Learning To Forgive Yourself

Yes, self-forgiveness is a thing. It means having compassion for yourself. It means letting go of the resentment and anger you have towards yourself for a past mistake or failure or a decision you made when you didn’t know any better.

Some people are open about how they find it hard to forgive themselves for an injudicious decision they made that probably ruined the perfect plans they had for themselves.

It could be that you didn’t prepare well enough for an exam you could have easily aced, which made you repeat a semester or getting pregnant at a young age which slowed down your dreams of finishing school in time and kicking off with a profitable career like the rest of your peers.

It could be how unfairly you treated someone when you were not as enlightened as you are now, it could be not voicing out how you truly felt about someone when you had the chance to. It could be hurting a friend or disappointing someone who depended on you. It could be knocking someone down with your car and they died. It was an accident yet you can’t seem to forgive yourself for not being careful enough. It could be all those terrible things that you now regret doing.

Whatever it is, we are human and because we are imperfect, there is that tendency for us to do things we would regret in the long run. Because we keep evolving and learning as we grow, we would realize that there were decisions we had made in the past that if only we had known what we now know, we would have done better.  Everyone has felt this way. I have. I’m certain you must have as well.

What is that one thing you cannot forgive yourself for?  How have you managed to live with a terrible past?

An author named Brennan Manning once told a story of a time when he spent 28 days in a treatment program for alcoholics. One day during a group therapy session, everyone was encouraged to disclose to the group the truth about the extent of their drinking.

They sat in a circle, and each person took the opportunity to elaborate on their drinking history. Everyone except for a successful businessman named Max. He said, “I never really drank that much.” The group members told him, “You’re in an alcoholic treatment centre. Be honest with yourself and admit you have a problem.” He said, “I am being honest. I’ve never had that much to drink.”

Later on, the group had to answer the question, “Have you ever hurt anybody while you were drunk?” Everyone shared their truth until they got to Max, who said, “I would never hurt anyone, sober or drunk.”

The group leader replied, “Max, we don’t believe you. What would your wife say if we were to ask her?” The group leader eventually did call Max’s wife on a speakerphone for everyone to hear. Max’s wife answered and the leader asked, “Has Max ever mistreated you or any of your kids when he was drunk?”

Max’s wife said, “Just this last Christmas Eve he took our 9-year-old daughter shopping. On the way home, Max passed a bar and noticed cars belonging to his friends, so he pulled in. That night, it was only 12 degrees with a high wind chill, but Max left the car running so the heater could stay on. He told our daughter he’d be right back out.”

Everyone looked shocked, as she continued. “Max went inside and started drinking with his buddies, and he didn’t come out until midnight. The car had run out of gas and shut off. The windows had frozen, so he was unable to open any of the doors. When the authorities came, they opened the door and rushed our daughter to the hospital. Her thumb and forefinger were frostbitten so severely that she had to have them amputated. Her ears were so damaged by the cold that she’ll be deaf for the rest of her life.” The group turned to Max, who had fallen off his chair and was convulsing on the floor.

Max was convulsing on the floor because of the truth about himself. The truth was a reality he couldn’t handle, so he had been living in denial. He was living in a fantasy world because he couldn’t forgive himself and move past his mistakes.

Self-forgiveness is not easy because it involves recognizing uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Some view the act as a reminder of not being a perfect person. People want to move on but find it hard to do so without doing what is necessary to make peace from within. One way to find peace from within is to forgive yourself and let go of your imperfect past. An article by verywellmind says that there are 4Rs to self-forgiveness. Responsibility, Remorse, Repair and Renewal.

In the story I shared a few paragraphs above, Max was not willing to accept responsibility for his actions. He had not confronted it nor accepted that he had scarred his daughter for life. Notice the twist in the end when he was confronted with his actions. In the journey to self-forgiveness, you need to accept responsibility for your mistakes. Yes, you did it. By taking responsibility and accepting that you have engaged in actions that have hurt others, you can avoid negative emotions, such as excessive regret and guilt.

Secondly, Show Remorse. Following your action to accept responsibility. You’d experience a plethora of emotions from anger to guilt to disgust. It’s okay to show remorse and feel bad that you did what you did. It’s okay to cry it out if you need to.

The next thing is to repair the damage your action caused. Was it someone you hurt, reach out to them and apologize. Was the damage done to yourself, write yourself a note to apologize for the years you held such hatred and resentment towards yourself. Do whatever you can in your power to rectify the wrong done. This act will make you feel better and help you foster positive thoughts about yourself.

Lastly, focus on renewal. You have accepted responsibility, showed remorse, and repaired the damage the best way you can. The next and final step to self-forgiveness is to learn to gradually move on from that bad experience. This will not be easy as it sounds. Occasionally the guilt will creep in and you might want to wallow in regrets all over again, but this is the point you remind yourself that you have put effort to repair the damage. Focus on your emotions and be sure you have fed yourself enough positive affirmations to counter these guilt trips.

Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance. – Tara Brach

Today, I forgive myself for the hurtful things I have said to people. I forgive myself for thinking a friend was faking her illness when in fact the illness later took her life. Today,  I forgive myself for the deliberate and unintended hurt I caused people.

What do you forgive yourself for?

We hope you enjoyed reading from us today, let us know what you have forgiven yourself for. We look forward to reading from you.

SELF-DEVELOPMENT AS IT APPLIES TO YOU

Whenever the concept “self-development” is introduced, lots of ambitious and career-conscious individuals only focus on academics and courses which build on their careers and acquire certificates for both short and long-term courses. Personal development is looking inward and focusing on ways to better yourself. It increases your self-awareness, and your self-esteem increases your skills and fulfils your aspirations. 

Human beings operate as a system with many units so developing one section and leaving the rest can cause a collapse of the entire system. Imagine a bank that has good marketers but ill-mannered customer service. While the marketers are greatly doing their job to attract customers,  the customer service is de-marketing the bank with their ill-mannered approach. 

Self-development involves your social, psychological, emotional, spiritual and metaphysical (just to accommodate the atheists) growth. Self-development is working on who you are, bringing into existence the best of who you are. Moving from bad habits, moving from bad temperament, changing those orientations that pull you down. Learning, unlearning and relearning. Most times self-development naturally forces itself on us. You fashion out the way you want things to go for you, but life keeps drawing you to what you never planned. It could be life teaching you to self-develop.

Self-development could come in the following ways;

Valuing your personality: Here you meet people. It’s either you are influenced or they are influenced by you. Sometimes, the influence of other people’s appraisals on us may be so strong that we end up internalising them. For example, we are often labelled in particular ways by others, perhaps in terms of our accent which never limited the Chinese and Italians or even the likes of Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala from communicating in English despite their accents. If you are ashamed or intimidated by foreign accents, you might mistake self-development as discarding yours and westernising your accent. In this context, it is our minds that limit us. The realisation that your nature, your location, your mother tongue, and your background cannot limit your success is a big self-development.

Recognising your SWOT(strength, weakness, opportunities and threats: Before you decide what you need to work on, take some time to acknowledge your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You can make resolutions on how to better utilise your strengths or improve on those weaknesses.  I used to be the “shy” type.  It bothered me until I started working on it, trying to make contributions at meetings, gathering younger ones and talking or teaching them.  I had my strength in my passion to communicate excellently.  Then my weakness was shyness, and opportunity was gathering younger children and talking at meetings. I overcame my threats, which was the fear of being laughed at when I spoke. Now I can confidently preside over meetings of both old and young people. 

Determination: Lots of individuals have had many resolutions to build either on their spiritual, academic, mental, emotional, physical life and so on. They have tried giving up on a particular thing but it all turned out to be worse. A chain smoker who stops smoking didn’t achieve that by the mere mention of it. It took sacrifices, psychological battles and determination to achieve. Waking up every morning to exercise or pray takes determination and that practice is self-development. Determination is freedom of consistency, but ironically consistency on its own seems like a restriction on your freedom. consistency takes sacrifices on some certain freedom. Self-development is about creating a particular positive skill in your subconscious and conscious mind and putting efforts to make it a part of you.

Aspects of self-development

Spiritual growth and development: This could be termed connecting with yourself on a holistic level. People experience spiritual growth in various ways depending on their culture, beliefs and experiences. Some prefer a structured approach to spiritual growth, such as practising a religion or meditating regularly while others work on improving their spiritual health to connect with a supernatural being as they feel they need it to balance other aspects of their life. Spiritual growth matters because it can help you manage stress and build confidence in yourself and your abilities. It gives hope where there is hopelessness. Gives faith to those who are in doubt.

Emotional development: While challenges such as stress and anxiety can contribute to burnout, emotional growth can help you overcome those challenges. This can assist you in expressing your emotions effectively and discussing your opinions with patience and open-mindedness. When you are in charge of your emotions, you can minimise conflict among friends and colleagues. Many people have a bad temperament and think it’s a plus because everyone fears them. They use it as a compliment  “I easily get angry, don’t try me”. They do not see any need to work on it. Many actions out of anger are most regrettable.  You only need to work on it.

Physical /health self-development: Physical growth involves taking care of your body and using it in productive ways. Your physical condition affects all other areas of personal growth and development, as a healthy body facilitates effective brain functioning. You can focus on physical growth by eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly and getting adequate sleep. When you feel better physically, you may find it easier to work more efficiently. People form habits of taking substances that cause negative changes to their body such as addiction to alcohol, smoking, and beverages with high sugar content and high calories. Reducing or disciplining oneself on this consumption is self-development. Working on various aspects of your body through physical exercise especially to look fit and healthy can boost not just your health but your confidence. 

Skill/academics development: this has been the main focus of individuals when you talk about self-development.  Human beings have been able to make life better through science and technology. To even be able to survive in this dynamic world, skill/academic pursuits are paramount. This is where the acquisition of knowledge comes to play. Acquiring knowledge is not just limited to university degrees and online courses or learning crafts and trades. Daily experiences and personal encounters in our various families, workplaces, neighbourhoods and any environment we find ourselves in are all learning points. We are not to discard them as they form part of our self-development.

How well have you been able to develop yourself emotionally,  physically, socially, spiritually and otherwise?

Humanity needs a balanced life. Your social development shouldn’t overlap your spiritual development,  your Spirituality should not engulf your social life, and your academics and career shouldn’t take a toll on your health or emotional status. What areas of your life have you neglected? You were becoming more spiritual or were focused on your career line and forgetting to build on your emotional or social life? You never deemed it necessary to develop relationships with people because you could stay indoors, do online courses,  make money online and repeat? All these have ways of limiting the fulfilment of and satisfaction of our living.

Please create a balance.

We hope you enjoyed reading from us today. We’d love to hear from you as always. Leave us a comment.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

I belong to the 1% of the population who believe that Fathers are not celebrated enough! Do you agree with me?

 Let’s be honest, fathers don’t get as much attention as mothers do and to be fair, their roles as fathers are not any easy.

This year alone, we celebrated Mother’s day a little over 3 times I suppose. At some point, it seemed like every Sunday was Mother’s day somewhere. Different religious bodies picked turns to celebrate mothers and as much as I love that our mothers are recognized for their invaluable roles in our lives and the society, I couldn’t be happier to wish all the fathers reading this a Happy Father’s Day!

What a crown you wear on your heads for the heavy responsibilities you shoulder. It is indeed an honour that you are a father; dedicating years of your life to constantly providing, nurturing and guiding. I read somewhere that fatherhood is a lifetime responsibility with challenges, sweetness and bitterness and I couldn’t agree more.

Sonora Smart Dodd, a woman from Spokane, Washington, is credited for founding Father’s Day, according to the History Channel. Her widower father raised her and her six siblings. Her mother had passed away while giving birth to her sixth child. Sonora Smart Dodd, who founded Mother’s Day in 1908, intended to create a similar celebration for fathers. To seek support for her concept of honouring fathers for a day, Sonora went to local churches and the YMCA, as well as met with shops and government leaders. Sonora was a success because of her hard effort when Washington State celebrated the first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

Even while Mother’s Day gained traction quickly, Father’s Day would take years to gain traction.

Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge supported Father’s Day in 1916 and 1924, respectively. President Coolidge went so far as to encourage state governments to observe the holiday. Father’s Day was not officially recognized as a national holiday until decades later.

The observance of Father’s Day makes fathers feel that their contributions are acknowledged in the society and also by their children. They feel proud of themselves ! For, most often children take love of their parents for granted. Celebration of Father’s Day makes them ponder for a while on the important role their father plays in their life.

There are more than a million reasons to celebrate Father’s Day today and every other day. When you think about your father, why do you think he deserves to be celebrated? As a father, don’t you think you have done more than a handful to be recognized and cheered for?

As fathers, you are seen as a breadwinner, and disciplinarian, and pose as an authority figure at the same time. When you were growing up, how often did you hear your mother say, “just wait until your father gets home!” Traditionally, our culture has often put fathers into a very difficult role. They must be aloof but intimate; must earn the wage, but be present; must be compassionate, but disciplinarian.

Fathers deserve to be celebrated because of their dedication to providing for their families. A whole lot of success stories are tied to fathers. Fathers who had to toil day and night to make ends meet and send their children to school, Fathers who did menial jobs and accepted derogatory remarks because they needed that money to settle a thing or two in their homes, Fathers who wouldn’t buy anything new for themselves all year round just to buy new wrappers for their wives or pay fees and rent. Often, fathers feel the burden of their responsibilities but are conditioned not to show it. That sometimes interferes with both their ability to express affection and our ability to recognize it.

Fathers must be celebrated because they serve as a moral compass for their children. Fathers are their children’s role models, and so they have to be sure to maintain a sound level of discipline not just in their words but in actions as well. Imagine always being on your best behaviour because you outrightly know that your child is watching and will most likely do what they see you do. Regardless, fathers manage to raise incredible children serving as a behavioural mirror for their children.

Again, fathers should be celebrated for their stability and consistency. From the day they take up the responsibility of fatherhood, they do not back out. Fathers are catalysts for their child’s motivation. They never give up on them no matter how challenging it can get. And they continually spur them to do better, work harder, care deeper, and excel to the best of their abilities. Here’s a quote by Coach Jim Valvano that attests to this.

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could ever give another person: he believed in me.”

As we celebrate Father’s Day today for that special person in our lives who we call father, I’d like us to take the opportunity to call them up and appreciate them for their sacrifices. Wrap up some thoughtful gifts and send them over to him. Take him for dinner at his favourite restaurant if you can afford to or do that one thing he always appreciates you doing for him.

As a father reading this, celebrate yourself today. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. You have committed to your responsibility and regardless of your social class, you have managed to provide for your family and keep things running. You are indeed a blessing and the world is a better place because of you.

Happy Father’s Day!

Breaking Free From People Who Take Advantage Of You

Have you ever felt you were taken advantage of? Exploited and simply taken for a fool? Have you ever had the feeling that someone is using you to their advantage? Or that they are more interested in what you can offer them than in you? It’s possible that you’re being used in these situations.

It is natural for people to take advantage of each other. It is easy for people to ask for or expect more than is fair or reasonable from you especially when they perceive you as kind or available.
Family, friends, colleagues, partners, kids, acquaintances and other people in your life can take advantage of you. It could simply be collecting more from you than they are ever willing to give you. It could be your friend refusing to pay the money they owe you, but not because they don’t have it. They feel entitled and use the fund for personal dealings not bothering about how you can make ends meet.
They feel you are fine and don’t need your money back. However, that was not the impression they gave you when they needed you to help them with the promises to pay back as soon as they can.

Have you experienced being taken advantage of? How did it make you feel?

Being taken advantage of can wear you down quickly. Nothing makes a job miserable faster than a boss who takes advantage of his workers or senior colleagues who do likewise.

Have you realized that all too often the reward for good work is more work?
In fact, there’s now evidence that those who appear to enjoy their work are more likely to be taken advantage of at their jobs. People who self-identify as being “passionate” about their work are often the most likely to be mistreated.

Overachievers are more likely to be asked to work unpaid overtime, leave the family on weekends to work, and complete work that isn’t in their job descriptions, according to researchers. According to findings, some managers really regard more work as a reward, or just believe that workers who enjoy their employment would have volunteered to take on more.

As an employee, do you get used? Do you feel your colleagues or boss takes advantage of you? Did your boss call you on your day off, or ask you to take notes at the staff meeting, again? Did your coworker take credit for your work? Were you asked to work overtime but not paid for it?

All these and more are signs that you are being taken advantage of at your workplace.

It is also very possible to be taken advantage of in your relationships. It is difficult to know when you are being taken advantage of in a relationship because you constantly feel obligated to go the extra mile for your partner. You may think they are entitled to everything they demand from you and be blind to all the red flags.

Dr Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist, lecturer, and author of the Date Smart, believes that a spouse can be using you to avoid loneliness. They may begin a relationship with you to fill a void in their lives, find sexual fulfilment, or relieve a financial load, without recognizing that they are toxic and unjust. Because your spouse is utilizing you to meet a need without the aim of contributing more or giving back equally. This is a typical case of being exploited.

Why do people take advantage of others?

The truth is that some people see kindness as a weakness, and I believe this is for many different reasons. One is that genuinely kind people care, they want to help and give of themselves because it matters to them, people matter to them; hoping that in return, people have the same kind of heart that they have to treat people kindly.

Another reason people will take advantage of others is that they don’t know how to set boundaries. You don’t know when to say no, when you say yes, or when to clearly state that a particular pattern doesn’t work for you or is unacceptable. Setting boundaries around what you can do for people can reduce or eliminate unhealthy expectations and demands from you.

If you realize that you are being taken advantage of, the first thing you need to do is assess the situation. Make an honest assessment of the situation(s) that make you feel threatened, inferior, or intimidated. What about this situation makes you feel this way? Process your thoughts thoroughly and drill down until you reach the root of the problem. Are you accepting more tasks outside your JD because you are trying to outdo a colleague or scared you may lose your job if you stood up for yourself? Are you letting your partner take advantage because you’re scared to lose them and fear you may not find anyone else? Are you intentionally blind to your friend taking advantage of you because you are only better off with them?

Secondly, Recognize who you are and your worth, as well as the worth of others! Break free from preconceived notions about yourself based on what your peers, coworkers, boss, or others say, or what you believe they are saying. Remind yourself that it’s okay to say “No” to anyone who interferes with your goals, passions, beliefs, or even schedule. You are not required to say yes to everyone.

Also, without losing control, advocate for yourself.
Even if the other person has control of the situation, you can still advocate for your position. You can try to persuade the other person to see your point of view and possibly reach an agreement.
Losing control, on the other hand, prevents the other person from hearing our point of view and rarely gets us what we want.
Instead, losing control can cause situations to quickly devolve and lead us to act in ways we later regret.
There’s no guarantee you’ll get your way if you calmly advocate for yourself. However, losing control ensures that you will not get what you want.

We hope you found this article useful? We hope to read from you.