Ahh. The end of the year. Tis the season for reflecting on all those unmet goals, listening (and reading about) family and friends who are tooting their own horns left and right, and bracing yourself for......the resentment you still have left in your heart from the year. Wait...what? What to do w/ those remnant squares of hurt? Read on, my friends.
Before you think I'm a total Debbie Downer, I will have you know that yes- this will end on a positive note. I do happen to run two companies that bring positive vibes, inspiration and change into people's lives. However, I'm not afraid to stomp on the eggshells and address the elephants in the room head on -- around the looming thoughts that dance like sugarplums through ALL of our (mostly positive) heads, from time to time.
We all have self-doubt, know we are not perfect and possibly have some self-confidence issues. But do we really acknowledge that we have hurt and anger built up, for generations to come? I am generally, very positive. From the outside, people would definitely say so. When I asked some of my close friends and confidants to describe me a while back, I got responses like "loyal, thoughtful, helpful, sentimental, compassionate, energetic, animated, caring and patient" so I feel it's safe to say that for the most part, I'm positive.
What I can also be, is the biggest bitch you've ever laid eyes on. (Wait WHAT.... the owner of the spiritual-upbeat-positive-holistic-tree hugging-spiritual-woo-woo-self-care-self-help-I love all walks of life) company? Yep. That's me. But I also think that I have a real gift for realizing the lesson and even ASKING for it, early on. While many people want to run and hide at the thought of ANOTHER life lesson, I'm actually begging for them. We all have moments in life that we aren't proud of, or that were a real-life educational treat. Moments that we might take back, we might not.
I throw daggers with my eyes, can think of the quickest, wittiest comment and make grown men run for the hills if they see me coming. If looks could kill, they'd be dead. I can be pretty downright scary at times, at 5'5" and 125 pounds. I'm quick, can sputter out facts and things that you may have "did" 15 years ago and tell you who you were with and what you were drinking at the drop of a hat. My grandmother always said I should be a lawyer, cause I can argue and make a case like nobody's business. And what she failed to say (but I knew she was thinking) was that I am relentless for getting my side of the story heard. In fact, I can think of a few grown men that are scared of me right now, or they should be. Maybe you know someone like this -- who will stick up for you no matter what. Maybe it's you!?
As positive as I am and may seem at times, as many wonderful things unfolded during 2014 (and there were many wonderful things), for much of the year, I was angry. I cringe at typing these words. But I was. I, along with my husband, were very hurt and unnecessarily stomped on by numerous people. (Don't worry...I'm not one to call us the 'victims' here and "look what they've done TO us", because I know there is no such thing. It's all a matter of perception.) However, things happened, and it hurt. It stung. We got hit below the belt. We were sore. What we went through left me with a bad taste in my mouth, no matter how many times I brushed my teeth or how many hot yoga sessions I went to.
We were hot with temper and freezing with a cold heart. We cared for our emotional bruises day in and day out, attempting to smolder (gracefully) the sparks of mad and sad that lurked up through the ashes. Day in and day out, we took the high road. He took the high road. We did the right thing. We worked hard, went about things honestly, tried everything we could, but it wasn't enough. He took the higher road. When you see someone you love get pissed on, you get, well... pissy. Without even knowing what situation I'm referring to, maybe you can relate?
Whether it was being in business with people who attempted to suck the sunshine and life right out of us, or fending off creative vampires who took a bite of my brain, or (literally) installing security systems to keep stealing family members at bay -- this IS the year, to practice exercising my forgiveness muscle.
And up to this very minute I can say I'm truly grateful for the moments, the lessons. I can say that 2014 was the year of the F word. The other F word: forgiveness.
Forgiveness is so hard for me. I'll admit, my first reaction nine times out of 10 is to "give them a taste of their own medicine." Over this past year, I've learned to be SO aware of my emotions and what triggers them. I learned a very important lesson long ago, which I need to start living again, and that is: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Unfortunately for me, I didn't smear down a lot of honey this year. I was hurt. I was pissed. And I didn't know what I know now (gotta love the timing of those life lessons!). Cause when you know better, you do better. (Thank you, Maya Angelou). But I'm here to share with you, my dear grasshopper: the lessons and exercises I've learned to help TRULY forgive. Not forget, just forgive. For real. This. Time.
10 Ways to Forgive the Bullshit (NOW) from 2014:
1. Understand that forgiveness is a choice. "Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent free in your head." You have a choice. You can keep allowing this anger/resentment/hurt to bubble up day after day until it inevitably, explodes. OR, you can CHOOSE to work on simmering that blood-boiling pot and be happy again, you choose.
2. Understand that you don't get to decide karma. This was a hard one for me. Put the damn karma grading scale away. What you think "should" happen to them, is way different than will actually happen. Acknowledge and accept this. And let karma do her thang.
3. Trust. Trust that the universe/world/God/your boss/your ex/whoever isn't out to "get" you. "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -- Paulo Coelho Did you ever think, maybe... just maybe the world/your life is trying to tell you something? That it's trying to guide you and you just won't listen? So... this is the world being sarcastically funny. You are learning the lessons the hard way- because you wouldn't learn the first/second/third time she tried to teach them to you! So start trusting again. Trust, assists forgiveness and vise versa.
4. Don't, please don't say it's OK. Whatever is going on, it's not and never has been OK. Otherwise- you wouldn't feel this way, right? So quit saying that it is OK. What you can do, is become aware. Let it settle. Give it space. Acknowledge (and voice) if that helps- that it is not and was never OK, but you are in the process of forgiving.
5. Leave reconciliation for another day. If and only if, this truly is the last step on your forgiveness path, then leave this for a day when both parties are ready. It takes two to make it right (and move a relationship forward) if that is what you are going for. It takes only one to forgive.
6. Work(out) it out. Nothing like pounding into the pavement or bike the thoughts you wish would just leave your head already. Go for a walk with your favorite jam. Start thinking about the issue. You'll be running in no time. And relieving stress. And burning calories (bonus).
7. Find the grace. Without sounding cliché, I'm going to sound cliché. Everything happens for a reason. You know this because it's one of the first quote cards you pinned on your Pinterest board way back in 2011. There is a reason this situation happened. There is a lesson to be learned and this IS in a really effed up way, trying to get you on the right ship that sails to bliss island. Your mission: figure out what it is and as soon as possible, preferably before you self-destruct. See #3.
8. Understand that being angry creates more of a problem. "Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die." ~Carrie Fisher~ It's not doing you any good, being angry. Or hurt! Who wants to be sad because of someone else all day? We can be sad on our own, thank-you-very-much. So follow these steps, then do something that brings you joy.
9. Set a forgiveness date with yourself. No, really. Write it on your calendar. Like not tonight, but plan a day within the next 30 days and write out all of the things you will do on your forgiveness date. I'm serious. Commit to it. It's not a surprise, you have time to plan what you will say, what you will do. Sit with your crazy ass self for a hot second, or an entire day. Cry it out. Channel your inner toddler and allow yourself to have a temper tantrum. Eat the comfort food, journal, and sink your feet into the earth. THIS is the day- you will drop all kinds of Fbombs and hopefully after, with low maintenance you will be over it. Try these actions on your forgiveness date.
10. Stop waiting for an apology. Stop Trying. In other words: let go. If all else fails, seek positive revenge by living well (it's the honey and the vinegar thing). Focus on your life, right now. Create positive change each day. Take the high road. Map out how you want to feel, every moment, every day. Nice guys don't always finish last, but many give up before they reach the finish line. The best revenge is personal victory. Know in your heart and through every ounce of your being that you are a good person, and you gave it your all.
Most people, are good people. And if they are not being good people, it's because they don't know any better. No one has taught them right from wrong. They believe that in order to get ahead, they must take from others. They haven't learned that there is enough sunshine for everyone. If it were easy for them to get what they want (money, success, love, feelings of accomplishment, material things) or knew how, they probably would. They live from a place of fear, that they will never have enough. They haven't found the love or light in their heart yet, to move ahead with integrity. Doing the right thing is for smart people. Using your brain, and getting the result you want without hurting others, is for smart people. Taking what is not yours or what was earned by someone else, is for fools. Treating others with courtesy and respect is for smart people. Whoever hurt you, wasn't willing to learn this time around. And it's not your job to decide when it is their time to learn the lesson (see #2). Just know, that the lesson for them, will get louder and louder until they are finally caught, or they finally learn. Break the cycle. Today. And see #2.
If there is anything I can say about forgiving in 2014, it's this: like anything, forgiveness takes a little (soul)work. It's not a 1-step process and yes, even maintenance is as important as the initial fix itself. It's easy to get re-worked up about issues that you've already let escape you.
But it's cool. Why am I throwing myself under the bus? Because I'm not in business to claim I have perfect and I have all the answers. I'm here to live my life, learn the lessons, and teach others what I've learned- in the hopes, we can learn from each others mistakes.
I never thought I would feel the hurt, anger and resentment I did in 2014. Not in a million years would I have thought I could be so, damn mad. But then again, I never thought I would think so highly of it either.
One of my favorite short tales goes like this:
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
One is Evil. It is fear, distrust, anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, purpose, serenity, humility, kindness, self-worth, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
Which one will you feed not in 2015, but now?
Don't allow 2014 to end the same way you've been feeling much of the year. Make your 2014 Fbomb a Forgiveness #truthbomb. Want to really get to the core of how you want to feel? I can help with that!
Comment below -- what are you forgiving this year? How are you going to do it?