Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Dare To Stop Living In The Past - Forgive Today!

Forgiveness: The process of ceasing to feel resentment, indignation or anger against another person for a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.

Forgiveness is a difficult topic for most people – mainly because the mere thought of it brings up feelings of resentment, anger, bitterness etc. The ability to forgive is not something that many people have mastered, yet it is crucial to one’s emotional wellbeing. Nothing is more liberating than letting go of that emotional and mental toxic energy! Some see forgiveness as a sign of weakness, while others aim to “punish” the person they are holding a grudge against. I’ve heard it said before that holding a grudge and refusing to forgive is like you drinking poison whilst hoping that the person you are angry with dies! Essentially you punish yourself. This is a harrowing thought considering that some people hold grudges for a lifetime!

Learning how to forgive is not only important for those who may wrong us but ourselves too. If you have difficulty forgiving those who wrong you, you will also find it difficult to forgive yourself if the need ever arises. We cannot control how others feel about us but we should at least be able to control how we feel about ourselves. When you forgive you are not condoning the actions of the one who wronged you but instead you choose to remember what they have done without letting it hurt you anymore. It’s a sign of you taking charge of your emotions and not letting someone else’s actions dictate how you feel.

It often amazes me how children (especially younger ones) almost have no ability to hold a grudge! Take for instance a scenario where your two or three year old does something that you don’t approve of. You may snap at them telling them to stop what they are doing and how they should know better etc. The child walks away with their tail between their legs and gets on with something else. You start to feel bad for having overreacted perhaps so you call the child back and apologise. Ever noticed how in most cases your child will respond with a simple “ok” and it’s a genuine “ok” at that! You wronged them, you apologised and it’s over. However as adults we seem to have a “does he/she think it’s going to be that easy to reconcile? Well they have another thing coming!” This may be because of pride or the complicated personas that we develop in adulthood. Either way I think that there is a lesson to be learned here. Dare to be like a child who has a free spirit and ultimately wants things to be “ok” all the time. Besides it will leave you feeling happier, guilt free and in a fantastic emotional space.

Remember: “Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. We do it for ourselves to get well and move on”

Monday, 7 February 2011

Putting Yourself First

This article is for people who in an effort to be good caregivers, parents, spouses etc have neglected themselves and have put their needs at the bottom of a very long “to-do” list. It will offer some insight on putting yourself first and why it’s important to do so.

Do you ever feel guilty about putting yourself first? As a mother I used to suffer from this syndrome too, until not very long ago. Everything I did had to include my daughter and if it didn’t (even if that was because it wasn’t practical) I would beat myself up and spiral into negative self talk about how I was a bad mother. Doing something for or by myself at that time meant that I was putting her aside and that didn’t make me feel very good. It took a while for me to get over this purely because I didn’t realise that this wasn’t about my daughter or anybody else – it was about me and how much I value myself.

Everyone needs to recharge their batteries from time to time, more so if you are someone who wears more than one hat i.e. father, breadwinner, primary care giver etc. Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t feel guilty for taking a few minutes out of EACH day to put yourself first.

Putting yourself first:

  • Gives you time to do the things you love
 When you sacrifice too much for something you can begin to loathe it i.e. raising a family, because you begin to see it as the reason why you no longer have time for your hobbies. Make time for the things that you enjoy doing.

  • Allows for time to spend with you partner/spouse or family
 Often after a long day at the office or one spent chasing the kids around the house, the last thing you want to do is talk and be sociable! Set time aside to nurture your relationships with your loved ones. One date night or family night a week ensures that you all stay connected.

  • Ensures that you still ‘have a life’ post raising your kids
 This one is more for parents who in the process of being the best mom or dad forget about the life they had before the children. Remember that you have an identity separate from your children. Maintaining this will make the empty nest syndrome easier to deal with.

  • Gives you some ‘me time’
 I believe that we are all beginning to realise the importance of ‘me time’. Even if this time is spent doing nothing specific, it allows one to shut the world out, regroup and refocus mentally, emotionally and spiritually – something I feel is paramount in this day and age of technology and fast paced living.

  • Ultimately makes you a more “together” individual
 When we take time to do things that nurture the soul, we become better prepared to take on the world and all our other commitments!