Forgive And Forget

We have all found ourselves in situations where we have either asked for,or granted forgivemess. Let’s forgive and forget is the phrase that comes to mind. Of the two, I find forgiveness the easiest. The person requesting forgiveness is usually genuine when they try to find a way to say how truly sorry they are. That is essential to mean what you say. If it is heartfelt it somehow enables us to build bridges where needed and move on.

The forgetting for me is a different animal altogether, On a daily basis I don’t hold onto every little thing that has ever upset me. That is too exhausting and obviously not a healthy lifestyle choise. That being said ,my dear husband believes that I can instantly recall the content of every argument we have ever had. We don’t argue often but there have been one or two differences of opinion over the years.

It appears to me,that the more we care about the person we have argued with the deeper the wound is. When we don’t particularly care one way or another it appears effortless to let the matter drop. A couple of exceptions to that rule are when our character has been called into question perhaps or we just feel wronged.

As it happens, the forgive and forget scenario is often a key ingredient of emotional hoarding.. Can this be traced back to not actually believing the apology to be genuine I wonder? In our minds, the apology could have been said just so the person could dig themselves out of an uncomfortable situation.

Most of us aren’t psychic so we can’t always gauge a persons true intent. If you aren’t sure perhaps consider this, by holding on,to every he said she said moment, you just might be digging those ground breaking first shovels of a future minefield. Do you want another minefield on your horizon to avoid tripping over?

The bottom line is this. We all have needed forgiveness a time or two, we will need it again guaranteed at some point. We want people to forget about it, so even if your mind can’t totally forget it, over time you do actually let go.

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Chameleons

A major source of pain for many people is love. It feels great when all is going well, yet devastating when things fall apart. Love is quite complex because in order to thrive it really needs to be a reciprocal agreement.

Before we can even convey thoughts we have a sense of being loved. Perhaps it is the way we are being held as an infant,that feeling of protection in a scary new world. From the animal kingdom and beyond every creature thrives better with love.

I have been blessed to be born into a family that loves me. I recognize that that isn’t always the case. There are people that search their whole lives for all forms of love and have only mental bruises to show for their efforts. When we don’t have a nurtured upbringing it seems to effect how we relate to people for the rest of our lives.

Is it truly possible,that our first few years of life really do set the tone for our adulthood? No pressure then for people raising young children. As an observer of people, I can’t help but notice that many people become chameleon in nature almost from the instant a relationship begins to form. Their thoughts don’t go to ” Gee I hope they like me” instead somehow the thought process shifts to ” How can I change myself so that I am noticed,and how do I adapt so that I can be loved.”There is a very large discrepancy between these two approaches.

In the “Gee I hope they like me”scenario the person isn’t thinking of changing themselves. Instead they plan to be themselves and see what happens. Being yourself at the end of the day is easy to sustain over time. We have our ups and downs but don’t change drastically from one day to the next.

In the ” How can I change myself so that I am noticed,and how do I adapt so that I can be loved” scenario the very foundation depends on you changing. This might be attainable for short term gain but to develop a strategy whereby it can be ongoing for any amount of time is next to impossible.

Let’s say, for argument sake,that you are able to find someone that loves the chameleon you. The person that they have fallen in love with,is the altered you. Can you live the rest of your life as the person you have created? Now that would be award winning if you could pull that off. My guess is that cracks would show fairly early on.

The thing is,being a chameleon is hard work. If as much effort were put into being the best you that you know how to be,you would likely be much further ahead at the end of the day.

The way I see it is this. There will be people that like you,and people that don’t like you all that much,no matter what version of you,sees the light of day. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad person it comes down to preferences really. Some people you are drawn to while others are just not your cup of tea.

You can twist and turn as much as you like hoping to catch the eye of someone that has taken your fancy. For me i’d take the easier root of just being me. At least that way i’ll love me and that’s a great start. If the real you shines through it is just a matter of time before someone starts noticing the light and is drawn to it.

Love is all around

Just having had Valentine’s day,turns our thoughts to LOVE. Yes we need oxygen, food and water to survive,but we don’t get too far without love. The take our breath away, giddy kind of love,is just the ignition switch. It’s what gets us to think about someone other than ourselves. It lets us let someone else in. Like the rocket launchers on a space flight,it gets us into orbit and then comes back down to earth. Now what!!! Where is that exhilaration?

If you let your mind wander back to when you fell in love, at the very beginning, you didn’t really think about much else,did you? If that was allowed to continue for years at a time,the world would come to a stand still. We would all be either with our loved ones or talking about them.

As the after burners fall away, the relationship either dies a natural death,or begins the slow process of evolving. This is a real transition. You come out of the love fog and start developing as a couple. There is more give and take. You have establish a comfortable awareness. You recognize the flaws as well as the strength of one another.

One of the wonderful things you discover, after the love fog dissipates,is that together when both partners are equally committed to the relationship,your strengths become almost super human in nature. The strengths you came into the relationship with help both of you, while the flaws are often softened. They tap into your life experiences for knowledge, and visa versa.

Over time, this weaving of the love of two people makes you rock solid. That might not give you fireworks,but it certainly makes you more content. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for flowers and chocolates and romantic gestures. The thing is,to go the distance we need substance. Fluff does not hold someone up,or get you through the trials we all face as we go about our day,taking on the challenges of life.

If love was a wonderful freshly baked pie, it would only be as good as the ingredients you put into it. If you see a happily married couple that have been together forever,everyone wants to know their secret to relationship success. There really isn’t a secret at all. All relationships get tested, it’s what you do when that happens that ultimately defines the result. Respect one another, treat each other as you wish to be treated. Value each other as the people you are, and when you say I love you mean it with all your heart.

Award Season

It seems whenever I get ready lately to just sit back and enjoy some television program,I see on the guide some award show is being telecast.The Golden Globes,Country Music and Peoples choice awards to name a few of them. It seems the entertainment industry as a whole, just love to give out awards. There is probably even an award for the best award show.Now that might be taking things too far. The world of athletics is another award oriented society. I crack up when I see people in their 30’s receiving a life time achievement award. Are they planning on stopping achieving now they already have the award I often find myself wondering.

If I was going to give out my own awards,I would most likely find an award worthy trait in everyone I love and care about. There could be Best Husband,well there can only be one nominee. Best Friend ,Best Cheerleader,there would be something for everyone. That doesn’t,in my eyes make them less credible. The reason there could be many categories is that so many people in my life would be worthy of nominations.

I am fairly confident when I say,I believe the award winners in my life know exactly who they are.What I am focusing on in this post however, is the other side of the coin. I can count on one hand the awards I have won. Lets see, I came in 3rd in a national poetry recital competition when I was 6 or 7. I got a religion award around grade 6. Honourable mention for an english award a couple of times,and finally an award of excellence from work. I would need a very small trophy cabinet.

If we each gave out our own awards however,how many nominations from people we have met,could we hope to receive? Sometimes it would be nice if life was all about us. The truth is,if everyone’s life was all about them,then nothing would ever be done. No one would help anyone else and chaos would ensue.Thinking not of ourselves but what we do for other people, changes the focus dramatically. Have I gone the extra mile when it counted for someone? Do I keep my word? Have I made life a little easier for someone else? It doesn’t need to be dramatic gestures to make a difference.

When I think about total wellness of the body,mind,and spirit there is a very large component comprised of giving back without expectation. It doesn’t need to be structured volunteering. It could be just as meaningful to pick up groceries for an ailing neighbour. Look after a friends dog,or bake a pie to say thank you. Helping a complete stranger that might be lost,may be something that took you hardly more than a moment, yet is remembered by the lost individual for years to come. Paying goodness forward.

Try and make this an award worthy day. You may not have a shiny new trophy to gaze at,but you feel pretty darn good.

Emergency contacts

I had an interesting conversation the other day. We were talking about who we would call in the middle of the night,if we were in trouble. At first we explored what kind of trouble we would likely find ourselves in. Based on the situation,we both listed who we would call. If we were in trouble with the car for example, it could be a different individual than if we were on our way to the hospital or just heard bad news. That being said,it could also be only one person that you go to anytime of the day or night for anything at all it is an individual choice.

We meet thousands of people over the coarse of our lifetime. Most of them we might meet only once. Then there is the acquaintance category. People we know by name. We might even chat daily during a work break or while waiting at the bus stop. They could even be a perfect companion to pass time with at the local coffee shop. Nice people to get to know. Do we know them though? We might be able to tell you their children’s names or if they are animal lovers ,perhaps their birthdays. Is that enough to know them? It could be we know of them more than know them. Life is often easier that way.

How many of these people even know our last name or where we live? Never mind would we let them into our home if they showed up. There is the outside world and then there is our inner circle.

Oddly, there is no set amount of time we need to know someone,or set criteria we need to know about them,in order to place them in the inner circle, they are just there. We might not even consciously be aware that they are settling in.

I would like to believe I would be there for someone in trouble no matter what the time or what the circumstance were. The thing we don’t know is, if the person in trouble would even think of calling or reaching out to us at all. Someone else might come to mind entirely. Or saddest of all, no one comes to mind in a moment of crisis .We have all heard ourselves say ” if you need something call me ” We even actually mean it. That doesn’t mean we have conveyed the sincerity with which these words are spoken.

In the scenario we were playing out during this conversation we both came up with a handful of people that we would call that would not judge and would instantly be there no questions asked. To clarify for this exercise only, we limited ourselves to people living locally. This ruled out many family members which are our common go to network.

Many people have no family living close by. There are only a very small amount of people that love us unconditionally. Who’s in your inner circle? Ask yourself, do you foster a culture that allows people to reach out to you? Is someone else’s burden even temporarily,too much to take on? There Is no wrong answer. It’s just good to know where we would see ourselves.

Are you a 9:00 – 5:00 lifeline? Are you willing to help but on your own terms? Do you have what it takes to go into the battle zone ? I have from time to time been surprised when someone I least expect comes up trumps in some fashion. Did I underestimate them, or where they hiding their inner super hero? I have also been bitterly disappointed when someone I thought would be there has scattered in the wind .Most likely it was obvious to only me, that this person had made it to my emergency contact list. This poor individual probably was oblivious to their status. After all it’s not like we tell people they are in our inner circle. It’s more implied for the most part.

One of the biggest misconceptions we have, is that we have to sort out everything life throws at us by ourselves. In my view that is rarely the case. What is real,is not always how we see things though. In event of a true emergency ,physical or emotional you might not know until in the moment, who you would call. You might though,at the very least have a mental emergency contact list ready.

If you have the capacity to be the emergency contact for someone you care about, you don’t necessarily need to shout it from the rooftops. If it is more your style, let them know by your actions that you have them covered should the need arise. Just make sure the message comes through clear enough so that should the person need you,your name would come to mind. The reason it is important to let people know,is that in a true emergency you are rarely thinking clearly. The imprint of your mental emergency contact list needs to be able to come to mind when everything else may be crumbling down around you. Sometimes just knowing that you have an emergency back up plan makes life easier to bare.

Chinese New Year

How is your New Years resolution going? Are you proudly displaying your thinner self,or still managing to avoid those cigarettes? Is your resolution long forgotten? Was it a 5 minute wonder? If so you are not alone. If you are someone that would like to try again there is always Chinese New Year. A perfect opportunity to have a do over.

We would all like to make improvements of some kind to ourselves. I am not talking about going under the knife. That is more often than not cosmetic. I am talking about improvements to ourselves as a person. Now I think about it though,the knife route might be easier than facilitating inner change. It is usually less work on our part for sure. One,you get to show up and someone else does the work,while the other one,you not only have to show up,but you have to do the work. There isn’t even someone else we can blame if we fail at the end of it all.

Is the new year,the only time we take the time necessary, to draw up an improvement action plan? If we truly want to make a change we will do. For me it was a Monday in August. At the time it had no significance. It wasn’t my birthday or an anniversary of some sort. Have you ever noticed that we rarely realize the significance of a day at the time? It is only when we look back,that we see what a monumental life moment it truly was. The point I am making is this, any day can be the beginning of an improved you. Perhaps we should change the phrase from a new years resolution,to a new day’s resolution. To me, it may be a more appropriate title.

If you only make a light hearted attempt at improvement once or twice a year, you might end up asking yourself at some point if you really want to make the change in the first place. A new year,be it Chinese or otherwise is only a date on a calendar. An anniversary of a completed trip around the sun. If this is the only date where change matters, you short change all the other days of the year that could prove to be life improving. Don’t miss out.

Mirror Image

Body image is a huge deal in our culture. The current expectation is that women should be tall,beautiful,slender creatures. After all you don’t see short ordinary looking women on runways and in print ads. Men don’t escape cultural expectations either. They are supposed to be tall with well defined muscles and a commanding presence.

Educated adults are buying into the myth of perfection. Anything less simply won’t do. Cosmetic surgeons have a revolving door of new clients wanting to look like the latest popular celebrity. People literally starve themselves just to fit into a smaller dress or suit size. There is bulimia and anorexic,along with a host of other medical conditions,that find their origins in our body image.

Is what we see in the mirror, just a reflection or an altered reality? Although I am clearly fitter than any time in recent memory, I still see an awkward person that should lose weight. Someone with balance issues and medical concerns when I pass the mirror.

Have I missed the last 18 months entirely?The logical me,says I am doing well. Other people see the differences. I don’t suddenly think they are lying when they give me a compliment. The thing is,my brain hasn’t caught up with my body image.Why is that? Will I always be,in my eyes,the uncoordinated girl with balance issues that just can’t get the body to do anything?

I remember visiting a popular seaside resort in England. Along the pier there was an attraction which was a mirror gallery. For a few pennies you could walk through and see yourself taller,twisted,fatter,leaner,you get the idea. Any shape imaginable as a young girl,I could find within those walls. I haven’t recalled that memory in decades.

It is relevant today at this moment. It reminds me that the image in the mirror isn’t always correct. In our vehicles how often do we read that the object in the mirror may be closer than it appears

When corrected ,I immediately come to my senses and wonder what the heck I was thinking. At this point I just try to reprogram each morning and check in with reality. If I lose focus though I am right back there at the beginning in an instant. This is more proof to me that the body and mind work best together. When they separate,even if I have caused the separation myself,they appear to gang up on one another. The mind attacks my bodies success and the body has stopped paying attention to my minds contribution. I am a masterpiece in progess.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? If it is a slightly distorted view it just might be the mirror you are looking into. One thing is certain,if the image staring back is a stranger,there are millions of people world wide that experience the same thing.