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No regrets - Beazley H.

Beazley H. No regrets - Wiley publishing , 2004. - 234 p.
ISBN 0-471-21295-4
Download (direct link): noregrets2004.pdf
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Compassion is sometimes facilitated by working to accept that the offending party’s behavior was more about them than it was about us. In fact, in some cases, it may not have been about us at all even though we were the objects of that behavior or were directly affected. When innocent bystanders are victims in a tragic accident or children are brutalized, they are never at fault. When family members are the offending parties, we may have to develop compassion for what they could not do as much as for what they did not do. Their terrible limitations, which were so hurtful to us, were ultimately about them and their lives, even though they involved us. It may be that the limitations of our parents or siblings and their destructive behavior have affected us terribly, but their actions were still mostly about them.
None of this, of course, means that we have to approve of the offending parties’ behavior, excuse it, or minimize it. It does mean, however, that we can try to understand their behavior as a projection of their personality and problems, which may lead us to enough compassion to make forgiving them easier.
The Healing Letter
A healing letter sent to those who have harmed you will help you forgive. This tool can be as effective in Step Eight as it was in Step Five, although the nature of the healing letter will be somewhat different. Its purpose in this step is to allow you to confront the person who harmed you and hold him or her accountable. You will detail the painful facts of your relationship so that you can let the pain of that relationship go. It doesn’t matter whether the letter’s recipient is living or dead. You can write anyone: parents who didn’t nurture you, friends who betrayed you, business partners
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NO REGRETS
who cheated you, or spouses who abused you. You can even write to God, explaining how much the difficulties of your life have hurt and how unhappy you are to have had them.
The healing letter should be highly specific and emotionally laden. Its grammar and punctuation are unimportant, and you can even make a list of hurts if you wish. You can use drawings, poetry, pictures, photographs, collages or anything else that will convey what you need to say to this person but never had the chance to say. Cite detailed examples of the offending behavior. Describe the fear, the humiliation, or the torment you suffered. Describe the betrayal you felt, the unfairness of what happened, the futility of the things you tried to do to make the situation better. Write about your disappointments, the hopes you had, and what you lost. Describe the effect it had on your life. Recount the pain and the tears that overcame you on the worst of the days. Hold nothing back. This is your chance to say everything you have ever wanted to say to the recipient so that, finally, you can let it all out—and let it go. This letter is not an exercise in whining, self-pity, or victimization. It is the opposite. You are standing up for yourself and telling the truth. With everything said, you can move out of the past where this person holds sway into the present where the power is yours.
Toward the end of the letter, you may want to write—if it’s true—how much you once liked or loved the person, how much he or she once meant to you, how grateful you are for the good times the two of you had. You can explain how those memories made everything that happened afterward all the more painful. If the other party did anything right or good, you may want to acknowledge that along with anything else you are grateful for from the relationship.
It might be well to conclude your healing letter by saying that you are going to forgive the recipient. Explain why you are forgiving the person and that your forgiveness does not excuse what he or she did. Explain that the forgiveness you’re granting is for you but that it is nonetheless genuine. You no longer want to be tied to the past or to the world the two of you once inhabited together. So, by this letter, you are forgiving the person and setting yourself free.
One letter may be sufficient for your purposes, or it may take a dozen.
STEP EIGHT: FORGIVING OTHERS 167
You will know when you have written everything you need to say. You will know when you have signed the last letter. It will be the letter that truly forgives the person and lets that person go.
5. The Act of Forgiveness
Forgiving is a psychological and spiritual process. It is psychological because it involves our thoughts and feelings, and because forgiving unconditionally is one of the most mature acts of which a human being is capable. Forgiveness means setting aside our self-centeredness and the immature part of us that demands vengeance and retribution in favor of the mature part that seeks freedom and peace. Ultimately, forgiveness is based on our acceptance of reality, our acknowledgment of life’s imperfection, and our recognition that resentments and hatred hurt us most of all.
Forgiving is spiritual because it is a transcendent experience that reaches beyond the purely psychological, strategic, or rational. Forgiving draws upon the deepest and most profound part of us for its strength and purpose. It acknowledges love as the most powerful of human emotions— love of others and of ourselves. Forgiving expands our consciousness and introduces us to a larger world where forces beyond our understanding create miracles of change that sweep through us and others. In forgiving, we transcend the limitations of the material world to touch the infinite. In forgiving, we capture with our mind the freedom that our soul never relinquishes.
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