Category Archives: Challenge
“Every forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind.” –John Spalding
There are some people who knew all too well the person I was – before I started to focus on becoming a more emotionally healthy person through personal growth. I know that a person can’t do the kind of work I have on myself and remain unchanged. However, for whatever reason, these people cling to the toxic images in their minds of my former self. I know that each day brings more depth to my spirituality, and with that comes change.
A friend of mine once shared with me that he begins each day by saying out loud, “O.K. God, surprise me!” Although each day brings new challenge, the one thing it won’t bring is perfection. I know that each day I can expect a mixed bag of experiences and all kinds of emotions to match.
If I begin to feel discouraged because of someone’s inability or refusal to see how different I have become, or even negative about life in general, I cultivate an attitude of gratitude by looking back at how far I have come. I remind myself, its progress I’m looking for in myself, not perfection. There’s always something to be grateful for, including the ability to be grateful!
- The Priceless Gift of Personal Growth (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- “A Letting Go” for the Holidays (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Damn Heels Hurt! When In Pain, Who Knows Best Where it Hurts? (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- S.T.A.R. A Tool to Choose Healthy Alternatives (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- For All This We Can Be Grateful and Joyful (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
“Asking for help does not mean we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.” — Anne Wilson Schaef
I’ve received a lot of help lately. Most from my dearest friend and some from people I never imagined I would receive so much of their time or efforts. I don’t like to ask. I’ll spend more energy talking about how hard it is for me to ask, than the energy I’d expend simply asking for what I need.
Many of us may have grown up in isolation and with shame being constantly reinforced the way I did. Help began to feel like a luxury reserved for other people. I thought I didn’t deserve it. I thought I should be able to handle everything. I failed to realize just when I needed help, because I’m so accustomed to living life in a “crisis mode.” I tell myself that my concerns and problems aren’t important enough to bother somebody with. Then, when life becomes really complicated, I blame myself for feeling overwhelmed and almost unable to act.
But we all deserve help. We deserve all the help that we may want and need, whether it’s a ride to an appointment or for someone’s shoulder to cry on when we’re sad or upset. We are worth the time, effort and concern of others – not because any of us is different, but because we are the same.
- I Feel As Though I’ve Lost My Way In This World (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- How does it make you feel? (jennasauber.com)
- The Kindness Blotter: A Spate of Compliments and Helping Hands (fort-greene.thelocal.nytimes.com)
One is, as One is.
“One is as one is, and the love that can’t encompass both is a poor sort of love.” — Marya Mannes
I have struggled to find the way to forgive myself and others. Forgiving isn’t easy. Writing this blog isn’t easy. I am carrying so much resentment and hurt around with me. In fact, when I’ve been deeply hurt or victimized by someone else, I may feel I can’t forgive. Yet, for my peace of mind and to let go, I may finally try. It’s been suggested by a close friend that forgiveness is easier under certain conditions: a positive connection with the person we want to forgive, a deep relationship with the Universe, and lots of time.
Forgiveness is often preceded by grieving fully; we must first heal from the harm that was done to us. Through the honesty, power and wisdom gained through personal growth we are gently led through the process of forgiving ourselves and others. Many of us have also experienced the Universe’s unconditional forgiveness which gives us a model. I acknowledge my responsibility for my actions, I let go of resentment, I grieve, and, finally, I forgive.
- Where There Is No Forgiveness (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Saving Yourself (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Learning to Forgive (socyberty.com)
- The Power of Releasing Resentments: A Holiday and New Year’s Gift to Yourself and Others (psychologytoday.com)
“Maybe you can’t see the storm that lies just ahead. But I can. Believe me, it’s there.”
Confronting issues openly and honestly can be difficult. Many, like me are afraid of the reaction they’ll get from the person they are confronting. With that fear firmly embedded in one’s psyche, looking the other way and acting like the problem isn’t there becomes the easy way out. Or so it seems. Looking the other way really doesn’t make matters easier at all. In fact, it makes them worse. Problems often just don’t go away without some action.
I haven’t faced some very big issues and challenges that have been in my life for too long now. But I see clearly that I can’t let these problems linger. In my situation the problems have grown and the result is more and more hurt to me. I feel fear of the reaction I expect to receive. My fears I know after giving it long thought are grounded in reality and not based on my imagination. To get myself beyond this fear, I will have to have the necessary support around me to protect me. With my support in place I will face my problems. I must remember that storms don’t last forever. Eventually the sun does shine again, and life was nourished by the rains. I will come out of this a better person.
Expression is the Outer Life
I’ve realized that there’s a difference between my ability to feel, my ability to express my feelings, and my ability to let go. I know there are many painful emotions I learned to suppress when I was young, particularly anger or sadness. Other emotions might be difficult to feel because they are connected to past pain.
Yet there’s no letting go, no moving on, until I stop trying to avoid feelings such as sorrow, anger, rage or despair. I have found the way to begin working through difficult feelings is to reach out to people with a phone call, email, or blog comment. Other ways I have found to help are writing (blogging or journaling); having a good cry, or plan a healing ritual which can be as simple as taking a couple of days alone, just to think. For some of us, turning to our Higher Power, as we know it provides the spiritual help and nourishment we need.
The release that will come as a result of expressing our feelings will help to ease the pain. It’s not realistic to release all the pain from our past all at once, but we can begin by letting go of a little piece today.
“Mere survival is an affliction. What is of interest is life, and the direction of that life.” — Guy Fregault
I know people who, when you ask them how they are, will say automatically, “I’m surviving.” They say it with a bright, brave smile, as though they’ve battled tremendous odds and come through, bloody but unbowed. They seem to imply that life is a grim, unfair business. But in reality, their lives seem easy and secure.
There are others I know with real problems – illness in the family, financial worries, job insecurity and more. These people might greet you with a smile and bring to the simplest exchange an energy and liveliness that sends you away refreshed. Such people have the gift of life and share it abundantly. Like the ninety-seven-year-old woman with thirty-nine grandchildren who greets each one of them by name and has a story and a joke for every one of them. She lives in their memory as a force of love and vitality. Her immortality is there, in the love her family bears her.
Each day can bring as many joys as sorrows. When we are patient and find the courage to invest the best of ourselves, we can truly live and not just survive.