always forgiven, you have no idea for how many things. What I really need
. . . is how to love myself enough to stop the feelings that I keep stuffing
down in order to NOT hurt others. . . . Its myself I keep hurting,
because I care so much about keeping the peace. I only (at times) try to
tell them how I feel, in the hopes that they will understand.
(and I begin the paragraph with that because it really is a whole different
subject) it is very different to allow one that you dont live with,
and especially one who has nothing to do with influencing or raising your
children, to make serious mistakes and treat them with patience and kindness
than it is to allow someone who does have those direct influences on yourself
and those you love to make mistakes that can cause harm. For example, a person
I know recently drank alcohol in his car while driving home from work. This
person has youngsters and teenage children at home and is old enough to know
better. Even as they are treated with patience and kindness, at what point
do you stop allowing such behavior? How do you explain it to a teenager?
How do you make peace with yourself for allowing it without any
ou say that you want to
love myself enough to stop the feelings that
I keep stuffing down in order to NOT hurt others. Well, this means
that right now you are pushing your feelings out of awarenessthat is,
stuffing themto avoid hurting others, and you think that
it would be better to have no feelings at allthat is, to stop
Your feelings, however, are an
expression of your reality, so if you “stop” your feelings it’s like murdering
a part of yourself. If you really were to love yourself, therefore, you would
be able to love your feelings; in psychological terms, “to love your feelings”
means that you could understand them rather than just “get rid” of them as if
you were having an abortion.
The real way to not hurt others
is to learn to love yourself; to do this, then, endeavor to follow a step-by-step
psychological process of emotional honesty. First, acknowledge exactly how
you were hurt. Then admit to yourself your feelings of hurt. Then recognize
your humanly natural impulses of revenge that result from feeling hurt.
Then make the decision not to act on those impulses, but, despite what
youre feeling, to give to others your patience, kindness, compassion,
In other words, forgiveness is not
a matter of ignoring offensive behavior while keeping your mouth shut. Forgiveness
is a matter of refusing to hate someone despite your knowing very well that your
mind is surging with impulses to get a sweet taste of revenge.
Follow this process of choosing
forgiveness over hatred, despite your feelings of hurt, and you will do good
to yourself and to others. That’s real love.
in Your Presence
You have no control over what
someone does when you are not present. Moreover, you have no
responsibility for changing the behavior of
another person (with the exception of your own children while they are still minors).
But when someone does something in your presence that you find contrary to your
moral values, then speak up and say, “I cannot accept this.” Tell the other person
why you feel offended; if the other person does not treat you with respect, then
leave. Don’t leave in a huff, and don’t leave with indignation; leave with gentleness
and kindness. But leave.
however, will determine the nature of your leaving. If the offense occurs
while riding in a car, for example, you could, if you have great courage,
say, “Stop the car right here; I’m getting out.” Or you could wait until
you reach your destination and then state that you will “leave” the relationship
until the other person decides to change his or her behavior.
If, in a misguided attempt to
“keep the peace,” you stay, you will give the impression that you condone the
offending behavior, and that hurts both of you. It will hurt you because you
come across looking like a coward, and maybe even a hypocrite; it will hurt
the other because it deprives that person of a warning that could, perhaps,
children are involved, then be honest. Tell the children
that the offending behavior is wrong, let them know that you cannot change the
behavior of another person, admit that you feel frustrated, and tell the children
to pray for the enlightenment and repentance of the offender. That way, in your
being honest, you have at least given the children reason not to believe that
they are crazy—or bad—for seeing what almost no one else will admit.
And how do you make peace with
yourself for having allowed misconduct
without any consequence? You tell the children openly and honestly
that you made a mistake. By admitting the truth
to them (and you can believe that they already know the truth anyway), you not
only make peace with them but you also make peace with yourself because finally
you have had the courage to face the truth of your own dishonesty. Then, from
the depths of your heart, pray for the wisdom and courage to learn whatever you
need to learn from your mistakes so that you will be able to act with greater
courage the next time your feelings tell you that you have been offended.