Posts tagged with ‘forgiveness’

09 mar

The Self-Sabotaging Behavior of Denial

WEJMDMost people have a variety of self-sabotaging behaviors that prevent them from manifesting the life that they want. The first step in overcoming self-sabotaging behaviors is to first recognize them. One of the most powerful self-sabotaging behaviors is denial.

Denial is a defense mechanism that discharges anxiety and emotional discomfort. By denying there’s a problem we don’t have to feel bad about the fact that there’s a problem. Unfortunately this doesn’t solve anything or make our lives better. It just sweeps our problems under the rug. They’re still there. Still gnawing at us and still getting in our way.

One example is the area of health. If we have a bump and we are afraid to go to a doctor to find out that it might be something really bad we deny that it is a problem. Unfortunately when it becomes the elephant in the room, something we no longer can deny, it becomes a problem much more difficult to resolve than had we acknowledged it and faced it when it first appeared.

One form of denial is denying that our behaviors are actually self sabotaging. For example, when we are late for an appointment we might tell ourselves that it’s not going to matter, that the excuse we give will be accepted and that there won’t be any negative consequences. But this usually isn’t true. When we are late for appointments or don’t call people back in a timely fashion, as another example, people may be gracious about it but they probably are registering some degree of irritation, disappointment, feeling disrespected or undervalued. And this may over time lead to passive aggressive behavior on their part or them not doing something to assist us in the future when we ask them for help.

BLAMING OTHERS AND SEEING OURSELVES AS VICTIMS

Shakespeare once wrote “the fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars but ourselves that we are underlings.” So one form of denial would be thinking that the fault lies outside of ourselves and that we are victims of a hostile, chaotic universe out of our control, as opposed to us being the prime movers of our fate.

This is a very powerful form of denial, blaming other people and circumstances for our difficulties. For example when we tailgate and get into a car accident we have a tendency to call it an accident when it is actually the result of our poor judgment and we tend to blame the car in front of us for stopping abruptly.

This is very common to blame others and not take responsibility for our actions. Oftentimes when couples fight, one partner will blame the other partner, stating that “you made me angry, you made me throw the toaster against the wall, you made me scream at you, you made me hit you, if you hadn’t antagonized me, if you hadn’t pushed my buttons, if you hadn’t called me that name, if you hadn’t provoked me, then I wouldn’t have behaved that way.” Denial in this case is the denial of ownership. It doesn’t matter if we are provoked. We have a choice to behave correctly and honorably or not and if we don’t, and don’t admit it then we are in denial.

Denial is very common with alcoholics and addicts. “If I just have one drink it won’t really matter, I’ll be able to handle it, it won’t escalate into a serious problem.” Alcoholics and addicts tell themselves this despite having a history of one drink or one drug hit escalating into a serious problem.

Another form of denial in regard to alcohol and drugs is that people oftentimes convince themselves that other people don’t know when they are high. This is usually never the case. Most people can tell when other people are under the influence.

We are in denial when we abuse other people and tell ourselves that they’ll get over it, they’re not going to leave us. Usually, sooner or later, they do, and when they do there is often too much water under the bridge, too much built up resentment and anger for the relationship to be repaired.

We are in denial when we keep on putting off proper diet and exercise. The denial part is not that we are denying these are important things to do but that it won’t one day catch up with us and put us in the grave prematurely. We deny the long-term consequences of our actions.

SHOOTING THE MESSENGER

When someone tells us something we don’t want to hear or deal with, we find ways to attack them and invalidate them so that we don’t have to acknowledge that they’ve made a good point. We might tell them that “you do it too.” And so this allows us to deny the importance of us getting our own house in order regardless of how other people behave.

In relationships when we tell our partner that “I don’t have any problem. I don’t need anger management. You’re the one with the problem not me. You’re the one who needs therapy not me,” this is denial in spades and is a sure fire predictor of a relationship that will never heal and will most likely one day disintegrate. This is another example of shooting the messenger.

Another form of denial is called “contempt prior to investigation” which means we prejudge and reject an idea without first evaluating it to determine if it might have validity. “That’s not going to work.” “It’s a waste of time.” These are dogmatic denials that have no basis in reality because we actually haven’t looked at the data.

Another form of denial is “doing the same thing and expecting different results.” Some people refer to this as insanity.

When we are told something that is true that we don’t want to hear or deal with and we seek out people who will yes us and support our position, this is denial. Just because we can find a bunch of people who tell us we’re right doesn’t mean we’re right.

“I’m only kidding” is a form of denial. When we say something to somebody that is hurtful and they react negatively, we backpedal and claim that “I was only kidding.” Sometimes it’s not denial, we know that we weren’t kidding and that we were making a harsh point, but oftentimes we con ourselves into believing that we really were only kidding, we were only teasing, we meant no real harm and that the person was being overly sensitive. This prevents us from looking at our behavior objectively and correcting it.

LIVING IN THE PAST

Living in the past and not seeing the handwriting on the wall is a form of denial. Whether or not you think marijuana should be legalized and whether or not you think gay marriage should be legalized, the handwriting on the wall is that these things will one day universally come to pass and to deny this and fight this is really a huge waste of time, energy and resources that could best be spent elsewhere.

Another form of denial is denying that forgiveness, acceptance, and love have the power to move mountains. Most people believe that anger and aggression are the way to solve problems. In the short run this may seem to be the case but in the long run they are not. Love is a miraculous force that can transform. When two people are fighting with each other, if one person can rise above the battlefield and express true unconditional acceptance, forgiveness and love, it oftentimes can discharge all the negativity and restore peace in the relationship.

Most people think that forgiveness is a sign of weakness. They don’t believe that the meek shall inherit the earth. This is denial. Forgiveness is a reflection of great strength and personal power. Survival of the fittest will one day prove to be survival not of the physically fittest but of the spiritually fittest: those who choose not to fight and instead insist upon finding peaceful resolutions.

The premise of my book Forgive To Win! is that we sabotage ourselves with denial and in other ways as well because at an unconscious level we are filled with guilt, shame and self-loathing; at an unconscious level we believe we are undeserving and unworthy of happiness, health and success, and that our subconscious mind, believing what we believe about ourselves at an unconscious level, believing that we deserve punishment and not reward, manifests in the real world that “truth” by causing us to do things that get in our way and generate failure.

So — if self-sabotage and denial are the result of guilt, shame and self-loathing, then the way to end self sabotage and denial is to love ourselves and forgive ourselves. The way to love ourselves and forgive ourselves is to love others, forgive others and be of service to others. The more we do this, the more we send the message to our subconscious mind that we are good, loving beings who deserve happiness and success, the more the subconscious mind shifts its purpose. It stops whispering negative messages in our ears, it stops encouraging us to engage in self-sabotaging behaviors, and it helps us to attract positive people and circumstances in our lives that will be rewarding rather than punishing.

The Forgiveness Diet is a structured program of daily exercises and behaviors to help achieve the goal of ending self sabotage.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on March 9th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

12 sep

How to Heal Relationships – Part One

WEJMDTruly loving, nurturing and sustainable relationships are not happening for a great many of us. The reasons for this have to do with our ego getting in the way, with our unwillingness to be more thoughtful, tolerant and considerate, with our unwillingness to rise above the battlefield, to release our anger and resentments from the past, to effectively communicate, to negotiate differences and to establish, maintain and respect boundaries.

I say unwillingness because although it may be difficult to do these things, we choose not to. Loving, sustainable relationships are not the result of accidents or luck, they are the result of healthy choices.

It’s profound the degree to which most of us treat strangers, acquaintances, co-workers and friends much better than we treat our loved ones. With our loved ones, we forget about being compassionate, generous, selfless, considerate, empathetic and loving. We take them for granted. We ridicule them. We shame them. We ignore their needs and invalidate their feelings. And then we complain that we don’t have the relationship that we want.

This isn’t tricky stuff. If we want to have a loving relationship, we need to be loving. If we want to be understood, we need to understand. If we want to be appreciated, we need to appreciate. If we want to be respected, we need to respect. If we want consideration, we need to be considerate. If we don’t want to be judged and shamed, we need to not judge and shame. If we want to be forgiven, we need to forgive.

We reap what we sow. It’s the Golden Rule and it works: When we treat others as we wish to be treated we tend to receive what we give. Our world gets better. Our relationships become more loving, more nurturing, more satisfying and more enduring.

So that’s the ticket: We choose to be generous. We choose to be grateful. We choose to be gracious. We don’t assume the worst. We give our partner the benefit of the doubt. When our partner says or does something that we feel is inconsiderate or unloving we don’t immediately assume they wanted to attack us and hurt us. We don’t immediately go into an aggressive attack mode.

We remind ourselves that in the past we have said and done things that were thoughtless, inconsiderate and unloving, and at those times we wanted our partner to understand, to tolerate our mistakes, to not hold it against us and to forgive us. And so this is what we choose to do with our partner. We accept, we tolerate, we overlook, we forgive.

We don’t need to turn every thoughtless word or action from our partner into a battlefield. We can choose to not sweat the small stuff. We can choose to remind ourselves that they love us, they care about us, they’re not trying to hurt us. We can let it go. We don’t have to make a big stink about it.

This ties into the idea of “Would you rather be right or happy?” Oftentimes, when we feel wronged, we become insistent about confronting our partner, getting in their face, demanding that they feel guilty and shamed, demanding that they own their transgression, demanding an apology. And it’s oftentimes over minor stuff. And it’s oftentimes over stuff that could be open to interpretation. For example, when we’re feeling insecure we are more likely to perceive an innocuous comment from our partner as an attack. And this prompts us to go into our attack mode.

When we go into our attack mode and insist that we are right and they are wrong, we are loving and they are not, we are cool and they are cruel, and that they need to capitulate and apologize for their horrible acts, this oftentimes causes greater polarization in the relationship, greater antagonism and resentment.

If we don’t get their capitulation, everyone is upset. If we do get their capitulation, oftentimes everyone is still upset because of all the fighting that preceded it. Point being: If we insist on getting an acknowledgment that we are right, we usually end up not being happy. If we decide to stop needing to prove that we are right and instead choose our battles and choose to not make mountains out of molehills, we end up being happy. Isn’t that the whole point of having a relationship in the first place?

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on September 12th, 2013 in Relationships, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

29 dec

Why Should I Forgive? The Origin of a New Year’s Resolution

WEJMDI’ve been asked why I’m passionate about teaching forgiveness. It’s because all religious, spiritual and metaphysical roads I’ve traveled have led me here, to this one Truth borrowed from A Course In Miracles: I forgive others for my own peace of mind.

In my late twenties I read the Bible, the Old and New Testament, for the first time. Although I was impressed with the transformation of God’s consciousness from the Old Testament God of anger, judgment, vengeance and war to the New Testament God of peace, love, acceptance, charity and forgiveness, I was more impressed with the implications of several thought-provoking Biblical comments:

(1) From the Book of Matthew: He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

If the above-passage is an accurate quote from Jesus of the Christ, that’s pretty awesome and powerful. “Nothing will be impossible for you.” That’s not a vague and ambiguous assertion. That’s a description of how Reality Manifestation works. That’s the Secret right there. That’s the Law of Attraction, the Law of Abundance. The power of the Mind to transcend time and transform space, and thereby create the reality of one’s choosing! “Nothing will be impossible for you.” Wow. I like the sound of that. And I find it hard to believe that Jesus of the Christ was exaggerating. His word was his bond.

(2) From the Book of Mark: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” I don’t take the word “rich” literally here. I believe what was meant instead of rich is the word greedy. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a greedy man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Greed is of the ego. Greed is about competition and separation rather than cooperation and unity. Greed is about judgment, aggression and unforgiveness, not acceptance, tolerance and harmony. Greed is not of God and if you really want to get to God and Heaven and the Garden of Eden, or whatever else you understand to be a place of eternal, unconditional peace, compassion and joy, then be of Service to Others. Help others. If you’ve got two coats, give one away to a needy brother.

3) From the Book of Matthew: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

Meek doesn’t mean weak. Meek doesn’t mean wimpy. Meek doesn’t mean sucker or chump. Meek means those who are gentle, those who are non-violent, those who are compassionate, those who are accepting of others, those who are unconditionally forgiving. “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” The implication of this being that those who seek peace through violence and murder are not blessed and will inherit the wind.

4) From the book of Matthew: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This is very clear. The message is basically that if you walk a righteous, honest and forgiving path, you will get the life that you want. You’ll get the goodies. First be a person of integrity. First be of service to others. First let go of anger, fear, judgment and attack. First forgive. And then “all these things will be added to you.” In other words: You win. You Forgive To Win!

5) From the Book of John: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” In other words, All these things that I have done, you can do and more if you have faith in me, if you follow my principles of forgiveness, acceptance, and love. That’s the ticket. There’s the message again: Want to do 22 impossible things before breakfast? First seek the kingdom of heaven. First be a person of honor. And then with your faith you’ll move mountains, and all things will come to you.

Why? Because when we get our mind focused on Forgiveness, Acceptance and Love, this removes the obstacles to the natural flow of abundance and prosperity which is available in infinite amounts to everyone.

So that’s my New Year’s resolution: To first seek the kingdom of heaven. To first be a person of honor. To forgive. To accept. To love. As best I can. As unconditionally as I can. Wherever I am. Without exceptions. Without expectations. Without the need for appreciation or acknowledgment.

To have forgiveness, teach forgiveness to learn it.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Forgive To Win!

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on December 29th, 2011 in First30Days Book, Global/Social Change, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

14 dec

How to Beat the Holiday Blues

WEJMDIt is terribly ironic that the holidays, which is meant to be a time for celebration, joy, family, loved ones, connection, harmony and contentment, brings sadness and depression to so many people. Why is this the case? Perhaps because those who suffer from the holiday blues are seeing their world through the eyes of the past, focusing on the disappointments, the losses, the rejections, the abandonments of the past and bringing them into the present, and feeling their devastating emotional impact as if they happened yesterday.

Perhaps because those who suffer from the holiday blues look at their current life situation and perceive it as empty and lonely, lacking in loving, nurturing relationships, lacking in meaningful, supportive family bonds, lacking in personal fulfillment, lacking in health and happiness. Perhaps because those who suffer from the holiday blues fear the future will deliver them more of the same. More loneliness. More alienation. More frustration. More regret. More pain and suffering. So what do we do about it?

REFUSE THE BLUES

Best we not focus on the disappointments of the past. When thoughts of the past pop into our mind, we give them no power to terrorize us. We gently tell them to go away and haunt someone else. We don’t want those thoughts anymore. We don’t need them for our safety or protection. We don’t wish to victimize ourselves anymore with painful memories.

Best we not focus on the potential disappointments of the future. When anxious, fearful thoughts about the future pop into our mind, we give them no power to terrorize us. We gently tell them to go away and haunt someone else. We don’t want those thoughts anymore. We don’t need to dwell on all the horrible “what ifs” that might someday happen. We don’t need to fill our mind with anticipatory thoughts of failure, loneliness, pain and suffering possibly yet to come. We don’t wish to victimize ourselves anymore with the belief that we will not be able to handle what our life’s future has to offer.

BE HERE NOW. BE LOVE NOW.

The above subhead are two titles from books by Ram Dass, whose spiritual journeys he has distilled into these two phrases of powerful wisdom. The best way to overcome the holiday blues or any blues for that matter is to BE HERE NOW: Be in the present. Appreciate that in this present moment is massive potential for happiness and contentment. In this present moment we can look at the beauty of nature all around us. In this present moment we can marvel at the miracle of life in all its myriad forms, animal, vegetable and mineral. In this present moment we can BE LOVE NOW: We can help a stranger, hug a friend, ease someone else’s pain, share a laugh or a smile, see the love in everyone despite how they’re behaving, forgive others for they know not what they do, accept the Oneness of life despite the differences and diversity that sometimes can seem quite disorienting or frightening, appreciate the connection we have to the earth, to the wind and water, to all creatures big and small, and above all else, to each other.

ABOVE ALL ELSE: LOVE YE ONE ANOTHER

There is great joy to be had in this world, in our present moments despite not having the relationships, position and possessions we desire, by simply connecting with others. Making eye contact with others. Extending acceptance, tolerance, love and forgiveness to others. Do these things on a daily basis. What you give to others you can’t keep from yourself. What you give to others will come back to you.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on December 14th, 2011 in First30Days Book | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,

17 oct

End Self-Sabotage and Get Everything You Want

WEJMDWhy is it that we are motivated to change, and we work hard at it, and yet we do not succeed at attaining our goals? It’s because we sabotage ourselves. We sabotage our best efforts. We procrastinate. We resist. We don’t follow direction. We don’t follow through. We allow ourselves to be distracted and derailed.

We sabotage ourselves in a variety of ways, such that we perpetually withhold from ourselves all the goodies the universe has to offer, blaming it all the while on bad luck or it being someone else’s fault, rather than acknowledging that we are the Prime Movers of our destiny, that we are responsible for the lack and limitations in our lives, and nobody else.

On a conscious level we want to win, but on a deep, unconscious level, we are filled with guilt, shame, self-condemnation, and self-loathing, such that, rather than believing that we are worthy of winning and deserving of abundance and success, we believe that we are sinners deserving of punishment, suffering and failure. All of this is below our conscious awareness.

Our subconscious mind, intent on manifesting what we believe about ourselves at a deeply-embedded, unconscious level, believes our own harsh judgments about ourselves, and punishes us for our “sins.” It does this by sabotaging our conscious efforts.

It generates resistance and roadblocks. It attracts inferior elements. It encourages miscommunication, chaos, and confusion. The end result is an external world that reflects our internal self-concept. The end result is our not getting what we want.

The only way to reverse this process, in order to generate success and prosperity, is to put an end to our guilt, shame and self-loathing by forgiving and loving ourselves. The only way to do this is to first forgive and love others. This is what Forgive To Win!’s Forgiveness Diet has been designed to accomplish.

The Forgiveness Diet is a structured program that trains our mind to engage in behaviors that will benefit us in the long run. More specifically, the Forgiveness Diet is a daily regimen of thoughts, actions and exercises devoted to extending unconditional forgiveness, acceptance, and love. It is a daily regimen of estimable acts of kindness and service to others.

When we have mastered the Forgiveness Diet, our subconscious mind will believe we are good enough and worthy of reward, at which point it will stop sabotaging our efforts and start constructing the synchronistic attraction of synergistic people and circumstances that will favor our prosperity and success in all realms.

The Forgiveness Diet is the ultimate prosperity principle!

The reason why many of us have difficulty believing this is true is because we’ve been trained to believe that nice guys finish last, that no good deed goes unpunished, and that love, kindness and forgiveness are for chumps and suckers.

Nothing could be further from the truth. These are self-destructive messages generated by our subconscious mind to support its self-sabotaging agenda to derail us from healing ourselves and attracting abundance into our lives.

Although it is obvious that many people who are loathsome, selfish, unloving and hurtful towards others have succeeded and prospered, for most of us who mean no harm to others, emulating people like that will not deliver us what we want.

If we repair ourselves by extending unconditional forgiveness, acceptance and love to everyone, under all circumstances, without exceptions, we can replace our self-loathing with self-loving, thereby putting an end to our self-sabotage, such that our subconscious mind works with us rather than against us to attract and manifest everything we’ve ever wanted.

The best part about the Forgiveness Diet is that we don’t need to understand it for it to work. We don’t even need to believe it. Additionally, we don’t need to gain any deep insights about ourselves in order to get results.

We just need to do it. We just need to implement a few basic behaviors and practices on a consistent basis until they become habits.

But don’t take my word for it. Take the Forgive To Win! 90-Day Challenge. Rather than rejecting the Forgiveness Diet as magical or wishful thinking without giving it a try, follow it rigorously for 90 days and find out for yourself what it has to offer.

Make the decision to put aside your skepticism, negativity, cynicism and doubt for 90 days in order to work the program as vigorously and as honestly as you possibly can.

What have you got to lose? What’s 90 days in the bigger scheme of things? What’s 90 days in the expanse and duration of your life? It’s nothing. So what if you spend 90 days being generous, esteeming others, and forgiving them their trespasses? What’s the downside? There really isn’t any.

If you decide after 90 days that the experience was not transformative and was a complete waste of time, which I guarantee won’t be the case, you will have the rest of your life to be angry, vengeful, withholding, thoughtless, selfish and self-centered, and to see where that gets you.

But if I’m right in encouraging you to devote a mere 90 days of your life to the Forgiveness Diet, you will greatly appreciate the experience you put yourself through, you will see fewer roadblocks and potholes appearing in your life, you will be happier, more productive, and more successful, and you will gladly continue to engage in the Forgiveness Diet program.

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If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on October 17th, 2011 in Career, Diet and Fitness, Health, Relationships, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,

02 sep

Self-Loathing, Projection, and the Power of Love and Forgiveness

WEJMDWe all have, deeply embedded in our unconscious mind, a self-loathing part of us, regardless of how much self esteem we have, regardless of how much good we do in this world, and regardless of how proud of ourselves we are for our ethical and compassionate behavior.

That self-loathing, as irrational as it is for most of us who have done very little in the hurting others department, manages to generate guilt and shame which we do not wish to experience consciously because it would be too unpleasant.

So we unconsciously project it outwards onto others and see others as worthy of loathing and worthy of guilt and shame, rather than ourselves. And we feel better about ourselves, at an unconscious level, in the process.

It’s very convenient and emotionally sustaining when we project it onto people who deserve it, so to speak, by their despicable actions. And we don’t think twice about it. They clearly deserve all the judgment and animosity they get directed at them. They clearly deserve to be made to feel guilty and shamed.

But when we project it onto other people who haven’t necessarily done anything terrible to deserve our harsh judgments, with the exception of not treating us the way we wish to be treated or not thinking or behaving the same way we do, the mechanism of discharging internal angst by pointing the fingers at others becomes more obvious, if we are willing to look at it.

So what do we do about this?

Certainly, at the level of our personal relationships where judgments are flying left and right, if we remind ourselves that our judgments are actually a reflection of our own embedded guilt and shame, and if we can see those we are judging as loving beings who are confused and have lost their way (regardless of how badly they are behaving towards us), then the best approach is to catch ourselves and stop attacking them with our judgments, because we will, essentially, be healing our projections and healing ourselves in the process.

We can disapprove of their bad behavior. We can encourage they take responsibility and we can insist on consequences. We can avoid them. We can set boundaries. There are any number of solutions available to us.

The key is to judge the actions, not the actors. The key is to demonize behaviors but not people, because when we demonize others we are demonizing ourselves at a deeply embedded level, reinforcing our guilt, shame and self-loathing.

At the level of people in the world who assault, abuse, maim and murder: again, it is in our best interests to despise the behaviors but to not demonize the people. They are not evil, despite the evil that they do.

They are mentally ill. They are children of God, like all of us, who are severely damaged in their incapacity to love because of the love they never experienced themselves.

Ultimately, when our consciousness can handle this revolutionary concept, it can evolve further to appreciate that everything in this world is an illusion, a bad dream we will one day wake up from, in which case, we don’t even need to hate horrific behavior.

When we wake up from a nightmare, thanking God that all the murder and rape we saw in the nightmare never really happened, we have no need to hate those in our dreams who perpetrated the murder and rape.

When we are enlightened and wake up from this nightmare we call reality, we will also appreciate that everything horrific in this world never happened, and there is no need for hate or for sorrow.

This is certainly an idea that most of us cannot get our mind around. We cannot tolerate this idea nor accept it to any degree because of all the horrible evil and terrible suffering that is obvious all around us and can’t be presumed not to be real.

I can’t argue the point. I have no proof except for my own experiences which are anecdotal and can be easily dismissed by those who wish to do so. Nonetheless, I maintain that everything we see in this world is a projection of our internal thought system.

If we keep love, compassion, acceptance and forgiveness in the forefront of our mind, we will see, to an ever-increasing degree, a world that reflects that, a world of cooperation, harmony, generosity, success and abundance.

If we choose at the core of our consciousness to embrace fear and judgment, then we will continue to see a world that is full of scarcity, lack, limitation, competition, aggression, war, famine, disease and death.

There are only two thoughts, love and fear. And everything we see in this world is a projection of one or the other.

Love or a Call for Love

Everything people do in this world is an expression of love or a call for love.

When a child feels ignored, neglected and unloved because Mommy is spending more time with his little baby brother, and the child acts out, throws a glass against the wall and shatters it, it is not because he is evil or bad.

It is because he wants to get Mommy’s attention, he wants to get Mommy’s love, but he doesn’t know how to ask for it appropriately, so he asks for it in a confused, violent, aggressive way.

It is a call for love, and the best response Mommy can give to her child is to be understanding, compassionate, forgiving and loving, not angry, abrasive and punishing.

As we grow up and become adults, most of us still behave in the same way we did when we were infants. Hungry for love and feeling minimized, ignored, abandoned, unloved and unappreciated, we act out with our loved ones, attacking them in various ways.

Rather than saying, “I’m feeling insecure. I need your attention. I need your love. I need a hug,” we yell, we hit, we break things, we drink and drug too much, we drive our cars into trees.

At the next level are those who do the more horrendous acting out behaviors in their calling out for love, by mutilating and killing themselves or by mutilating and killing others.

It’s all a continuum, a matter of degrees. It’s all a variation of the same theme: love or a call for love, in which case, the response should always be the same: when someone is calling out for love, we look past their behaviors and we do our best to give it to them.

In terms of the people in this world who do horrific things, this doesn’t mean they should not be held responsible for their actions. It doesn’t mean we condone their behaviors. It doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be consequences.

What it does mean is that we should let go of our harsh judgments and rage in the process.

Let’s look at this at a level that can perhaps be better understood and tolerated by our mind: If we need to go to court to resolve a divorce settlement, we don’t need to go in with anger. We can go in with calm and be just as effective, if not more so. We can get what we feel we need and deserve, but without all the aggression, judgment and animosity. We do this for our own healing, for our own peace of mind.

Everything is a choice that starts in the mind. If we choose fear, what we’ll get is fear, anxiety, depression, anger and aggression, within and without, in all its horrific and terrifying forms.

If we choose love, we will see a world transforming within and without. And we will observe miracles happening, because miracles are the natural expression of unconditional love and forgiveness.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on September 2nd, 2011 in Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in ,

17 oct

The Power of Empathy

MikeRobbins96Empathy is one of the most important aspects of creating harmonious relationships, reducing stress, and enhancing emotional awareness – yet it can be tricky at times. I consider myself to be quite empathetic, but notice that with certain people (especially those I don’t like or agree with and also with myself at times) and in particular situations, my natural ability and desire to empathize can be diminished or almost non-existent.

I also notice that when I feel empathy for others and for myself, I feel a sense of peace, connection, and perspective that I like. And, when there is an absence of empathy in a particular relationship, situation, or in how I’m relating to myself, I often experience stress, disconnection, and negativity. Can you relate?

What is Empathy?

Empathy is not sympathy. When we’re sympathetic, we often pity someone else, but maintain our distance (physically, mentally, and emotionally) from their feelings or experience. Empathy is more a sense that we can truly understand, relate to, or imagine the depth of another person’s emotional state or situation. It implies feeling with a person, rather than feeling sorry for a person. And in some cases that “person” is actually us.

Empathy is a translation of the German term Einfühlung, meaning “to feel as one with.” It implies sharing the load, or “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes,” in order to understand that person’s perspective.

What Stops Us From Empathizing?

There are a number of things that get in the way of us utilizing and experiencing the power of empathy. Three of the main ones, which are all interrelated, are as follows:

- Feeling Threatened – When we feel threatened by another person or a particular situation, it’s often hard to empathize. This makes perfect sense from a survival standpoint (i.e. if someone is trying to hurt us, we want to protect ourselves, rather than have compassion and understanding about where they’re coming from). However, we often feel “threatened” based on our own fears, projections, and past experiences – not by what is actually happening in the moment or in a particular relationship or situation. Whether the threat is “real” or “imagined,” when we feel threatened in any way, it often shuts down our ability to experience empathy.

- Being Judgmental – Judgments are a part of life, we all must make lots of judgments and decisions on a daily basis (what to wear, what to eat, where to sit, what to watch/listen to/read, what to say, and on and on). Making value judgments (the relative placement of our discernment) is essential to living a healthy life. However, being judgmental is a totally different game. When we’re judgmental, we decide that we’re “right” and someone else is “wrong.” Doing this hurts us and others, cuts us off from those around us, and doesn’t allow us to see alternative options and possibilities. We live in a culture that is obsessed with and passionate about being judgmental. And many of us, myself included, are highly trained in this destructive and damaging “art.” When we’re being judgmental about another person, group of people, or situation, we significantly diminish our capacity to be empathetic.

- Fear – The root of all this is our fear. Feeling threatened is all about fear. Being judgmental is all about fear. And, not feeling, experiencing, or expressing empathy is also all about fear. There’s nothing inherently wrong with fear, it’s a natural human emotion – which, in fact, has many positive aspects to it, if we’re willing to admit it, own it, express it, and move through it. Fear saves our lives and keeps us out of trouble all the time. However, the issue with fear is our denial of it, our secret obsession with it, and our lack of responsibility about it. We deem things, people, or situations to be “scary,” when in truth there is nothing in life that is inherently “scary.” There are lots of things, people, and situations that cause fear in us – however, we make it about “them” instead of owning that the fear comes from within us. When we allow ourselves to be motivated by fear – which often leads to us defending ourselves against “threats,” be judgmental, and more – it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to access the power of empathy.

Where in your life and relationships can you see that feeling threatened, being judgmental, and experiencing fear stop you from being empathetic? The more willing you are to look at this, acknowledge it, own it, and take responsibility for it (with compassion for yourself), the more able you’ll be to expand your capacity for empathy.

How to Become More Empathetic

There are many things we can do and practice to increase our ability to feel, experience, and express empathy for others, situations, and ourselves. Becoming more empathetic is one of the best ways we can enhance our relationships, reduce our stress level, and feel good about ourselves and our lives in an authentic way.

Here are a few things you can do and think about to become more empathetic:

1) Be Real About How You Feel – When we’re willing to get real about how we truly feel and have the courage to be vulnerable about it with ourselves and others, we can so often liberate ourselves from the negativity, projections, and judgments that mask what’s really going on. When we’re in a conflict with another person or dealing with someone or something that’s challenging for us, being able to admit, own, and express our fear, insecurity, sadness, anger, jealousy, or whatever other “negative” emotions we are experiencing, is one of the best ways for us to move past our defensiveness and authentically address the deeper issues of the situation. Doing this allows us to access empathy for ourselves, the other person or people involved, and even the circumstances of the conflict or challenge itself.

2) Imagine What It’s Like For Them – While it can sometimes be difficult for us to “understand” another person’s perspective or situation (because we may not agree with them, haven’t been through what they’ve been through, or don’t really want to see it through their eyes), being able to imagine what it must be like for them is an essential aspect of empathy. This is not about condoning inappropriate behavior or justifying other people’s actions, however I do believe deep in my heart that no one does or says things that are hurtful to us if they aren’t already feeling a real sense of pain themselves and/or haven’t been hurt in many ways in their own life. Whatever the situation is, the more willing we are to imagine what it’s like for them, the more compassion, understanding, and empathy we’ll be able to experience.

3) Forgive Yourself and Others – Forgiveness is one of the most important things we can do in life to heal ourselves, let go of negativity, and live a life of peace and fulfillment. Forgiveness has to first start with us. I believe that all judgment is self judgment. When we forgive ourselves, we create the conditions and perspective to forgive others. Forgiveness is one of the many important aspects of life that is often easier said than done. It is something we need to learn about and practice all the time. Sadly, we aren’t often taught how to forgive, encouraged to do it in genuine way, and didn’t, in most cases, grow up with very good models or examples of how to forgive. One of the best books you can read on this subject is called Forgive For Good, written by my friend and mentor Dr. Fred Luskin, one of the world’s leading experts and teachers about the power of forgiveness. This book gives you practical and tangible techniques you can use to forgive anyone and anything. The more willing we are to forgive ourselves and others (and continue to practice this in an on-going way), the more able we’ll be to empathize authentically.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on October 17th, 2010 in General, Relationships | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

04 jan

Your New Year To-Do List for Yourself

Here are some important things to do if you want to do a little bit of inner work on yourself and welcome the New Year with a sense of peace and calmness:

Self-esteem-Write a letter to yourself. Have it come from your Higher Self. Go through what happened last year, what the wiser part of you would tell you.

-Write a letter to anyone whom you feel incomplete with and need closure. Don’t send it. Write it for yourself, for your healing. Say what needs to be said.

-Forgive someone who hurt you this year. Give yourself this gift. You can do this in person, over the phone, or just quietly in your own space. Include yourself in this exercise. What do you need to forgive yourself for from this past year? What mistake? What regret? What action?

-Accept your family members exactly the way they are. Have no expectations that they will be different for these holidays or any to come in this new year. Do not expect them to understand you or any choices/decisions you’ve made or are planning to make.

-Figure out the few things you do to re-energize yourself and follow through with doing this in the coming year. What is it for you? Nature? Working out? Sleeping in? Prayer and meditation? Writing? Be clear on what you need more of.

-What’s the worst thing you tell yourself? What’s the number-one excuse that gets in your way? Write it down, make friends with it. Ask yourself, “is this really really true?” Who would you be and what would you do without this excuse?

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on January 4th, 2010 in Ariane, New Directions | 3 comments Read related posts in ,

21 nov

Character Is Our Bailout

I’ve known Gary King for over 15 years and I can say he is one of the wisest, kindest human beings I know. He also has a transformative message for the world right now. He is a world-class speaker on the subjects of honesty, forgiveness, self-esteem and character. I’ve invited him to share a preview of his upcoming book with us. This is never before been seen in writing so enjoy! His message is so timely I made him do this!

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Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on November 21st, 2009 in Ariane, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,