💪🏼The Strength of Forgiveness💪🏼

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“You will begin to heal when you let go of past hurts, forgive those who have wronged you and learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes”.

“You have to learn to select your thoughts the way you select your clothes every day. That’s a power you can cultivate. You wanna come here and control your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should control. If you can’t master your thoughts, you’re in trouble … stop trying. Surrender”. – Richard from Texas

What is forgiveness?

The first step to forgiveness is admitting that we have blamed someone or ourselves for something.  We are filled with anger, resentment, blame, hatred. Forgiveness is about letting go of these feelings we have been carrying around. Releasing yourself of these heavy thoughts of revenge or bitterness. We do not even have to come in to contact with the person we are trying to forgive. We do not have to tell them we forgive them or tell anyone at that matter. It is for your sanity and happiness that you need to forgive. The more we talk about how people have done us wrong and hurt us, the more negative thoughts and emotions we bring about in ourselves. Of course let off some steam and vent to your best friend about it when it is fresh and new and reflect. That is also a part of healing. But then forgive. Let the space be filled with love. Let it go.

Forgive and Forget?

Forgiveness doesn’t come easily for everyone, but the kind of forgiveness that really matters is the forgiveness that resides in your own heart. Self-compassion is what will enable you to learn and grow and become the best version of yourself. I will dedicate another post for self-compassion SOON. Forgiving someone does not mean you approve of the wrong they have done. It can mean different things to different people. For me, it means I forgive those who were not in a good head space at the time or had portrayed their inner demons through their behaviour. Sometimes I might view it as the person not being on the same emotional maturity as I am but that sometimes can come across as a bit arrogant. It is not that you feel sorry for the person either. It is about building awareness that peoples behaviours are usually a reflection of their inner selves. The same way if any of us have a bad day they might snap at the next person who asks them a question. If you are feeling sh**t about yourself you might criticise others just to make yourself feel better. Kind of like those bullies in school. More than likely they had a lot of stuff going on for them, either in their head or at home. Forgiveness is not about sympathising with people but about empathising with them.

sympathy: feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.

empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

I also understand that some people commit horrible crimes and do outrageous things to people that cannot be empathised with. Some people might blame themselves for things others have done to them and might feel the horrible abuse or mistrust was deserving. In this case the person to forgive is yourself.

FORGIVE YOURSELF FIRST

Forgive yourself for believing you could have stopped what had happened. Forgive yourself for  believing you are not worthy. Forgive yourself for believing you were deserving of what happened. Forgive yourself for being in this negative mindset. Forgiveness is a journey. It is something that needs to be practised daily. You don’t just wake up one day and have forgiven and healed yourself and everyone around you.

I watched a movie recently called ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ There was a scene where Julia Roberts (Liz Gilbert) was speaking about how upset she was that she had left her husband and she felt he would never forgive her. This was something that was bothering her throughout the majority of the movie until she met this nice man (Richard from Texas) at a retreat in India who thought her she did not have to come in contact with her husband or hear him say he forgave her. She simply had to forgive herself.

 Liz Gilbert: I’m waiting for him to forgive me, to release me.
Richard from Texas: Waiting for him to forgive you is a damn waste of time. Forgive yourself.

“We all want things to stay the same, David … settle for living in misery, because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked around in this place, at the chaos it’s endured, the way it’s been adapted, burned, pillaged … then found a way to build itself back up again, and I was reassured. Ruin is a gift, ruin is the road to transformation”. – Liz Gilbert

Self Reflection

I have learned to forgive friends who chose boyfriends over our friendship. I have learned to forgive my Dad for making decisions I felt were wrong when it came to family and marriage. Work colleagues who had outbursts of rage towards me. But most importantly I have learned to forgive myself for making ill decisions in the past, for not taking responsibility for my own happiness sooner, for thinking I needed a boyfriend before I could find happiness and contentment. By letting go of all these negative feelings and thoughts I had towards these people and myself, I have become the happiest I have ever been. That, alongside mindfulness and other self healing practices. Happiness is not a destination, it is a journey. You too will have your own journey.

As Kylie Jenner said ‘2016 is about realising stuff’. And I certainly have realised A LOT this past year!

 

J x

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A Year of Living Mindfully: Week 13

EXPERIENCING THE UNPLEASANT

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This weeks small exercise was about paying attention to experiences we don’t like. Noticing when there is a sense of resistance, of “not wanting”, “not liking”. Also noticing any thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations that come alongside this.

It recommended keeping a diary of these experiences. Write down what you noticed, what you experienced and reflect.

Would you normally have noticed any of this?

  • WHAT IS IT?
  • WHAT THOUGHTS ARE ARISING?
  • CAN YOU NAME ANY EMOTION?
  • WHAT ARE YOU NOTICING IN THE BODY? (BE SPECIFIC)

When something unpleasant happens, can you identify where you usually feel it in your body? How did this exercise compare with becoming aware of pleasant experiences?

I decided to reflect on an unpleasant experience of feeling ‘fed up’ in work one morning.

WHAT IS IT?

 I was feeling fed up in work. I did not want to be there anymore. I felt a resistance to wanting to move my body never mind do actual work.

WHAT THOUGHTS ARE ARISING?

 I hate this place. When will I move on? I don’t feel challenged. I need to move. I am bored. I really do not want to do anything today.

CAN YOU NAME ANY EMOTION?

 Sad. Frustration. Dread.

WHAT ARE YOU NOTICING IN THE BODY?

 A feeling of heaviness in my chest. I feel drained.  Slowed down. Stiffness. My body did not want to move. My face felt long and weighed down.

 Again, this exercise highlights the whole connection between thoughts, feelings, behaviours and bodily sensations. Another self awareness exercise. By zoning in and noticing these experiences we can start to control them more and more.

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J x

🗣How to speak to your inner selves🗣

Voice Dialogue

Recently, I attended a 2 day workshop on Voice Dialogue with Rufus May and Elizabeth Svanholmer in the Wellness Centre in Dublin City University. It was Before attending I didn’t really know what I was getting myself in to. I thought it would just teach us how to speak to client’s voices or teach the client themselves how to hold conversation with them. To my surprise, it taught me a whole lot about myself too. There were also a lot of grounding exercises thrown in and the whole vibe of the workshop was very relaxed and meditative. It taught me how to build my own self-awareness and how to facilitate others to build upon their own. A lot of emotions came about throughout the workshop and with each emotion completely different energies were felt. Personally, it gave me a whole new outlook on mental health and those who come into difficulties and times of distress. I think its an amazing approach and helped me understand myself and others more easily. I know its not an approach for everyone and there are people out there who are very medical and scientific based but if you’re a bit more free spirited and open-minded than those then you’ll love it!

 I wont go into too much detail on this new approach but I’ll give you a  synopsis and then leave some links below that you can click if you want to learn more.

So what is Voice Dialogue?

  • It is a psycho-spiritual approach to consciousness which was founded by Dr Hal Stone and Dr Sidra Stone in 1972.
  • It believes ‘we are not one but many’. It teaches us how to contact, learn about and work with our many selves that make up each of us.These different selves can determine how we see the world, how we interpret different situations, how we cope and how we communicate.
  • Different people we meet along the way will bring out different parts of ourselves either hidden or obvious.
  • The relationships we are part of can be shaped by these selves. This approach helps highlight problems in these relationships and teaches us how to use the problems to gain more control over our lives.
  • It is also believed we are all made up of different energies and different people we encounter can drain us of these energies.
  • Our dreams are trying to communicate and guide us from within. Our dreams teach us a lot about our selves and we can learn great wisdom from them. This approach teaches us how to interpret our dreams in a different way.

So basically the exercise we done was as follows:

  1. We learned about the theory.
  2. We identified our primary selves by mapping them out. I chose DREAMER, PASSION, JOY. These are selves that are prominent in our lives.
  3. We identified our hidden selves. These are selves which have been pushed to the back of our subconscious because people or events have not deemed them acceptable. One of the hidden selves I chose was ANGER. As a child we’re told to refrain from being angry. It’s socially acceptable to hide this part of ourselves.
  4. We then chose one self we wanted to hold dialogue with. We were given a piece of paper and a pen and told to ask this self the following questions: How are you? What do you want for ____? What would ______’s life be like without you there? How does ______relate to you? How long have you been in ____’s life? Would you like anything to change in your relationship with _____? Do you have any advice for ____? Thank you.
  5. Reflect on the answers the self has given.

It was nice to zone in on different parts of ourselves, recognising they’re still there, acknowledging their purpose, and understanding that each part has a meaning and purpose in our lives. It may all sound like a load of hippie crap again, but each approach won’t suit everyone. Each to their own and all that jazz.

I have attached some useful links below if you are interested and want to learn more:

Voice Dialogue International

 

💨Aaaaand Breath…..💨

Breathing, we all do it! 

 This post will explain why we breath, how we breath, what happens when we over or under breath and ways of controlling our breathing. We all need oxygen to survive so I think this information is vital before we begin to learn about any other form of mindfulness or other hippy related topics! Something as simple as breathing can have major benefits for our physical and mental well being.

 When we breath we inhale oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide. For our body’s to function to the best of its abilities we need the correct balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our body’s. This can be done through the correct rate and depth of our breathing. Usually we just breath automatically and the odd time can control it. For example blowing up balloons or holding our breath under water is a form of control.

 Our moods have a major impact on our breathing. If we feel anxious or stressed our breath may quicken and you may find yourself taking deeper breathes to try calm yourself down. People tend to panic when this happens. This can bring on things people know as ‘panic attacks’. When we breath too much we increase levels of oxygen to the blood and decrease levels of carbon dioxide. Also not breathing enough will decrease oxygen and increase carbon dioxide. When the body notices this imbalance it reacts with a range of symptoms: dizziness, confusion, breathlessness, blurred vision, increase in heart rate, tingling sensations, clammy hands, stiffness. I think we’ve all experienced these feelings before exams, interviews, first day on the job…. Some people may think they are having a heart attack or in extreme cases are ‘going to die’. You might feel as if you’re smoothering and cannot get enough air into your lungs but in fact you are actually taking waaaay too much air in and that’s why you experience these symptoms.

 Things that can help rebalance your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are simple tasks like yawning (my personal fav). Being in control of your breathing is also skill to have. Its main aim is to relax the mind and body which can be done through deep, slow and controlled breathing. Below is an easy an easy to follow exercise for controlling your breath. As they say, practice makes perfect!

 Find somewhere comfy to sit or lie down. No music, no tv or other interruptions, knock your mobile on airplane mode and Try this simple beginners exercise below:

  • Take a deep breath in for 4 seconds (through the nose if possible)
  • Hold the breath for 2 seconds
  • Release breath for 6 seconds (through nose if possible)

 A lot of my future posts will refer back to breathing so it’s good to have a bit of background on its importance and have some practice before you try out some proper relaxation stuff. I personally use controlled breathing every day. It’s become part of my daily routine. I use it when I experience quick  breathing from exercise, anxiety in interviews or during meetings or just everyday sh**t that we all experience.

J x