Tag Archives: self love

Lesson #9:

Grace is forgiveness that is not deserved

The ability to hold a grudge is not a characteristic I claim very proudly. It is without a doubt that it is an inherited trait, but one that I work diligently to be able to compensate for. My husband will tell you that my superpower is the ability to go “ice queen” on anyone in my life. What he means is that if I feel that someone has done me wrong or hurt my feelings, I have the ability to just shut down and shut off. I go completely numb and do not move forward until I am done processing and on my own time. That means no amount of apologies will make me change my mind – it has to be my own decision. While he lovingly jokes about my similarities to Queen Elsa, there is a lot of truth in it. In a fight or flight situation, I will chose flight every single time. I think my “ice queen” abilities is just a defense mechanism I had developed as a child that allowed me to turn off my emotions and become numb. 2015 was time for me to “Let it go” though. No pun intended.

I carried a lot of my hurt and anger for years towards people. People that I know were probably not missing my involvement in their life or giving me a second thought. The anger that comes with going numb can consume you to where it affects your every day life. In college I was a much different person than I am now and that is largely because I feel this overwhelming sense of numbness towards a lot of situations I had encountered. New Years Eve 2015 my husband and I sat around a fire in our backyard and talked about any resolutions we wanted to focus on and mine was that I just wanted to let go of all the “ice” I had been carrying around. I felt like I was carrying this heavy load.

Like I said, holding a grudge is a characteristic that I own about myself. So while this resolution sounded like something I could “poof” and make happen, it was very much a journey for me to overcome. At first I thought that in order to forgive, I had to confront the very people that I had suffered from. In the process of this journey I realized that to forgive someone, unlike what they taught you in grade school, wasn’t something that I needed to tell the person. I did not have to say “I forgive you” or wait for an apology. I needed to be able to release that anger within myself and come to peace with the hurt that I had experienced.

That meant I needed to extend a lot of grace. Grace meaning the forgiveness that people might not be deserving of and to extend grace released my ownership of the pain. There is comfort in knowing that you are forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve it. Oftentimes when we talk about forgiveness we think that relieves someone the responsibilities of their actions, but what grace does is acknowledge that they are at fault, and that it is no longer a burden for me to bear. Grace is marriage is something I am looking at talking about more, so hang on for a future post.

I say this because everyone has pain and hurt they carry around with them every day. The release and freedom that comes when you extend grace is directly related to happiness. You know I want you to be happy. I want you to forgive whatever it is in your heart that is holding you back, whatever is causing you to feel like you are carrying a burden, let it go. You don’t need to call up your father and say “I forgive you for…” or call up your ex-boyfriend and tell him “I accept your apology” but what you DO need to is forgive them in your heart and release that energy back into the world.

I want you to write down names of people or situations you have yet to heal from. You don’t have to go in detail, and if the sight of their name makes you cringe then just do initials, but throw that in the fire. Maybe literally or figuratively but let the ice that is your burden thaw and extend grace to people who do not deserve it. We’ve done a fire in our backyard every single New Years Eve since then as a good reminder of how I want to start my year.

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Lesson #8:

Happiness is not yellow, it’s blue

For more information: Reach out to Jackie Dawson at Totem Butterfly at http://www.totembutterfly.com

I feel that most people think about happiness as a feeling that is burst out of your chest, where your cheeks hurt from smiling so much and you feel so carefree. The feeling like you could walk on water and fly. It is effortless and easy. Even though the smiley faces we have become so familiar with are yellow, I have learned that happiness is actually blue. I want to challenge this way of thinking because I think it is creating an unrealistic expectation for happiness. I have been through a lot of pain in my life time, and I am sure I am not alone. Maybe you have gone through some pain yourself and feel like you are never going to get to that bright yellow smiley face again.

Last summer, I lied in the hammock as my husband, daughter and our dog played in the kiddie pool on a hot day. I looked at my family in front of me and felt so grateful. So grateful for the heat of the sun on my face, the laughter of my family in the background, the cool breeze rocking back and forth on the hammock brought and for the house that stood for all of the hours we sacrificed for this moment. I closed my eyes and just tried my best to take a mental picture and never wanting to forget this feeling. I was happy. Not in a burst out of my chest, felt like I could fly sort of way, but in an intense amount of peace that I felt in the moment. I realized that happiness is not yellow, it’s blue. It is the calming peace that consumes you. I think if we have a more realistic view of happiness, the pressure on chasing after the yellow smiley face is a lot more obtainable.

When we connect happiness with a feeling of gratitude it becomes a choice which can be scary for many people. Sometimes we associate happiness with something that happens TO us rather than something WE cultivate within ourselves. That means that if we are unhappy we have to confront an uncomfortable part of ourselves. If you turn on the television or listen to the radio, all too often we are consumed that happiness is a certain tax bracket or social status, when it is those people that are hurting the most. Last year I felt like I was on a bicycle headed down hill and I had lost control of the pedals. Do you remember the overwhelming panic that you feel and just have to hold on? It sounds cliché, but I really felt like I had no control on what was going on in my life and had a very “what else can happen” attitude.

In October I decided to participate in my friend Jackie Dawson’, Totem Butterfly 10 days of gratitude. In this, she had us fill out what would seem to be a daily journal of questions about ourselves, our fears, and finally listing things we were grateful for that day. I did a lot of self growth in that month. At first my gratitude’s would be very broad like “I’m grateful for my husband, my daughter, my dog, my job and my car.” Honestly, at first it felt forced to look around and find anything in my life I was grateful for. After doing this daily for a month, I found myself writing things like “I am grateful for my dining room table that has hosted many holidays, coloring projects, financial planning and arguments that lead to forgiveness.” The gratitude journals were not something we had to share with Jackie, if we didn’t want to but just getting in the habit of seeing the world through a different lens, lead to so much happiness.

When you think of your “happy place” where do you think of? Most people I have asked this say something to the effect of near the water or someplace outdoors. I think if you would have asked me 5 years ago I would have said the same thing. I love being on the water and always have. I have such an appreciation for the power of the waves, and the beauty of a calm day. Leave where your “happy place” is below! If you’re interested in transforming your soul and taking the first step to happiness through gratitude, check out Totem Butterfly. This isn’t a sponsorship, I just really loved how this transformed the way I saw my life.