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Self-Sabotage Behavior and the Power of Forgiveness
There are many things in life that separate us and make us unique, however, over the years, I have seen one consistent common denominator; our need to forgive. Regardless of our upbringing, our cultural similarities or differences, or any other circumstances in our lives, each of us has experienced one or more kinds of hurt, pain, grief, or injustice.
Many people use their deepest memories of hurt, pain, grief, and injustice as a secret hidden weapon to sabotage their own success, their relationships, or both. These are good people who wouldn’t intentionally hurt anyone, but a pain deep inside gripped them so strongly they couldn’t fully control them.
To illustrate the impact of these negative emotions, I will share with you two very different stories.
A few years ago, I met a woman, Tammy (not her real name), who had a very difficult childhood. Her mother left the family when Tammy was 13, and as Tammy was the oldest girl, her father immediately relied on her to carry all the duties and responsibilities of an absent mother. Tammy is a child, so she doesn’t know how and doesn’t want to be the adult mother of the family, but she loves her siblings and knows they need her, so she allows herself to be pushed into the role of mother to her children. family.
Tammy’s father harbored hurt and resentment toward his wife for leaving the family and having to work long hours to earn enough money to support the family, becoming a single parent. Tammy said she knew her father loved her and her siblings, but it hurt her that he was always being so angry and critical with her. He seemed to wish she already knew how to do all the things a grown mother would do, like cook, clean, put the kids to bed, do the laundry, do the grocery shopping, etc., and go to school and improve her grades. When she did something that didn’t meet his expectations, he would scold her, accusing her of letting him down.
As Tammy grew up and entered the adult world, she encountered challenging issues in her personal and professional relationships. She no longer wanted to live with these issues, so she began an effort to expose the intertwined, ineffective methods she had developed to hinder her success. As Tammy began to look back at her childhood, she identified three specific problems with her inner self-motivation system.
First, she realized that even though she was a very nice, very nice person, she only knew how to be a controlling parent. This personality type works well when she’s actually raising her younger siblings, however, in the adult world, other adults don’t want to be controlled, nurtured, and told what to do. The second problem Tammy discovered was that she only knew how to be a critical parent to herself. She only knew how to internally punish, blame, and blame herself when she made any mistakes as an adult, often telling herself that she was “letting it down.” The third problem Tammy found was that she had a very strong sense of anger and sadness about her own childhood.
Tammy worked hard to develop a healthier and more effective inner self-motivation system, and an important part of this process was forgiveness. There are so many people to forgive; her mother left, her father made her play the parent role and was so critical of her, and she herself didn’t know what to do other than believe her father’s negative and critical words about her OK.
The second story is about Jim (not his real name) who had what he described as a “normal and happy childhood”, but Jim also had an internal network of ineffective ways of managing himself that constantly made him feel like a failure By. As Jim digs deeper into his past, he begins to discover the root of his self-sabotaging behavior. Jim was born in the early 1960s, a time when mothers were stay-at-home moms and it was common practice not to work outside the home. Also, at that time, it was typical for a father to work for a company for 20 to 30 years and then retire at 65. And that’s exactly what happened to the Jim family.
As Jim entered adulthood, he fell in love with and married a woman who wanted a family but also wanted to earn a living outside the home. Jim wasn’t equipped to share the daily household responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and childcare, and these differences of opinion eventually led to his marriage ending in divorce.
Jim also admitted to himself that he didn’t like his chosen field of accounting and was dissatisfied with his job. The thought of working in this job for 20 to 30 years made him physically ill, but he felt he had an obligation to continue the work and career into which he had invested so much time and energy. Jim based his entire self-motivation system on an outdated way of life that is unrealistic in the twenty-first century. Jim constantly compares his real life to his mental image of an ideal “1960s” life, but it always falls short.
Jim began working to create a newer and more effective mental image of his ideal life and to create new and more effective ways to measure his success, but there was forgiveness to do as well. For Jim, it was forgiving himself! He secretly resented that he could not live up to his previous imagination of what marriage and family “should” be like. He often scolded and scolded himself, thinking that he was a failure.
The work of forgiveness is recognized around the world as an amazing healing power! There are 19 major religions in the world, broken down into A total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. According to the source, more than 75 percent of the world’s population is a follower of Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism, with the remainder being followers of other religions, including Judaism and Buddhism. While I haven’t read the teachings of all 19 major religions of the world, I am familiar enough with the teachings of the top 5 religions to know that one thing is a major common denominator; each is teaching the power of forgiveness!
When I first started my own journey out of self-sabotaging behavior many years ago, I was willing to try anything that might alleviate my self-induced inner torment. I was taking a self-help class one evening, and the leader of the class said something that reminded me of what Jesus taught in the Christian Bible. I grew up in a traditional Christian family and I recall the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew who asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who had offended him. Jesus responded by telling the servant to forgive seventy times seven times. (Paraphrasing, of course.) Thinking back on this teaching, I thought to myself: Wow, that’s 490 times! I don’t know if I can forgive 490 times!
I started by writing a list of everything I could think of that made me feel angry or hurt, and everyone who made me feel angry or resentful. (I was taken aback by the length of the list.) I then created a forgiveness journal and started my journey, writing “I forgive ___ for ____” for everyone and everyone on the list. The forgiveness journey has proven to be one of the most important healing things I’ve ever done in my life!
Over the years, I have shared the great power of forgiveness with many people, and I have learned several important factors about the forgiveness process that I would like to share with you.
First, no one can tell you how to forgive. If you need to cry out of grief over the death of a loved one or cruel injustice, let the tears flow. If you need to swear and swear because you forgave the jerk who wrecked your car or the shooter who broke your heart – so be it. Do whatever you want!
Second, if you’re doing forgiveness work related to what feels like an “unforgivable” crime or behavior someone has imposed on you, know that forgiveness is not condoning someone else’s bad behavior. I once coached a woman who was sexually abused by her father as a child. She struggles with the idea of forgiving him because she doesn’t want that to mean it’s okay for him to do that to her.
Forgiveness works for you…not them. Forgiveness is about clearing away the negative crap, slime, and trash left behind by criminals as they pollute your space. It was very cathartic and effective for her to swear and yell in her forgiveness journal. She goes all out, but always starts with “I forgive you…”.
Last, but perhaps most important…please, remember that you are the key person on the journey of forgiveness. Some of the most powerful forgiveness work you can do is forgive yourself! Regardless of the event, most of us blame ourselves in some way for something bad that happened to us or someone else did to us—even if it’s truly out of our control and not our fault.
For Tammy and Jim, forgiveness work has led to truly massive positive changes in their lives.
Tammy focuses on forgiving the people and circumstances of her childhood. As she let go of her repressed hurt and anger, she became more and more comfortable letting others control her work and began letting go of her need to control her friends and family. As a result, her co-workers, friends, and family enjoy being around her, and she’s more relaxed and happier!
Jim focused his forgiveness work on himself. He spent hours forgiving himself because he felt like everything he had done was disrupting his own life and the lives of those around him. As he let go of repressed hurt and anger, he became more and more relaxed and comfortable being himself. When things didn’t go according to his plan, he let go of his harsh judgment and developed a more supportive and motivating way to move forward. Jim also took a leap of faith and left his accounting job to pursue manufacturing, which was much more interesting and exciting for him.
In case you’re wondering, I never got to 490. I was halfway there when the anger, resentment and sadness in me just went away! I still use my forgiveness journal to “clear the scene” so I keep it in a safe place so I know where it is if I need it. No matter what makes you on your forgiveness journey, one thing I can promise you is; doing the work of forgiveness will improve your life in incredible and wonderful ways!
Are you ready to forgive 490 times? Hope you find joy and happiness in your travels!
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#SelfSabotage #Behavior #Power #Forgiveness