A Good F Word

 

There are people in your life
Who’ve come and gone
They let you down
You know they’ve hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby
‘Cause life goes on
You keep carryin’ that anger
It’ll eat you up inside baby

Heart of the Matter”, Don Henley

Songwriters
MIKE CAMPBELL, DON HENLEY, JOHN DAVID SOUTHER

Published By
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Cass County Music / Wisteria Music / Privet Music

 

“We live in a culture that prizes the expression of anger and resentment more than the peace of forgiveness.”

– Dr. Fred Luskin

 

Recently, in therapy, I’ve been focusing on this forgiveness thing.

Forgiveness is a tricky proposition; sometimes easy, sometimes not.

At times, I can do it almost immediately, when the offense is nothing to get worked up over. Someone makes a mistake, I forgive and that’s that.

On other occasions, someone says or does something that really angers me, or hurts me, or both, and coming around to forgiveness may take a little longer. But it does happen.

But then…

There are certain people who have wronged me, at some point in my past, whom I have not forgiven. (Nor wanted to.)

And there are things I’ve done for which I’ve never really forgiven myself. Course, I’m kind of hard on myself, anyway, but that’s another story.

But, I’m in the process now of learning how to forgive, finally.

 

Think about this a minute: How good a job do you think a carpenter, a mechanic, or a baker would do without the proper tools at his disposal? (Correct answer: not so good.)

So it is that I’m just now acquiring the tools I need to forgive. I mean, you know, I’ve heard, since I was small, the importance of forgiving, but nobody ever told me how. It was just something I was supposed to do.

And the thing is, it’s not always as simple as, “Okay, I forgive you.” In some cases, there’s a bit more to it than that. And that’s when you need the tools.

Enter Dr. Fred Luskin, a senior consultant in health promotion at Stanford University. In the course of teaching people how to improve their health and well being, Dr. Luskin researched the role of forgiveness in one’s emotional and physical well being. Turns out, it’s hugely significant.

But, again, none of his students really knew how to forgive, so Dr. Luskin developed a nine-step process, which allows people to approach forgiveness more analytically, separating the emotions from the people and events that provoke those emotions, and putting it all into some perspective.

So, I’m going to try these nine steps for myself to see if I can bust through some long held grudges, including the ones against myself. As I am just beginning to work through this, it’s too early for me to testify to any health benefits. I don’t know how well, or even if, this will work for me. But, if it helps me cope with my depression, I’ve got to try it.

If this has got you curious about Dr. Luskin and his studies, you can go to https://www.learningtoforgive.com/ and check it out for yourself.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, assuming there will be some. I’m hopeful.

Letter From a Caring Friend

 

In therapy, I’m learning about self-compassion, the concept of treating yourself in times of pain and suffering as a compassionate, caring friend would. One of the self-compassion exercises is to write a letter to yourself from a caring friend, imagining what that person would say to you when you’re down, instead of what you usually say to yourself.

This is the letter I wrote. I want to share it, in case any of you want to write your own letter. And, if you want to learn more about this treatment, visit http://www.self-compassion.org.

 

Dear You,

First of all, I want you to know, I love you. No matter what. I need you to know that.

I’ve seen you suffering for a long time, now. It breaks my heart, and I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. If I could take all your pain away right now, I would do it.

You give yourself a lot of grief when you make a mistake. Any mistake. I know you think it diminishes you as a person in the eyes of others. You feel stupid. You feel like you can’t help but screw up, and you will always screw up, so you’re hopeless.

And you hurt. You hurt so much, you can feel it in your body. Sometimes, it even makes you wonder if maybe, everyone would just be better off without you around.

I’m really sorry that this is your life. I just want you to feel my embrace right now. I have my arms around you, and I’m sending all the love and compassion in me right into you.

Feel it. It’s warm. It’s comforting. It’s enveloping. You’re wrapped in it. Stay in it. As long as you need.

Listen to me: You’re a person of value. There are people in your life who love you. Think about them. Look at their faces. Listen to each of them telling you they love you.

Does that make you feel good? Stay in that moment. They don’t care about the mistakes you make. They care about you. They love you so much. Immerse yourself in that love. You love them, right? Well, it goes both ways. Trust me.

Their love is a soft, warm blanket. Cover yourself with it. Burrow down into it. Feel its warmth. Spend some time there.

This blanket is available for you anytime you need it.

And, next time you make a mistake, just remember: we all make them. We all make ’em! And usually, they’re the same ones, over and over. That’s called, being human. So, ease up on yourself; treat yourself nice. No name-calling. No beating yourself up. You’re still the same caring, loving, funny, good person you were before you made the mistake.

Always remember: you’re fine just as you are. I accept you, and I love you, just as you are. Feel my embrace, one more time, and take it with you everywhere.

And Walk in Love.

Your good friend,

Me