Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘victim mentality’

Is it Time?

Christmas is only one week away – where did the time go? As you are wrapping gifts to give to your family and friends how about giving one to yourself. I am not talking about anything that can be bought in department stores or shipped to you from the hundreds of online suppliers. No, what I have in mind is too big, too valuable to simply be purchased. I’m talking about the gift of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the magic elixir, the thing that can seriously change your life for the better. If there is someone that you have unfinished emotional business with or even open wounds that haven’t healed when we talk about peace on earth remember, the peace must first start in your own heart.

You can tell if a person has been sidelined due to their bitterness over something that happened in the past. When they talk about it (which they often do) they talk faster, louder and with such strong emotionally laden words that it sounds like it happened just yesterday. They seem to relive the time, date and place with such vehemence that you just have to wonder what toll it is taking on them on the inside. I wonder if they know about the research regarding the relationship between anger and cancer. Is it time for the gift of forgiveness.

Anger, bitterness or resentment can eat away at you. Even if you feel 100% justified in your feelings the only one paying the price is you – over and over again as you relive it in your mind. Simply put, you have allowed another person to rob you of today when you relive the negatives of yesterday. Sometimes we may feel that we want the whole world to know we were wronged. Here’s a news flash … the rest of the world really doesn’t care – not really – they are too busy dealing with their own challenges. Okay – something hurtful or wrong happened – now the million dollar question is do you really want to carry the enormous weight of that baggage on your shoulders for the rest of your life? If not, decide how long are you willing to carry it and write it down. Your answer determines how long you choose to be the victim.

Forgiveness is not easy but essential if you want to be truly happy. You might think that you are past the issue or do not want to give the person the time of day ever again. I get it – but just remember you are choosing to pay a steep price from your emotional bank account. If you continue to hold on to the grudge sooner or later you will be emotionally bankrupt as you join the ranks of the walking wounded. There are no blue ribbons for the person who has been hurt or wronged most deeply.

You can forgive but you needn’t forget. You have learned something from the experience and it has made you wiser more equipped to handle similar situations in the future. Perseverating on the past keeps you locked into a victim mentality. Little by little you begin to see others with a jaundice eye. Negative energy multiplies fast and will seep into your pores until you look for – even expect -more of the same in your life. You become primed for a hostile emotional take over and then wonder why life continues to be so tough. It all boils down to energy – negative attracts more negative.

Forgiveness is not simply a feeling it is a choice that you make. Are you ready to let go of the yuk from the past? Only you can decide if being in the role of victim, filled with grudges and unhappiness, is the role you choose for the rest of your life. Maybe it’s time to give yourself the greatest gift possible … forgiveness.

Have a great few days!

Forgiveness takes Work

Practicing the art of forgiveness is essential to a happier life. It is not for the faint of heart. Although it doesn’t cost any money and takes less time than perseverating on the injustices in our lives it is none-the-less a job that requires serious effort. As illogical as it sounds, however, many of us choose to use more time maintaining a list a mile long of grievances and hurts. The time spent reliving the injustices keeps us locked into a victim mentality.

Each time we remember a specific person or situation that hurt us deeply, as we mentally replay the tapes WITH THE EMOTIONAL FEELINGS ATTACHED it is, as if, the situation is happening again! The subconscious mind simply records the emotions felt at the moment. We may, in essence, live through a tragic, difficult or hurtful event millions of times in our minds. Each time, the memory of the event causes a deeper etch of pain in our minds and hearts. We continue to feel victimized.

Mentally replaying these tapes for years is not only unproductive but keeps us stuck in yesterday rather than looking forward to tomorrow. For example, I knew a person in his 60’s who continued to mention a roommate who 40 years earlier moved out and took some of his records! This may sound like a ‘light weight’ example but I use it for a purpose. Some of our ‘rememberings’ of hurtful events can begin to take on a life of their own. Whether big or small issues, they all constitute, over time, wasted energy that will leave us little more than vessels filled with hurts and grievances that we hold on to as proof that life has been unfair. Life may be many things – challenging, difficult and at times nearly impossible to comprehend but unfair- I don’t see it that way. It is just as we designed it to be no more – no less. It is what we do with the hurts and grievances that makes all the difference.

Granted, when we experience a challenging or hurtful situation we need time to process through it with someone we trust. It is important and necessary to verbalize what happened, what we learned from it and what we intend to do differently the next time a similar situation presents itself. Regardless of the time involved it is time well spent by analyzing the who, what, how and why the situation happened. Most importantly, it gives us confidence to know that we will recognize a similar situation in the future and be ready to manage it more successfully. We are changing from being a victim to circumstance to being a victor by developing our proactive problem solving skills based on our own real life examples. Therein lies the lesson of forgiveness. When we admit and take ownership for our own part in the situation we learn to forgive ourselves first then are able to apply the lesson of forgiveness to others.

Learning the art of forgiveness involves a process. It’s not simply a matter of saying to yourself that you choose to be more forgiving and then doing it. The first step is to examine – from whence you came – to unearth the beliefs behind the behavior. Your family members and close friends dealt with forgiveness in their own ways and served as examples or models to you. Before you were even aware you were internalizing their behavioral messages. It is important to consider what effect each had on your present ability to forgive. To start on the process of learning true forgiveness, make a list of the names of these people and then add the first word that comes to your mind when you think about them and how they dealt with forgiveness. As you make the list you may begin to see patterns that help you understand why you respond the way you do to issues. Keep the list for now and we will use it in subsequent blog posts as the process of learning forgiveness is further discussed.

Stay tuned, helping yourself learn true forgiveness is worth the time and effort! Make it a great few days.