Blaming is trying to forgive yourself by attacking another. Never works.
Reality check: Sometime you are not to blame. Sitting in a coffee shop and an armed person comes in bent on stealing and killing, anyone in the shop who is killed or shot cannot be blamed. The person with the gun and ill intent is to blame.
If you are raped walking home late at night and dressed provocatively, you may be acting a bit unwisely, but the raper is at fault.
If you write or say something that offends others and are killed because of those words, you are a victim and should not be blamed.
Emotional fitness tips about forgiving yourself
Emotional fitness tip one: Do a reality check. Are you breaking a reasonable law? Violating the secular rules of the ten commandments? Striking the first physical blow in a dispute? Threatening someone with a knife or gun? Molesting a child? Torturing an animal? Bullying anyone smaller and weaher than you? Blame yourself.
Emotional fitness tip two: Understand why people act badly. Most bad behavior starts because nature motivates us in two ways: making things feel good or making them feel bad. Examples:
- Violent behavior activates adrenaline a feel good chemical.
- Solving thoughts you are powerless or weak by out powering another feels good.
- Excusing bad behavior by believing you are acting as God wants gets you off the bad feelings caused by guilt.
- Dealing with feeling inferior in any way by blaming anyone who adds to those feelings. Why envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
Do not however, let understanding why you and others behave badly lure you into tolerating bad behavior – yours or someone else’s.
Emotional fitness tip three: Use Bishop Tutu’s definition of forgiveness. He defines forgivenessnothing more than deciding not to seek revenge.
He also suggests finding a more positive use for your life than carrying forward anger and thoughts of revenge. Making an amends to someone you think you have harmed works well.
A proper amends is a type of restoring justice. Learn about the Restorative Justice movement so you can apply it in your efforts to right the wrongs you have done.
Emotional fitness tip four: The researchers note that the best way to defeat the call of negative feelings is to act against what they ask. Instead of dwelling on your hatred of those needing your forgiveness, send kind thoughts their way. Again not easy.
One of the Rabbis in Fiddler on the Roof is asked after yet another pogrom, how the Jews can obey the commandment to pray for their enemy, the Tzar.
The Rabbi answers, “God bless and keep the Tzar far away from me.”
Emotional fitness tip five: Remember what matters. Do not let the small stuff eat the good. Practice kindness, be generous, share and care.
Super Nanny Jo Frost uses time outs to get you and your pre-school child on the learning path to making proper apologies . She says it better than I so, go here and read her prescription.
And for a bit more to think about here is one of my Poster Coaches dealing with apologizing. Good advice for all. Available free to print up digitally at the EFTI Store. Good advice for grownups and I posted this in my office when I was a program manager directing mental health crisis teams.
As always, you need patience. You also need to model the behavior you want your child to copy.
Not easy, but who said or suggested being even a “good enough” parent was a breeze. I know I did not.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO
Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful. Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it? Comment and tell me why and how to improve.
POST INSPIRATION: I had no idea about what I planned to write about today. Thank you WordPress for suggesting this topic. Their DAILY PROMPT: Forgive and Forget? Share a story where it was very difficult for you to forgive the perpetrator for wronging you, but you did it — you forgave them.
LINKS OF INTEREST
- Pursue Progress, No Perfection (thecoughlincompany.com)
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
- WordPress Daily Prompts (wordpress.com)
- The EFTI Store (eftistore.com)