When I first saw this picture I thought to myself, “An angel, really?” After a few moments of contemplation, my thoughts changed. How do we view angels? As an entity that looks over us from above, guiding our actions, encouraging us and keeping us safe. How do we define a great friend? Someone who stays by our side, giving us advice, encouraging us and looking out for us. Other than the geographical location they are very similar.
It has me taking a more venerable look at several of my friends. Unlike the ethereal beings to which I am drawing a comparison, friends make mistakes. Even the best friend can have a bad day. Perhaps they take their frustrations of the day out on us because they feel safe and comfortable in our presence? They may put their needs ahead of ours. They may treat us harshly or say something hurtful either by accident or because they have succumb to their emotions.
Does this mean friends are not human angels? Not at all. Through those lessons, if we truly love our friends, they can teach us how to be forgiving, understanding and compassionate. Something angels cannot do. Maybe angels use these ‘human angels’ to help teach us these lessons? I am not sure. What I am sure of is that I am blessed to have many friends who have looked out for me, tried to keep me safe and gave me an encouraging word when I needed one. To me that is a definition of a human angel.
This week let us approach this idea in two ways. First, take a look at some of our closest friends. Do they qualify as human angels? Chances are in some form or fashion they just might. I hear a lot of voices throughout the day. My stomach tells me pizza for dinner everyday is ok. There are the things my body tells me after the gym, but I do not think they are fit to type here. The closest things to an angelic voice that I hear is from someone I deeply care about telling me they feel the same. Let us, in our own way, recognize these human angels. It doesn’t have to be anything grand. In fact, if you are shy or nervous as to what they may think you don’t have to tell them at all. In my life all of my friends know I am crazy, so I am not worried. Even just taking a moment to yourself to think, “This person is a human angel.” That will be enough to cause a shift in how you see that person.
The second part is being a human angel. Again, this does not mean trying to be perfect or walking around in a toga playing a harp, but doing our best to treat others the best we can. With love, respect and compassion. Do you think anyone would describe you as a human angel?
One of my favorite quotes to help keep peace in your mind and heart comes from Buddha, who said “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Forgiveness truly is the gift you give yourself. Most of the time when we stay angry at people it only affects us. Think of what happens to your body when you get angry. Your blood pressure rises, you can get sick to the stomach among many other unpleasant symptoms. Imagine what would happen if we did this over a prolonged period of time. Not only would it drain our spirit and soul, but it would make us actually physically sick.
Here is the caveat about forgiving someone, it does not mean they need to be your best friend. There are some people who are destructive and surrounding yourself with them will only bring you down. I compare it to continuing to try and pet a dog you know will bite you. Unless the dog goes through some training, it will likely bite you again. Forgive the dog for biting you and then do your best to keep your distance from the dog.
Starting today, let go of anger and practice forgiveness. It does not mean you agree with their behaviour. It also does not mean you have to let them back into your life. It only means you value yourself enough to let go of negative emotions that will bring you down emotionally, spiritually and physically.
I would like to begin this post quote from Les Brown, one of my favorite speakers.
“Millions of people die each year because of what they eat. Millions more die because of what is eating them”.
This site is focused on living an amazing life. We have discussed in previous posts the importance of focusing on where you want to go. Today will be a little different. Today’s post will be about how to increase the speed and ease of which to achieve your goals as well as improving your health. Sounds great doesn’t it? What if I told you this can be accomplished with one action? Too good to be true? Read on and decide for yourself.
Do you have something that is eating you? If you are anything like the rest of us chances are the answer is yes. Perhaps it is a relationship with someone who needs repair? Perhaps it is a hurt you are carrying with you from long ago? Not only does this slow you down, in fact, it is like running toward your goal while dragging an anchor. It can fill you with self doubt or feelings of not being worthy of the success you so deserve. The continued stress this causes you can actually affect your health. We all know how much our productivity slows when our health is not up to par.
More than likely you are aware of all of these challenges, but the question is how to fix them. Usually it revolves around one simple word. Next to ‘gratitude’ it is one of the most powerful words we can make use of. That word is ‘forgiveness’. IF you catch yourself thinking “They are not worth forgiving” or “You don’t know what they did to me”. You would be right on both accounts. I don’t know your situation personally. Here is the straight up truth – it does not matter -. How can I say it doesn’t matter?
Easy, forgiveness is not for the other person. First of all changing other people seldom works. Not to mention we have no right to do so. People have the right to choose who they want to be even if it is someone who tends to be not so pleasant. No my friends, forgiveness is for us. If you are mad at someone chances are it doesn’t affect them nearly as much as it does you. It has been said anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. When you forgive someone, whether they deserve it or not, you are freeing yourself. You are effectively saying “Your actions will no longer cause me any anguish”. You must forgive truly, however. This does not mean you have to let that person back in your life, or that you are excusing their actions. It just means you are no longer prisoner to the pain that their actions have caused you.
Think of the last time you heard someone else complaining about or putting someone else down. What did you think of the person doing the complaining? When you are the one doing the complaining and telling someone over and over again how terrible someone is or how much they hurt you how do you feel? Usually it is like reliving the hurt all over again. Even if you just think about it in your mind it can make you sick to your stomach. So do your self a favor, let yourself out of that prison of anger and hate. Do not be one of the millions who die because of what is eating them.
Feel free to share your ideas on forgiveness below and feel free to share this post.
This quote from Buddha reminds us how damaging anger is to a situation. It often hurts the party to which it is directed, but certainly always hurts the party distributing it. It may feel good to yell or say something at your partner when you are upset. Especially if you feel they have done something to hurt you. Still by doing so you can leave a far more damaging situation than the one they have brought to you. This is best described in the story of the broken plate. A mother had a son who had an extremely bad temper. He would often do or say some of the most hurtful things. After which he truly seemed repentant. No matter what the mother did she could not get the child to think before he reacted. One day while washing dishes she had a great idea. She called her son into the room with her and handed him a glass plate. “Throw that plate on the ground” she instructed the young man. After some encouragement the young man did as he was told. As expected the plate broke into several pieces. “Now let’s glue this plate back together” her mother said. So they worked together for quite some time and had the plate looking pretty close to its original state, although a few cracks and chips were still visible. “Now say you’re sorry to this plate” the mother said. The child looked confused but saw his mother was serious. So he said his apology. “Now is the plate good as new?” she asked. The child shook his head no because although it was back together it would never look the same. The mother went on to explain that is what we do to the hearts of our loved ones when we are angry. Although the pain can be mended and apologies can be given they relationship will never be able to be put back together the same again.
So the next time you are in a heated debate with your spouse, friend, coworker before you say the well crafted biting reply you have been working on, think of the story of the broken plate and ask yourself is it really worth the damage that can never be undone?
“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it”
I am always interested in how couples that seem passionate late into their years together manage to accomplish such a thing. As my relationship started to crumble I began to do the craziest thing. I asked them. Let me tell you there is not much you can do to light up the eyes of a loving elderly couple than to ask them how they make it work. Speaking of work I was late many times because these conversations lasted far longer than I ever imagined.
So what is the secret? There are a million different ones, but one that stuck out in my head was from a couple I knew in the town of Greendale Wisconsin where I used to work. When I asked this couple who seemed more in love at 80 than I was at 30. The husband’s eyes lit up and he looked around as if he were about to tell me a heavily guarded secret. Naturally I was very interested. He whispered so only we could hear “We use our superpower” At first I was a bit hesitant to ask, especially with his wife nodding intensely in agreement. Still, curiosity got the best of me and I went for it. “Forgiveness” was all he had to say. Sensing my doubt in the power of his answer he all but insisted I sit down and listen to his explanation. Seeing that they did seem to have the evidence to back it up and I really didn’t mind being a few minutes late to the post office I sat down. He told me to think of the worst thing my lady had done. How it had made me feel. After a few seconds I seemed to have picked the one that did the trick. “Think of how bad that made you feel” the old man urged me on. After a while I did feel myself getting a little hot under the collar. Then he asked me how she was feeling right now. Ok I said she probably didn’t even know we were having this conversation. “And if she did?” he asked. I offered she might be mad I was discussing it with him or she might even feel bad for making me feel the way she did. “Young man you need to throw that memory away” he told me. The only thing worth hanging onto is love. By having these bad memories you are throwing rocks in your garden. Forgiveness he told me heals everyone and not forgiving hurts everyone. You’re going to make more mistakes yourself young man and if your lady doesn’t forgive you, I think you both will be miserable. He was right. We must truly forgive and leave behind the pain our partners have caused us. If it is a healthy relationship chances are they have beat themselves up far more about how they made us feel anyway. Forgiveness is freedom. It frees us from the pain of the memory and it frees our relationships up to grow. So whoever you need to forgive do so today and set yourself free.
In former posts I have talked about the importance of the way we look at situations. As I have also stated living an amazing life is a lifelong journey and not a goal to be reached. We all have much to learn. I would like to offer an example from my own life. Recently I had been discussing issues that were quite meaningful between another person and myself. It left me feeling rather connected to this person and quite special. Well a few days later this person had told me they had presented those very details we were discussing specifically when I was not there. Suddenly I felt hurt, like maybe the issues were not as much of a connection as I had thought. Have you ever noticed when your feel hurt your mind just seems to take over and make all sorts of connections that may or may not even make sense? Well that is what happened here. I began to wonder if perhaps the connection I thought had developed with this person may not have been as close as I had hoped. Perhaps there was no real connection at all. Even typing that makes it sound crazy. Knowing what I know of this person and the things we have shared in the past this thought should not have even entered my mind. A good fact to note here is when rational thought and emotion run into each other it is like a semi running into a sports car, emotion will always win. I had decided that this person did this so it meant that. Why would I do that? They are always several reasons. Past experiences when others have done the same and I ended up hurt? Misjudging what I know of this person? Living in reaction instead of action? So what to do when you find yourself in this situation. Well nine times out of ten if you are waiting to ask this question until you are in that situation you are probably to late. Again this site is about being proactive. So what actions can we begin to take today to help us should such a situation come up in our future? Here is the bad news, because we all are unique individuals with unique rules and experiences somebody in your future will hurt or disappoint you. Not even because they are trying to, but because they look at life different from you do. So knowing that how can we minimize the chances of being stuck in a train of thought like I was yesterday? Begin to develop a positive perspective. When something happens that you feel another person has let you down try to come up with as many positive explanations as you can. It may be hard at first, especially if you have been hurt in the past. When you ask why this person did this answers may begin to fill your head like “because they’re a jerk” “because they don’t care” pull the brake. Begin by trying to get at least one positive option. Maybe they simply did not understand what their actions would have meant to you? Maybe some even occurred in their life that caused them to have to make a change without being able to tell you. Maybe their actions mean something entirely different to them? Keep practice doing this. Why? I will give you two great reasons. One, you will feel hurt a lot less or at less not feel hurt as often. Two, you will find a lot less conflict with those you really care about. Let’s face it the more you care about someone the more they can make you feel amazing, but the more they can hurt you.
So how did my situation end up? Luckily this person has an amazing grasp on personal relations and a large dose of patience with me. They could tell that I was feeling upset and asked what they may have done. After some expert cajoling I explained that the ideas they expressed I felt were special between us and I was a bit(which at this point was an understatement)hurt that they chose to present them when I wasn’t even around. To my surprised they agreed that indeed they felt they were as special, if not more, than I did. They also went on to explain the reason they chose to express them for the first time when I wasn’t around was because they wanted to be able to do so flawlessly by the time we were together. So initially I just felt like a total jerk for even being upset. Still being one for learning from my mistakes I tried to see what I could selvage out of this experience. Here is what I learned. I have a lot to learn. One I learned I have one amazing person in my life who really does care more than I realized. I also learned that I still let my past affect me and the relationships I have in the present. Which is not only terribly unfair to that person, but also to yourself. I also learned I could probably learn to express how things make me feel in the future. Most importantly I learned that I really need to work on developing a more positive perspective on people and why they do the things they do. So I will be following the very steps I gave you earlier. As well as being grateful for the amazing people I have in my life. Tomorrow we will look at how we can productively expressing what we like and how to actually make people want to do those very things.