Thursday, April 23, 2009

Refusing to Forgive: 9 Steps to Break Free

Refusing to Forgive: 9 Steps to Break Free
By Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
April 15, 2009

I see it every day. We all hold grudges against other people who we feel have hurt or offended us in some way or another. We even hold these grudges for people who aren’t even alive anymore. We do this with the false idea that somehow we are making them suffer by being hurt and angry with them. Now, there is nothing wrong with being angry with someone, but it is how we express this anger that makes all the difference on us and our relationships . What is a grudge anyway? May it is harboring ill feelings toward another in the need to settle a score.

Let’s try a little experiment. Think of someone in your life right now (maybe not the most extreme person) who you are absolutely holding a grudge against right now. There is no way you are willing to forgive this person right now for their actions. Picture that person and hold onto that unwillingness to forgive. Now, just observe what emotions are there; Anger, resentment, sadness? Also notice how you are holding your body right now, is it tense anywhere or feeling heavy? Now bring awareness to your thoughts; are they hateful and spiteful thoughts?

Most people who I do this with find this to be an uncomfortable experiment that elicits feelings of tension, anger, and thoughts of ill will toward the other person. This is not conjuring these feelings out of nowhere; this is just bringing to light what is already within stirring around. There is a common misperception that forgiveness means condoning the act of the other person. Forgiveness simply means releasing this cycle of torture that continues to reside inside.

Forgiving does not mean forgetting or condoning! Forgiveness is for the person who was perpetrated, not the perpetrator. It is saying, “I have already been offended against, I am going to let go of this so I don’t continue to be burdened by it.” You have already been tortured once, why continue letting this torture you by holding onto it with the erroneous belief that holding onto it is somehow hurting the other person. The practice of forgiveness has been shown to reduce stress, anger, and depression and support many aspects of well-being and happiness.

Like many things, this is easier said than done depending on the person and level of offense. In his book, Forgive for Good, Fred Luskin, Ph.D. lays out 9 steps to forgiving for you!

Know exactly how you feel about what happened and be able to articulate what about the situation is not OK. Then, tell a trusted couple of people about your experience.

Make a commitment to yourself to do what you have to do to feel better.
Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else.

Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person that hurt you, or condoning of their action. What you are after is to find peace. Forgiveness can be defined as the “peace and understanding that come from blaming that which has hurt you less, taking the life experience less personally, and changing your grievance story.”

Get the right perspective on what is happening. Recognize that your primary distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you two minutes - or ten years -ago. Forgiveness helps to heal those hurt feelings.

At the moment you feel upset practice a simple stress management technique to soothe your body’s flight or fight response.

Give up expecting things from other people, or your life, that they do not choose to give you. Recognize the “unenforceable rules” you have for your health or how you or other people must behave. Remind yourself that you can hope for health, love, peace and prosperity and work hard to get them.

Put your energy into looking for another way to get your positive goals met than through the experience that has hurt you. Instead of mentally replaying your hurt seek out new ways to get what you want.

Remember that a life well lived is your best revenge. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for the love, beauty and kindness around you. Forgiveness is about personal power.

Amend your grievance story to remind you of the heroic choice to forgive.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and conducts a private practice in West Los Angeles. Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on stress prevention, depression, and addiction -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist. If you're wanting an interactive program to find relief from anxiety and stress, check out Dr. Goldstein's progressive online behavioral change program in Aliveworld. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What Billionaires Have In Common

What do billionaires have in common besides a lot of money? Forbes magazine decided to find out, and did an in depth analysis of the 657 self made billionaires on their list from a few months ago. Amongst the things they analyzed are the billionaire’s parents, education, job, and social standings.

Some of the surprising common traits they found are:

September Birthdays

Of the 380 self-made American tycoons who have appeared on the Forbes list of the World’s Billionaires in the past three years, 42 were born in September–more than in any other month. Maybe that’s because September is the month the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans is published.

Tech Titans Who Dropped Out of College

Forget everything your guidance counselor told you: You don’t have to go to college to be successful. More than 20% of the self-made American moguls on the most recent list of the World’s Billionaires never finished college. Many of them made their fortunes in tech. Among them: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, (Oracle) and Theodore Waitt (Gateway).

Skull and Bones

Several current and former billionaires rounded out their Yale careers as members of Skull and Bones, the secret society portrayed with enigmatic relish by Hollywood in movies like The Skulls and W. Among those who were inducted: investor Edward Lampert, Blackstone co-founder Steven Schwarzman and FedEx founder Frederick Smith.

Monday, April 6, 2009

49 Things Every 18-Year-Old Should Know

1) "If you are buying something that you will use often and for a long time, never go cheap. You'll end up replacing it sooner or paying more in maintenance costs than if you had spent more on good quality in the beginning. Plus, you'll enjoy the nicer product throughout its lifetime, rather than cringing every time you use something that is falling apart." -- bretts

2) Don't spend money on a credit card that you can't afford to pay back. The interest and late payments can put you in a hole that can take you years to pay back.

3) Compound interest is your friend. Saving even a relatively small percentage of your income each year, starting at 18, can leave you in much better shape by the time you're ready to retire.

4) If you're working with someone who can be bargained down on a price, it seldom hurts to try. The exceptions may be someone of exceptional talent, someone you're going to have to work with on a regular basis, or someone whose help you're going to need in a timely manner.

5) Try to keep enough cash to pay your bills for at least six months in reserve. It will make your life immeasurably easier if your car breaks down, you have a surprise medical expense, or you get an opportunity to get a fantastic bargain.

6) Dogs are fantastic animals. They deserve to be called man's best friend. But, if you are under the impression that you just need to buy a collar and a bag of dry dog food every month and you're set, you're in for a rude awakening. Dogs tend to be much more expensive and time consuming than you'd think.

7) "Don't have any children or get married until you can support and love yourself first." -- D-Vega

8) "Don't trade your vehicle in on a new one just a couple of years after buying it. Pay it off and ride it until (the wheels fall off), all while putting that car payment in the bank." -- The_Muck_Man

9) College is a lot more work than high school and your job will be a lot more work than college was.

10) Start looking for a new job BEFORE you quit your old job.

11) Don't take any job that only pays commission unless you're either an expert salesman or ready to spend months working without pay to gain the skills you need to become an expert salesman.

12) Ideally, you should choose something you love to do so much that you'd do it for free and find a way to make it into a career.

13) When asking for a salary, always have a figure you want in mind -- and then ask for significantly more than that number. That way, you may get more than what you want and even if you don't, you have a better chance of getting the amount you had in mind than if you had blurted it out right off the bat.

14) There's no shame in taking any honest job.

15) Getting fired or laid off isn't the end of the world. To the contrary, a lot of people, myself included, have moved on to bigger and better things after being laid off or fired.

16) If you're not happy with the job market, the government, or the schools in your area, remember that you can always move to another city or another state. Lots of Americans do just that every year.

17) "I wish that I had known to check the oil in my vehicles and to have changed it regularly. It would have saved a lot of money that I spent on repairs -- directly due to my lack of changing the oil per the mechanic." -- Ann H.

18) Lefty loosey, righty tighty. Turn it to the left to loosen it and to the right to tighten it.

19) Don't ever open a hot radiator cap or you can get seriously burned.

20) Here are 3 keys to keeping a reasonably clean house: don't leave any dishes in the sink overnight; every time you have a full load of clothes, wash 'em, and take out the trash every time the can is full. You do those things, wipe up your messes, and vacuum when the floor gets filthy, and you'll keep things reasonably neat.

21) If you use a computer even semi-regularly, it's worth your time to take a typing class.

22) It's not enough to buy a gun and stick it in a drawer like a lucky talisman. You need to learn to use the gun.

23) When you move, sell, throw away, and give away as much as possible or you'll just end up moving boxes from one closet, where they have been sitting for five years, to another closet, where they'll be sitting for the next five years.

24) Don't ever loan your friends money if you want to keep them as friends. After all, if they were good with money and were likely to pay you back in a timely manner, they probably wouldn't need the loan in the first place. If they really need the money, you want to help them, and you can afford it -- just give it to them.

25) Women should never allow a boyfriend to take naked pictures. If it's on film, you shouldn't be surprised if it goes public in one form or fashion after a break-up.

26) When men have a problem and they tell you about it, they want to know how to fix it. When women have a problem and they tell you about it, they just want you to listen.

27) If you ever get arrested, don't say anything until you talk to a lawyer.

28) If you don't know the agenda of the people you're getting your news from, then you don't have the information you need to know if what they're telling you is true.

29) Government is a necessary evil. It's best to keep its tentacles out of your life and out of our society as much as possible.

30) "When you're 18, you worry about what everybody is thinking of you; when you're 40, you don't give a darn what anybody thinks of you; when you're 60, you realize nobody's been thinking about you at all." -- Daniel Amen

31) Trust your instincts. They're usually right.

32) If you think a doctor's wrong, don't hesitate to ask for a second opinion. Your health is vitally important and doctors make mistakes just as often as anyone else.

33) Don't ever say anything that may offend someone who is going to be serving you food. You never know what they may stick in it when you're not looking.

34) If you get into a business deal with someone who goes to unusual lengths to convince you of how honest or Christian they are, watch your wallet and make sure you have an iron clad contract. They "doth protest too much."

35) "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." - Jim Rohn

36) If you want to do something exceptional, don't expect anyone to believe you can do it until you've done it. Unless you're already perceived as exceptional, most people won't believe in you. That's doubly true for the people who know you best and have therefore seen you at your most mediocre, like your parents, family, and friends.

37) If you don't feel like you're being treated fairly by a company, don't hesitate to ask for a manager. Oftentimes, a manager has gotten to where he is in a company because he is good at pleasing customers like you in the first place.

38) "You are not invulnerable and you are not going to live forever. You can (make) mistakes at 18 that you will have to live with for the rest of your life." -- Don_cos

39) Nobody owes you a living.

40) You are not a victim.

41) If you just assume that every conspiracy theory is wrong without even examining it, you will be right 99.99% of the time.

42) "It's likely that whatever challenges you have faced in your life currently could have been avoided but some better decisions upstream." -- Anonymous

43) At a minimum, keep a basic "to do" list, a schedule, and a budget.

44) "Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better." -- Pat Riley

45) "If you want your life to have impact, focus it! Stop dabbling. Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even good activities and do only that which matters most. Never confuse activity with productivity. You can be busy without a purpose, but what's the point?" -- Rick Warren

46) Ironically, successful people tend to fail a lot more than unsuccessful people. They also tend to ask a lot more questions.

47) You beat 50% of the people by just showing up. You beat another 40% by working hard. The last 10% is a dogfight in the free enterprise system.

48) There are at least six key areas of your life: health, career, romantic, social, money, and religion. If you neglect any one of those areas, it will harm you in the other areas and keep you from being as happy as you can be otherwise.

49) When trying to decide between two closely matched alternatives, always have a bias towards action. In the long run, it'll lead to your having a lot more experience, great stories, and a richer, fuller life.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Marcus Luttrell: "I'm Not a Hero"

After Marcus Luttrell lost his teammates in Afghanistan, he made a promise.

Kris Carr: Be the Author, Not the Victim

Despite her cancer, Kris Carr stays healthy by controlling what she eats, drinks, and thinks.