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Forgiveness

Psychosis Is Like A Bad Trip

PsychosisVonnegutCoverPsychosis is like having a bad trip on drugs but it never ends.  You are no longer in control of your own mind and you may not even know that you are not in your right mind.  You might do some crazy things that hurt others.  It used to might have even sent you to “prison” at an insane asylum.  Lock them up and throw the key away.

The closest I ever got recently was when I was  coming out of back surgery and having an IV for a pain pump.  I know I pushed it too much and time crawled by.  I just wanted it to wear off; but I knew I was “not in my right mind”.  What if I didn’t know and was that way anyway and had no control over my trip.  I apologized to several different people for what I might have said or did at that time.

At a very young age I had visual hallucinations from taking codeine cough srup for my asthma.  I saw orange and green bugs everywhere and they didn’t go away when my mom turned my light on.  When the codeine wore off, the hallucinations went away.  Seeing is believing.

Also this happens when someone like my father has Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia (my dad’s was Parkinson’s)and we have been more aware what that is like with all the coverage the victims and caregivers have been given.  Victims are frequently not themselves and don’t know it.  The frightening thing is that many victims (with our new ability to diagnosis this early) know what is going to happen to them.  Because these people are so hard to care for nursing homes have developed special locked Alzheimer’s units so they can’t get away and get lost not knowing who they are, where they are going, and where they came from.

People with paranoia can get very dangerous ideas.  They often feel that somebody is out to get them.  Voices in their heads tell them to do bad things. They may think that they have a special mission in this world and that they have to fulfill it no matter what they have to do.

When do we take away a person’s personal freedoms?  Why don’t we have places for them to go that recognize that they have special needs and meet them.  Diabetes is more accepted than psychosis.  It can be the person’s own personal hell.  When people are incapacitated because of these changes in their brain where do we put them?  Do we care for them.? There are illnesses of all kinds, some are socially acceptable.  These people get treated and others who do not get socially acceptable diseases are not.  We often allege that people suffering from mental illness want to be that way and that they choose their own path.

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Guilt And How It Sidetracks Forgiveness

Forgiveness Mandala by Wayne Stratz

Forgiveness Mandala by Wayne Stratz (Photo credit: Nutmeg Designs)

Did you ever think about how guilt sidetracks you and keeps you from forgiving yourself?  Many people have difficulty forgiving themselves if they feel guilty about something.  This can be a tremendous burden to bear and it prevents many people from letting go and moving on.  Many people feel that in order to be forgiven that the slate must be wiped clean and the alleged transaction forgotten.  If they can’t forgive themselves and forget, why should anybody else forgive them?

For some people to admit that they might have done something wrong destroys their self-esteem and makes them feel valueless.  They are their own worst critics and to say that they did something wrong can be self-destructive.  Having done a lot of psychotherapy in my life and having been in psychotherapy, the things that are the hardest to admit are the things that we can’t stop feeling guilty about.  Often therapy reaches a stumbling block when one of these issues needs to be brought up.

Sometimes people admit that they secretly are their own worst critics.  Then it follows that if they beat themselves up about something, that other people should tell them that what they did was not so bad after all.  When this isn’t true, therapy often can’t move forwards.  The pain of the self-remorse is so great that they feel that no one would ask them to take the next step forward and say that what they did, thought, or said was egregious.  They think how can anybody love me if I did that if I can’t forgive and love myself?

What is worst is that sometimes in order unconsciously to prove that what they did was not that bad, they continue to do it.  Thereby burying themselves deeper and deeper in the morass of guilt and self-blame.  Take sexual harassment for example, the person involved can’t conceive of themself as a careless cad so they don’t change their behavior.  It was just a joke or something that all girls ask for by their behavior or form of dress.  They don’t realize that the buck stops with themselves no matter who the other person is or what the other person does.  Anyway it is just their perception of the other person that they are responding to and it may actually be schewed.

There is no one here on earth (except Christ, who is here only in spirit, but not in the flesh like the rest of us) who is blameless and self-sacrificing.  Mother Teresa admitted to faults and she was always working on them.  I am sure Pope Francis would say something much the same.

The key to changing this behavior is forgiving yourself and once this is done the repetition compulsion loses it’s steam.   This also makes it easier to forgive others when you realize that in some ways you are no different from them.  In Christianity, God offers forgiveness for people’s sins but often people don’t accept it because that would involve admitting that they really did something wrong.  Forgiveness is free; accepting it is personal choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rules To Become A Better Person

English: Graphic on forgiveness

English: Graphic on forgiveness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What rules do I have for being a better person?  I answered this question in a post of another website.  Some are easily remembered and others I often am only reminded of when I do not follow them.

Rules To Become A Better Person:

Don’t pass judgments on others.  This means too that I will keep a rein on any criticizing.  As the Bible says, “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

To forgive all wrongs that have been done to me and in doing so practice extreme forgiveness.  Not to hold a grudge.  Not to carry resentments against others.  Going even further this means forgiving every person whose behavior I have let effect negatively me in some way even going so far as to forgive radical terrorists.

Ask that what happens be not just for my own good but also for the good of others.

To work on keeping the word, “should”, out of my vocabulary.  That is more for my own good than the good of others.

Keeping a good attitude towards life.  Expecting the best instead of the worst.

To keep the amount of worrying that I do down to a minimum.  If I must think about potential problem, let it be in order to plan ahead.

To constantly wish for the best for others (and for myself and my loved ones).

To remember humans are not God’s only creations and to treat those in the animal, plant, and also the mineral kingdom like I would like to be treated.

To rejoice in the blessings that others receive and to be happy for them.

To put the best construction on everything.  That is to not always assign evil motives to others’ actions.

Not to let fear or anger take over my life and determine what I do and say.  Going even further, to not let fear paralyze me or anger turn into murderous rage.

To routinely meditate and practice having a quiet, peaceful mind.

Along with meditation, to keep an open mind and to never stop learning.  You will never know what you might discover.  Don’t limit yourself to studying under one teacher or mastering one spiritual discipline.

To love others as I love myself.  To bless all who I come in contact with and all who inhabit this place with me.

To love myself first and foremost and if I love myself, I will follow these rules.

To respect myself.  In order to do this, I need to act, think, and be that which I inwardly and spiritually need to be.

To practice self-discipline in everything I do since I am the only one responsible for my life and what I accomplish.

In other words, if I were God, what would I like for me to be?  With God, all things are possible; alone, I am only an imperfect being.

I have not been extremely pithy in doing this; but I will continue to think about this and revise my list as necessary.  I am not being God, I am just being what God wants me to be and it is the best thing for me.  Stay with me on my journey to self-realization and see if I can help you with yours.

Additions:

To love, respect, and honor children and (don’t forget) adolescents as well.

Above all, don’t  deliberately lie whether by omission or commission especially to yourself, your significant other, and your children when older and your parents when younger.

To not categorize people, whether by age, sexuality, cultural background, financial status,  political or religious beliefs or by the judgments of others.  I made it a point in school to not absolutely accept the judgments of teachers by what other people said.  I often found somebody’s difficult professor was a good one for me.  Also when I do put people in categories, I often am drawn into a situation where I have intimate contact with someone I categorized negatively.

Be discriminating when necessary, but not judgmental.

To consider that we all are equally loved and accepted in the eyes of God and we all have equal potential to be able to live up to what God expects of us.

 

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Can You Say Thank You Too

English: Mary Cassatt: Young mother sewing

English: Mary Cassatt: Young mother sewing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can you say thank you, along with “I forgive you,” even if it seems to be too late?  Mothers and daughters often have conflicts and daughters often take things for granted that they shouldn’t have.  I went through a stage as an adult criticizing my mom for how she raised me and complaining about the troubles that it had caused me.  No, I was not brave enough to say it to her face.

Then I went through a stage where I forgave her having learned that nobody is perfect and that she did what she knew how to do at the time.  No one is ready to be a parent when they become one.  Some just think they are ready.  I didn’t complain about my dad’s parenting because he was always at work or asleep.  That was the beginning of the realization that I had to forgive her or wear it forever like an albatross around my neck.

Then I started thinking about the things she did as a mother that helped make my childhood happy.  She was always a ro0m mother.  She celebrated and decorated for every holiday and I had Halloween and birthday parties.  Families were always important and you visited often and helped each other out.  My father believed that too.  Children were a gift from God and they made sure I had a religious education.

Recently I was thinking about things they had done for me that I hadn’t thanked them for at the time.  I was an ungrateful kid.  I did not thank them for the effort they made to take me to girls scouts and 4-H, the county and state fairs, and other school activities like choir, band, school gym shows, and plays.  I also was a cheerleader in 8th grade.  The biggest thing that I overlooked is that they put me through college at a private school and then helped supplement my grants in graduate school.  Of course, I earned scholarships and even worked a little; but I couldn’t have done it without them.  I couldn’t forget that when I was in college that I got $5 cash in a letter each week for extras like Sunday night supper which they didn’t offer in the dorm.  I am sure they did without.

Have you forgotten to thank somebody and now it is too late?  Have you focused on the problems in your relationship and not the things that they did for you anyway?

 

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Just Plain Nasty

telemarketing

You go two steps forward and one step  back.  Have you had one of those days when you just can’t be nice and/or positive.  Perhaps you’d like to cuss a little, kick the wall, or tell a telemarketer off.  Suicide or murder is not far from your mind.  And if you have managed to keep your cool while you are awake, those “bad” feelings come to haunt you in your sleep.

No one is perfect nor should they try to be as that can be very frustrating and give rise to the same feelings leaking out everywhere that you want to deny.  These are the times that try men’s souls.  Even saints have those kind of days (maybe even weeks, months, or years).  You are only human and if you can forgive others, you surely can forgive yourself.

We learn the most from our slip ups and what we learn is that we are all too human and we also learn what those areas are where we have not yet made the mark.  You should give yourself as much grace as you would like to give others.  Also they can assist us in doing a better survey of where we have missed the mark  and where we should expand our knowledge of situations where we should apply our standards.

Remember expressing some feelings is cathartic and the peace we experience afterwards refreshes our souls.  Have you ever cried your heart out and felt calm and relieved afterwards.  Does it feel good sometimes to get the anger out before you go to back to keeping it in.  Sometimes it is if we have no free will when we do not feel free to express ourselves.  For example, this could happen while getting a speeding ticket or when we are in a situation where the customer is always right.  Hang loose; you’ll get there someday.

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Ending the Pain

We face a lot of pain in our lives.  Why do we focus on the things or people that hurt us and create more hurt.  Some people do this to themselves and they seemingly thrive on resentment and to have a conversation with one of them can be depressing.  I am not advocating that you adopt a Pollyanna point of view all the time but you have some control over what you think about and when it is not necessary, don’t adopt a pessimistic point of view and focus on what is wrong with your world.  Don’t let others drag you down.  Have you ever eaten out and had your dinner spoiled by someone at the table next to you who has had their steak either overcooked or undercooked?  Your dinner may have been delicious and you have had no reason to complain about either the food or the service.

I have watched programs where people are looking at houses to buy and no matter how nice the house they are shown, they always find one thing about the house that they don’t like and is the reason they won’t buy it.  Such a negative attitude is aggravating after a while.  What is even worse to me is the news and the negative attitude it generally has.  Where is the good news.  Why don’t we hear about people who have done good things for others.  We are a nation whose life style is generally better than many other places in the world but we seem to have little to be grateful for.

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Forgive Yourself

If you forgive yourself, you can forgive others.  If you have a conscience and most of us do (even criminals), you are aware when you slip up.  Hopefully learning is a life long process and things that you might have done in the past, you wouldn’t do now.

You may have treated others badly in the past.  Perhaps you were just a child and you bullied or picked on another child just because everybody else was doing it and if you sided with the person being teased, you might get treated like them.  You realize now how badly you hurt this child.  You learned something and perhaps your behavior has changed because of this.  You might have realized that it was not the child’s fault  that he or she was bullied.  For example, no one chooses to be mentally retarded or poor.  When your behavior changes, it is time to forgive yourself and realize you were a child at the time.

Being a parent is a tough job for which we receive very little training and often undertake when we are very young and immature.  We often hopefully learn by experience.  We do things that when we look backward, we wish that we had neverEnglish: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, th...

done.  We deliberately had three children within a very short period of time because we did not have much time to do it as we were at the end of our thirties.  They were always fighting among themselves and when they weren’t doing this, they would gang up on the caregiver.  This was extremely frustrating and I would sometimes blow my top and  use my extensive vocabulary of swear words to express my feelings of frustration.  Fortunately they, as a group, would retreat to the farthest reaches of the house and wait for me to cool off.  I don’t cuss anymore and have often felt guilty for this until they told me that they didn’t take me too seriously when it happened and they had a way to escape my “wrath.” I didn’t used to like the picture that this gave of myself as a parent; but I have accepted it now and forgiven myself.

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Me? Forgive You?

Miracle of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a process undertaken by the person who has been “wronged.”  It may stop or stall anywhere along the way.  In most cases, the person being forgiven has little or no say about it.  The person who has the power to forgive is the victim and the person who benefits from the act of forgiving is  also really the victim.  Forgiveness releases energy for the victim which was being consumed by the anger, often even the hate, felt toward the perpetrator.  Grief is also often part of the sequence of events involved in forgiving someone; because something or someone is usually lost.  Grieving takes time and is said to have five stages which are not necessarily gone through sequentially and any stage may be gone through more than once. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  Some people say that they can forgive, but they can’t forget what was lost.  Holding on to and reliving the memory in a sense is giving the perpetrator another chance to hurt you.  True healing is not accomplished in most cases unless forgiveness is given.  This is one of the hardest things to do.; but it signals the end of the healing process.

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