Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sundays with Sarah (27)

To find out more about Sarah and this feature go here.

Hi everyone, welcome to another end of the weekend and another Sundays with Sarah.

I've been on hiatus for a few weeks dealing with some personal matters and over those weeks I've come to experience a few hard lessons friends and family and even myself have had to male. There is one particular matter I dealt with that I wanted to share with everyone. It's on the topic of "Forgiving and Forgetting, Can there be a second chance?"

The past few weeks have been hard and like most people we struggle with things that we really don't want to deal with. Dealing with loss, tragic or otherwise. Loss of a friend, loved one, pet or even something material of sentimental value. And in my case, having to deal with a never-ending supply of bad "Karma". I swear, I'm either the receptacle of it or God's been really testing my patience for the past 36 years.

Now we all have suffered some form of grief in some form or another, from a theft which makes us uneasy from the invasion of privacy, to the passing away of a loved one. But no matter how much bad or pain we suffer in life we all tend to find our own form of coping mechanisms to help us get through those rough times. Now I'm not saying my life is more complicated or worse than someone else out there but I've been through my share of crap in life from dealing with spending the first 12 years of my life bouncing around in over 20 foster homes which screwed my life over in more ways thanks to the Alberta Government's inability to give a damn, to dealing with the realization and hard loss of my own daughter and the pain that surrounded years of custody battles lasting 13 years and the stresses that come with it and the grief of knowing she is gone. Hate is a hard thing to heal from, but also dealing with the loss of friendships and the trusts that are built and lost.

As we all deal with grief and stress we sometimes find ourselves along the road of rebuilding who and what we are, trying to find where to go from that point and why even bother. For some, letting going of what we hold dear can sometimes be the hardest in the road to recovery I should know, I am still dealing with all the hate from my daughter that she had to me, that at times I find it would have been easier if she had placed a gun to my head and pulled the trigger. But because of how much I've had to endure in life and as my best-friend Amy would agree with (the person who runs this site and someone I trust more than most people to consider her more family than friend), People always comes to me for advice on how to deal with things from situations to dealing with stressful events and more. So now I pass on some advice to all those out there.

1. Forgive or Forget?

Forgiving is love's toughest work, and love's biggest risk. If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator. Forgiving seems almost unnatural. Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do. But forgiving is love's power to break nature's rule. ~Lewis B. Smedes

When someone hurts us, the pain of that is or was caused can run deep. When we open ourselves up to others and when we start to trust someone we become vulnerable. When someone lies to us or betrays that trust even if it is meant to either protect or hurt, still causes us to stop trusting those people. For example, for years my own daughter was made to believe I had done some things bad but she was made to believe it as truth even though she was lied to. As such my daughter was told a subjective one sided story, but in the end it didn't matter, it made her distrust me on the basis of a lie. During a hard time in my life, I trusted someone so much that they used that trust to destroy and take the one thing I cared more about and hurt me. Those people used manipulation on my daughter and turned her against me through the lies and manipulation and confabulation of untruths. My own daughter was taught that I was "bad" and as such, even if I was to see my daughter today, the chances of any form of trust being built would never happen. This is because she couldn't trust me based on what she was told. So this became something my daughter was taught and wanted. But seeing as my daughter is gone, she would never forgive me, because she was taught not to, but she would forget me, because it was what she wanted. Now although I didn't tell the whole story behind everything (as it is too personal), she had a choice to either forgive or forget. In this case, she decided to forget that I ever exist, because she was or would not able to forgive for the events of the past truth or lie. In the end, she would never be able to forgive herself, only forget the reason why.

2. Second Chances, are they even possible?

People do make mistakes and I think they should be punished. But they should be forgiven and given the opportunity for a second chance. We are human beings. ~David Millar

Part of me wishes I could have had a second chance with my own daughter. For some parents, who cannot get those second chances it makes living life all that harder. For some with ended relationships, it becomes harder to let go and even harder to forgive. As we all know when we make mistakes in life, we all ask for second chances so that we can try to make right what could be wrong. For some it is a process in which we can heal scars that can run deep, but inevitably the trust and respect that once was will never be seen again. Sometimes people screw up, after all we are all human. As imperfect beings charged with the power to manipulate, lie, cheat and steal and the emotional sophistication to feel jealousy, heartbreak and outrage, this is to be expected. And so we sometimes find it in our hearts to empathize with the offender and forgive or love them and forget. We award second chances and some of us are filled with so much empathy or love that we give third and fourth chances. Still other times we do not and the offender must lay down in the bed they made. For me I have to accept the fact that my own daughter will never forgive me enough as the hate she has for me will (for which she was taught to have) never allow her to give me a second chance. The daughter I knew when she was 5 was no longer the child she had grown into as a teenager. Just as people change, so have I. When hurt happens it changes how we feel about ourselves. I have become a bitter, angry person today, hurt by over a decade of pain from "that child" (aka my daughter). I wanted to be there for her, but she never knew that I was never allowed. I will have missed the best parts of her life because of someone else's hatred for me to have me out of her life and had her convince I shouldn't exist. So I too am stuck with the choice of giving second chances, and to either forgive or forget. But I've been lying to myself, to believe that there is 'Faith' out there that would allow me to do so. I know that I may have used my own experiences with the past of my own daughter but I can use that reason.

In our personal lives I am sure that the majority of these decisions are based upon feelings - the raw and blinding emotions of love, lust and fear to name a few and the information told to us about others that we tend to believe even if its truth or lie. But second chances are not just limited to family, friends and lovers and in fact often flood our more objective world and turns our thinking subjective to one another. My daughter, the child I once knew lived in a subjective world, created by the only family she knows, she was either too afraid to show any feelings for me except that of which she was required to, and keeping to the status quo of hate she was expected to have. But. maybe you are a child or parent whose other half has failed to meet your expectations or maybe just someone who had a bad experience at the corner market. You will, consciously or not, evaluate the offender's worthiness of a second chance.

Yet try as we might to objectify them with standardized measures, these decisions cannot be made with the same exacting certainty as a logic proof. Looking at the data of someone's life and taking into consideration all that we know about psychology does not result in the beautiful clarity of an if, then statement. I can, for example, never say with certainty that if the alienator parent takes anger management and gets sober, then they will never abuse again. What my recommendations do amount to though, is an educated guess. The best guess from an expert on human behavior, and when called for, second chances.

How often can we forgive a person before we finally give up on trusting them again?

Have you experienced having someone fail on you, lie to you, or simply do something hurtful or mean? How many times are you willing to tolerate it before your bubble bursts?

The term "second chance" is not always just the "second" it could probably be the third, fifth or even tenth time.

If someone makes a major mistake, how long 'til you could forgive them?

Are you the type to give second chances or is it immediately over?

Forgiving, forgetting, second chances are all fine in theory, but the practice creates more complications. We all have experienced hurt and pain in our lives. Sometimes we are exposed to experiences so painful that they leave marks that are difficult to heal-especially if we feel someone has wronged us or harmed us.

1. Acknowledge the problem.

Figure out what it is that’s causing you to hold a grudge. You have to know what the problem is in order to solve it. When you allow yourself to see the real issue you can then make a choice to move forward from there.

2. Share your feelings.

A grudge can form when an issue isn’t fully confronted. Without being judgmental about yourself or another, clarify your feelings on the situation. Then, decide if this is something you will work on in your own heart or by contacting the other person involved. Only when you are ready, communicate with the other person about the issue. Whether you work it out on your own or involved the other person, you may feel more relieved by releasing that built up tension and all involved can have a better understanding of the situation and able to resolve the issue.

3. Switch places.

To get a better understanding of the other person, try putting yourself in their shoes. This will give you a better understanding of their point of view and behavior. Maybe the person in question was in a lot of pain. This doesn’t justify their negativity, but it will help you understand it. The more you understand the other person and their behavior, the easier it is not to let go of a grudge.

A natural response may be to develop a grudge, or even a hatred of the person who has caused us pain. But the person who holds the grudge always suffers more!

The longer we hold a grudge the more difficult it is to forgive and move on. You can begin to free yourself when you begin to forgive. Here are eight ways to get a grip on the pain and find the strength to let it go.

4. Accept what is.

Choose to create your own healing, with or without an apology. Don’t wait for the person you are upset with to come around. For all you know they are already past the issue and not putting as much thought into it. Even if they don’t offer an apology, it doesn’t mean they are not remorseful. Some people are unable to apologize or may not fully understand that the person they hurt may need to hear one.

5. Don’t dwell on it.

Once you have decided to move on, keep on moving. Don’t put too much thought into the situation or continuously discuss it. It will only make things worse and harder to get over. If ever the issue is brought up in conversation, change the subject or just look at it as the past and leave it there.

6. Take the positive.

For every negative situation there is a positive. If you take this as a learning experience, you will benefit from knowing more about yourself and the other person. Choose to learn a valuable lesson or walk away with a better understanding that can help you let go of the issue and not resent the other person.

7. Let it go.

Letting go allows room for peace and happiness. A long lasting grudge will only drain you physically and emotionally and can surely affect your health. You will use more energy than you can imagine by holding a grudge than you will by letting go.

8. Forgive.

Of course forgiving doesn’t mean you will forget the issue. It’s just acknowledging your differences and accepting that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes we should learn from. Forgiving isn’t the easiest to do especially when you’ve endured a lot of hurt and pain, but it’s the only way to truly let go and have peace.

Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward.

Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps your mother criticized your parenting skills, your colleague sabotaged a project or your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance — but if you don't practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

What is forgiveness?

Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:
• Healthier relationships
• Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
• Less anxiety, stress and hostility
• Lower blood pressure
• Fewer symptoms of depression
• Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse

Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?

When you're hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.

What are the effects of holding a grudge?

If you're unforgiving, you might pay the price repeatedly by bringing anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Your life might become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can't enjoy the present. You might become depressed or anxious. You might feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you're at odds with your spiritual beliefs. You might lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others.

How do I reach a state of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you might:
• Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
• Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you've reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being
• When you're ready, actively choose to forgive the person who's offended you
• Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life

What happens if I can't forgive someone?
Forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the person who's hurt you doesn't admit wrong or doesn't speak of his or her sorrow. If you find yourself stuck, consider the situation from the other person's point of view. Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation.
In addition, consider broadening your view of the world. Expect occasional imperfections from the people in your life. You might want to reflect on times you've hurt others and on those who've forgiven you. It can also be helpful to write in a journal, pray or use guided meditation — or talk with a person you've found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider, or an impartial loved one or friend.

Does forgiveness guarantee reconciliation?

If the hurtful event involved someone whose relationship you otherwise value, forgiveness can lead to reconciliation. This isn't always the case, however. Reconciliation might be impossible if the offender has died or is unwilling to communicate with you. In other cases, reconciliation might not be appropriate. Still, forgiveness is possible — even if reconciliation isn't.

What if I have to interact with the person who hurt me but I don't want to?

If you haven't reached a state of forgiveness, being near the person who hurt you might be tense and stressful. To handle these situations, remember that you can choose to attend or avoid specific functions and gatherings. Respect yourself and do what seems best. If you choose to attend, don't be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. Do your best to keep an open heart and mind. You might find that the experience helps you to move forward with forgiveness.

What if the person I'm forgiving doesn't change?

Getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words isn't the point of forgiveness. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness can take away the power the other person continues to wield in your life.

What if I'm the one who needs forgiveness?

The first step is to honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you've done and how those wrongs have affected others. At the same time, avoid judging yourself too harshly. You're human, and you'll make mistakes. If you're truly sorry for something you've said or done, consider admitting it to those you've harmed. Speak of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically ask for forgiveness — without making excuses. Remember, however, you can't force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever the outcome, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.

As you let go of grudges, you'll no longer define your life by how you've been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.

As for me, I find it hard to ever forgive, or forget, and the bitterness of holding a grudge has caused me to not
allow myself to give "me" second chances. And on the flip side, it has caused that child I once called my daughter to whom I have no existence in her life because she doesn't like to even know I exist, has caused her to hold a grudge against me, has become bitter, resentful but in the end, she was able to do the one thing, I have not been capable of doing. Forgetting without regretting and moving on. I am now forgotten to her, an erased memory that to her makes her happy I am not there, and has moved on knowing that I will never be there.

I share this with all you out there, that sometimes we can't dwell on the past, because in the end, we only kill ourselves with the pain. For me...I don't think I will ever be able to forgive, or forget. My daughter murdered me, and dead soul is incapable of doing either.

Anyways, Thanks for joining me today, I hope that you can leave a comment or two about what I've posted and I hope you all have a great week and I leave this one last piece of advice, some quotes which I find relevant in my situation, and a plea for that daughter who I loved who believed that I am nothing more than a forgotten memory, the daughter I knew when she was 5, and an unanswered prayer for love, forgiveness and second chances that I will never get.

So for my daughter, who is gone, whom I will miss forever:

Never ignore a person who loves you, cares for you and misses you, because one day, you might wake up and realize that you lost that one person who has fought so hard to know that they care, only to have them dead and gone.
We hate some persons because we do not know them; and will not know them because we will hate them. ~Charles Caleb Colton

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hate so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. ~James Baldwin
The ones who cry themselves to sleep, are the ones who have a fake smile on during the day! The ones that get hurt over and over again, are the one who see the strongest! ~HFC

You can say sorry a million times, Say "I love you" as much as you want, say whatever you want, whenever you want. But if you're not going to prove that the things you say are true, then don't say anything at all. Because if you can't show it. Your words...don't mean a thing. ~anon

And for all you parents out there, love your children and never teach them to hate. And make sure you tell them you love them for one day, they may be gone, and you may never forgive yourself for not being there.

Have a good week everyone,

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