forgiveness en-US How a Goodwill Letter Can Save Your Credit Score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-a-goodwill-letter-can-save-your-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Business woman working" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Financial mistakes can cause hefty damage to your credit score. If you pay your credit card bill more than 30 days late, for example, your score can tumble by 100 points. If you have a foreclosure on your home, your score can fall by 150 points or more, depending on how long ago your lender filed for foreclosure. (See also: <a href="" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <p>These mistakes stay on your three credit reports &mdash; one each maintained by Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; for seven to 10 years.</p> <p>There may be some hope of removing those financial mistakes sooner, however. Consumers have had some success requesting that banks, lenders, and other creditors remove their late or missed payments from their credit reports early by writing what is known as a <em>goodwill letter</em> &mdash; letters sent to creditors outlining the reasons for their missed payments, explaining why they'll never miss a payment again, and requesting that these creditors remove the financial mistake from their credit reports.</p> <p>These letters offer no guarantee of success. Some creditors will simply respond that they are legally required to report the financial mistake for the set period of time. Others won't respond at all.</p> <p>But if there's even a slim chance that a goodwill letter will work, why not try it?</p> <h2>When goodwill letters do the most good</h2> <p>The most common financial mistake that ends up on credit reports &mdash; and the one that goodwill letters have the best chance of erasing &mdash; are late payments. It's important to realize, though, that late payments are only officially late for credit purposes when they are more than 30 days past due.</p> <p>Missed payments stay on your credit reports for seven years. How much these payments lower your FICO score varies depending on how high your score was to begin with and several other factors. But you can expect an immediate drop of about 100 points &mdash; a big hit, to be sure.</p> <p>As time passes and your late or missed payment gets older, the impact it has on your score will lessen. But it will remain on your reports for lenders to see until seven years has passed. That's where a goodwill letter comes in.</p> <h2>What a goodwill letter should say</h2> <p>A goodwill letter should say why you missed a payment. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you were hit with a serious illness or injury. Maybe you were embroiled in a long divorce or legal battle. Whatever the reason, explain it clearly in your goodwill letter.</p> <p>The letter should also state that you won't pay late or miss a payment again. Your letter will work better if you don't have any other missed or late payments in your history, or additional financial blemishes on your report. Creditors probably will ignore it if your credit reports are filled with missed payments.</p> <p>Finally, close your letter with a request that the creditor remove your one financial mistake from your reports.</p> <p>There is a good chance that creditors will respond in the negative, if they even respond at all. Some creditors prefer to follow that seven-year guideline. But if you're lucky, and your case is strong enough, a well-written goodwill letter might work.</p> <p>When you're ready to send one, mail it to the address listed on your creditor's paperwork.</p> <h2>A goodwill letter example</h2> <p>Here is an example of a goodwill letter that could potentially help you in removing a missed credit card payment from your credit reports:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">(<em>Your name</em>)<br /> (<em>Your address</em>)<br /> (<em>Your credit card account number</em>)</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">(<em>date</em>)</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">To Whom It May Concern:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">I hope you are well. I'm writing because after checking my credit reports, I discovered that you have reported a late payment on (<em>date</em>) for my account, number (<em>list your account number here</em>), to the credit bureaus. I am writing today to request that you remove this late payment from my reports.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">As you can see from my past financial history, I pay my bills on time and manage my credit well. This late payment was a one-time event, the result of a short-term job loss. (<em>Insert whatever actually caused you to miss your payment here.</em>) Because this is an isolated incident, and because my financial challenges are behind me, I would appreciate this help on your part.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">My history of on-time payments since this late payment is proof that I take my financial obligations seriously. Please consider this history in making your decision.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">If you have any questions, or if you would like to speak with me in more detail, please call me at (<em>your phone number here</em>) or send me an email at (<em>your email address here</em>).</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Sincerely, <br /> (<em>Your name here</em>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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-3"> <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="">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</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="">You Missed a Student Loan Payment. Now What?</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="">Here&#039;s Why Credit Scores and Reports Are Not the Same</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="">5 Money Moves to Make When It&#039;s Too Hot to Go Outside</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="">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit bureaus credit report credit score Creditors favors forgiveness goodwill letter late payments lenders Mon, 12 Jun 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1961857 at It's Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Fixing money mistakes from his past" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Making mistakes is part of life, and this is particularly true when it comes to finance. Since money is such a taboo topic in our culture, we often have to learn good money behavior through trial and error.</p> <p>The problem is that our culture also considers errors as something to regret, rather than opportunities to learn. This can land us in a shame-filled cycle of inaction.</p> <p>Forgiving yourself for financial mistakes is not the same as condoning or ignoring them. It's simply giving yourself the opportunity to move on from the past. Stop beating yourself up over these common youthful money mistakes and take action to fix them instead.</p> <h2>1. Taking on too much student debt</h2> <p>Taking out a student loan has become the default method for the majority of college students to pay for their education. According to a 2016 Market Watch report, &quot;about <a href="" target="_blank">40 million Americans</a> hold student loans and about 70 percent of bachelor's degree recipients graduate with debt.&quot;</p> <p>With the near ubiquity of student loans, however, comes the problem of students taking on more debt than they need or can comfortably pay off once they graduate. Student loans can feel like an easy way to pay for more school than you can afford, or even a way to fund things you don't <em>really </em>need, like your own apartment or spring break vacations.</p> <p>This can be exacerbated by the fact that college students and their parents don't always completely understand the differences between types of student loans, which can leave them all the more susceptible to overwhelming debt.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>If you are kicking yourself for running up a student loan tab that you can't afford, start your journey to self-forgiveness by investigating your repayment options. The first step is to call your lender and explain the situation. If you have federal student loans, you may be eligible for a <a href="" target="_blank">modification of your repayment plan</a> based on your income. Even if you have private loans, talking with your lender can let you know what <a href="" target="_blank">options are available</a> that will give you more breathing room.</p> <p>Once you have made whatever changes you can to your repayment plan, then take the time to write down everything you got for the money you borrowed. For instance, in addition to your education, you might list the friends and connections you made at college, the experiences you had, the insights you gained about yourself and your area of study, and the way the loans allowed you to focus on college instead of tuition.</p> <p>This exercise will give you a chance to feel gratitude for the loans. You are now the beneficiary of your younger self's choices &mdash; both the good and the bad. Recognizing all of the benefits you got from your student loans will help you move from being angry at yourself, to looking at your current loan payments as a gift to your younger self.</p> <h2>2. Not budgeting or building an emergency fund</h2> <p>I don't know a single person who did not immediately begin spending money hand over fist after landing their first well-paid job. That means anything from immediately purchasing an expensive car to relying on restaurants for meals rather than cooking. Even people who carefully budget their money when working for low salaries have a tendency to start making it rain as soon as their paychecks get bigger.</p> <p>This can cause problems in two ways. Sometimes, the good salary doesn't last forever because of a layoff or other change in your financial circumstances. And sometimes, you keep making good money, but your lifestyle continues to inflate &mdash; which means you can never seem to get ahead.</p> <p>In either case, the lack of a budget and an <a href="" target="_blank">emergency fund</a> means that a financial blow can turn into a crisis, leaving you cursing yourself for every unnecessary purchase you made when the money was good.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>Budgeting may be the last thing on your mind when the lack of money hits the fan, but <a href="" target="_blank">creating a budget</a> is exactly what you need to do in an emergency. Don't waste your time beating yourself up for the spending choices you made before the financial crisis &mdash; just sit down with your bank statements, credit card accounts, and bills, and figure out your income and outflow. Learning to budget in the middle of a crisis might be painful, but it will ultimately help you feel in control of your money.</p> <p>Once you have a budget system in place, it's time to start looking back on your spending habits. What did you buy that you now regret? Why do you regret it? Do you feel regret now only because an emergency came up and you didn't have the funds, or do you actually feel the purchase itself added nothing to your life? If you truly regret the purchase, why did you make it?</p> <p>It can hurt to ask yourself these questions, which is why it is important to regard your past purchases with curiosity and compassion, rather than guilt or anger at yourself. But once you have answered these questions, you will have a better understanding of why you made those unnecessary purchases &mdash; which will help you avoid the same spending traps in the future. Understanding the reasons behind your bad money habits can help you develop financial mindfulness to make better choices going forward.</p> <h2>3. Not saving for retirement</h2> <p>Most people don't think to start <a href="" target="_blank">putting money aside for retirement</a> when they are young. In your 20s and 30s, not only does retirement seem too far away to worry about, but you've got plenty of competing needs that seem more important.</p> <p>Of course, if you read <em>any </em>advice on retirement, it's clear that saving as much money as you can when you are young is the best route to a secure retirement. Unfortunately, this advice can feel like it's meant to shame anyone who didn't start funding their 401(k) on the day they started their first job. That's not helpful to late funders.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>When it comes to retirement, we should all save early and save often. Unfortunately, financial advice tends to beat the &quot;save early&quot; drum so much that it's easy to believe that there is such a thing as &quot;too old to start saving for retirement.&quot; But as long as you are bringing in an income, you can save for your retirement. Write down your future goals and your vision of retirement, so you can get excited about saving. Then you can let go of the anger at your younger self, and start putting money in your retirement accounts today, tomorrow, and beyond. (See also: <a href="" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>4. Racking up credit card debt</h2> <p>I got my first credit card in college. Though I tried to pay off the bill every month, it got away from me pretty quickly. Sometime in my senior year of college, when I realized that there was no way I could pay off my bill, I made the decision to just let the debt rack up, since I'd have a good-paying job after graduation and could take care of it then.</p> <p>Of course, after I graduated, I was unable to find a job for about three months, and the first job I did land was working retail for $8.25 an hour. My credit card debt crept up even more.</p> <p>My youthful problems with credit card debt are incredibly common. When you get your first sweet taste of credit, it's pretty hard to stop using the plastic even when your budget can't handle your charges. The fact that you're not required to pay off the cringe-inducing full amount allows you to assume the problem will take care of itself, as I did.</p> <p>Then, one day, you realize that you are in debt up to your eyeballs with nothing to show for it, and you are kicking yourself for your youthful credit card spending.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>Start by recognizing the fact that humans are not wired to be able to handle the combination of instant gratification plus delayed payment. Young adults are particularly susceptible to this, which is the very reason why credit card companies have been banned from college campuses.</p> <p>Once you recognize this, it becomes much easier to start digging yourself out of the hole. You can much more easily leave your credit cards at home and remove them from your favorite e-tailer sites when you realize the cost of their convenience. Sending extra money to your credit card each month also starts feeling like steps toward freedom. (See also: <a href="" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Buying too much car</h2> <p>Buying a new car for yourself can be one of the most satisfying moments in young adulthood. You can finally choose the car <em>you</em> want to drive, rather than making do with a beater or your parents' minivan. So it's very easy to go hog-wild when you're in a position to buy a new car. You can get the horsepower, or the luxury, or the bells-and-whistles you've always dreamed of having.</p> <p>But the monthly payments end up being a bigger deal than they seemed when you were in the showroom, and your high-end car keeps needing expensive maintenance and insurance. When you realize how much you could have saved if you opted for that reliable low-key sedan instead, you want to kick your younger, flashy self.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>Once you have forgiven yourself for putting too much emphasis (and money) on your car, you can start thinking more rationally about your transportation needs. If your vehicle is just a means to get from point A to point B, then what do you really need from it? What's the minimum that would be acceptable for your transportation?</p> <p>Going through this thought exercise allows you to think about what you really need, and will help you do the research necessary to find the right car for your life. Then you can trade in your too-much car for something more appropriate, or drive something that meets your barest of needs until you have paid off the mistake of buying too much car.</p> <p>And don't forget &mdash; you can always put some racing stripes on &ldquo;Old Reliable&rdquo; if you want it to represent you. Loving your car doesn't have to be expensive.</p> <h2>Let it go</h2> <p>Feeling shame over things you did in the past is a way of letting your mistakes continue to hurt you. Yes, you may have screwed up when you were younger and it might be hurting your bottom line right now. But you give that old mistake far more power over your future if you continue to beat yourself up for it instead of simply accepting it and doing what you can to bounce back from it. Step out of regret and into action today.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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="">10 Signs You&#039;re No Longer a Personal Finance Rookie</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="">8 Money Mistakes at 20 That Will Land You in Debt by 30</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="">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</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="">Your Good Credit Doesn&#039;t Mean You Have Good Money Habits</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="">What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting debt emergency funds forgiveness missteps money mistakes retirement savings student loans young youth Fri, 31 Mar 2017 09:00:15 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1918286 at 10 Ways to Repair a Burned Bridge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-repair-a-burned-bridge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="friends arguing" title="friends arguing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Don't ever burn bridges,&quot; is a piece of advice most of us have heard &mdash; more than once. Whether it's talking about your career or your personal life, the advice is sound. Should you burn a bridge, the ramifications can be serious. The Internet connects people all over the world, and one burned relationship can close hundreds of potential doors for you. And in your personal life, be it a relative or a friend, life is just too short to cut someone off forever. (See also: <a href="">6 Time-Tested Ways to Make a Relationship Work</a>)</p> <p>However, we all make mistakes. I, myself, have burned a few bridges. One, in particular, I napalmed; I never thought I'd need it again, and wanted to make sure that avenue was gone. Boy, was I wrong. It took months of work to repair that bridge. In fact, it was completely rebuilt. If you have done likewise, don't despair. You can repair a burned bridge. Here are 10 ways to get started.</p> <h2>1. Don't Let This Fester</h2> <p>The bridge may still be smoldering, or it could have burned up a long time ago. Either way, you can't let it stay this way one second longer. If you have just burned a bridge, make moves to repair it immediately and jump to the third point on this list. If it's been a while, even years, then you'll have to ease into it. But this has to happen sooner rather than later. The longer you leave it, the harder it is to repair.</p> <h2>2. Take Small Steps</h2> <p>The first way to start the healing process is to take small steps; very small steps. You cannot barge back into their life and expect them to be responsive. After all, you may have been mulling this over for months, but they have almost certainly moved past you. So, take the smallest steps back in their direction. If you unfriended each other on Facebook, start there. If it's a work relationship, try LinkedIn. If you see each other around, be friendly, even if they're cold. You don't have to make any grand gestures yet; you are simply preparing the groundwork.</p> <h2>3. Make the First Move</h2> <p>Once you've made some subtle steps, you have to be the one to reach across the aisle and start the healing. You can't expect the other person to make any kind of move towards you by dropping a few hints, or smiling in their general direction. You burned the bridge, even if their behavior led you to light the match. So put your pride to the side and reach out.</p> <h2>4. Be Sincere</h2> <p>When you do make your move, you have to be 100% committed to repairing the burned bridge. And that starts with sincerity. If you want something from the other person (for example, a job at his or her company) your half-hearted attempts at making up will be blatantly transparent. You do not want to come across as someone who is simply stomaching the process in order to get something valuable. If you cannot be sincere, this is not the right time. If you don't know how to be sincere because the wound is still open, this is definitely not the right time.</p> <h2>5. Admit You Were Wrong</h2> <p>&quot;But I wasn't in the wrong, it was that idiot's fault!&quot; Yes, of course, you may be feeling that way inside. But for whatever reason, you are trying to repair the bridge. The other person doesn't need to lift a finger because they have less to gain than you. So you may have to prepare a little humble pie for yourself, and eat it with a smile. By admitting you were wrong, you are giving the other person some closure in the matter, and are also elevating them. They have some power. They feel like they have the higher ground. From that position, it is much easier to reach out to reconcile.</p> <h2>6. Listen &mdash; Really Listen</h2> <p>If you are lucky enough to start a dialog (these initial attempts can often lead to being blanked), then you have the chance to find out their side of the story. This is the time to open yourself up to a paradigm shift. What were they going through at the time the rift happened? Did you misunderstand something that they did? Was the original dispute something small that got out of hand? Did you overreact to something? As you listen, repeat what you hear back to that person. One of the most important parts of conflict resolution is knowing that you are being heard, and understood.</p> <h2>7. Say &quot;Sorry&quot; (and Mean It)</h2> <p>When it comes to repairing a bridge, sorry can go a very long way. It's a small word, but it's one of the hardest for people to say (if you have kids, you'll know how difficult it can be to pry it out of them). It's one thing to admit you were wrong, but you have to back it up with an apology. The other person will appreciate it, even if they have a hard time hearing it at first. &quot;I'm so sorry I ever let this get out of hand&quot; can work wonders. It puts the responsibility on your shoulders, and that often makes the other person feel like they should take some of the blame too. &quot;No, no, it was my fault to.&quot; Hey, look at that, there's some kind of resolution taking shape.</p> <h2>8. Ask for Forgiveness</h2> <p>This is another opportunity for you to eat crow, and put the other person in a position of power. There is no shame in asking someone to forgive your former transgressions. You can be stubborn, and say point blank that you did nothing wrong, but that won't get you where you need to go. It can be as simple as &quot;can you ever forgive me for my actions?&quot;</p> <h2>9. Lay Down Guidelines</h2> <p>There can be no repeat of what happened before. The best way to avoid this is to simply lay down a few rules for the way ahead. &quot;We will no longer talk about x, y and z&quot; or &quot;please talk to me the second you see a concern&quot; is a simple way to establish some boundaries. Have regular check ups, and make sure everything is going along smoothly. Small problems can escalate into big ones, and before you know it that bridge is starting to smolder again.</p> <h2>10. Do Not Take This for Granted</h2> <p>This is now a new and fragile relationship, even though you may have known each other for many years. You cannot fall back into the same routine that resulted in a burned bridge. Don't go back into old habits. You may have joked about certain things that were okay back then, but will be off-limits now (especially if it's related to the incident that caused the rift). At work, you may have treated this person as a friend, even though they may have been your a superior. You need to respect those barriers now. Be friendly, open, accessible, and if it's in a work environment, be professional.</p> <p><em>Have you ever burned a bridge &mdash; and managed to repair it later? Please tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href=";;description=10%20Ways%20to%20Repair%20a%20Burned%20Bridge"></a></p> <script async defer src="//"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="" alt="10 Ways to Repair a Burned Bridge" width="250" height="374" /></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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="">12 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to Be a Better Friend</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="">6 Ways to Be a Better Friend Without Any Effort</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="">Fixing Mistakes: 7 Steps for Any Situation</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="">7 Everyday Situations That Introverts Ace</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="">11 Signs You Need to Dump Your Friend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development forgiveness friendship relationships rifts Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1245697 at One Thing You Need to Do to Be Happy and Improve Your Relationships <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/one-thing-you-need-to-do-to-be-happy-and-improve-your-relationships" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="forgiveness" title="forgiveness" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="153" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Few of us are naturally forgiving. We tend to hold on tightly to any slight, offense, or grievance directed our way.</p> <p>And what are the results of this behavior?</p> <p>It certainly isn't happiness. Positive emotions rarely accompany harbored pain. When you hold on to these negative inputs, the emotions you experience are closer to anger, frustration, fear, confusion, anxiety, bitterness, or betrayal.</p> <p>None of those sound very fun. So why do we hold on?</p> <p>For some of us, we believe these negative emotions are the fuel that keeps us going. It's us against the world, and the pain of our past propels us forward.</p> <p>For others, the pain isn't simply a past hurt. We bear the scars to this day. Whether those scars look like emotional dysfunction or physical injury, memories of the past are never far away.</p> <p>For many of us, we hold on simply because we don't know any better. We know we should let it go, but we don't know how. And if we're honest, we're not entirely convinced we even possess the ability to do so. What's the answer?</p> <h2>Let It Go</h2> <p>Regardless of your reasons for holding on, it is in your best interest to just let go. Consider these four reasons why.</p> <h3>1. We Walk the Direction We're Facing</h3> <p>Back in my high school football days, my tackling coach would always say, &quot;Don't watch the runner's head; watch his hips. He can try to fake you out with head movements all day, but his body is going whichever way the hips are facing.&quot;</p> <p>In the same way, we can say whatever we want, but our life is headed exactly in the direction our mind is facing. If your focus is on the hurts of your past, you'll relive them over and over again. If your focus is on becoming something, you'll inevitably become it. You will always find yourself becoming what you focus on.</p> <h3>2. There Is No Joy in Proving the &quot;World&quot; Wrong</h3> <p>For those with a chip on your shoulder, know this: There is no joy at the end of that road. When at last you reach the top, propelled by angry resolve to prove everyone wrong, you may find yourself alone.</p> <p>An &quot;average&quot; life, spent with people you love, is far more fulfilling than the highest achievements and accolades. I'm not saying don't be ambitious. I'm saying your joy at the top will be directly proportional to your intimacy with the community that gets you there.</p> <p>Let go of the pain. Let go of your pride. Open your heart back up to those who love you. Live and enjoy today, because it's impossible to enjoy tomorrow.</p> <h3>3. There Is Freedom in Forgiveness</h3> <p>Letting go is not about suppressing emotion. You must be able to grieve and experience the pain in order to find freedom. If you've held onto these emotions, find someone you trust, and then let it out.</p> <p>Once you have allowed yourself to fully feel the pain, forgive. Forgive those who hurt you. If necessary, forgive yourself. In doing so, you'll find that these memories no long hold the same power they once did. <a href="">Research has shown</a> forgiveness can actually lead to <em>forgetting </em>about the associated event. But even if you don't forget, letting go will free you from the chokehold your memories had over you.</p> <h3>4. Letting Go Is Good for Your Health</h3> <p>Believe it or not, unforgiveness actually takes a toll on your physical health. Numerous <a href="">psychological studies</a> have linked forgiveness with increased mental, emotional, and physical health. Psychosomatic researchers have long championed the connection between mind and body, but recently, studies by Stanford, the University of Wisconsin, Luther University, and many others have confirmed this connection.</p> <p>Your body is not built to withstand sustained stress. It is not capable of harboring extreme negative emotion without consequences. By letting go, you empty yourself of negative emotion, allowing room for the positive emotions you crave. You can't be angry and happy at the same time. You can't be stressed and at peace simultaneously. Letting go of one allows room for the other.</p> <p>Just let it go.</p> <p>When you let go, you remove control of your life from those who have wronged you, and you reassert yourself into that place of authority. When you let go of the negative emotions of life, you make room to experience the positive ones.</p> <p>If you focus on what's past, you're doomed to relive it. If you face your goals and place your focus on what is good, you'll find yourself inevitably moving in a positive direction.</p> <p><em>How do you let go of hurts, sleights, frustrations, and anger? Please let it go in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href=";;description=One%20Thing%20You%20Need%20to%20Do%20to%20Be%20Happy%20and%20Improve%20Your%20Relationships"></a></p> <script async defer src="//"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" alt="One Thing You Need to Do to Be Happy and Improve Your Relationships" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Jacob McMillen</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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-2"> <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="">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</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="">100 Small Things That Can Bring You Joy</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="">These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</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="">5 Ways Giving to Charity Is Good for You</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="">Big List of Things to be Happy About</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development forgiveness happiness letting go moving forward Fri, 06 Jun 2014 13:00:36 +0000 Jacob McMillen 1141954 at 21 Decisions You'll Never Regret Making <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/21-decisions-youll-never-regret-making" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman by ocean" title="woman by ocean" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="171" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Forget regret. Or life is yours to miss.&quot;</p> <p>That famous quote is plucked from the Tony Award-winning musical &quot;Rent,&quot; and it's absolutely accurate; spend too much time regretting things you've done or haven't done, and your life will pass you by.</p> <p>Rather, spend your time pursuing things that you'll never regret. Positive aspirations are learning experiences no matter how they turn out. Here are 21 that will only make you happier.</p> <h2>1. Advancing Your Education</h2> <p>It's not important what you're pursuing after you graduate high school &mdash; just that you're pursuing something. And when you do get a degree, a<span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">dvancing your education doesn't have to stop when you have a degree in your hand. It's a good idea to commit yourself to learning new things and continuing the pursuit of knowledge throughout your life. Whether it's a handy skill, a musical instrument, a new language, reading a book, starting a new career, or anything else that will stimulate your brain, it's important that you make learning a priority as long as you live. Opportunities arise for those who prove themselves time and again, and you don't want those doors to close when you reach them.</span></p> <h2>2. Putting Money Into Savings Every Time You Get Paid</h2> <p>My uncle used to tell me that I should put one-third of my paycheck into savings each pay period. Of course, I was 16 back then with money to burn, but that advice has stuck with me for half my life. As an adult with a lot of expenses, it's not always feasible to put one-third of my income into savings, but it is feasible, necessary, and critical to put <em>something</em> into savings each pay period. Even if it's just $50, it's $50 more than you had in your reserve the week before, and you'll be thankful when you need it.</p> <h2>3. Starting an IRA Early</h2> <p>One of my neighbors started an IRA when she was 19 years old, and at 27 &mdash; as a single professional woman &mdash; she's a proud condo owner in Manhattan. That's quite an accomplishment, and it's the result of planning early, saving religiously, and making smart career and financial decisions when she was starting out. If you haven't opened your IRA account yet, there's no time like the present.</p> <h2>4. Quitting Smoking</h2> <p>There's only one thing I regret in my life, and it's the very stupid decision to start smoking. I started smoking at 15 years old, and I'm 32 now. But I'm very pleased to say that I've recently kicked the habit &mdash; this time for good, I hope &mdash; and I'm starting to feel better by the day. I did it with the help of a prescribed smoking cessation medication, and if you're having trouble going cold turkey, I recommend consulting your doctor about doing the same. There's absolutely no way that you can regret giving up something that is literally killing you.</p> <h2>5. Using Coupons</h2> <p>When has saving more of your hard-earned money ever turned out poorly? It hasn't. Clip your coupons until you can't clip any more &mdash; then laugh all the way to the bank.</p> <h2>6. Pursuing Sobriety</h2> <p>If alcohol is a problem for you when you reach the point of inebriation, it's not a bad idea to think about getting sober. Life certainly won't be the party that it used to be, but with motivation, commitment, and a support system around you you'll start to revel in the joys of life that don't come in 40 proof. If you need more encouragement, just remember that sober people never cause drunken-driving accidents.</p> <h2>7. Doing a Good Deed for a Stranger</h2> <p>When has putting a smile on a stranger's faced upset your day? Never. Which is why you'll never regret taking a minute or two of your time to commit a random act of kindness. (See also: <a href="">100 Easy Ways to Brighten Someones Day</a>)</p> <h2>8. Thinking Before You Act</h2> <p>Hasty decisions sometimes have unexpected and unwanted results, but you'll lessen the chance of experiencing a negative invariable if you think before you act. Whether it's saying something that perhaps you shouldn't, mulling over an opportunity that you don't feel right about, or steering clear of known problem, take a few moments to weigh what you want to do versus what's best to do in any given situation.</p> <h2>9. Experiencing More Culture</h2> <p>Is there such a thing as being too cultured? I don't think so &mdash; which I why I try to travel as much as I can so I can experience the taste, sounds, sights, activities, and people of places all over the world. Our planet is huge; get out there and enjoy it!</p> <h2>10. Standing Your Ground and Saying No More Often</h2> <p>Have people in your life who take advantage of you? And when you give in to their manipulation, do you immediately feel bad about it? Put a stop to that nonsense today by standing up for yourself and saying no more often. Afterward, brush yo' shoulders off and go grab a milkshake. You deserve it.</p> <h2>11. Establishing Your Independence</h2> <p>In some situations, you have to give up some of your personal power &mdash; like at work, for instance &mdash; but for the most part you should be in control of yourself and your independence. If someone is holding you back, keeping you down, or you're otherwise relying on someone else for anything, you need to nip that in the bud. The only way you'll ever experience true happiness is if you're the only person to whom you have to answer.</p> <h2>12. Putting Yourself First</h2> <p>Unless you're a parent, you shouldn't be putting anybody's needs or wellbeing before your own. Kids need you to care for them; mobile, competent adults do not. If you find that you're consistently putting others happiness before your own, reevaluate that situation and start making changes that will result in your own happiness. Those hangers-on will have to figure out the rest for themselves.</p> <h2>13. Saying &quot;I Love You&quot; and &quot;I'm Sorry&quot; When You Mean It</h2> <p>This is one of those things that if you <em>don't</em> do it, you may regret it. Life is short, and none of us is promised another day. Show affection and apologize as often as necessary, so you don't have to live the rest of your life carrying the burden of avoidable guilt.</p> <h2>14. Living in the Moment</h2> <p>What's done is done; leave the past in the past. The only thing you can do now is learn from those experiences, move forward, seize today. You'll find life much more enjoyable when you live it in the now.</p> <h2>15. Maintaining a Work/Life Balance</h2> <p>What are you working for if you can't enjoy the fruits of your labor? That's not to say that you should blow all the money you make, but you also don't have to go to the other extreme and hoard all your money so that you never have any fun. Outside of the financial aspect, there's also a physical, mental, and emotional balance you should maintain. If your work is affecting your personal life, it's time to think about making a change to even things out.</p> <h2>16. Enjoying Your Youth</h2> <p>I had a lot of fun when I was younger &mdash; for a reason: I didn't want to be married with kids and still have wild oats to sow. Now I can relax in the knowledge that I enjoyed life to the fullest when I didn't have many responsibilities so that I don't have any regrets now. My advice? Be silly and stupid and make mistakes; you're only young once.</p> <h2>17. Eating Healthy and Exercising</h2> <p>Living a sedentary lifestyle and stuffing your face with poor food choices will result in a number of complications as you age. Weight gain, health problems, emotional issues, and more will become a daily struggle eventually. That doesn't mean you can never have a cheeseburger, but you should swap out more of the bad stuff and replace it with more of the good. Exercise for at least 30 minutes at least three times a week and eat healthier. Granted, this lifestyle doesn't guarantee that you won't face health issues, but at least you're giving your body the best chance to avoid them and fight them.</p> <h2>18. Learning a New Language</h2> <p>How could you ever regret learning to converse with a whole new culture of people? It's impossible, which is why you should start now. (See also: <a href="">The 3 Best Language Apps</a>)</p> <h2>19. Taking Your Relationship Slowly</h2> <p>Unless you're in your 80s, there's no reason to rush into a relationship. So many problems can (and often do) arise between couples that get married too hastily or before moving in together and really getting to know one another. Take your relationship slow so you can experience the highs and lows together, and decide if this is the person you want to love unconditionally and sometimes hate more than anybody in the world all in the same day.</p> <h2>20. Purging Negative People From Your Life</h2> <p>Get rid of those people who are bringing you down. Whether it's a family member who verbally abuses you, a co-worker who takes advantage of your kindness, a friend who you invite out but who never returns the favor, or somebody on Facebook who's always posting their drama, say goodbye to the negativity once and for all.</p> <h2>21. Treating Yourself Every Once in a While</h2> <p>Every day shouldn't be a splurge day, but we all deserve to treat ourselves every now and then. Set a goal, save up, and find joy in whatever luxury or material item it is that makes you happy. There's nothing wrong with it when you've earned it. Go get it. (See also: <a href="">20 Free and Fun Ways to Reward Yourself</a>)</p> <p><em>Have more suggestions for things that you'll never regret doing? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href=";;description=21%20Decisions%20Youll%20Never%20Regret%20Making"></a></p> <script async defer src="//"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="" alt="21 Decisions You'll Never Regret Making" width="250" height="374" /></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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-3"> <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="">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</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="">Change Your Life by Learning How to Admit You&#039;re Wrong</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="">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</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="">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</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="">20 Free and Fun Ways to Reward Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development forgiveness living right regret Mon, 05 May 2014 09:00:20 +0000 Mikey Rox 1137923 at 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="" 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="">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="!/Ari_sherbill">Rabbi Ari Sherbill</a> of <a href="">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="">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="">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="">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> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href=";;description=Letting%20Go%3A%208%20Steps%20to%20Forgiveness"></a></p> <script async defer src="//"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" alt="Letting Go: 8 Steps to Forgiveness" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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="">You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language</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="">How to Get and Give Honest Feedback</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="">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</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="">10 Ways to Repair a Burned Bridge</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="">25 Ways to Communicate Better Today</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 Five Free Ways to Improve Your Life <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="" 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 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="">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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-5"> <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="">Are You Letting FOMO Ruin Your Finances?</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="">Letting Go: 8 Steps to Forgiveness</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="">8 Morning Mantras That’ll Help Keep Your Finances on Track</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="">9 Ways Getting Married Is Good for Your Finances</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="">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 The things that money just can't buy <p><img src="" alt="peace" title="peace" width="300" height="224" /></p> <p>After reading Ed&#39;s post about <a href="/do-you-have-what-you-want-and-do-you-want-what-you-have">Afluenza</a> , I began thinking long and hard about what I have in my life that really matters to me. It&#39;s all very well keeping up with the Joneses, but at the end of the day it really doesn&#39;t mean anything. I was talking to a fireman a few months ago and he said that time after time, the things people run back into a blazing house for are not valuable (as far as other people are concerned). It&#39;s not the big-screen TV or the gold Rolex. No, it&#39;s the family photo albums, the teddy bear granny gave you 30 years ago, or the love letters from your sweetheart who is now your loving partner. </p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>So really, what are the things in life that truly matter? What is it that we&#39;re all searching for, and that no amount of money can buy? I think I have a list. It may not be the list you would attribute to yourself, it may not even be complete as far as you&#39;re concerned. But I think most of us would like the things contained within my list. And there&#39;s not a shiny Porsche or a 4000 sq ft house anywhere on it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Love<br /></strong>I would be a fool not to put it first. I think at the end of the day, no amount of money and &#39;stuff&#39; can fill the void left by a lack of real love. Let&#39;s be clear, I&#39;m not talking about the kind of love you can get by flashing your BMW key fob at a bar in the hopes of trading money for a soul-mate (who&#39;ll leave you as soon as the money runs out). It&#39;s the love you get from your partner, when you look into his or her eyes and feel whole, safe and secure. It&#39;s the love of your child, hugging you for dear life and begging you not to go to work today. It&#39;s love that comes with no strings. Unconditional. Rich or poor. Good times and bad. If I were to measure my wealth by the love I get from my wife, my daughters and my close family, well, I&#39;d be right up there with Mr. Gates. </p> <p><strong>Respect</strong><br />Once again, as with many things on this list, you can buy a version of respect. Of course you can. The fawning that store-owners will do around wealthy people (remember the Pretty Woman scene?) could be taken as respect. Or the suck-ups in the office who&#39;ll do anything to get the attention of the big boss; that could also be considered as respect. But is it? It&#39;s a simple solve. Take away the money and power and is the respect still there? Sometimes it is. I&#39;ve had some great bosses, with amazing hearts and awe-inspiring values. Rich or poor, I&#39;d be tipping my head with respect. I&#39;ve also had complete egotistical maniac bosses, surrounded by people with venom in their eyes and hate filling their souls. Take the power and money away from my last boss and there&#39;d be people waiting in line to kick this guy where it hurts. Respect has to be earned, not bought. You actions define it, and your history with people is key. Be honest, be true, and treat others as you yourself would like to be treated. Be fair, be kind, be strong, be thoughtful and be inspiring. Respect will follow, whether you&#39;ve got $6 billion in the bank, or $60. </p> <p><strong>Friendship</strong><br />I was once told that the friends you keep are a good indication of what kind of person you are. I took a look at my close circle of friends, and I was quite happy with what I saw. Funny, honest, caring, genuine people. The kind of people that make you happy to go to work every day. The folks that would give you their last dime if you needed it. I don&#39;t have a lot of friends. But every one of them is a great person with a kind heart. If you want, you can buy friendships as easily as you can buy a new suit. But those kind of friends will not stick by you through bad times. Most won&#39;t even stay through mediocre times. So, take a look at the people who really mean the world to you. Think of the people you&#39;d want by you when times are a little rough. You&#39;ll see that those kind of friends are absolutely priceless. </p> <p><strong>Forgiveness</strong><br />I&#39;m talking about true forgiveness here, not the kind you get for muttering a half-hearted apology under your breath (while giving a cheap gift you picked up at the drug store). Real forgiveness for something bad you&#39;ve done can&#39;t be bought. You can&#39;t bribe someone to forget the past. I doubt even Donald Trump, with all his supposed billions, could buy the forgiveness of anyone he&#39;s truly wounded deeply. The only way to get it, if you&#39;re going to get it at all, is by earning it. By proving that you not only feel genuinely bad about what you did, but also that their forgiveness means everything to you. Try handing over $10,000 and saying &quot;hey, I&#39;m sorry I slept with your best friend and your the same time.&quot; </p> <p><strong>Happiness</strong><br />Yes, it&#39;s a cliche. I think that a severe lack of money can make you unhappy, but I&#39;d say that no amount of money can make you genuinely happy. I&#39;ve read stories of lottery winners who wished they&#39;d never seen a dime. Their friends turned on them, they were harrassed day and night. How many rich celebs are in rehab or seeing therapists because they are unhappy? &quot;More money, more problems&quot; seems so often the case. Now, don&#39;t get me wrong. I&#39;m not saying I wouldn&#39;t like a little more cash. But I&#39;m already happy with my life. I love my family, my friends, my job. But if you&#39;re sat there thinking money will make everything great, and if you only had $1 million you&#39;d be so much happier, I&#39;m fairly positive that the short-lived elation will be replaced by depression soon enough. </p> <p><strong>Talent</strong><br />I struggled with this one for a while. After all, I&#39;d hate to stop parents putting their kids through piano classes, art classes, singing lessons and so on. But I genuinely believe that true talent cannot be bought, only improved upon. Take a look at the infamous Paris Hilton to see that no amount of money could make her a good singer or actress. And yet musicians, sports stars and actors around the world often emerge from very poor backgrounds. I myself have no real talent for grammar or prose (you simply need to read any of my posts to see that I am far from eloquent). But I do have a way of motivating people, which is why I landed a job in advertising. My wife is pursuing a career in photography because both myself and my friends saw in her a natural talent. An eye for a great picture. The technical stuff, that can be learned and paid for through classes. But raw that&#39;s not for sale at any price (sorry Mr. Federline, you can&#39;t pick it up at WalMart on special).</p> <p><strong>Immortality </strong><br />Obviously no-one can live forever. But people try and live on through art, literature, music and other such pursuits. Sure, you can erect a giant statue of yourself or buy a whole bunch of buildings (Mr. Trump is constantly trying to buy his way into the history books). But in the end, it&#39;s not money but our actions that can get us ever-lasting life. The great thinkers and musicians of our time did not purchase a ticket to fame...they earned it. From Einstein to The Beatles, Archimedes to Mozart, real immortality comes not from a big pile of gold but huge pile of talent and perseverence.</p> <p><strong>Peace </strong><br />I saved the biggest till last. Peace cannot come from a fat wallet or bank vault. Real peace comes from ideas. Talking, thinking, and being empathetic and understanding every single day can bring about more peace than any money could ever buy. If we were all just a little more tolerant of other people, a little more forgiving and a little less obsessed with the mighty dollar, we may just see that money really isn&#39;t what life is all about. It&#39;s about loving your neighbor, caring for your family and telling your friends how much they mean to you. It&#39;s not going to solve world hunger immediately, it&#39;s not going to put an end to the war in Iraq. But at the end of the day, if we could all just see that we&#39;re not all that different and our petty squabbles are just that, then maybe we could move an inch closer to Nirvana here on Earth. </p> <p>I know this whole post has made me wide open to all sorts of comments and criticism, but I&#39;ll take it all in my stride. Is it so bad to want things to be better? And is it really so bad to say that the biggest and best things in your life don&#39;t have to cost you a penny? Now that&#39;s what living large on a small budget is all about my friends. Peace out.</p> <p><a href=""><em>Inspiring photo from The Stock Exchange </em></a> </p> <p><a href=""><em> </em></a> </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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-6"> <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="">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</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="">What Does Being Rich Mean to You Anyway?</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="">Dissecting &quot;Gift Guilt&quot; - When Does Receiving a Gift Make You Feel Bad?</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="">How Much Should Your Kids Know About Your Finances?</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="">9 Ways Money Does Buy Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle forgiveness friends happiness love money peace respect talent wealth Mon, 25 Jun 2007 04:19:43 +0000 Paul Michael 762 at