Tag Archives: parents

Commitment Anxiety

Anxiety Commitments“Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They’ll stay faithful as long as it’s safe and doesn’t involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going.”    Charles Stanley

“When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraged because you’re making a commitment and difference in that person’s life. Encouragement really does make a difference.”    Zig Ziglar

“Love, above all things, is a commitment to your choice.” ―Rob Liano

“The truest form of love is how you behave toward someone, not how you feel about them.”
― Steve Hal

Commitment always brings on the fear. Just the word will make most of us cringe. I think women as well as men, are nervous when they hear the word spoken. As much as I am a spontaneous person, and always willing to go along with someone’s agenda, I hate to be tied down to commitments of any kind. I even  end my doctors visits, upon receiving the card for my next appointment, with the words, “I’ll call and change it if I can’t make it.” I can’t remember many times I had to change it, but the  relief I feel, knowing I can switch it, is a stress reliever.

Because I spend a lot of time contemplating my feelings, and the emotions of others, I do think about why we all worry about commitments. Maybe it begins during childhood, when we have to clean up our room, or we don’t get to have a friend over, or we don’t go outside. Even adults recall the set times they had for homework, as well as the struggle to keep grades within the free of criticism zone, .

I get the feeling that obligations conjure  fear and worry that we might fail. As we  mature we are anxious about maintaining friendships, preserving bonds of love for our spouses and  marriages. Those vows  become even harder to maintain and the stress increases. Maybe that is the point of time we begin to mention the transgressions  of others, so that our own mistakes diminish. We convince ourselves, and attempt to convince others, that we are not really as bad as the folks over there.

Children are a natural add on and break the bank with stress. Now we really have to grow up and become an adult. I find that many times one is catching up on duties and responsibilities. We listen to others,  and get involved  with many activities, to ensure our kids will be pleased. There  is a lot of importance placed on their fitting in  with their peer groups. We turn to the media to discuss our problems, and receive more advice, than we could  ever have time  to read. It appears that as soon as one person hits upon an achievable and worthy solution, everyone  jumps on the wagon. We breathe a sigh of  relief feeling that the answer has been given. Of course there are times when nothing works for every situation.

When kids get into a predicament of any kind, we step back, reflect, and hope one of the solutions works. When it doesn’t, we must rethink. Now the stress which actually never left us in the  first place, renews itself and drags us down. I would venture to say that at this point we are discouraged and wondering what went wrong. We followed the  rules, and advice, to the best of our ability, and we took care of the kids and bills  etc.

Perhaps our spouse appears to have changed in numerous ways. When did this happen. Our kids seem ungrateful and disrespectful. Our parents are aging and  demanding. Our kids  are maturing and moving on, working or attending college. They hardly speak  to us. Now we are loaded down with responsibilities, which are the results of all of our obligations. We understand what promises  are,  what they mean, how they impact our lives, and why we hate them.

I can’t leave myself at this place, so I contemplate the  whole ball of wax, up to this time in my life. It was a surprise to discover, that all of it was the  result of my own expectations, and ideas regarding commitments. Promises are not chains to bind us, restrain us, force us to pay bills, or suffer consequences. Parents don’t have kids, so that they will be cared for in their old age. Marriages were never begun with a rule book, and consequences for failing to live up to expectations. Most of our vows or commitments were made out of love.

Now I am thinking what is the reality behind our lives, and how do we live, laugh, have fun, and find time for love. That almost  appears to be fantasy, but perhaps life is the way we see it. If we had absolutely nothing, the entire world would be a wonderful place, as long as  we  received love from others. Our hearts would be bursting  with pleasure and joy. We would feel care and empathy,  because the gift of love is without attachments. There is no necessity to repay. We perhaps keep our commitments to love, out of love and not force. It somehow makes pledges a pleasure to keep.

Basically,  by being more mindful of what we have, and what we receive, we increase our happiness. I suggest the importance of reflecting on what is right in our lives, and what is  precious and worth holding on to. Perhaps  we have forgotten the  real reasons our parents pressured us to study and do homework. They wanted us capable and ready to enjoy the world through our knowledge. Most likely a better job, or developing a talent, that would help us to survive in a difficult world, was high on their agendas.

I think when we fall in love, it provides us with the  profound feeling of worthiness. Another person convinces us that we are special, unique and worthy of love. Of course being spiritual beings should help us to be aware of all of that, but  somehow perhaps we lose the knowledge.  It can be rekindled, by someone who cares about us, and showers love upon us. We get so busy with our lives, we forget to nurture that fire of love. It is still there, but perhaps needs to be  rekindled, and stoked with compliments. Even children thrive on encouragement.

Kids are  awesome but they take our time, energy and love. Many times they take these precious gifts for granted. We accept the insults, because we love unconditionally and are loved unconditionally. As difficult as life can get, when we have kids, our life has great meaning. Raising kids is the most worthy, and powerful job, we will ever accomplish. We are sending our beloved children into the world, to spread more love. We have an awesome job. Love grows as it is given away.

Worry and fear make us dread sharing our friends. We believe they would prefer another over us. Deep down we must accept the truth, that we are worthy of another person’s love. If we believe this, then it allows our friendships to be free and opened. Releasing our bonds encompasses more individuals. Parents might unwittingly pit one sibling against another. Upon maturity we can consider the fact, especially if we are parents, that all kids are loveable. The pain and stress occurs, when parents compare their  children. Competition hinders the emotional security of children, and causes jealousies and rivalries to begin.

Marriages require attention. I don’t mean one must get  away for the weekend, although that might be nice. The small thoughtful gestures, and remarks, enhance the love. Money is not going to ever buy real love. Honest love must be cultivated, with emotional attachments of kindness through words and actions. Just being aware of someone’s hurt and pain, brings comfort to them. Being  mindful is important in marriage. If we are tuned into the one we love, we become concerned with emotional states and mannerisms.  It generates understanding from every movement. If we are too busy to notice the innuendos, love diminishes.

It is not always enough to simply say I love you, to parents, kids or spouses. Others must sense the faith in those words. This comes from paying attention to each other. When we have accomplished that, we will have improved all of our relationships in a deeper way. The stress, worry and fear, will dissipate somewhat, and the sense of contentment and security will strengthen. We might find we enjoy so much more, and our senses will become alive with the wonder of the surrounding world. Our lives may continue to be busy, but we will leave room  always, for the important things in  life, which are free.  Focus on love, serenity, and mindfulness, rather than commitments and obligations.

 “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” Thích Nhat Hạnh

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will  grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change”  Thích Nhất Hạnh

Displaying Weakness

Displaying Weakness“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”    Mother Teresa

“Life is strong and fragile. It’s a paradox… It’s both things, like quantum physics: It’s a particle and a wave at the same time. It all exists all together.” Joan Jett

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and  reflect.” Mark Twain

I will hurt inside, cry later in the privacy of my home, laugh at the absurdity, and never show my sensitivity to those who are deliberately attempting to bring me pain. When I release my hurt and agonize alone, I actually feel the vulnerability dissipate and the strength replace the anguish. I truly stand taller and although the ache is still within, the knowledge of my power to overcome such pain is a relief.

Sometimes I wonder if the person or people who hurt me are aware of what they did. Perhaps they don’t always intend to bring  judgement and pain but when they assume they comprehend another person, they begin tossing out the insults to tame and keep someone else in line. In the process they mentally diminish the person they focus on. Most likely they may not have meant to perpetrate such action so profoundly, and in such a disturbing and crushing manner.

Probably we have all been at the receiving end of such interactions. We likely have all been ostracized from groups or discussions for one reason or another. Let’s face it, if you don;t agree with the majority simply bowing out of the group is the best answer, if you want to save your dignity and or sensitivity. Some people don’t like to listen to another idea that is different from theirs.

Sometimes those who get hurt are the first ones to venture into another discussion at a later time in order to build their own self-esteem  and confidence. They are ready for the battle and equipped to demolish the opposing rivals. This of course leads to more suffering and a false sense of a gain in prestige. Whenever we make a point at the expense of another we are not aiding anyone including ourselves. If we want collaboration and cooperation which leads to peace, we must think of other ways to ease our hurt egos and sensitive spirits.

When we speak harshly to our children we crush their spirits. Even when they are doing something wrong,  it does not ever give us the right to smash their frail egos and sensitive natures. When a child lives  with harshness they learn to harden their shells. In the process their flames of empathy and kindness dim and eventually go out. I ponder the reasons we have for inflicting pain in order to display a false sense of being in control.

Perhaps it begins with the parental choice of domination and discipline. Although most parents admit they love their kids unconditionally, actions speak louder than words. If the parents verbal onslaught and physical aggression reduces the child’s control and confidence then it will also reduce the child’s sense of being loved. That is a harsh but true accusation. Reality is never pretty but we all grow from facing truth.

I reflect on the notion that the seeds for bullying begin from such tactics. Just like people who are wounded at a gathering of any kind including workplaces, feel the need to attack and get back their honor and self-respect, so to does a child require a boost in control of their lives by inflicting pain on a lesser individual. When we are all attempting  to find fault and blame  we might search and find our answers within our own actions.

Nobody likes a put down and everyone wants respect. It is so simple a theory. Kids are no exception. The worst issue for kids is that they are crushed by the people they love the most. It certainly makes one think and rethink how they handle children. Even  teachers who find it necessary to blast a loud voice at kids for misbehaving, must also  reevaluate how they are teaching and what they are teaching.

If adults don’t like domination and jurisdiction then neither do kids. Of course many  times we can’t change the  way things are so we are left with how to deal with such incidences. The best but most difficult answer is to walk away. That is not always an option for most of us. The next option is to speak your mind clearly and distinctly and then hold your temper and malice when others share thoughts that  are demeaning and cutting to what you had to offer.

I for one admit that many times those of us who get swallowed up in a disagreement actually have followers  who are silent. There are others who won’t admit publicly, that they share  our thoughts. It doesn’t help us at the time of the disagreement but it gives one food for thought. People never want to fight with the more powerful or  louder opponent. Nobody desires confrontation. Silence doesn’t always mean agreement. It simply means one recognizes the control within the situation and refuses to add fuel to the blaze.

Now I can leave a disagreement knowing that even if I have publicly lost the argument, I don’t have to wallow in my own self-pity. Losing doesn’t result in a change in opinion or a lowering of my self-esteem. As a matter of fact, there are times when I believe it gives honor to me and anyone who brings food for thought to the table. I guess we must get over the strong affront from others who many times are in a foul mood or pushing  an alternate agenda. Those in power are always feeling threatened by others who differ from them. Having this knowledge gives us courage to speak up regardless of the abuse we may acquire. Truth and reality gives all of us a fresh breath of air and sunshine.

Children thrive better when disciplined with love consistency and meaningful consequences. It is also  wise to listen to a child’s reasons for outbursts and physical behavior. It doesn’t mean we approve of  the behavior just because we aloud them to speak. At times it enlightens us to a problem we may not have noticed or were not aware of. Knowledge always brings more power and understanding to any situation. You don’t want to be the parent who is basically saying, “I am hitting you for hitting another. I don’t want you hitting now but when yo are grown feel free to hit your kids.”

Perhaps by placing ourselves in an others shoes we might see the situation through their eyes and come to understand the paradoxical problem we have when we get hurt and then hurt others. Unless we nurture and inspire more empathy we will raise warring, rather than caring people.

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”  Mohandas Gandi

   “Anyone can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success. ” Oscar Wilde

“To be angry is to let others’ mistakes punish yourself. ”  Master Cheng Yen

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value. He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives.”  Albert Einstein

“Only he who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible.”  Miguel Unamuno

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”     Abraham Lincoln

“We find comfort among those who agree with us, and growth among those who don’t.” Frank A. Clark

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” Bertrand Russell

Knowledge is proud she knows so much; wisdom is humble that she knows no more.” William Cowper

Value Has A Place

Value“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”    Martin Luther King.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”    Plato

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”    George Bernard Shaw

From Book “Mother-In-Law Daughter-In Law Dilemma

Consideration should always be granted to another person. A mother-in-law‟s fairness to her daughter-in-law is out of respect for her son, and a daughter-in-law‟s fairness to her mother-in-law is out of respect for her husband. We need to saturate our hearts with appreciation, deliberation, and honor. Treating another person decently or compassionately is demonstrating regard. It is acceptable to give others respect, but it is necessary to first be aware of anothers existence.

There are times when we simply do not see others or their needs and desires. Becoming mindful of other people and their wishes can plant the seeds for nurturing and respect. Many times we are not cognizant of the countless behaviors we exhibit that offend others. We hurt others by our actions or what we say. It requires practice to focus attention on others. Tuning into another‟s circumstance of the mind permits us to empathize with what they might be pondering or feeling.

A mother-in-law might be unaware that her daughter-in-law has been up all night with a crying baby. If a daughter-in-law shares this information with her mother-in-law, the mother-in-law can show consideration for and assist her daughter-in-law. A mother-in-law can simply be a sounding board for her daughter-in-law’s com-plaints. A mother-in-law can allow her daughter-in-law to defuse her frustration by simply listening to her concerns.

A daughter-in-law should key into her mother-in-law’s complaints. Her mother-in-law may not always feel well. A daughter-in-law might consider all of this before judging her mother-in-law’s frame of mind. Sometimes through common sense we demonstrate respect. Helping a daughter-in-law cope with her children is considerate. Helping a moth-er-in-law clear off a table is appreciative. The little things mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law do for each other creates the bonds of respect they have for each other. Showing respect is also necessary when discussing our dissimilar opinions. We can reject our mother-in-law‟s concepts for decorating, spending money, or child rearing without rejecting her. We can never be too sure that our way is the better way for doing things just because it is the current thinking.

Mothers-in-law can reject their daughters-in-law’s concepts for working, spending money, dressing, or taking care of the children without rejecting their daughters-in-law. Give your daughter-in-law credit for venturing into the unknown and attempting to apply a new concept. You may feel it necessary to wear lace to a wedding; your daughter-in-law may wear pants or a skirt. You cannot tell her how to dress.

Research shows there are complaints from daughters-in-law when mothers-in-law visit unexpectedly. Daughters-in-law prefer formal invitations. Some mothers-in-law complain that they never get invited to their daughter-in-law‟s house for dinner. If they do get invited, the meal is thrown together from a box. Other mothers-in-law stated that if they just dropped by unexpectedly, they got a cold shoulder. They did not feel welcome. Some mothers-in-law felt like intruders.

The daughters-in-law complained that they worked a full-time job and had children to contend with. If they invited their mothers-in-law, they did not cook too much because they are not “gourmet cooks.” Some daughters-in-law stated that their mothers-in-law stopped by unexpectedly to spy on them and to catch them and their house in complete disarray. One daughter-in-law stated, “She just wants to check up on my house-cleaning habits and cooking ability.”

The truth for both mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law lies someplace in the middle. If a mother-in-law or a daughter-in-law is trying to find imperfections, then they will easily find them without much effort. There are imperfections in the best of us, but also worthiness in the worst of us. Respect requires the ability to ignore anothers shortcomings. If we display appreciation for another, we might be more considerate in our judgments and opinions. By being aware of someone’s struggles, we may connect on a higher level with that person and recognize his or her worth. If we appreciate another‟s challenges, it may conceivably allow us to appreciate them.

The daughter-in-law should not be expected to produce a gourmet meal. Many mothers-in-law agreed that boxed pizza was just fine as long as they got an invitation to come over.  They felt the company was the best. Likewise, the daughters-in-law agreed that an unexpected visit now and again was okay, provided there was a refrain of criticism. Both factions wished for pleasant conversation.

“Nobody as long as he moves about among the currents of life, is without trouble.”
Carl Jung

“While on a walk one day, I was surprised to see a man hoeing his garden while sitting in his chair. What laziness! I thought. But suddenly I saw leaning against his chair, a pair of crutches. The man was at work despite his handicap. The lessons I learned about snap judgments that day have stayed with me for years now.

VIGNETTE

Cassie was an easy woman to talk to. She began her rendition of her mother-in-law, Nancy. Cassie had been married to Sean for over ten years. Cassie had a twinkle in her eyes every time Nancy‟s name was mentioned. Cassie recalled and retold a couple of funny and interesting stories. Her lush plants were obvious, and Cassie recalled one particular account about her plants and her mother-in-law. Cassie began her account with an amusing smile.When Cassie and Sean were first married, they lived a short distance from Nancy. Cassie remembered how busy she was at that time with young children. Cassie loved plants, but she admitted, at times, she forgot to water them. Her mother-in-law was had a green thumb.

When Nancy would stop by for a visit, she would pull out all of the brown, dead leaves and water Cassie‟s plants. Nancy would then instruct Cassie on how to take better care of them. If Nancy came unexpectedly and Cassie had piles of laundry all over the kitchen floor, Nancy just stepped over them and made her way to a chair without blinking an eye or losing a step. Nancy never mentioned the dirty laundry. Cassie laughed. Nancy would invite Cassie to lunch. Nancy always chose the restaurant, but she allowed Cassie to have veto power. Cassie recalled using her veto power only once. Nancy had chosen a fish restaurant, and Cassie hated fish. That particular time they chose a restaurant they both agreed on.

Cassie always had three plants hanging in the den by the window, full of brown leaves and drooping green ones. Cassie mentioned her busy schedule. She drew attention to the three plants and recollected how they were looking about as attractive as they had the day her mother-in-law decided to come for an unexpected visit.  She called Cassie the day before she planned on visiting. Cassie hung up the phone and studied her three sick plants. Cassie was not in the mood for an instruction, so she marched to the garden shop and bought three plants just like her dying ones,  and replaced them.”
hem

The next day, Cassie hung up the plants, picked up the house, and waited for her mother-in-law to arrive. When Nancy walked into the front room and spotted the fully green plants, she remarked how beautiful they were. Nancy then turned to her daugh-ter-in-law and said, “You must have just bought them.” Cassie was shocked. She stared at her mother-in-law, and then they both burst out laughing. For the rest of the visit, if either woman mentioned the plants, they had another laugh.

Cassie spoke with love about Nancy. Cassie said how Nancy always went on vacation with them. Nancy would babysit while Cassie and Sean went out by themselves. The only drawback to having Nancy on vacation was that she had to sit in the front seat of the car with Sean. Nancy would get car sick if she didn’t sit up front, although Cassie had never seen Nancy get carsick. Cassie chuckled. Her amusing stories were inspiring. They proved that the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law could manage a compatible relationship with honesty, understanding, respect, and a dose of humor.

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.”
The Reverend Jesse Jackson

“It is not good for all your wishes to be fulfilled; through sickness; you recognize the value of health, through evil; the value of good; through a hunger; satisfaction; through exertion, the value of rest.”    Greek book of wisdom

The crosses people bear are seldom in plain sight.”
Annette Ashe

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each others life.”    Richard Bach

“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”
Albert Einstein

Potency Of Actions

Potency Of Actions“If your relationship to the present moment is not right- nothing can ever be right in the future-because when the future comes it’s the present moment.”     Eckhart Tolle

You find peace, not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.”    Eckhart Tolle

“Anything that you  resent or strongly react to in another, is also in you.”    Eckhart Tolle

I am not being critical as some of my knowledge comes from my own experience. It is vitally relevant that we comprehend, myself included, how we go about teaching our kids the many things we desire to see in them. If we sense our kids are not very empathetic, perhaps we should check on our own empathy towards others. If we never demonstrate any care of others then it will not be found in our kids.

Offering a food cart to another before retrieving one for ourselves allows kids to observe empathy or mindfulness in action. It demonstrates in a simple way, our concern for another person rather than ourselves first. There are numerous times we display agitation at waiting for prescriptions or a doctor’s visit. WE get angy at people in the office. Some of us even take it out on these people. They are simply trying to do a job. Our attitude is only adding to their stress. We can be a stress reliever by acknowledging we are aware of the long wait but understand it is likely necessary and unavoidable.

Teaching kids to be grateful is another concern. It is absurd to say, “My kids are so ungrateful. I do all kinds of running around for them yet they don’t even care. To top it off they fight with me.” I agree that is not very nice but how many of us have spent years disagreeing with parents and fighting in anger. We probably go for days months and years not speaking to them. We don’t stop to say, “Oh my parenst spent years working hard to pay the bills as they took care  of me.” It is as if we believe we have the right to treat them shoddily because we are an adult now. We have responsiblilities and worries that they don’t know about. It is so much harder for us, so we think. Our parents wrongdoing to us seems to outweigh any wrongdoing we are guilty of regarding our own kids. Even if it is true, forgiving and peace is often a better choice.

Maybe it is true that we can do more spend more and even understand more than our parents did. However,  one day when our kids look back on what we did and didn’t do, hopefully they won’t judge us as harshly as we judged our own parents. We get back what we put out. We get back what we teach. It isn’t like one day we wake up and say to ourselves I think I’ll teach my child about honesty, love, kindness, humility, perseverance or tolerance. They are learning each of these virtues on any given day. We must demonstrate such virtues or perhaps our kids will ignore them the way do.

So much is stressed about manners and even talk about mindfulness being taught at schools. It all sounds wonderful but you can’t always teach it. Talk means nothing. Demonstration means everything. When parents demonstrate with actions, their concern for others, it registers in the mind and processes in the heart. Schools can reinforce these attributes but they can’t reach the hearts of the children as easily as parents are able to do.

I remember a teacher saying to a class I was in, ‘If I could just unscrew the top of your head and then pour all of the knowledge into your head my job would be so easy.” I suppose the same is true about righteousness and morality. If we are not wary of what we are actually teaching kids or baking, then when the bread is raised and done, the end result might surprise us. This is likewise true for kids. This is one thing not easily taught because it requires our attention and mindfulness of our own thoughts, actions and words.

It is no surprise that kids from divorced homes have trouble with love and trust. Their lives were disrupted, tossed into turmoil, and cut apart at the heart. Grandparents, aunts, uncles cousins and even parents are many times separated from them. Unconditional love ends up becoming conditional. Feelings of loss as well as jealousy creep in towards step brothers and sisters. It is likely,  inevitable in most instances. We don’t understand why they become angry and rebellious. As we have less time money and love to give, it is more difficult to express our love for them.

Kids love their parents unconditionally. They forgive but they will mature into a similar version of what we are. Teaching trust makes it necessary for us to exhibit forms of trust in our own relationships. Stability and endurance require us to accept commitment and forgiveness in our own lives. If we exemplify these virtues in our own lives, likely we have a good chance at witnessing it in our kids lives.

Gratitude is an awesome feeling. We have so much yet choose to deliberately focus on the negative of what we don’t have. When we have love we have all  we need. We can get through obstacles. Instruct your kids to be thankful for what they have in their lives including the people such as mom and dad and grandparents and aunts uncles and cousins. They are priceless. Stay connected even if those people are irritating at times. We are all annoying at times. If I can accept your annoying behavior then perhaps you can accept mine. That is how it works.

Mindfulness is a virtue and it can be learned through demonstration, as can anything worth knowing. I know now how much better it is to try to be tolerant of the failings of family and friends. They bring another dimension to my life that can’t be replaced by another. When I start recalling my parents and siblings shortcomings, I work hard to put on the brakes. I know I am being overly critical and I am aware of how much good is in all of them. I would rather express and point out the goodness I find in the family rather than their faults. I hope that one day they will return the favor.

It is so easy to release the fighting and fault finding. We never feel good after such an experience. How renewed we feel after a family episode. If we feel love in our hearts our kids are sure to learn it easily without any effort on our part. We don’t want our kids picking up on distrust anger resentment or fear. Better they learn trust, serenity joy and assurance of the presence of love.

Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.”    Nhat Hanh

“If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you; I came to live out loud.”      Emile  Zola

Turning Disappointment Into Acceptance

resentment“Family dinners are more often than not an ordeal of nervous indigestion, preceded by hidden resentment and ennui and accompanied by psychosomatic jitters.”    M. K. Fisher

“The man who is anybody and who does anything is surely going to be criticized, vilified, and misunderstood. This is a part of the penalty for greatness, and every great man understands it; and understands, too, that it is no proof of greatness. The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure contumely without resentment.”    Elbert Hubbard

I find the thing that brings the most heartache and pain is disappointment. Every day there is so much need to face discouraging situations. At home it is frustrating if we feel the workload is not fairly divided. At this time loading the dishwasher which wasn’t suppose to be  our job, gets irritating with every dish. Perhaps the job isn’t as hard as our anger at having to do it.

Our husband or wife are expected to be home early for a nice meal. Suddenly comes the phone call stating they will be late. All the plans are dashed and we are crushed. Our minds work overtime and we know, and believe they could have gotten out if they tried harder. I guess the danger is when we deduce they didn’t care enough about us to make the endeavor. After a long day we don’t want to be greeted by another persons’ bad mood. Maybe they have been cranky all week so it is our turn. So we reckon.

At work there are those people who never make the coffee but they make sure they get their share of everybody else’s pot. We think they pride themselves  on this accomplishment. We get unnerved when it is our spouse’s turn to bathe the kids and all we can hear is angry yelling and demands. We resolve not to go and relieve them because we know that must be their plan. Now we are mad that they are plotting such a scheme. perhaps they are not but we don’t question to find out the truth or reason why they feel the way they do.

The in-laws are coming again and the husband is not going to cook the meal. How inconsiderate. The last thing we want to do is listen to them deliver and dwell on a boring story idea or thought that really could have taken two minutes to deliver rather than fifteen. The night is ruined and it is their fault. They should be responsible for their own families we surmise. The negativity and resentment builds with each new incident until there is so much resentment that we imagine all kinds of motives our spouse or family member use to manipulate us. We determine not to be taken in.

When imaginations run wild they are similar to a fictional story with us as the author. We are the unfortunate person that everyone is taking advantage of. Other people become the enemy. We have our strongly held beliefs and we don’t have time nor do we want to put in the sweat to figure out our enemies point of view. In our eyes they don’t have any reasons for acting the way they do. They are at fault and we are just responding in kind.

The marriage and the friendships limp along in this fashion until they dissolve. It might not be what anybody planned but if the relationships are not given any air, they will burn to ashes. What we don’t always see is that once we are on the wrong track in any relationship, it cause double the problems. We notice more wrongs, have less patience and put no exertion into understanding them. We have finished with trying. Things become larger and more detrimental.

Perhaps some issues might have been solved if we had pursued some solutions prior to giving up.  Once we make a choice to abandon the relationship, we have pronouncrd it dead already, it is sad when this happens. Probably it didn’t have to happen. Being afraid to face the burdens with each other fosters a continuation of resentment that terminates the love. I am a believer in love. I know things can always or most of the time be worked out but prolonging the negativity cuts off the oxygen for a healthy relationship.

Perhaps if we might recognize our own limitations instead of clinging to our independence and capability so as to prove our self-sufficiency, we might salvage our bonds. Weakness is such a fearful thing. We would rather not give in to weakness and dissolve the union instead of admitting our tiredness and vulnerability. Along with these attributes comes the necessity of knowing how to get help using positive rather than negative means.

I have yelled and complained to no avail. If anything each person digs in their heels and shuts down their  listening skills. You just wait for your  chance to blurt out present past and future hurts. One wants to cover all of the bases. I eventually caught on to the fact that the arguments proceeded down the same path with the same ending. After years it occurred to me to switch up the response.

The hard part is coming to terms with my participation of wrong doing. Honestly nobody likes being wrong or admitting sorrow for mistakes. I tend to use the word but a lot. I am sorry but you weren’t listening, you started it, you didn’t take a turn, you never try. It sometimes led into another fight. I just didn’t want to take  all of the blame and my spouse was not interested in taking any of the fault. There I go again placing more on him than on me. In time we were both able to admit it when we were at fault. The strange thing was as soon as I admitted my blame in a situation, the quicker my spouse jumped in admitting something I would not have thought about. It became easier to find the truth and keep our feelings intact.

Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law disagreements are mostly misunderstandings. No one gives in and admits defeat. Sibling rivalry can continue forever without finding motives or forgiveness in each other. Family feuds destroy years of friendship and guidance. Reviewing a bad situation when we are relaxed and in a happy state of mind, allows us to get a sense of the craziness in maintaining a feud. Truly nobody comes out a winner but  everyone comes out a loser when a truce can’t be formed.

How important it is to mention the other people  unintentionally trapped in the disagreements we foster. They are the casualties of war and hardly get counted. We underestimate their pain, grief and  frustration. After arriving at this destination many times we sit back and reflect or at least some of us do. That is the point of enlightenment. It arrives the moment we come to accept our blame. It leads to a rougher path for ourselves as we face our own “demons” and become open to acceptance and forgiveness to self. The result is dramatic. Stress and worry are lifted and we become stronger and braver. After all we faced up to powerful accusations which originated in our own minds and hearts.  The reality was lit up in our awareness. The fuzziness  we encountered cleared giving us a clear picture.

It was so extremely hard to do the first few times but it is strange how much easier it got. There is no shame in wrongdoing when you admit to doing it. Honor is not just covered up but lost when we lie to  ourselves. We gain our sense of pride and honor upon admittance of guilt. After being locked up behind the bars of conspiracy, it is a relief to achieve release from the cage that surrounding us. Doing what we don’t want to do is painful, yet in the end it is actually a release from the pain. I encourage forgiveness to self and others. The mind must figure out the truth while the heart must work some feeling and sense of forgiveness to help the soul grow spiritually.

How much more time do we desire to give to fruitless anger and fights. How great is it actually to have the last word. If we can visualize the grave possibility of attaining inner and outer peace in the process it appears to be worth the time and effort. Of course unless we want to end up in a similar situation, we must begin to face the truth earlier in the game and not get caught up in another futile place. Changing our ingrained habits of the mind and heart requires commitment.

“Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.”    Buddha

“Emphasis on educational and vocational rehabilitation must not be allowed to overshadow the profound need that will exist for spiritual reorientation. Inevitably there will exist, to a considerable degree, psychological maladjustments manifested in disillusionment, resentment toward civilians, depression, and a sense of guilt. Spiritual therapy available in the resources of the Christian faith can accomplish most in overcoming these problems.”    John Bonnell

 

 

Forgive Self First

Forgiving Self First“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”    Mahatma Gandhi

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”    C.S. Lewis

“It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.”     Steve Maraboli

“Letting ourselves be forgiven is one of the most difficult healings we will undertake. And one of the most fruitful. ”     Stephan Levine

There is so much talk about forgiving others and that is as it should be. However, I believe we have forgotten to include ourselves  in the mix. I hate to admit I have made a mistake. It is demeaning to me to be found in the wrong, I feel so terrible. I can assume we all get that sense when we honestly confront ourselves about an issue and find that we are wrong. It is so difficult to apologize and even harder to forgive ourselves.

I think it is easier to forgive others than me. Sometimes it feels as if my pride has been wounded when another finds me to be at fault. Maybe it has to do with pride. We  have an image of who we are and we like others to see that perfect image. We don’t have faith in this image of ourselves. However when involved in the world it is easy to get caught up into big and minor  situations that compromise our views. Many times we go along to get along. We admit to ourselves that you can’t fight city hall or the throngs of people.

Depending on the gravity of the situation, we might feel compromised and it can leave us devastated at how we so easily tossed our integrity aside. This can happen within the home, workplace, dealings with others or anywhere else.  The main idea is we are forced all the time to choose, choose, choose. It can defeat all of us. After all we get tired, angry and anxious to deal with those issues we deem to be more important in our lives.

Those of us who work in factories building planes, are not necessarily for war or bombs being placed on these planes. Maybe we work on benefits for families and are relegated to  denying certain applications of those who don’t qualify. In our hearts we want to help and maybe after a while it gets to us.Unfortunately every move we make, has an effect on other things and other people. It also has an effect on us. The effect of what we say and do is so far-reaching.  I don’t say this to cause us any more anxiety than we already endure but to open our eyes to the need for thought in all areas.

The simple actions towards our children every  day tells them something about how we think and feel about them. We can’t profess one thing yet portray another thing. Maybe in a sense we are teaching our kids how to get along in the world with compromising. Words have little effect when actions are clearly obvious and brutal.

For instance, to encourage kids to refrain from drinking  will not work if they see us over-drinking a lot of the times. In order to promote an environment that is healthy we must act accordingly. Not easy. Kids for sure make us evaluate what we do and say. So many of us refrain from foul language when the kids are very  young. As they mature our language also matures and manifests with anger. We are perpetuating foul language. Coming to terms with this isn’t easy. Our spirits are fragile. The sudden onslaught of vulgarity for any reason flies in the face of love.

I believe that is why we begin losing faith in us and our ability to be good or worthy. At this point if we give it up we have taken the easy road. We suspend all effort of improving. I for one feel like a coward when I do this. Giving up is also what we are doing when we compromise our values and integrity. That is why it hurts so much and at times we hate to forgive ourselves. Of course in time we don’t know who we are anymore.

Just as we can’t take the easy route and surrender so to we can’t withhold forgiveness from ourselves because our actions are so abominable. Life is not a game of winners and losers. It is a journey towards a coming together of body mind and spirit. It is the courage to open up the large boxes one at a time, until at last we reach the gift in the last and smallest box. We can’t begin with the last box. It is impossible. But as each one is opened it feels good because we are closer to the treasure which is to be found at the end of our journey.

If we fear to approach the gifts and want to remain comfortable doing and repeating our mistakes, we will never get closer to the goal. Learning soccer and hockey and any sport is a step by step process. Learning a musical instrument or any field of knowledge is step by step. Include in the learning, acquiring the information we need to improve our souls. If we are willing we can do it but it is tedious and again step by step.

Mentioning souls is like talking about a taboo subject. Deep down the majority of us have faith in the notion of having a soul yet none of us or few of us would ever discuss our souls with another individual. We barely recognize it in our own minds. It makes us and others uncomfortable. How ridiculous is that when our purpose for life is to learn and improve our spiritual being. the rest is fluff. If we don’t understand that, we can get on with the unimportant things in life. If we do comprehend the magnitude then we have taken the first step and opened the first box. Life will never be the  same.

Forgiving others and ourselves is paramount. Just ask yourself if you would expect your six-year-old or ten-year old to do calculus or organic chemistry. We would all laugh.  The same is true with our souls learning. We can’t expect to have all of the answers. Refusing to give up our efforts is crucial. That is the key to acquiring anything. The power of perseverance is liberating in so many ways. By steadfastly working towards our improvement and possibly helping others along the way we are fulfilling our journey towards a better understanding about the meaning to our life.

Always pardon your own mistakes  with only one prerequisite, honest remorse. We can’t compare our own sorrow with another persons. We feel it in our own unique way which doesn’t make us worthier or less of a person than another. By pardoning not only others but ourselves included, we allow us to begin again. We have that option of hope and the ability to attempt to do things in an improved way. I always believe in baby steps. They appear simpler and more manageable. They lead to the same end as a giant step. We can’t forget the turtle won the race not the rabbit. Maybe being more like the turtle we are allowed to have time for thought and reflection.

If the turtle gave up as he observed the rabbit bounce further and further out of sight, he would not have won. If we give up we have already lost. there may be obstacles and even backwards movement. So what. It isn’t a big problem. We just need to pick ourselves up and continue reaching for the treasure. We can all make progress and exceed or excel. Have faith hope and forgiveness towards one’s self.

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”    Alexander Pope

“We are all mistaken sometimes; sometimes we do wrong things, things that have bad consequences. But it does not mean we are evil, or that we cannot be trusted ever afterward.”    Allison Croggon

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.”    Will Smith

“I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.”    C.S. Lewis

The Friendly Face Mask

mask“People cry not because they’re weak but because they’ve been strong for too long.”    Anonymous

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”    Khalil Gibran

“True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.” Daniel Coleman

“Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces.”    Sigmund Freund

“A prerequisite to empathy is simply paying attention to the person in pain.”    Daniel Coleman

I don’t know about everyone else but I have many masks that I apply throughout the day. I am not being deceitful  to others only to myself. This is what I have  a problem with. I treat others respectfully or at least I try to but I bully myself a lot. What I say and do is reflected upon many times and then scrutinized for honesty.

I hide behind the mask for many reasons which all have to do with the feelings of others. I was surprised after thinking this over. I refrain from bragging too much about anything good that happens so that I don’t make others jealous. I hide my hurts because I don’t want to admit how awful someone made me feel and how vulnerable I am which makes me feel weak. That is probably the reason for most of my hidden faces. Others hurt quite a bit. I know they don’t mean to most of the time at least I hope that is the case. But the unkindness jars my senses and the mask goes on.

When sad I refuse to show any feelings because I have so much to be thankful for that I would appear ungrateful for what I have. The power of others to promote my inner turmoil is astounding.  Most of the time or all of the time it surely escapes their notice. Perhaps there are many people in similar situations that protect their feelings from the general public as well as the family. They may  be the ones who appear to exhibit the strength yet if the truth be known they are in pieces on the inside.

I haven’t figured it all out but most if not all of us suffer emotional pangs. I surmise that maybe the smart thing to do would be to explain the truth to others so that they might be kinder and more respectful. I don’t see that as a solution. I look at it that if they were mean enough in the first place to cause the ache then they are not losing sleep over any stress any of us are experiencing.

There are those people who pry too deeply into anther’s thoughts so in those cases the mask can be protective. There are also those people who listen to a little of your story and then run amok in another direction with their own tales of woe. It makes you feel worse. Of course we always have the ones who start with the advice which is kind and generous only they don’t stop. Two hours later they are still making suggestions while you have already forgotten what you said to them.

Most likely the masks we all display should be removed. Maybe if we saw each other in reality we would treat each other in a kinder manner. It might be worth the effort. The idea of supporting each other sounds great. Even the idea of not having to be pleasant on the outside while paining on the inside sounds like relief. Perhaps our outer skins are different.  Some of us may not feel the barbs as much as others.

Whatever the case it might be important to at least be aware of the damage we unconsciously do to others. What we perceive as a simple remark can be devastating to another, especially if they are at a weak moment in time. The tone, look, harshness and loudness of our voices makes a difference in the depth of the cut. If we worked on that rather than on our special masks we might be better off. Of course there may be some people who enjoy the power over others and are brutal on purpose.

I think the worst might be the super friendly face that hides a world of dislike or even hate behind it. Those people are poisonous to our health and we never see them coming. I would rather someone keep their distance from me instead of pretending to be of a friendly nature to me. All of us at some time or other has likely experienced a mishap with such a person. You feel worse because it is unexpected. You might believe you know someone only to find out they cheated or lied to you. These of course can also be those  who are closest to us. They have obviously played their identity well seeing as how we don’t see it coming.

It appears that facing some honesty regarding our emotions may be more in need than we think. So what if we are having a mixed up day and feel like we are going backwards. By being allowed to feel freely we might gain some sympathy which builds us up. I would suggest we never over due it or abuse it. We might attempt to be quick to repay the kindness even if we are paying it forward.

Being aware of the days we can boost ourselves up is important. We don’t want to be so self-absorbed that we forget worries of others. We are all human and take situations in various ways. It is a paradox to want a world with sensitive people but which also contains people who insensitivity strike out and crush others. Living side by side is difficult.

I believe it helps to also immediately review our blessings. Without a doubt you begin to smile and then wonder why you got so low. That doesn’t mean I’m suggesting you lash out at someone and yell, “you have so much to be thankful for why are you complaining?” Of course we may not understand their mood but we can appreciate and respect their hurt. What bothers me hardly offends you and vice verse.

Keeping communication  gentle when speaking to others especially children, and refraining from harshness in words and actions will promote a friendlier atmosphere for all of us to live in and breathe in. Just think, we might be able to toss our masks away once and for all. If we came to realize the impact we deliver to each other we might mend some of our ways. The majority of us doesn’t want to add to anyone’s burdens. For those of us who believe we travel through the world without stepping on anyone’s feelings, we would be sorrowfully surprised. As I mentioned before we all wear masks which do a good job of hiding hurts.

“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a ‘hot mess’ or having ‘too many issues’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.”     Anthony St. Maarten