How You Value Yourself As A Friend

For me, the most valuable thing I have to give someone is my friendship. It is true and tested, it is not given and taken lightly, and it is there for as long as anyone wants it.

Over the last couple of years I have become more aware of friendships that went very deep and the ones that were only there for the sake of “what can I get from this” experience. These were the friendship that were only for a reason or a season.

Anyone who has worked with me over the years is well aware of my philosophy in relationship building. It is not something that happens overnight and it comes with giving before getting. A true relationship, whether business or personal, starts from a giving space rather than a taking one. I believe by giving, in return you will receive.

This not necessarily common to all from my experiences though. I have been very disappointed and hurt when friends that I perceived as close and dear to me, disintegrated as a result of lack of good communication and perception.

I recognise that all relationships come in for a reason, a season or a lifetime. For me, I endeavour to make them a lifetime, and always leave the door open if the other wishes to return. This does not make it any easier when the time comes to an end for whatever another’s reason, as obviously for them, their purpose of the relationship/friendship is no longer, thus the status change.

The reason for an encounter with someone may be just to teach a lesson and a once only experience. A season may be for a time from weeks, months or a few years, whereas a lifetime is a friendship that endures all, and is not broken by experiences. A lifetime friendship has no rules or expectations.

My friendships are the most important part of my life and to be betrayed goes very deep when it happens with someone I have held very dear. I love my friends, on many levels, for who they are and what they bring to my world. I appreciate and am grateful for the opportunities they give me personally to learn and grow. I do not let a relationship end easily and it is always the others option.

When a relationship goes to a deeper friendship, there can be a fine line on where it goes and understanding is necessary. I take people as they portray themselves to me, which is probably gullible at times and has maybe been foolish, but unless I feel and have a reason not to go there, my door is always open.

I ponder on the ability of some to close the door so very easily, with no concept of what is left behind. I wonder how different my life would have been if I was more discerning in whom I let into it so easily?

The new way of friendship building today via social media and texting has some very good advantages along with some disastrous repercussions owing to the lack of an ability to express oneself other than in black and white. Relationships need to have ‘grey’ in them and expression through feelings, facial features and body language, all of which are taken away with this new form of communication. No wonder we have so many challenges in this area, and I do speak from personal experience here.

The learnings via these mediums for me have been enormous. Although heartbreaking at times I have been left with a feeling of great loss as a result of one or more lives I can no longer impact for all our growth.

As a lover of people, what others offer me for growth has always been a fascination. We all have very different models of experience, eg our beliefs and values, which come into play. We can either increase our awareness of others and our own self-awareness by opening our peripheral vision to see things from another’s point of view, whilst looking deeper at our own internal map of the world and sees where there is a mis-fit.

As a friend, where do you stand? Are you a true or a false friend? I suggest that you consider the friendships you have now and how they fit into your world.

What is your expectation from your friendships and what is their perception of this too? This can be a good conversation to have with them so that you remain on the same page and hurt and disappointment does not ensure in the future. Remember though, that others hear your words from their own awareness and experiences.

I have friendships that I have been prepared to give without very much in return, owing to my ability to give unconditionally to them for their growth. With these people I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to be able to reflect and see what can be gained by my own self learning as a result. There have been times that I have wondered why any sane person would do this, and be hurt so often when there is little return, other than knowing that by being there, I am providing growth and learning for us both which others may never give.

If you have not had the learning experience of giving and being in community it is harder to give as I have learned that it is usually a learnt behaviour. Coming from many years of boarding school and community experiences I learned early about giving. I was fortunate to have a full family connection when I was very young, where sharing the growth of a child was imperative. With grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends on stand-by at all times, to take over when it was necessary for my parents, gave me different perspectives, which now I recognise as being my great teacher.

I suggest you review how you see your friendships and what you bring to the table for everyone’s growth. By doing this, you will learn much about yourself and how you function in the world today.

Are your relationships with people for a reason, a season or a lifetime?


Healing Prospective On Friendship

I thank God for my childhood friend. I have one best friend (other than of course, my husband). Actually, I show her more of the raw feelings than my husband because of our backgrounds. We can tell each other anything and have it not be a shock. We have seen every emotion in each other. We have gone through childhood, marriages and raising children to adulthood.

About twelve years ago, I got excited about positive thinking topics. I worked hard on self-improvement and saw results. It’s only been in the past four years that I’ve had difficulty keeping up with it. There are a variety of reasons for this. The kids are grown now. My father died. I’ve moved a couple of times and left my career. It takes time to build new relationships. What used to be seen as enthusiasm as a young person can be viewed as annoying as an older person. Trends change and opportunities become fewer.

At least one thing the people on my caseload appreciated was that they could talk to me about almost anything. They didn’t have to say what they thought I wanted to hear. If they were agitated, I would say, “It sounds like you’re having a rough day. Let’s talk about it.” They always left feeling better than when they arrived. I miss those conversations, too.

Church can be awkward sometimes because on Sunday mornings, people are in a hurry and have families that need attending to. If there are individuals who are feeling discouraged, those feelings may not be addressed and an opportunity missed.

Whether in positive thinking, healing or prosperity teachings, real life can sometimes be glossed over. Yes, how we react to an event can determine an outcome. No, Santa Claus does not deliver toys to every child in the world. No, not every person is healed. No, not every determined, hard worker will see their dreams come true or become wealthy.

Smiling, thinking positive and “fake it ’til you make it” will not take away the pain of crime, war, violence, disease, injury or oppression. Standing up for justice, action and change can.

I’m glad that I have a friend I can be real with and she with me. We laugh, cry, curse if needed (in extreme situations), sometimes all in the same conversation. There is no faking it. This may sound strange but in a way, God is part of the conversation. There is more healing taking place in that moment for me than any other setting.

Step Relationships Can Be Easy

Creating a loving relationship doesn’t have to be as hard as you might think!

As most of us know, relationships can be very challenging. We generally enter a relationship with many unhealed wounds from childhood. These wounds easily get triggered in committed relationships. Our wounds include both our fear of rejection and our fear of engulfment, and when these fears are activated, we generally go into old programmed ways of reacting, such as anger, blame, compliance, withdrawal, resistance, defensiveness, explaining, threatening and so on. You might have been programmed with many ways of making your partner responsible for your painful feelings.

Love gets eroded when we continue to act from our fears and the resulting protections.

But it doesn’t always have to be hard! Below are the essential keys to creating and maintaining a loving relationship.

Relationships thrive when both partners feel safe to be themselves and to discuss problems as they arise. Partners feel safe when they know they can rely on each other to be open and caring, even in the face of conflict.

There are four choices you can make to create this safe, open connected relationship space:

1. Cultivate an Intent To Learn With Yourself And Your Partner

We need to be able to rely on ourselves and each other to stay open to learning about our wounds and our resulting controlling protective behavior. There is nothing that grinds love down more than controlling behaviors, such as those mentioned above, or behavior that is intent on avoiding your feelings – such as ignoring your feelings, judging yourself and your partner, or turning to addictions to numb your feelings.

If you are currently not in a relationship, then take this time to learn to stay open with your own feelings and learn what they are telling you, rather than continue to abandon yourself when you feel pain. Learning to stay open with yourself makes it much easier to stay open with your partner.

If you are currently in a relationship, do the same thing. Take time to learn to be present with your own feelings, with an intent to learn.

2. Practice Focusing On Kindness With Yourself And Your Partner

Just as an openness to learning is essential in creating a safe relationship space, so is kindness. If you were not brought up with kindness and you have been judgmental with yourself and others, rather than kind, then you need to keep the concept of kindness in the forefront of your mind.

Relationships flourish when loving yourself and your partner is your highest priority. For most people, protecting against pain has been their highest priority, so it takes much practice to successfully make love a higher priority than avoiding pain.

3. Develop Your Spiritual Connection

Relationships flounder when you make your partner your source of love. Your partner isn’t supposed to be your higher power – you have your own higher power and this is your infinite source of love. When your intent is to learn about loving yourself and your partner, and you open to learning about this with a source of spiritual guidance, you will learn to fill yourself with love to share with your partner. Trying to have control over getting love ruins relationships. Sharing love creates intimacy and connection with your partner.

4. Make Relationship Time A High Priority

One of the greatest experiences in life is the sharing of love, and this takes time. Learning, growth, intimacy, connection and passion are the natural results of creating a safe, open, kind and loving relationship space, and all this takes times. Spending connected time together relaxing, laughing, sharing and cuddling are essential for creating a long-lasting, thriving loving relationship.

Is all this easy? It can be when love is your highest priority. When you fully accept that your reason for being on the planet is to evolve your soul in your ability to love, it becomes easier and easier to behave in these four loving ways.

Why You Need To Meet Couples Counselor

Improved Communication
There always seems to be one person in a relationship that is simply not good at communicating their wants and needs. This often leads to misunderstandings and arguments. Instead of one partner constantly trying to figure out what is going on, a husband and wife will finally be on the same page.

A professional will work with both people to make sure that they can effectively communicate their needs and wants, and that they can understand what the other person is saying.

Decreased Risk of Divorce
Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. This statistic is startling when one considers how many couples are getting married daily. When a husband and wife see a professional regularly, they help prevent their marriage from becoming another statistic.

Counselling will help them work through problems as they arise in their relationship, make sure that they feel connected to one another and help both individuals learn the skills necessary to solve conflicts.

Learn What Makes Them Happy
Every person in a relationship assumes that they are aware of what makes their partner happy, but most people do not. Instead, they try to make their partner happy with the same things that make them happy. For example, one partner may be satisfied more with physical touch instead of words of affirmation. Because of this, they will often hug or kiss their partner, and they think this is the key to their happiness.
The partner that receives the physical touch will often appreciate and enjoy all the affection, but, because they want words of affirmation, they may not be completely satisfied with the relationship. Counselling can help uncover things like this to keep both partner’s in a relationship happy, and these lessons will last for the duration of the relationship.

Be More Empathetic
Individuals often have a hard time seeing things from another person’s point of view. When a husband says that they no longer feel wanted and loved, for example, a wife may get defensive, and begin to state all the ways that she shows him that she loves him instead of trying to understand his feelings and work on changing her actions. This is because she feels defensive, which can make it even harder to empathise.

Seeking a professional that is experienced in working with those in relationships will help both people learn to see things from the other person’s point of view more, which can save two people from arguing, hurting each other’s feelings and more conflict.

Often, people see couples counselling as something that is done as a last resort. It is something that people in a relationship do when they are out of options, the relationship is going downhill and they do not know what to do. It is, in fact, the exact opposite. Therapists can teach people the skills that they need to maintain the happiness of their relationship, cultivate a deeper connection, and guarantee that they do not wind up with more problems that they know how to deal with.

How To Be a Wise Communicator

1. Deal with issues as they occur so that they don’t pile up and form resentments.
2. Agree that you will use the sports time-out signal when you need a break just to cool down. That will tell the other person that you are safe and will return once you have dealt with negative emotions and are ready to talk again.
3. Choose a quiet time without distractions to have conversations about serious topics. Discussions during a final football game or when other people are in the room are not appropriate.
4. Talk and act in a respectful way. Use your manners. Is your behaviour and attitude the same as it would be if there was a small grandchild present? Model the behaviour that you expect from others.
5. Separate the person and the problem. It never helps to attack a person’s character when dealing with a specific issue.
6. If you don’t understand, then gently ask questions. Remember the old television program “Colombo”? The star would begin gathering information by saying something like “I’m confused”. State this and then ask the other person to tell you about what they are going through, feeling or hoping for.
7. When you are angry ask yourself “What am I afraid of?” “What is being threatened that makes me feel like I need to protect myself?”
8. If you have an attitude of being in a competition where you feel that you need to win – you lose.
9. Even if you are right, remember that being stubborn or nagging won’t really change things. In fact, it just make you look like you are the problem.
10. Think about how you might talk or do things differently if you knew that you or the other person was going to die tonight.
11. Consider your tone. It’s not the words you say but the music you play.
12. Answer questions in positive terms. Don’t tell the other person what you want them to stop doing. Tell them what you would like them to do instead.
13. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Does s/he feel respected, cherished and cared about?
14. Be honest about your own weaknesses. If you are hearing the same thing or experiencing the same problem with more than one person, perhaps you are the problem.
15. Beware of listening to the advice of “shadow people”. They are individuals who will tell you what to do but do not experience any of the consequences if you actually follow their advice.
16. Recognize that you cannot change other people. Others only change when life isn’t working for them no matter what you think or do.
17. Admit your faults and ask forgiveness.
18. Work on improving yourself.
19. Be realistic. Arguing about the same thing over and over again does not solve anything. In fact, over time, it negatively affects the health and relationship for both of you.
20. Get professional help. Learning how to deal with your emotions or gaining assertiveness skills can lead to positive change and better results than what you have been experiencing.

Why You Still Need Freedom On Your Friendship

I must be getting older. It feels like the world I knew is changing right before my eyes. I imagine that is how every generation feels as they age. There have been both good and bad changes. Some have been necessary but some have come with decline.

I graduated from college in 2002 without a computer. I actually typed my papers. When I began my professional career in 2004, secretaries were still typing to dictation for a few of the old-timers at work. That same year, we got laptops. In 2007, we went online for reporting. In 2011, machines were brought in that we had to learn to use. By 2014, I was struggling to keep up.

I had to learn texting, social media and new gadgets. I recently found out that CDs are old. Since when? Now I have to upload my music! What happened to when we just answered a real phone and hand wrote a letter?

Customer service even seems to be a bygone. I went to a bead store that charged to wait on you. I walked right back out. Tips used to be for exceptional service. Now, they are expected.

Today, you can talk to someone but it may cost you. Granted, some counseling services are vital but now, people are charging big bucks for spiritual direction, life coaching and therapy. How many of these people know you inside and out or even care once the session is over or you cannot pay them?

Your best resource are your friends if they are good ones. You only need one. You’re blessed if you have more.

Chances are, your childhood or long-term friends know you as well as they know themselves. They would never charge a fee to talk or listen. They don’t judge, only give advice if they see you in harm’s way and love you in spite of your flaws. You do the same for them.

I’ve loved watching God at work in the lives of both my childhood friend and myself. Each time we talk, it is confirmed. Neither of us are perfect but we get more out of our conversations than any fee from a stranger could provide.

I’ve been trained in reflective listening and understand the purpose but I personally hate it when it is being used on me. I recognize it the second I hear it. I would much rather be with a friend who totally gets it.

One of the best out pours of love from a young woman at church once was when she showed up at my door with a huge basket of chocolate. She said, “I know you and this is a chocolate moment.” I said, “Oh, you’re good!”. That’s what I’m talking about.

Tips to Choose Friends Wisely

We all need friends that we can talk to, someone who we can vent our hardships in life. Or we just might want a friend who we can have fun with. Finding the right friend who can meet your expectations can be challenging. You want a friend who you share the same values a friend who can encourage you, congratulate you after accomplishing something, respects you and also a friend who does not take advantage of you.

By choosing the right friends you will avoid disappointments, stress or even depression.

You should look for a friend who has your best interest in their hearts. There can be such people who look like they care about your life but in reality they are just interested in getting something from you for their own selfish gain and they will do anything without caring about you, even if you are friendly to them.

Before you know how to choose your friends you need to “study everyone” know their weakness and strength, try to understand them. This will give you an understanding in choosing your friends and also becoming a leader.

The Following Are Steps That I use to help me select the Right Friends.

1. Choose a Friend with the Same Values as You.

Everyone has their own values and it is a must for a person who is your friend not to go against these values.

Let’s say you are very respectful about your possessions and you would hate someone who would treat your possessions with no respect. Then you should look for a friend who has your best interest in their hearts and not a friend who is willing to please people without caring about your boundaries. This is a person who can easily betray you especially if it is a person trying to be cool so that he or she can fit in another social group.

2. Choose a Friend who encourages you.

A Friend that encourages you is almost the best friend. This is a person who is interested in your life, your goals and what you want to accomplish without manipulating you for their own selfish gain. A friend who encourages you will not put you in a spot where you are envious. A person who makes you envious and is pretending to be your friend does not really care about you.

Such a person will almost all the time talk about their biggest accomplishments or their next big projects that will make them successful. Avoid these people because their actions will make you envious which will lead to stress and later depression, they can easily destroy your life and will not even care what happened to you.

3. Choose a Friend that share similar interest.

These are the fun friends and are the best friends to be around with when you are feeling down. You could share interests like music, sports, arts or adventure.

4. Choose a friend that can celebrate your Success.

A friend that can celebrate your success is very rare to find. If you find one make sure you keep them close. This is a true friend because such a person is interested about you, he/she will push you to accomplish your goals and celebrate every milestone.

5. Avoid people who are manipulative.

People who are manipulative are clever. They can easily trick you into becoming their friends. This is how such people trick you into becoming their friends;

  • They will tell you some truth about their life so that they can create trust with you (you will in turn think that this is a person who sees you as a good friend and you will not want to disappoint them.)
  • They will start to help you when you need assistance even when you have not asked for it.
  • They will then notice your interests and will come up with something that will make you envious.
  • They will ask about your goals and accomplishments in life for their own selfish gain and they will not encourage you to attain them.

If you suspect that someone is manipulating you for their own selfish gain make sure you terminate the friendship.

6. Avoid people who love to gossip.

Gossiping is childish; you should look for a friend who likes to mind their own business. Do not be quick in choosing your friends. People who love to gossip and are your friends can easily destroy your reputation, even if it means to save their own skin.

If you have a friend and you are suspecting he/she is gossiping you make sure you carefully confront them, because if you don’t do it this will make your friendship awkward and you will eventually become enemies.

7. Choose a friend with common goals.

If you have a goal in life to own a certain business and you come across a person with the same dream, you should make sure that you become friends. When selecting such friends (this is not the case with all situations as it depends on the people working together) make sure that you do not have the same skills as this can lead to competition and instead of working together you will be rivals.

8. Choose friends who always want to gain more knowledge.

Knowledge is the key in life, having friends who can help you learn something new from them is great. They can give you information that will help you in your life.

Strategy For Success

My greatest joy, as a teacher is to help my students discover their abilities and work towards their goals.

Many years ago, I received a call from a mother of a high school student. She said, “My husband’s employer recommended you as a violin teacher for my son. I would prefer a man to teach him, but will give you a try. My son is lazy and stupid.”

I replied, “Please do not talk that way about your son in front of him or to others.”

I agreed to teach this young man, provided that she would be encouraging to her son.

A young man with multi colored hair, an earring, and strange looking clothes walked in to his first violin lesson. His head was down, and he looked depressed.

We began working on scales, an etude, a solo piece, and the orchestra audition materials for the state orchestra auditions. He was a very talented young man and I told him so during our first lesson and all the lessons that followed. The honest sincere words that I spoke to him inspired and motivated him to do his best.

When it was time for the next lesson, a completely different young man walked eagerly up my walkway. He was neatly dressed, had his head up and wore a big smile. He took pride in his work and in himself. Each week I saw a transformation in him.

It was our fifth week of lessons, our final lesson before the state orchestra auditions. I told him how beautiful his playing was and what a good job he would do on the audition. Preparation makes all the difference! The honest sincere words that I spoke to him made him blossom like a flower.

He called me a few days after the audition and said with great pride, “I am the Concertmaster of the orchestra. There were over 40 people trying out and I won first place.” He said this with a smile on his face over the phone.

I told him how proud of him I was and that I knew he would win because of his hard work and determination. His Mother called and said, “Even though you are a woman, you did a good job with him!”

I bit my tongue, but thanked her for the compliment.

This young man changed his attitude and worked hard because of the “honest sincere praise” I gave him at every lesson. He went on to college after he graduated at the top of his high school class.

Do you remember a teacher, coach, friend or family member who complimented you? That compliment inspired and motivated you to work harder to do your best!

Have you ever mentored or coached someone and watched him or her succeed? How did you feel when they were successful?

I bet you felt proud and happy for their success and you walked a little taller that day!

Zig Ziglar, motivational expert and mentor in his book, ” See You at the Top” read the following story as a young salesman. It “made a lasting impression” on him. A young woman had sung since she was a young girl. She “made her musical debt in a church cantata. She had a beautiful voice and a great career was predicted for her. As she grew older,” she sang more concerts at local functions. Her family recognized her need for “professional voice training”.

Her family found a well-known singing teacher who told her every little thing she did wrong. As time passed the young women grew to admire her teacher and married him. Fewer and fewer concerts came her way as she had lost confidence in her gift of singing. Her teacher and husband had broken her confidence. When he passed away she was no longer singing at all.

Several years later she began to date a salesman and she would sometimes hum a tune while she was with him. He said, “Sing some more, Honey. You have the most beautiful voice in all the world”.

The salesman was not an expert, but he knew what he liked and gave her “honest sincere compliments.” She gained confidence from the salesman’s “honest appreciative words” and felt her joy of singing return to her. She was asked to sing in a few concerts. Once again with her confidence in hand, she resumed her career and married her salesman.

Zig Ziglar said, “She married the “good finder” and went on to a successful career. The salesman’s praise for her was totally honest, sincere, and much needed. In fact a sincere compliment is one of the most effective teaching and motivating methods in existence.”

Do you remember a teacher, coach, friend or family member who complimented you? Do you remember the compliment?

Coach John Wooden in his book, “Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success Playbook” tells the following story: “When I was a young boy, I was at a gravel pit with my father and a young man. They had a team of horses and were attempting to pull a load up a steep road. The young man driving the horses was loud and abusive. In response, the animals were agitated, worked against each other and couldn’t pull the load. With a gentle voice and gentler touch, my Dad calmed the horses and walked them forward with a load.”

Coach Wooden “learned two important lessons that day.”

1) “Gentleness is a better method of getting cooperation than harshness.”

2) “A team can accomplish much more when it works together than individuals can when they work alone.”

Like all living creatures, the horses needed kindness and gentleness and honest sincere appreciation to move the heavy load. Remember this when you are developing others and when you are working on your own self-development!

Zig Ziglar shared the following story about a “beggar selling pencils” in New York. A “businessman dropped a dollar into the cup” of the beggar and rushed to board “the subway train”. The businessman suddenly turned back, before entering the train, and went back to the beggar selling the pencils. He “took several pencils from the cup”. The businessman apologized and “explained that in his haste he had neglected to pick up his pencils and hoped the man wouldn’t be upset with him”. He said, “You are a businessman just like me. You have merchandise to sell and it’s fairly priced.” The businessman then went to catch “the next train”.

A salesman “neatly dressed” came to a social function and introduced himself to “the businessman”. The salesman said, “You probably don’t remember me and I don’t know your name, but I will never forget you. You are the man who gave me back my self-respect. I was a ‘beggar’ selling pencils until you came along and told me I was a businessman.”

Zig Ziglar said, ” The greatest good we can do for anyone is not to share our wealth with them, but rather to reveal their own wealth to them. It’s astonishing how much talent and ability rests inside a human being.” Help others to discover their abilities.

When you mentor or coach others and they become successful how do you feel?

Doesn’t it make you happy and proud that you helped them become successful?

What are 3 ways you can empower others and yourself to be successful?

1) Each morning begin with a positive attitude, smile, and start your day by saying positive motivational things to yourself.

2) Give an “honest sincere compliment” to inspire, motivate, and encourage someone else each day!

Be like the businessman who told the “beggar selling pencils”, “You are a businessman just like me. You have merchandise to sell and it’s fairly priced.” Encouraging words changed the way the beggar saw himself.

Zig Ziglar said, “A sincere compliment is one of the most effective teaching and motivating methods in existence.”

3) John Maxwell says, ” Make people development your priority.” Help others to discover their abilities and you will discover yours too! Building confidence in the student and the singer’s abilities made all the difference in the world to them. Their futures changed for the better.

Start your holiday season right by doing two things: 1) begin your day with a positive attitude, smile, and say positive motivational things to yourself. 2) Then give an “honest sincere compliment” to inspire, motivate, and encourage someone else each day!

Pros and Cons On Community

We all experience the loss of friends and changes in our relationships. It may be our decision, the other person’s, jointly decided or something thrust upon us by life. The loss may have come from something negative like jealousy, ill-will, anger or fear. It may have come from a decision based on what seemed best for all concerned. It may have been the natural outcome of something that life brought into the arena. Regardless, we can practise these principles of healing and growth:

  • If we have done something regrettable then we must try to fix it up as best we can. We may be able to correct the mistake or we may not be able to. However, the intention to right a wrong carries substantial weight. What we did may not have been necessarily wrong in the situation, however, perhaps with time and a different understanding we can see that it would have been better to do things differently. It’s called growth. If we are humble and honest enough to admit to mistakes then our ability to improve our life will be far greater than the average person.
  • If the other person has done something regrettable then as soon as we can manage it, we must try to forgive them. We all get hurt. It’s an inescapable part of life. However, much of that hurt comes from other people’s problems and the way they are accustomed to dealing with them. Knowing that takes a lot of the personal sting out of it. Don’t hate people even when they hate you. There is enough hatred in the world. Hate is a great burden to the soul which harbours it. A person who has a good intention even if others find them strange, annoying or concerning will tend to thrive in spite of the ups and downs of life.
  • As far as possible, be on good terms with everyone. Don’t gossip, criticize, complain or belittle anyone even if we are hurt or angry with them. Of course, speak in private to a trusted confidant but choose the confidant wisely. Do not speak with someone who will add critical fire to the situation. Be careful to speak with the intention of trying to heal oneself of anger and hurt. Don’t say mean things, even about enemies. The meanness will otherwise come back to us. Accidents, illness, unhappiness, depression, and anxiety will come looking for us. We must speak as if there are invisible ears around us because there are. Our words float out into the ether and have their own way of returning to us in like.
  • When we feel the pangs of jealousy or feel threatened in some way by other people’s talents or presence, we can remind ourselves that everyone can have their place. That place will automatically be decided by the person’s true abilities and nature. Other people having a place does not detract from us having our place or finding those we are genuinely connected to or expressing our gifts and continuing to develop.
  • Accept changes in relationships and life. We may have been close to someone and if something has happened to change that then we must try to accept that it is so. We can be grateful for whatever is left of the friendship or relationship, if anything is left. Sometimes, time can change things that were making the relationship unworkable and it may be possible to reunite in some form with people we have cared about and establish a new type of relationship. If something has changed for the better in either or both people then the new friendship or relationship will also be for the better.
  • We mustn’t compromise our most essential values for the sake of popularity, to maintain a relationship, to get something we want or to avoid the wrath of others. We mustn’t remain silent when it is important to speak up or be subservient to someone else’s destructive words and actions or fail to protect those we should look after or accept damaging conditions from a friend or loved one when they can do better. We do not always have to speak up. Peace-making is a beautiful and powerful ability. Peace, if possible, is always preferable. Preserving peace is not the same as weakness. Weakness feels that it is saving a friendship or relationship by lying low and remaining silent but the dormant issues will surface regardless. Our true self is our best gift to our community so we should not give less than that.
  • We mustn’t withdraw from human interaction because it is often painful. It keeps us grounded and helps us to grow through real and challenging situations. Also, we never know when one of those beautiful, treasured moments of life will appear. Someone unexpectedly expresses their appreciation for us, something heals, a conflict is resolved. Even famous and powerful individuals need to belong to a real community where they are treated like a normal person for good and bad. Otherwise, they forget what real people and real life are like. They can become delusional about their own worth. Their life can become empty because the love and hate of real people have more depth than the love and hate of unknown people. We do not need to decide which community to belong to. We just live life to the best of our ability and follow our interests and we will find ourselves within a community of people; some we will love, some we will find tedious. That’s how it should be. We will have the perfect soil for growth and we will be blessed both by the love and hate of those who naturally wish to respond to us. We are only responsible for our own thoughts and actions, not for anyone else’s.

Ways To Forgive

It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody. ~Maya Angelou

Forgiveness IS one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, but how do we genuinely get there?

Many people believe that if they just decide to forgive someone, they have actually forgiven them, only to discover anger or resentment emerging over and over. So how to forgive?

Alyce wrote me the following question:

“Dr. Paul, How do I sincerely forgive my soon-to-be ex-husband of 32 years for infidelity committed prior to him even asking me for a divorce? I feel angry, hurt and jealous that he would give another woman the affection that he denied me. I know I must forgive him in order for me to heal and move on, but how to forgive?”

The first thing that Alyce needs to accept is that forgiveness is a natural process that occurs as we do our own deep inner work. Alyce needs to let go of reaching forgiveness for now, and instead focus on learning about her end of the relationship system. She needs to have the courage to look within at what she did in the relationship that contributed to the problems that resulted in divorce.

Alyce can ask herself questions such as:

  • Was I true to myself in this relationship, or did I give myself up to try to please him?
  • How did I try to control in this relationship? Was I angry, compliant, withdrawn, resistant or blaming?
  • In what ways did I abandon myself? Did I judge myself, ignore my feelings, turn to addictions to avoid responsibility for my feelings, or did I make my husband responsible for my self-worth, safety and happiness?

Answering these questions honestly won’t be easy, and Alyce might need the help of a therapist or facilitator to have the courage to get very honest with herself.Once she has a clear understanding of her end of their dysfunctional relationship system, then Alyce needs to practice doing inner work to learn to love herself. She needs to learn to give herself whatever it was that she was trying to get from her husband. Part of loving herself is forgiving herself for her own unloving behavior toward herself and her husband while in the relationship.

Alyce needs to accept that she and her husband came together at their common level of woundedness – their common level of self-abandonment. Each of them brought their unhealed wounds into the relationship, and they each played out their wounds with each other.

As Alyce learns to love and forgive herself, rather than judge herself and abandon herself in other ways, she will gradually and naturally feel forgiveness toward her husband. She cannot force or push reaching forgiveness. She needs to accept that this is a gradual process of self-healing.

The more Alyce does her own inner work, the more happy and peaceful she will feel within. Her anger, hurt and jealousy will gradually heal as she learns to give herself the love she was seeking externally. As she learns to see their relationship system clearly, she will accept that they both did the best they could, given their backgrounds and resulting woundedness.

At this point in her inner healing, Alyce will feel compassion for both herself and her ex-husband.