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5 Tips to Improve Your Self-Talk

Posted: January 6th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The following is a lighthearted but great approach to those nagging tapes in our heads that gradually wear us down. The tips demonstrate how we do not have to be at the mercy of these messages, just like we would want to stand up to an obnoxious, arrogant person putting us down. However, do not just read these words- try them out. If you dedicate some time to a tip and create a new habit, it may make enormous changes in your energy, confidence, and outlook.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/


Platitudes

Posted: November 14th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

A client recently shared an article that highlighted another hardship people have to deal with in times of difficult- stupid platitudes. (see below)  I’m sure we have all been there, where someone tries to give “comfort” with some statement that is supposed to put a silver lining around pain. While I the person believes that they are being helpful, it is actually the furthest thing from the truth. The other person usually ends up feeling dismissed and is doing all they can to not throw something.

And for good reason. These “pearls of wisdom” usually come from an objective, removed position where there is no connection to the pain or vulnerability.  Instead, it is shared like a sage who sees with complete objectivity and clarity the way the universe works.   The pain is treated as temporary distress that will wane once the person sees the bigger picture. These are examples I have heard first hand:

  • The mother, whose baby who died days after birth- “You’re young- you can always have another child.”
  • The accident victim- “You should be grateful you’re alive.”
  • The woman who had a miscarriage- “This is nature’s way of clearing out babies with severe defects.

Another problem is that the statement is superficial, simplistic, and sometimes just absurd. This is particularly true when God is used in the statement. For example, I was sitting with someone recovering from an accident that occurred just moments before and a man told her, “The angels were watching out for you today.” As we saw medics rush to put two other people onto stretchers and load them into the ambulance, the survivor said, “Why weren’t the angels protecting them?”  The man had no answer.

For those wondering what is helpful, let’s start with a key principle- that some pain cannot be fixed. It can only be endured. A body altered by disease, an accident, a death, a betrayal- no matter the pain, we are forever changed by these experiences. When we stop trying to pretend that there is a way out, there can be a huge sense of relief that there is nothing we can (or should) do. Instead, it is time for a different but very precious set of skills- just being.

There is a short list to embrace. First, sit in the shit with them. Let their feelings have room to be expressed, whether through tears, anger, or a shrinking collapse. Hand out tissues, get fluffy socks, see the truth in their perspective, and validate. I can’t say more about the value of being heard. A person does not have to measure their words- s/he gets to pour them out, knowing that you are strong enough to handle what s/he is willing to share what’s overflowing on the inside.

Next, do all you can to understand what people experience in a specific situation. So many people begin to project their experience with pain onto others, then become concerned when the process does not follow their imposed blueprint.  However, others in similar situations can and do give insight into what is a normal course, especially the contextual elements that make all the difference in the world. For example, imagine how these situations might differ:

  • Death: natural versus suicide
  • Job ending: retiring or fired
  • Divorce: where two people grow apart or where one partner fears for his/her safety

Finally, realize that healing takes time and most people will get tired of the heavy demands of ongoing recovery. As others drop off, ill-equipped for the marathon, if you are able, gather your patience and if possible, stay the course.   Pain is already isolating- choosing to hang in there is an unmeasurable gift to your heartbroken loved one that will have long reaching impacts you can’t even imagine. One client said to me, “If it weren’t for her, I know I would not have made it.”

There are very few times in our lives when we will be called to be our best selves- this is one of them. We will be tested, tempted to take the easy road of verbal pats on the head that feel nothing more than patronizing. But if we can choose to be more- more understanding, more patient, and as self-less as possible, we become a light that leads those we love through the darkness.

________

Article: http://www.upworthy.com/magic-words-to-say-when-everythings-going-wrong-not-everything-happens-for-a-reason

***If you are needing a little lightness at the end of this, consider watching a quick clip from the people at the Onion, who have their own way of addressing this issue: http://www.theonion.com/video/report-leading-cause-of-death-in-us-is-god-needing-35522

 

 

 


Finding Forgiveness

Posted: September 15th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

It is so tempting to believe that there is some magic switch that will turn off pain and allow us to move forward.  Not only is this far from any reality I’ve seen in my 19 years working with trauma, it also denies the potential growth and wisdom we can gain by going through the process of letting go.  We cannot go back to who we were before the incident happened.  To quote Anne Lammott, “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.”  But it also does not mean that we have to feel wounded for the rest of our lives.  We are more than what happens to us and we retain the power to find peace of mind.

I have borrowed from all kinds of sources- personal experience, religious leaders, colleagues, and the generous vulnerability and openness of clients who dared to take this path, to come up with the following steps:

Step 1:  Remember.  Many people do not want to dwell on what happened because it is painful and uncomfortable.  However, unless there is willingness to spend some time making sense of the experience, we remain blind to the harmful impacts that can continue long after the memory.  We must dive in, taking an honest look at all the facets and context we could not have processed while in the eye of the storm.  There are contributing factors, lies we swallowed, reasons behind our reactions, ways dignity was broken down, and meanings we adopted about ourselves and the world.  Robert Schreiter states, “Suffering only becomes redemptive or ennobling when we struggle against these corroding powers and rebuild ourselves in spite of the pain we are experiencing.” p. 33-34.

Step 2:  Identify the harm.  Determine the ways the experience was detrimental either permanently or for the time being.  Grief will be an intimate part of this process, because it acknowledges that some things can never be regained.  A victim cannot will themselves to be without scars nor can innocence be restored.  There might also be specific periods of times where opportunities passed us by.  Or perhaps there have been important segments of life that were deleted (example: lost childhood, independence, or life skills)

Step 3: Find the silver linings.  In many cases, we come out of struggle with greater understanding.  There will be new information about yourself and those who are closest to you.  Perhaps you saw some values that you had not noticed before or there may be strengths that had been dormant until then.   How were you able to grow in spite/because of what happened?  By exploring these factors, the situation is not just a tragedy- you found a way to empower yourself through it.

Step 4:  Identify the lessons.  Consider what information needs to be implemented for you to feel as safe and happy as possible.  For example, what has this taught you about skills you need, information gaps, etc.  Perhaps there are missing boundaries, or new appreciation for your intuition.   Maybe there is difficulty seeing warning signs or being able to determine trustworthiness.  The goal here is to determine how we can wisely interact with others in a way that provides protection from those who may harm but also does not keep us from taking risks and connecting.

Step 5:  Implement.  Insights serve little purpose if they do not turn into action.  Take classes, talk to people you respect, do research, and gain confidence to take risks.  During this time, it is important to remember that there will be a learning curve; you cannot be an expert without lots of opportunity to fall down.  Be kind and remind yourself that every time you try, no matter the result, is a success.

I find it very helpful to touch base with your value system for the next steps.  There is such a strong pull to be righteously angry that there have to be compelling reasons for doing something different.  For me, I try to keep in mind that I want to live a life that allows me to enjoy the moment without a lot of baggage weighing me down.  If I’ve done the work above, I’ve taken everything valuable I can from the experience.  Further review only keeps me upset and stuck, not centered and healthy.

Step 6:  Let go. Make a commitment to releasing the past. Intentionally engage in visuals and activities that suggest closure.  For example- write a brief summary of what happened.  Then create a ritual similar to a burial, where you burn the paper and say a prayer/poem about the life you are ready to embrace.  You may also consider putting all the pain and hurt symbolically onto a leaf.  Breathe the distress onto the leaf, then release it into a stream.  Watch as the leaf floats away, allowing you to breathe in the smell of nature, life, and peace that is left behind.  The Dali Llama encourages visualizing the distress of the incident then a positive state.  Note how each one feels and ask which you would rather have in your life.  There is then a promise made to yourself: “Whatever befalls me, I shall not allow it to disturb my mental joy.”

Step 7:  Focus on the present. The past is over. Bring yourself back into the present, hopefully with delightful enticements. Enjoy little things, play, work, make love, get dirty, feel, and make new memories.  If old thoughts and images return, acknowledge it happened and gently resume focus on the here and now.  If that is ineffective, deliberately distract yourself.  Over time, the pull of the incident will lesson because mental, emotional and energetic resources are no longer feeding it.

Step 8:  Feel compassion. Finally, cease to see the person who harmed you in a depersonalized way. He or she is a flawed human being, like the rest of us.  Since you are not responsible for making them change, you can release them from your grasp (and therefore any hold s/he had over you).   This does not mean condoning what they did- it is ceasing to be saddled with resentment.  Wish them the same happiness you hold for any living being and let a sense of compassion grow in your heart.

As you go through the various stages, please remember that each journey is unique.  Some steps will take little time while others may be tool you use from this point forward. As long as you continue to maintain dedicated effort, things will change.  In the end, you will have given yourself a great gift- peace.

 

References:


Fascinating Read

Posted: August 27th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

I just finished a book that highlighted a common form of the behaviors listed in the last post- specifically, dehumanization, a lack of accountability, fanaticism, and a lack of accountability.  It occurs when we use social media to create public shaming.  As I read the various stories of both positive impacts and devastations, there were so many examples of justified viciousness while those imposing their “justice” held fast to the belief that they were doing good while ruining people’s lives.

If you choose to read Jon Ronson’s book, “So You’ve Been Publically Shamed”,  consider this an exercise in exploring your own sense of morality.   I found that the lines are much more complicated and blurred than I realized.

  • When should this form of pressure be used?
  • Noting the limits it had in times long past and the reasons it was banned, does that change your views?
  • What is appropriate shaming and when does it cross the line?
  • How has the internet changed the experience and impact of social shaming?  With a medium with very little limits, what norms might we need to maintain civility?

I think you will find, as I did, this is far from easy and it calls into question some of the very ideas you hold about yourself and your notion of what is “good.”

http://www.amazon.com/Youve-Publicly-Shamed-Ronson-Paperback/dp/B011SJ9QGK/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1440696073&sr=1-3&keywords=so+you%27ve+been+publicly+shamed+jon+ronson


Hurt That Justifies Harm

Posted: August 6th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

As I have explored the various elements that make forgiveness so difficult to attain, it became apparent that those who hold onto their anger and resentment can easily slip into cruel retaliation.  We want justice, not necessarily through due process but through our own version of what that should look like.  Holy wars and generational family feuds are dramatic examples.  But how might this play out in our everyday lives?  We want to believe that good and evil are opposites, but it appears that in many cases the separating lines blur.

It all resides with our justifications.  Most of us want to believe that we are good people so we go through a series of mental gymnastics to make an action that is normally reprehensible seem righteous.  According to Joseph Campbell (1998), once the mental effort is complete, it only gets easier to be cruel again because all of the angst working against the action will have already been cleared away.   At this point, behaviors not only become more frequent, they also become more damaging.  And being caught does not mean we will see the light.  More commonly, a breathtaking array of defensiveness and bullheadedness emerges that refuses to accept responsibility, no matter the reason or evidence.

So what are these mental gymnastics that drive inappropriate reactions to wrongdoing?  I have chosen the five I see on a daily basis:

Dehumanization

A very easy tendency to elevate ourselves by putting others down.  It is as if there is only so much respect, beauty, or love to go around so we compete to ensure we end up on top.  Of course, the more we exaggerate differences, the easier it is to see the other as subhuman.  Once this occurs, the empathy switch is turned off and people can engage in cruelty without even twinges of guilt.   Fascinatingly, our cruelty does not affect our favorable views of ourselves.  In fact, Koehn states, we even go as far as to believe those we hurt should hold us in high esteem!

By degrading our fellow human beings, we hope to make ourselves more loveable.  We convince ourselves that the very people whom we despise should love us more.  Since we are smarter or lovelier than they are, we are more deserving of esteem and affection.  Our self-elevation makes us appear even more worthy of everyone’s esteem, including the respect of people whom we feel entitled to victimize because they are not worthy to live.  (2005, p. 71).

How can the situation be addressed if there is this level of delusion?  A common example is when you angrily mandate respect and obedience from your child, while yelling and pointing in your child’s face.  Or the pot calling the kettle black when you say, “those Christians are so judgmental.”

Power Hungry

Power and control are complimentary motives that come from a basic belief that we should get what we want.  We don’t care that others may disagree, or have different needs.  Since our satisfaction is all that matters, if they speak up, they are ignored or belittled.  Meanwhile, we try to gain cooperation through persuasion.  If this does not work, there is always the backup plan- overt or covert aggression.   Of course, before we employ this strategy, we cannot see the other as an equal we love or respect so we promptly shut down empathy and use the rational of “survival of the fittest”.  Every day examples:  giving the silent treatment until the other person apologizes, or bad-mouthing your ex to the kids to ensure that their lack of respect punishes him/her for what he/she did to ruin the marriage.

Entitlement

This is the belief that the world owes us something.  Whether it is due to wealth, ethnicity, level of popularity, or some other trait, the idea is because we exist in such a certain way, we deserve whatever we want.  Earning something is not a requirement; it is assumed it will occur.   Of course, we do not even consider the fact few others will agree to cater to our every whim.  Instead, when our expectations are not met, we feel denied.  Koehn states, “Frustrated by the world’s indifference, we revenge ourselves upon the world.”  (2005, p. 66)  Common examples: making a scene at the dinner table because the meat was not cooked to your liking, or spanking your child because you hurt your foot on one of the toys he did not put away.  It never occurs to you that being messy is normal at this age.  **When I wrote this, I realized I wrote everything in the third person.  Talk about not wanting to identify with this quality!

Lack of Accountability

Our selfishness is largely held in check by embarrassment and the consequences we might face if caught.  But what happens when no one is watching?  Do we hold fast to our scruples or does anything go?  According to numerous studies, it is the latter.  Years ago, social psychologist Alfred Bandura found that as personal responsibility lessened, there was a marked increase in the tendency to dehumanize others and engage in aggression.   Others have also found that we are more likely to act impulsively than use critical thinking.  In all of us, once we do not have to care about the impacts, we can act with indifference and amorality.  (Konnikova, 2013)  Common forms: stealing office supplies without guilt because the company does not pay you enough anyway, road rage, and making slurs to someone who has an opposing opinion on the internet.

Fanaticism

This is the extreme form of certainty, when we insist that we know what is right, good, and just.  Because it is often fueled by a belief that our “truth” is in line with the will of the divine, there is a sense of duty to impose it on others.  Opposition is dismissed as ridiculous because we believe our views are universal and morally superior.  For example, you believe your child is well-behaved so you have the right to tell another parent what s/he is doing wrong.  Or telling someone they are going to hell because they are acting in a way that goes against your beliefs.  “Ex: God hates fags.”

I warn you- it will be tempting to point the finger and see these tendencies in other people.  However, real change only occurs when we are willing to look within.  Although uncomfortable, it is of vital importance that we realize it is not a matter of “if” but “when” we will become afflicted.   Also, consider if your thoughts, feelings, and behavior help or just continue the cycle of harm.  Gandhi said it best, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

____________

Resources

Koehn, D. (2005).  The Dark Nature of Evil.  New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Schreiter, R. J. (2003).  Reconciliation: Mission and Ministry in a Changing Social Order.  Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

Aronson, E.  (1992).  Social animal (6th Ed.) W.H. Freeman and Company.  New York, NY

Johnson, Norman A, Randolph B Cooper, and Wynne W Chin. 2009. “Anger and Flaming in Computermediated Negotiation Among Strangers.” Decis. Support Syst. 46 (3) (February): 660–672. doi:10.1016/j.dss.2008.10.008

Konner & Perlmutter. (Producers), & Pappas, R. K. (Director). (1988). The Power of Myth [Motion Picture]. United States: Wellspring.

Konnikova, M.  (OCTOBER 23, 2013).  The Psychology of Online Comments.  In The New Yorker [On-line], Available: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-psychology-of-online-comments.


Messy Empathy

Posted: July 15th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

In a delightful article, Stern and Divecha discuss the common struggle of caring to the point of getting lost in the pain of another.   Perhaps you know someone who believes s/he is responsible to fix other people’s problems or worries.  Or perhaps s/he becomes weighed down because of a conviction that it is unfathomable to be happy when a loved one is in pain.  This article will help people know that they are not alone, clarifies the differences between sympathy, empathy, and compassion, and provide some helpful tips to try.  I have one caveat:  they mention that compassion is a slightly more removed experience where one is able to offer assistance.  Compassion does not have to include an intervening action.  Many wise minds highlight that struggles are great teachers.  We learn about our patterns, develop new understandings of life, and grow in our skills.  Sometimes, the greatest thing we can do is be with someone as they work through something difficult.  With that said, please enjoy:  http://www.mindful.org/how-to-avoid-the-empathy-trap/

 


Homosexuality and Christianity

Posted: June 28th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

As the nation responds to the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage, there are individuals who are struggling with this monumental social change.  The following information is being provided in an effort to inform and ease the strain.

Common Arguments Opposing Homosexuality

  1. It is a lifestyle choice

Since the 1950s, scientific studies have determined that homosexuality is not abnormal behavior but an aspect of human sexuality. Like any form of sexual orientation, it is deeply ingrained and impervious to change. The environment will impact how it is expressed but does not cause a certain orientation. Rather than chosen, it is something to which people awaken. Homosexuality has been found in all times and locations where humans have coexisted. It is also found amongst other species including African lions, rams, giraffes, albatross, dragon flies, and bottle-nosed dolphins!

  1. It is a disease that must be cured.

Disease suggests that something is wrong. According to the APA, “research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology. Orientations represent normal forms of human experience and forms of bonding.”

There are people who have tried to “turn” gays and lesbians, using an approach called reparative therapy. Unsupported by evidence, the proponents boasted the ability to permanently change sexual orientation. Techniques were primarily forms of brainwashing, largely shame-based, to create the desired effect. The majority of cases saw no change in their sexual desires, only changes in conduct. However, the psychological damage caused by the “treatment” was significant.   For example, the former head of Exodus International (a leader in reparative therapy) described a man who slashed his genitals and poured Drano on the wound. After two years in the program, his homosexual urges had not been changed and he was in despair. Time Magazine reported that nine former leaders of reparative organizations have formally apologized for the harm they inflicted on the vulnerable LGBT community. All legitimate forms of counseling have codes of ethics against this approach. The American Association of Pastoral Counselors even charged anyone who engaged in the practice guilty of “pastoral violence.”

  1. Love the sinner; hate the sin

As we consider this stance, remember that science has established that sexual orientation is natural. It is also a major component of identity that will have impact on behavior, socialization, and forms of connection. Therefore, it is not possible to separate a human being from their sexual orientation. Can you truly call it love when someone is asserting that a major part of their identity is something to be ashamed of?   Bishop Spong wrote, “A just and moral society cannot be erected on a premise that some human beings are subhuman or perverted, not on the basis of their doing but on the basis of their being. It matters not what any source of ancient wisdom has previously declared. The Bible, for example, was once quoted to support slavery, to oppose science and to prevent women from achieving equality. On every one of those issues the Bible was quite simply wrong. To quote it now to uphold the evil of homophobia is no less wrong.”

This argument is homophobia- promoting the idea that there is something here to condemn. Fear and misunderstanding fester, so a person or group can engage in atrocities they feel completely justified to commit. Meanwhile, the lesbian and gay community have to endure with great cost. Consider the following:

  • Individuals and couples must spend their energies hiding. This causes incredible stress on the individual and the relationship.
  • Many teens are kicked out of their homes. Family alienation is common.
  • The constant messages of shame lead to low self-esteem, depression, and suicide.
  • There is discrimination found in housing, employment, health care, and entitlements.
  • They are often denied the right to participate in a religious community or practice.
  • They have to tolerate shaming labels as part of normal vernacular.
  • They are a common target of bullying and harassment. One third of gay pupils do not feel safe at school.
  • There is constant and real danger of being targeted for a hate crime. There is an annual “day of remembrance” to honor those who have been killed within the last year.

Marcus Borg brilliantly noted, “Jesus ignored social boundaries and violated purity protocol, demonstrating again and again that the letter of human-made law is less important than the spirit of God’s law, which is love and compassion.” (Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time)


A Historic Decision

Posted: June 28th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

It is a time for celebration! Five Supreme Court justices have legalized same-sex marriage in all fifty states. These couples can now enjoy:

  • The ability to be with their partner in times of medical emergencies
  • The opportunity to share the same health insurance policy
  • Full benefits from Veteran Affairs and Social Security
  • Medical leave benefits

According to Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2004, these are just four of over 1,138 rights heterosexual couples have enjoyed all along. This is a major victory for civil rights and human dignity!


Another Approach To Addressing Your Inner Critic

Posted: May 26th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The author in the following article offered some really great advice.  It supports my strong belief that we should always try to honor the various parts of ourselves, because even if the approach is not helpful, good intensions are at the core.  Next, it is rightly noted that any time we try to banish thoughts/feelings/parts, new problems arise.  This is a refreshing view of self-esteem work with some excellent book references included at the end.    http://news360.com/article/272863389


Reflections of An Article On Forgiveness

Posted: May 26th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

I recently came across an article about forgiveness and found myself a bit curious about some of the statements. Since it is tempting to believe anything that has the term, “according to scientists”, I thought I would utilize my critical thinking to ensure the accuracy of what is being said. So, if you are up for some good old-fashioned point-counterpoint, here are some reactions to the article found here: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/03/17-things-we-know-about-forgiveness.html. I do not address all 17 points; just a few that seemed provocative or important.

  1. The scientific literature on forgiveness only dates back to 1989, amazingly.  I have not yet been able to find research prior to this date.   If this is true, it is puzzling how science could have overlooked such a potent part of socialization when screwing up is as old as human beings have existed. Could studies have been done under the guise of synonyms like reconciliation, clemency, compassion, mercy, and repentance? Almost every major religion deals with this topic in various ways, noting how it not only creates more peace in the world, but also prevents internal turmoil and separation from the divine. Perhaps it is not found in a scientific journal, but it is certainly found in manuscripts dating back thousands of years.

3.  Humans are less likely to forgive public figures than loved ones.  There is a reason. Forgiveness requires an understanding of the context that led to the behavior, a heart-felt statement of the offense and its impact, and an implemented plan to avoid it in the future. With public figures, two of the three components are absent. In addition, we know there is a public and private face. We have all learned to be wary of apologies when there are potential gains or agendas that challenge sincerity.

 13.  Sometimes forgiveness can backfire. The authors mention they saw more aggression in marriages where one person is more forgiving. This is supported by the writings of Townsend and Cloud, where they state that people continue to make bad choices when they don’t experience the discomfort of consequences. If forgiveness is given too soon, the discomfort is removed and the pattern remains. In addition, if the offender is wise, s/he will stop when s/he see the impacts the behavior had on others. However, if s/he is impulsive, self-absorbed, or apathetic, forgiveness will simply cause the offender to see the forgiver as an easy target.

 15.  The perfect model of forgiveness is a 20-step process. If there is a perfect model, don’t you think religions and philosophies of the world would be shouting this from the highest mountain? I read about the approach mentioned and while it has many solid facets, it is also limited. The reality is that forgiveness will remain out of reach as long as a person remains obsessed with their right to be upset. Instead, they have to be willing to let go, employing patience, compassion, and the obliteration of beliefs that are nothing but myths (ex: struggling can be avoided; I should always be treated with respect; this situation is an assault on my identity; justice is real). After years of looking, I have been delighted to find some guidelines in Buddhist literature that teach people how to do this very important, life changing work. There are visualizations to practice daily, meditations, and profoundly challenging concepts that once applied, have noticeable changes in reactivity and gentleness. Not only do these impact the issue, they promote resiliency for the ups and downs of life.  If you’re interested in learning more, these are two of my favorite sources:

Dalai Lama’s Healing Anger: The Power of Patience From A Buddhist Perspective.

Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart.

 16.  Generally speaking, religious people are more forgiving than nonreligious people. The author cited one study, hardly enough information to make such a pronouncement. We sadly have countless examples of religious people acting with judgement and hatred, whether protesting same sex weddings, making strange correlations like Mike Huckabee stating the president should ignore the courts in favor of his religions assertions, or inciting wars over religious differences. The next article will move away from the focus on religiousness and instead highlight the core characteristics that either make people more willing to injure or least likely to forgive. Meanwhile, an easy but provocative read talks about how people’s view of God directly impacts they way they treat others. The book is, “Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God.” http://www.amazon.com/Good-Goats-Healing-Our-Image/dp/0809134632/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432610002&sr=8-1&keywords=Good+goats

While the article is basically a string of observations or summaries of random studies, I hope it does not cause us to lose sight of the value forgiveness can be. Forgiveness means we stop trying to punish or seek revenge. As an unknown author stated, “Not forgiving someone is like drinking the poison and expecting the other person to die.” Instead, it is noble work that allows us to find life again after being hurt. We can have light hearts while retaining the lessons learned, ensuring accountability for the offender, and determining if it is worth trying again or walking away from the relationship.

____________

1 Coud, H., & Townsend, J. (1995) Boundaries: When to say yes, how to say no to take control of your life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

2http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/mike-huckabee-next-president-must-obey-supreme-being-instead-of-supreme-court-on-gay-marriage



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