May 212014
 

ISA33_Self_Forgiveness

Over the last week or two I heard from several people asking me to talk about Self Forgiveness. While I have done a few episodes of the podcast on forgiveness they were primarily focused on forgiving others.

Yet, forgiving ourselves is quite possibly the best gift we could give ourselves. It’s my hope that by the end of this podcast that you’ll have an even deeper understanding of the following:

  • How harmful it is to not forgive yourself
  • How self hatred plays into it
  • The 7-step process for forgiving yourself

We all make mistakes every day. Some of them are pretty minor and others aren’t but one thing for certain is that we can be really cruel to ourselves. Often times we’re much harder on ourselves than the people we’ve wronged. So why is this?

Shame is a sticky and toxic thing and we carry it around deep in our psyche. From a young age, likely around 5 – 7, we started getting messages that we weren’t enough. Whether it was that we weren’t beautiful enough, smart enough, good enough, or fill in your favorite “not enough”.

These messages started coming in so often that we took them in as our own. Fast forward 20, 30, 40 years and those same messages are still there! When we make a mistake shame takes the opportunity to stick to any guilt we feel! As soon as we make a mistake those same old messages of not being enough creep right back in and shame is there to finish us off!

Once this happens the mistake we made goes from something we did wrong to the horrible person we are. But aren’t we allowed to make mistakes? Shouldn’t we be a little less harsh with ourselves? Isn’t it harmful to carry around all this shame with us? YES! YES! and YES!

Listen to today’s podcast where I share a mistake I made when I laughed at my son!

So what should happen when we make a mistake?

Well, if we’re not going to allow shame to take over us, stay in the present, and be mindful about our life the following would likely happen.

1. Make a mistake

2. Acknowledge that we made a mistake

3. Feel guilt

4. Look for ways to make amends

5. Allow guilt to drift away as we continue to love ourselves

Sounds great, huh? Yeah, doesn’t usually work that way right?

Usually it looks something like this…

1. Make a mistake

2. Acknowledge we made a mistake

3. Feel guilt

4. Look for ways to make amends

5. Berate and self-shame ourselves by saying how horrible we are and what failures we are

6. Guilt turns into shame

7. Isolate and go into hyper-sensitivity mode in the future as to try and avoid those situations reminding ourselves we suck

8. Likely attract more situations in our life that remind us how not enough we are and the cycle continues

It actually looks a little worse than this but I was going easy on you! LOL As you can see, it’s a viscous cycle that doesn’t have a pretty ending. This is why shame = self hatred.

We love ourselves by giving ourselves what David Richo calls, “The Five A’s” (Attention, Acceptance, Allowance, Appreciation, and Affection). How much loving attention are you giving yourself when you focus on your lack and how horrible you are? How are you accepting yourself by telling yourself you are a horrible person? How are you allowing for your fallible nature when you call yourself a screw up? How are you appreciating yourself when you call yourself an idiot? How are you giving yourself affection when you emotionally abuse yourself?

As you can see, when we make mistakes and don’t forgive ourselves, it’s called Self Hatred. It sounds harsh but it’s the antithesis of loving ourselves! Seems pretty clear to me and I’m guessing you’d agree that self hatred isn’t exactly what’s going to take your life or my life to the next level, right?

So I think we all agree we need to forgive ourselves but how??

I go into these 7 steps in much more detail in the podcast and it’s only 36 minutes long (you can listen to it while you’re driving, doing the dishes, jogging, or laying in bed)! Listen here on iTunes! But let me give you a quick run down of those 7 steps right now.

1. Accept that I am fallible. It’s your right as a human to make mistakes! To deny your fallibility is to deny your wholeness.  Stop abandoning yourself and rejecting yourself when you make mistakes! You have a right to make mistakes! This is a very important step.

2. Choose to live in the present. Guilt is a present time feeling. Shame is a feeling that was born in the past. When we make mistakes it’s okay to feel guilty. Feel the guilt and then let that guilt turn into compassion (our next step). When that guilt turns to shame (i.e.; I’m not enough) is when we have serious problems.

3. Be compassionate towards ourselves. We talk about compassion for others but what about ourselves? Decide you’re not going to beat yourself up anymore. Let that guilt turn into compassion for yourself. Acknowledging you made a mistake and that you’re experiencing pain as well. Gently carry yourself to make amends and restore what is right but do it with self compassion.

4. Understand how shame works. We’re taught that we’re not enough from a young age. Shame is sticky and finds anything to attach to. Make a mistake? Shame sticks to it reminding you that you’re a screw up, not good enough, and need to pay for that. Remind yourself that shame is always present in our lives but that you have a choice to let it in. The moment you see yourself talking about not being enough shut it down! Acknowledge this is crap from the past that just isn’t true.

5. Be aware of the difference between guilt and shame. It’s okay to feel that present-time feeling of guilt. It means that you care and that you acknowledge you hurt someone. Stay in the present though and notice if you go back to the past – back to that place of shame. Know the difference so you can stay present!

6. It’s a practice Yes, you will screw up forgiving yourself! 🙂 That’s okay, just forgive yourself for not forgiving yourself! 🙂 This is a practice and will take time. Know that you’re not going to get this right the first time. Keep at it and practice!

7. Get Support Find a close friend or relative who will listen. Shame loves isolation so get it out and just share what’s happening with you.

I hope you find these 7-steps helpful as you move throughout your day and your week. You can use this process with a simple and benign mistake or one that’s pretty serious. Either way, your ability to show up in full and live the life you want is going to be directly impacted by how mindful and self-loving you are.

So, I want to hear from you! Let me know what recent mistake you made and how you’re going to implement this process or another one that works for you!

 

May 152014
 

ISA32_Peace

Not everyone can be perfect like us, riiiiiight??

All kidding aside, we have people in our lives that just get under our skin for one reason or another. It might be the way they talk to us, what their views on life are, or that they are judgmental or only think about themselves.

Whatever the reason, it’s an awful feeling inside to have to be around them. Sometimes we can help being around them and other times we cannot. We might try and change them but it seems like we’re just beating our heads against a wall.

At the end of the day and no matter what we do it just seems like we can’t escape the frustration, anger, and annoyance of being around them. Clearly there’s got to be a better way around this and fortunately there is! In today’s podcast I’m going to show you 4 ways (I’ll share the 4th way in the podcast!) to be at peace with anyone (especially those that bug us)!

Listen right now to the podcast and make sure you subscribe so new episodes will come to you automatically!

1. Spend Less Time With Them

This might seem like an obvious thing to do but often times we wind up being with them out of guilt or because we think we “have to be with them”. I find myself in this situation from time to time with certain family members. On the one hand I prefer to not be with them (for whatever reason) but there’s that obligation (or at least perceived obligation).

However, we have a bigger obligation and that’s an obligation to ourselves. Saying No to being around someone that doesn’t treat us well is saying Yes to ourselves. Instead of looking at it as rejecting that person, look at it as accepting yourself! You don’t even have to make up any stories about not seeing them. Simply tell them, “today isn’t going to work out for me.”.

Spending less time with them will give you the breathing room you need. Sometimes there is no getting away from certain people but the next time you do it simply out of obligation ask yourself who’s obligation you’re meeting.

2. Find The Peace You Seek In Yourself

One recent morning I came to realize the following:

The peace we seek in trying to change another is actually found in letting them be. [Tweet This!]

I realized that all of my attention was focused on changing someone that annoyed the heck out of me! My feelings would get the best of me and I would act passive aggressive, sarcastic, and could feel the tension in my body when I was around them.

In all my efforts to try and get this person to change their ways and see things my way I would be the one left feeling deflated, defeated, and plain old tired! It was exhausting yet I still wanted to be with this person I loved.

Then it occurred to me – I didn’t need to make them change. I could generate the peace I was looking for all on my own. I simply needed to let that person be who they were. Does that mean I have to let them be rude to me? No. Does that mean I need to agree with everything they say? No. What it does mean is that I get to be separate from who they are. I get to let them have their own reality with all of their own thoughts and feelings and still just be with them.

Just like what they say, think or do has no reflection on who they are – what they say, think or do has no reflection on who I am. Once I found this ability to detach in this way I was able to be with them. It brought me great peace. Does that mean I’m going to go out of my way to be with them? No, but it means that when I do decide to be with them I can do so in peace.

3. Find Compassion in The Absence of Judgement

It’s easy to judge another person. In fact, it’s so easy that we don’t even realize when we’re doing it the vast majority of the time. There are many things we can take as issue with judging another but probably the most important is that we actually wind up abandoning ourselves.

How’s that? Well, at the core of our nature is compassion. We can’t have compassion when we judge another so we’re literally shutting part of ourselves down to do this. Not only is expressing compassion in our nature but it allows us to see the goodness in others, even when they can’t. It allows us to serve them in a time when they are likely suffering greatly. It also allows us to have a gentle, tender, and loving place for ourselves in the whole process.

Judging another does nothing to help support that person, it doesn’t allow us to see who they truly are, and it leaves us feeling uncomfortable and in unrest.

Listen to the podcast now to hear a 4th tip you can use to help be at peace with anyone!

This isn’t an easy process and it does take practice but isn’t that the cool part about life, that we can practice? Life isn’t about getting it right all the time. However, if we have the right tools to be mindful about what’s happening inside of ourselves than we can choose the best way to respond.

Want to live the BEST version of YOU!? Take the FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge and start living the life you want today!

May 052014
 

ISA31_Art

If you’ve been following my weekly podcasts you might have noticed that I took a bit of an unplanned hiatus for the last 2 weeks. I say “unplanned” because I truly wanted and had intentions of podcasting but that just didn’t happen.

I wound up traveling for about 2 weeks, which I knew about, and fell into a little slump. Ever have those times when you’re chugging along and then “BUMP”, you get thrown off track? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me.

If I had to describe a visual it was like I was going along my well paved path and the hit a big bump in the road that threw me off. I was still on a path headed in the right direction, even a parallel path, but this path was a bumpy dirt road with a lot of dust. I could see “the path” I bounced off of but all the dust was clouding my vision and couldn’t find a quick way back.

If you’re not into visuals, let’s just say I fell into a little funk! In fact, I even went back and checked out episode 19 where I talked about 5 ways to get out of the funk! It definitely helped!

Although, some other things were going on for me and I decided to be patient and allowing. Mindfulness has this way of taking you on a ride that might not look all pretty and clean like the ride your ego wants to take you on. Well, just as I settled into my feelings and patience I came across 3 messages that really resonated for me.

I found these messages all within a day or two of each other and they really spoke to me. Whether or not you’re bouncing down your own dirt path I think you’ll find these just as helpful!

The first message came from a personal friend of mine, Kevin Smith. Kevin posted this on his Facebook page and gave me permission to use it here. Here’s what Kevin had to say:

“Some things take a long time to ripen.

Earlier this month, on my drive home from Los Angeles, following my trip to Iowa City, I stopped at a small farm stand on Highway 46 and bought two avocados. I would’ve bought more, but no one was around. Sales were on the honor system, and all I had was a couple twenty-dollar bills and a bunch of quarters. So I put eight quarters in a little metal slot and took home two avocados.

They were hard as stones. Weeks passed, and they did not soften. Each morning I would press, hopefully, on the shiny, still hard green skin, and wonder if these avocados had been picked prematurely.

You know where this is going. Oh, they were so good! Nearly a month after buying them, I enjoyed the kind of delicious avocado I never find in stores, with a wild, rich flavor and a densely satisfying texture–almost meaty.

I bring this up because it was a good reminder to me that some things take a long time–or what feels like a long time, but may be just the right amount of time–to ripen.”

Listen to this weeks podcast to hear all my take-a-ways but in short this is what I learned:

1. Nature happens on our time. It’s not our job to determine when it happens but rather to notice when it does.

2. Keep pushing even when it seems it’s just not working. Just past the point of defeat is where you’ll find the gold.

3. Expectations can be a wonderful thing. Yet there are times when it’s not reality that needs changing but our expectations of it that does.

Thank you Kevin for helping me see this! You can find more about Kevin at his blog, www.ckevinsmith.com

Shortly after reading Kevin’s post I came across another friend of mine, Jodi Chapman. Jodi writes about spirituality, self love, and mindfulness and I also encourage you to check her site out  or over on Facebook. So here’s what Jodi posted and what I took away.

“I’m remembering that I am human, that there are a finite amount of hours in the day, and that everything is happening in perfect timing. I’m no longer okay with pushing myself so hard and striving for perfection. Those days are in the past and need not make their way into the present. I’m wrapping myself in a loving embrace and am choosing to move through life with love and grace.” 

1. Beating myself up to meet my own self-conceived expectations isn’t working for me anymore.

2. Right now is the present and I don’t need to allow my past responses to life to make their way back in.

3. I often forget about grace and am acknowledging that I am grace and that self expression of grace will carry me through those challenging times.

To listen to my full response on Jodi’s update and what I’m really taking away listen to this weeks podcast.

Below is the last quote I want to share with you and it came from an Author I just learned about, Henri Nouwen.

Losing and Gaining Our Lives

“The great paradox of life is that those who lose their lives will gain them. This paradox becomes visible in very ordinary situations.
If we cling to our friends, we may lose them, but when we are non-possessive in our relationships, we will make many friends.
When fame is what we seek and desire, it often vanishes as soon as we acquire it, but when we have no need to be known, we might be remembered long after our deaths.
When we want to be in the center, we easily end up on the margins, but when we are free enough to be wherever we must be, we find ourselves often in the center.
Giving away our lives for others is the greatest of all human arts. This will gain us our lives.”

Here’s what I took away from this powerful message shared by Henri Nouwen:

1. Life isn’t about choosing one side and forgetting about the other, it’s about appreciating both.

2. Keep focus on our intention and allow whatever outcome to present itself. For focusing on the outcome is what ultimately kills our intentions and kills our dreams.

3. I want to act non-posssessive. I want to act without expectation of fame. I want to be free. I want to give away.

I hope these messages resonated for you, as they have for me. What quotes or messages have you read lately that have made a difference? Please let me know!

Want to live the BEST version of YOU!? Take the FREE 5 Day Self Love Challenge and start living the life you want today!

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