveness is often seen as something that we simply do, and then forget. <a href="http://www.conniestapletonphd.com/">Connie Stapleton</a>, a psychologist and best-selling author, cautions, &quot;Forgiveness is a PROCESS, not an event! I think people are often &quot;guilted&quot; into saying they &quot;forgive&quot; someone for religious purposes or to meet someone else's needs.&quot;</p> <p>Some people like to conduct a small ceremony in which some sort of symbolic gesture is made toward &quot;letting go&quot; <em>&mdash;</em> releasing a balloon or burning something. The effect can be temporarily cleansing, but bad feelings may continue to crop up for years to come, making forgiveness something more of a daily choice than a one-time event. Forgiveness, especially for serious wrongs that have been committed, is a daily choice and a constant commitment.</p> <h3>8. Look for Lessons Learned/Help Others</h3> <p>There are some tragedies that befall us that don't offer easy lessons, but even the worst transgressions can teach us something about ourselves. Very often, when we have been wronged, the only lesson we take away from the experience is &quot;Don't trust anyone.&quot; But lack of trust doesn't serve anyone well (except James Bond, maybe), and if nothing else, we can learn from bad experiences to know how we would react if faced with a similar situation in the future. For instance, I know that I will never again stand to be treated with anything other than respect from my partner. I also know what signs point to unhealthy relationships <em>&mdash;</em> these signs are never as obvious as we expect them to be.</p> <p>Is there anything more cathartic than being able to turn a bad situation into one that helps others? Some of the best trauma therapists are people who have suffered abuse themselves and learned how to channel their empathy into a career helping others overcome anger, pain, and resentment. Turn your anger and resentment into a creative or philanthropic force <em>&mdash; </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one">donate time or money</a> to organizations that help people escape abusive situations, or use artistic media to express your pain and hope for a better future. Discuss what you have learned with people you know and love, and teach others how to see the signs of abuse.</p> <p><em>Have you had to forgive someone recently? How did you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/letting-go-8-steps-to-forgiveness">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-are-what-you-do-16-ways-to-improve-your-body-language">You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">25 Ways to Communicate Better Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-people-to-listen-when-you-talk">7 Ways to Get People to Listen When You Talk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-and-give-honest-feedback">How to Get and Give Honest Feedback</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development apologize communication forgiveness Mon, 30 Apr 2012 09:48:07 +0000 Andrea Karim 923039 at http://www.wisebread.com Five Free Ways to Improve Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/five-free-gifts-of-freedom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/five-free-gifts-of-freedom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/freedom.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="374" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes the most effective ways to improve your quality of life don't involve coupons or tax incentives; frequently, the ways in which we enrich our sense of&nbsp;well&nbsp;being&nbsp;simply have to do with the way that we interact with other people (or don't interact with other people). Allowing yourself to have honest, forthright discussions, learning to accept responsibility for mistakes - these things are hard to do, but they are crucial to forming mature relationships with our families, friends, and peers.</p> <p>Here are five free gifts that I have given myself, even if they weren't always easy to give or accept at first, and some thoughts on how you can give yourself and others these (low-cost!) gifts, too.&nbsp;If these situations don't&nbsp;apply to you, please feel free to add your suggestions for free ways to improve one's quality of life in the comments.</p> <p><strong>1. Eliminate unnecessary drama</strong></p> <p>Because I had a happy childhood and have a close, loving family, I was frequently a magnet for people with unstable lives. Most of my friends were pretty balanced, but I would occasionally happen upon a dynamic, funny, frighteningly intelligent friend who would swoop into my life with much ado and drama. These girls were fun to be around, when they were feeling well. Some of these friends were likely experiencing emotional and mental problems bordering on bi-polar disorder - frequent, energetic highs followed by crushing lows. The highs were exhausting. The lows, in which I would find myself cradling a sobbing girlfriend who was experiencing a mental breakdown over something relatively trivial, like misplacing a set of keys, were more than I could handle. Beyond emotional support, I found myself financially giving all that I could to friends who would simply take and take. One of my dearest friends in college was a pathological liar whose tales were so extreme as to be almost believable. It was only when I looked back at her string of deceitful stories that I realized I had been utterly taken in by a complete con artist.</p> <p>It's one thing to love someone who has mental issues, but it's another to love someone with emotional or mental problems who thrives on the problems that their drama create for others. <strong>Friendships, like most relationships, are a give and take</strong>, and there will be times when you may be required to give much more than you take. But if you find yourself in a friendship with someone who only takes from you and offers nothing in return, you may want to consider giving yourself the gift of freedom from that friend.</p> <p>Notice I've classified this as unnecessary drama - there is some drama that is inescapable, some relationships that may always be tortured. I&nbsp;don't advocate abandoning someone who is in desperate need of help and willing to work to change their situation. There are some people we cannot turn away, no matter how difficult the relationship is; that is why I avoid adding any more drama to my life by never befriending people who require as much nurturing as an infant. <strong>Life is hard enough without drama queens and kings adding to the conflict</strong>.</p> <p>In my case, although I certainly felt bad doing so, I cut off two friends who I loved very much, but whose near-constant need for attention and support was a terrible weight on my shoulders. I've never regretted that decision.</p> <p><strong>2. Achieve a tiny bit of financial freedom</strong></p> <p>OK, I&nbsp;HAD to mention something financial, right?&nbsp;Being financially free may mean something different for everyone. For some people, being financially free means not having to pay bills. For others, it's having enough financial security to not have to go to the same dull office job every single day. It may be getting out from underneath a mortgage, or finding a way to pay for school without taking out too many loans.</p> <p>The best way to decide how you define financial freedom is to look at your financial situation and see what bothers you the most about it. What burdens do you need lifted? If collection agencies are calling you day in and day out, that is likely weighing on your mind quite a bit. Maybe your credit card debt has gotten out of control or you're perpetually late on your rent. Even if you manage to scrape by, these concerns, wondering constantly if your credit card is about to max out, or if you can afford your doctor's co-pay, can be a near-constant mental burden.</p> <p>Me, I don't mind paying bills or having a mortgage; I'm not really bothered that much that I pay interest on credit cards. What I hate, what really really eats at me, is living paycheck to paycheck, and it wasn't until I managed to build up a buffer of a couple thousand dollars in my checking account that I was finally able to breathe easy. It wasn't simple (obviously, money matters are never simple, or we wouldn't have a successful web site with all you readers, would we?), but the rewards that I have reaped from having that extra money was much greater than the effort put into creating the buffer.</p> <p>Even if your finances are a complete disaster, getting one aspect under control can help you breathe easier as you search for a way to fix the rest. In fact, Suze Orman has said that if there was one thing that anyone can do within an hour to improve their finances, it would merely be taking a good, honest look at their financial situation. This might be as small a thing as signing up for Mint.com and seeing all of your debts and assets in one place. It can be sobering, but it can be a relief to know exactly where you stand. <strong>The only thing worse than knowing how bad things are is not knowing</strong>.</p> <p><strong>3. Get out of an abusive relationship</strong></p> <p>Abuse comes in so many forms that sometimes, it can be hard to recognize. Take it from me: even intelligent, confident people can easily find themselves experiencing mental, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse at the hands of someone trusted. <strong>It doesn't take long before your self-esteem can be utterly destroyed</strong>, to say nothing of your mental and physical health.</p> <p>Recent media exposure of the Chris Brown/Rihanna abuse story has shone a temporary light on the fact that even wealthy, talented women can be horribly abused and apparently see no reason to break the cycle. I would never suggest that removing oneself from an abusive situation is easy, because it is frequently one of the most difficult decisions a person can make, and can often involve financial issues that are hard to solve. It is, however, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.</p> <p><strong>4. Apologize to someone (take the fall)</strong></p> <p>Take a page from My Name is Earl and make a point to right any wrongs that are right-able. If you've hurt someone's feelings, and you know it, swallow your pride and tell them, on the phone, in person, or in writing, that you are sorry. No half-assed apologies, either. One of those politician-style &quot;I'm sorry that people took my joke the wrong way&quot; kind of apologies; you have to actually take the blame to make an apology worthwhile.</p> <p>I hate the feeling of having someone angry at me. It bugs me so much that I will go to great lengths to avoid it. I once allowed someone to cause a rift between myself and a roommate; it bothered me so much that, eight months later, I had to call up the roommate and apologize for my behavior.</p> <p>A few years ago, I recall seeing an episode of a daytime talk show (Oprah? Sally Jessie?) in which a group of people had organized specifically to apologize to people who had been hurt by someone, often very deeply. The thing was, they weren't apologizing to specifically to someone that THEY had hurt. Rather, they were seeking out people who had been the victims of crimes or abuse, and had apologized on behalf of the perpetrator (the perps themselves were frequently dead or never got caught by law enforcement). While it might seem strange to apologize to someone for a crime you didn't commit, the experience seemed to be very cathartic for everyone involved, with some of the victims saying that they felt like they could begin their healing process, and let go of the some of the pain of their experience, because someone had accepted responsibility, even if only by proxy, for their suffering. In addition, <strong>apologizing for a hurt that you have can help ease your mind</strong>.</p> <p>Along those lines, you might also find it helpful to...</p> <p><strong>5. Forgive someone (even without an apology) who has hurt you</strong></p> <p>It can be incredibly difficult for some people to let go of grudges. I should know - I'm still pissed off at someone from middle school who laughed at me when I fell down a flight of stairs outside of the gymnasium. I hold grudges like no one else, and even once fantasized about opening a firm that specialized in revenge. However, holding a grudge really only hurts the holder. Josie Hopkins has no recollection of laughing at me and so my eternal dislike of her is hardly going to affect her in any way. <strong>I'M</strong> the one who occasionally mentally relives the humiliation of looking up from my scraped palms to see a gaggle of obnoxious 7th graders pointing and laughing. If I forgive her for being a clueless tweenager, I can move on from remembering just how much it sucked to be 11 years old and exceptionally klutzy.</p> <p>I'm not a religious person, and I don't endorse any dogma or belief system. I do, however, remember another televised instance of forgiveness that really stands out in my mind, and it involved a very deeply religious couple whose child had been killed by a drunk driver. They were interviewed by a news station a mere 24 hours after the death of their beautiful daughter, and although they were clearly grief stricken, they also displayed a remarkable amount of composure. When the interviewer asked about potential punishment for the driver, they looked straight into the camera and said &quot;We have absolutely forgiven him. Our daughter has gone home to a better place, and our hearts will never mend without our commitment to forgiveness. We bear him no ill will.&quot;</p> <p>I can't say for certain that this couple never changed their minds about their stance on the drunk driver's sentencing, but their remarks struck a powerful note with me, because they had so much confidence, so much love, and so much certainty in the face of nearly unbearable tragedy. Whenever I end up angry and vengeful over something minor and insignificant, like losing an empty parking spot, I try to recall this couple and their brave ability to let go of anger and embrace healing and renewal in a situation that could arguable warrant hatred and anger.</p> <p>Forgiving doesn't necessarily mean forgetting, and it doesn't always mean that you must accept a hurtful person back into your life (you don't even have to tell the person that you forgive them). Forgiving someone allows YOU to move on.&nbsp;<strong>Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools in your emotional arsenal</strong>, and if you can unleash it, you may be surprised to learn how much you can grow and how much freedom it gives you.</p> <p><em>What about you? What kind of changes have you made in your life that have helped you to achieve freedom of some kind? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-free-gifts-of-freedom">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/letting-go-8-steps-to-forgiveness">Letting Go: 8 Steps to Forgiveness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-letting-fomo-ruin-your-finances">Are You Letting FOMO Ruin Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-getting-married-is-good-for-your-finances">9 Ways Getting Married Is Good for Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-morning-mantras-that-ll-help-keep-your-finances-on-track">8 Morning Mantras That’ll Help Keep Your Finances on Track</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks abuse apologize finances forgiveness honesty self esteem Sat, 28 Mar 2009 16:52:10 +0000 Andrea Karim 2983 at http://www.wisebread.com