Tag Archives: forgive

10 Steps to Reassure Yourself: Your problems do not define you

“One of the challenges of moving through fear is identification. After a while, you identify with the problem for so long that you don’t know who you are without it. So, now instead of trying to navigate through try to imagine who you would be without the problem and be that. Allow a loving world that is beyond this fear to fill your mind and heart. Imagine being free and then be it. This is the bridge home.” – Derek O’Neill

I just came across this quote yesterday in a welcome e-mail for a NYC Meetup Group. It really hit close to home. Seems that lately I interact with people who have a major underlying issue hindering them from taking on the world at full throttle. Each of us has one (if we are lucky, some have more than others) particular cloud hanging over our heads, following us wherever we go. We constantly think about this issue, whether it’s a health condition, career dissatisfaction, money struggles or relationship woes. This one thing that’s troubling us can end up consuming not only our every waking moment but creeps into the subconscious mind, plaguing our dreams and robbing us of our health. This can result a general disturbance in the body with mental, emotional and/or physical manifestations.

When hit with waves of frustration or despair, we must fight it. But everyone who has ever swam in an ocean or similar open body of water knows that there is a method to fighting this volatile force. You can’t face the waves head on, but you must allow yourself to immerse and go with the flow up until a certain extent, when you can seize a moment of weakness and make your way out. Similarly, when faced with a problem, no matter how big or small, we must be able to take a step back, evaluate and come up with a strategy to deal with it and come out unscathed (or at the very least, alive and safe). I’ve developed my own way of riding out the storm when things upset me, which I’d like to share with you:

Step 1: Identify the problem. What exactly is it that upsets me? Why does it have this effect on me?

Step 2: Locate the source of the problem. Is it an outside trigger or an internal interpretation that is the root cause of my unhappiness with the problem?

Step 3: Evaluate whether the problem can be solved.

  • If it is ongoing – can it be fixed or at least lessened to some degree?
  • If it is in the past – can you come to some sort of closure with the parties involved, perhaps ask for or grant forgiveness and offer to mend things?
  • If it is internal – do you have what it takes to fully assess the problem yourself, or do you perhaps need some outlet to get your emotions out (try talking to a friend/counselor, or some creative outlet, such as music, art or physical activity/dance).

Step 4: If it can be solved – do it. See above and choose any favorable combinations.

Step 5: Accept the worst case scenario. What is the worst possible outcome of this problem? Imagine the cascade of events which culminate in the worst way possible. Can you live with that? If yes – than you can live with any other less-bad end result!

Step 6: Learn to live with it. Even if everything is at a standstill – with neither improvements nor declines, you need to come up with a coping mechanism. This doesn’t mean give up. All the while, as you are fighting and coming up with new possible solutions and plans of actions, you need to keep your sanity up and your life force beaming. You can’t let this problem hold you down and send you in a downward spiral of self-pity and depression! You were there before the problem, and hey, you will survive! Death is the only problem that has a definite finality, and (for the most part), it is the ultimate problem with no solution. Everything else can be dealt with and lived through.

Step 7: Distinguish yourself from your problem. You are not synonymous with your problem! It does not define you or change your worth, or your goals. Your life has a purpose and meaning, and you need to stick to your true path to the best of your ability, devoting as little time and focus to the problem. After all, sometimes you need to let the storm pass and ride out the waves, because fighting mother nature can be a futile effort…

Step 8: Be happy despite the problem. Happiness does not depend on how healthy, wealthy, or popular you are. People can be happy with as much or as little as they allow themselves to be. The richest people in the world can be the loneliest and the most miserable, and vice versa. Handicapped people can lead extraordinary lives full of love and happiness in the face of adversity. It is all in the eye of the beholder, and all up to you.

Step 9: Crowd out the problems with gratitude. Be grateful for the good things in life. Focus on positivity, and bring more of that into your life. It really does negate the dark and empty spaces. Look around, and see how much good you have; you probably have what someone else out there is yearning for, and you don’t even realize it. Appreciate the good things and seek more good things that you can occupy your mind with.

Step 10: Love yourself. Love your problem too. It doesn’t define you, but perhaps it made you the person you are today. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, that’s my motto! We are all dealt exactly the hand we are meant to handle. We just need to approach that hand with grace, methodical skill and faith in ourselves. Forgive yourself, and love even your flaws.

I hope these steps help you as they’ve helped me. I’ve realized that I’m surrounded by people who seem to be going through what at first seems like hopeless situations. Maybe it’s because my peers and I are now entering our mid-20’s, and are finally coming into our own, and are putting weight on things that we thought we were immune to before. We have finally begun to realize who we are as personalities, what we truly want, and who we want to share our dreams and lives with. Everything prior to this moment was what our parents, society, or friends have influenced us to believe we wanted. It is these very premature beliefs that are holding us back now.

Do not let your fears or problems define you. Find our own way to accept and bear the problem, fighting back by the very act of not allowing it to control your life.

Reasons to forgive…starting with yourself

In life, there is no right or wrong. There is no black and white. Everything is mostly in shades of color, and is really all about choices. We can’t always choose what happens to us, but we always choose how to react to something. As cliche as it sounds, we have the power within ourselves to choose, and with great power comes great responsibility. Every choice made has its own repercussions, and we can only hope that the consequences will be positive and reassuring. Every time we make a choice, we also have the power to readjust the choice by evaluating which road it has led us down. And that is the greatest power of all – we have the chance to make a new choice based on new-found knowledge from a previous decision.

This means, of course, that the system is not perfect. There will be times when you look back and see that somewhere along the line, your choices have steered to a path you don’t wish to stay on. And you may even look for that one key choice along the web that was flawed and led you astray. You will not rest until you find someone responsible, someone to blame – and it will most always be you. Since you have the power of your own destiny, it must be you who has failed your own self. Inevitably, regret, guilt, and shame will envelope you and convince you that you are not to be trusted with your decisions.

Well, this kind of thinking will just drive you mad! Although easier said than done, you have to overcome these irrational thoughts. They are irrational because you did not know then what you know now. You cannot blame yourself for making an educated choice to the best of your ability, with the brightest of intentions. You didn’t know how things would turn out, but you made the best decision at the time, with a little bit of faith. And a lot of the times, your decisions probably brought you to good outcomes. But you don’t pay attention to all of those times you got it right, it is the less-than-desired outcomes you focus on. That is human nature, to devote more energy to negative thoughts due to an unfavorable phase than to be grateful for the sea of good that has happened in your life.

  1. Be grateful for the things that went “right.” We must re-train our brain to appreciate all that is good, and give ourselves credit for getting us on that good path, most of the time.
  2. Accept that you cannot change the past. To err is human, and from time to time we will prove that we are human. Sometimes we will make a choice with unfavorable outcomes. But what’s done is done, and since no time machine has been invented to date, we must leave the past in the past and deal with the situation at hand.
  3. Take the unexpected turn of events as a lesson, not a curse. Just because you have suffered a setback doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to keep going. Having learned how you got into the mess, and having lived through the experience, you can keep going stronger than ever.
  4. Develop a healthy relationship with yourself. You are the only thing that you can be sure of. You have gotten yourself thus far on your journey, and you have to be able to rely on yourself to get yourself to where you want to be. You are the one living in your body, taking care of yourself, and thinking all of these thoughts. So appreciate yourself, value and cherish yourself, and most importantly, trust yourself. Most of us have a problem with this last point, because we tend to not keep our own word to ourselves. We need to get out of this habit, and make it the utmost goal for our word to matter to the person who matters most – your own self. Start with little things, like “I will go to bed at 10 p.m. tonight, no matter what” or “I will have a salad for lunch instead of pizza.” Gradually build up trust by keeping your promises to yourself.
  5. Forgive yourself. Think about all of the above, realize that you can only change the present and future, and promise yourself that you will do your best. Regret is useless and unfair, because you did not have all the facts back then. Meditate on it, take a bath, or write it down: “I forgive myself. I accept what I cannot change and I can move forward with my new knowledge and experience.”

From this point on, you can look at life as a series of choices, experiences, and lessons. Some will be more rewarding, others will be more teaching. In order to avoid harsh teachers, reevaluate your choices often. As soon as you see yourself veering off the desired path, make adjustments. Make another choice that will get you back on your true path.

The “true path” is different for everyone. Hence one decision may work for one person, and not work for someone else. We have to accept this and respect the right of others to choose. We can advise them to the best of our ability, but in the end, it is up to an individual to choose. And they have to reevaluate their own choices later on. The universe and karma usually help with showing the outcomes of a decision. If that’s not enough, when they are ready, they will seek out advice and that’s when other people can really help.

[ZeroToHero]

[Inspired in part by Still Standing.]