The Gift of Forgiveness

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What is forgiveness?   It is making a deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you.  It takes a strong person to say “I’m sorry” and an even stronger person to forgive.  Forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees them from their own anger and deeply held negative feelings. It empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.  In essence, it’s about giving up the hope that the past could be any different and accept that something happened.

The opposite of forgiveness is revenge.  This negative emotion is never sweet and can literally tear you apart.  If you get revenge on the person who harmed you, they may no longer suffer depending on the revenge but either way, it will have a direct impact on your life where you will only suffer more.   Some people say the best revenge is just moving on and let karma do the rest.  What are your thoughts on that?

Confusion about forgiveness is when we think about forgiving someone who has harmed us, we believe we are saying to that person it’s okay what they did and we’re letting them off the hook or giving up our control. This isn’t true and it’s not about accepting bad behavior.  We might even see ourselves as a doormat.  When you forgive, you do not wear rose-colored glasses or deny the seriousness of what happened to you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting.  Maybe some of you reading this blog have felt this way and I have to admit I did for a long time too.

Forgiveness comes in its own time and shouldn’t be rushed so if you are struggling with forgiveness then it’s not the right time and that’s okay.  When you do feel ready to forgive, try to recognize the causes that led that person to act as they did and this can help facilitate the process of forgiveness.  I am currently on my own journey of forgiveness and I understand how difficult it can be, you are not alone.

Why should we forgive?  Here are a few things I have discovered about forgiveness.

  • It makes us happier
  • Improves our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health
  • Sustains relationships worth saving
  • Self-esteem, confidence and self-worth return at a higher level
  • If we don’t transform our pain, we transmit it to those around us
  • When you forgive you don’t change the past, you change your future by rising above what happened. It’s life changing for the better
  • Sets you free from that person and their negativity, you take your power back

How do we forgive someone who has harmed us deeply?  This is where the rubber fails to hit the road.

  • Accept and process your anger even though it’s difficult, be patient
  • Acknowledge your revenge fantasies, they are just that
  • Forgive yourself it’s crucial to your healing
  • Try to see a common humanity between you and the person you are trying to forgive
  • See them with a compassionate eye. They’re only human just like you
  • Realize the cure for pain and suffering is where personal growth and development can arise. This is usually a time where you might see the silver lining in your situation
  • Forgetting about it and pretending it did not happen is not forgiveness

In the beginning, it’s really hard and it takes so much strength to forgive.  To change the world, we need to change our mind.  Hanging onto these negative emotions ends up hurting us in the end.  When you don’t forgive, you keep that wound open and you inflict more pain on yourself which isn’t healing for you at all.

Forgive them even if they aren’t sorry and even if you never get that apology.  I know…that’s a tough one.

When we struggle with being right or being happy, we are still struggling with forgiveness and that’s okay.  We need to discover how to get out of our own way and stop holding ourselves hostage because we end up blocking the flow of happiness in our life.  After all, on the other side of forgiveness is a personal freedom which is amazingly beautiful.

Forgiveness happens when we stop holding a grudge and let go of our right to resentment for being mistreated. It doesn’t mean we stop protecting ourselves but it does mean we let go of emotional retaliation which only hurts us in the long run. Carrying around revenge in your heart will only weigh you down in negativity. It takes more strength to be able to forgive but what you resist can persist and that is no way to go through life carrying around this unnecessary baggage. Say it for yourself and move on, you are actually giving yourself a gift of peace by doing this.

True forgiveness is a gift to ourselves, the other person doesn’t need to be present or even know we have forgiven them because forgiveness takes place in our minds and in our bodies.  We do it for ourselves so we can be at peace and live our best life, free from negativity.  By letting go of the past and surrendering to what is, you create the process of emptying your mind. The only way to stop the vicious cycle of reacting to pain by causing more pain is to step out of the system by taking a step back.

Most importantly, we need to allow our hearts fill with compassion and learn how to forgive ourselves.  This might be more difficult than forgiving another human being because we are so hard on ourselves.   Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  Your best teacher is your last mistake so it’s important to learn from it so it is not repeated in your life and then move on.  Just because you made a mistake doesn’t mean you are a mistake.  Try and be self-compassionate.

Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.  Trust yourself and forgive them.

I wish you all the very best on your journey of giving yourself the gift of forgiveness.

“By owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.  And when we own the story, then we can write the ending.”  ~ Brené Brown

 Much Love,

Jennifer Juneau

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The Inner Game of Tennis – Love vs. Fear

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Dealing with change and finding the positive silver lining hidden within our experiences are tough life lessons to be learned.  It sounds pretty straight forward but when you are really in it, it takes every ounce of energy and focus to actually do it.  Easier said than done right?  Sometimes it feels like these life lessons and difficult decisions are being launched like tennis balls out of a cannon one after the other with no break in between to catch our breath while we use our racquet as a shield.

From what I have seen with many people, myself included, letting go or surrendering to what is can be the hardest life lesson to swallow because it’s scary and unknown.   Should I stay or should I go?  Should I control the situation or just accept it as it is? Will I choose to be a victim or a victor?  We fight to hang on and we fight to let go.  It’s that constant back and forth rally in our minds that keeps the Wimbledon inner game of tennis alive.

Is letting go giving up?  Not at all, it’s actually quite the opposite.

Caroline Myss wrote something that shook me to my core when I read it and I will share it with you.  When someone says “I want to get out of this circumstance, but I’m too afraid.”  She is betraying everything in her heart.  She’s making choices that are harming her and that’s why she’s hurting.  Her intuition is trying to tell her that.   When your life begins to harm you, know that you have taken a detour from your true path.  You are no different from the people who hurt you.  People know when they have betrayed themselves because the little voice inside says “You’re still with that person; why didn’t you leave?”  Your intuition speaks the truth that you don’t want to hear.  It also says “You’ve done everything you can so it’s time to let go and surrender.”

Wow.  “I am no different from the people who hurt me.”  That was a huge light bulb moment and reading that was enough to make me want to let go.  It’s bad enough that someone or something is hurting you and by ignoring your own heart, you are hurting yourself on top of it.  Double punishment hurts.  I love Caroline Myss and her perspectives.

It’s been a tough match so far, that inner game of tennis is almost finished and silence is everywhere.  What will your next move be?  Time to focus, your opponent Fear is about to serve.

What a perfect opportunity to discover a new and unexpected strategy in your game.  By releasing someone so they can be where they need to be, do what they want to do and be with whomever they want is actually an act of love and courage on your part.  Trust and respect yourself and let them go.  Let them be the destructive one, you be the kind one.   In that exact moment, you become more peaceful and free and you create the much needed space in your life for bigger and better things to come flowing in.  It leads you to the next.  Ah, finally the silver lining; acceptance and happiness.  And the crowd goes wild…

We all have our “stuff” we are dealing with but that doesn’t mean we can’t find our joy along the way.  Even a caged bird can find something to sing about.  And when you do find the courage to surrender to change and let go, you will fly like a free bird and think “why didn’t I do this sooner?”  Not only that, the tennis balls will stop flying at you and you will have victoriously won the match.

Congratulations…Love always wins.  At least at this game.

Tennis anyone?

“The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.”  ~ Gary Zukav

 

Much love,

Jennifer

Lights In Your Tunnel

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We like to search for those final happy destinations in life.  You know, the ones that will finally make us feel relieved and satisfied.  We work so hard on a project, exams, a relationship, or our health while focusing on the end result which is that light at the end of the tunnel.  Or perhaps it’s a separation or divorce that turns your world upside down.  The truth is, we crave that light, it’s all we can think about to help motivate us to move forward because in our minds we believe the moment  we can see that light, the difficult situation will end.  You say “When all this is over I can finally relax and be happy.”

Is that really true?  Maybe…to an extent.

Is it possible to be happy right now while you are in that long, dark tunnel?  Tunnels are scary, cold, intimidating places.  You are probably wondering how can one be happy in such a depressing place?  Sometimes we miss the boat by going in alone and limiting our vision on the end result when we could be using some light and support to navigate that tunnel.

Little moments in life are worth celebrating just as much as the big ones.  By having something to look forward to like meeting a friend for coffee, scheduling a Skype call from someone who is important to you, reading uplifting blogs that give your life meaning, planning a mini vacation or just eating your favourite food with your kids all represent little pot lights in your tunnel.  Each friend, family member or supportive person is worth a light in your tunnel.  The more positive people and moments you have creates more support in your situation.  And the brighter your environment is, the more tolerable and comfortable the situation will be, therefore you will begin to feel happier and even more relaxed.  You need these lights to help you cope better.  It’s time to celebrate coping better because you are doing the best you can and every action step counts.

If something really great happens to you that represents a chandelier!  It’s time to celebrate again.

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Be grateful for everything you have and see how many colored lights appear.  By shifting your perspective, the tunnel is now an illuminating space that transformed from unpleasant to beautiful.   Light replaces darkness the same way love replaces fear.

If you are going through a difficult time right now, don’t wait until it’s over to celebrate all your milestones you are achieving along the way.  You could be waiting months or years before you see that light at the end of the tunnel.  Why would you want to deprive yourself that way?  Do it now because you’re worth it.

Take comfort along the way by always having something to look forward to with the people who care for you.  Those who you know well and those whom you’ve never met before but seem to cause a positive ripple effect in your life.  Notice the happy little surprises that pop up.  These are your lights that will decorate your life and lead you out of the tunnel because you have the right to be happy now.

Celebrating a win doesn’t mean you need to do something outrageous or expensive, just be kind to yourself.   If that seems difficult, ask yourself “What would I buy my 10 year old self right now that would make me happy?” or “What have I wanted to do but have been putting it off?”   Maybe the answers to both questions are chocolate and a massage?

Sounds good to me…that’s a win-win.

Much love,

Jennifer

P.S….All my gratitude to the lights and chandeliers in my tunnel. You are amazing!

BE THE SAILBOAT OR THE DUCK?

imagesCAEW51O2  Stress is a part of life and how you handle it on the inside can reflect how you look on the outside.  For the people who know me by now, you can see that I love analogies and for anyone new, welcome to my blog and my perspective on things!

Some people look so calm on the outside and yet they talk about how stressed they are.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe what they are saying is true but it’s because they are a duck.  Remember going to the park and feeding the ducks?  They would all gracefully swim on top of the water as if they were gliding effortlessly, or so it seemed.  Under water there was a whole different story going on.  Their little webbed feet were paddling so fast and furious to reach their destination as if their feet were on fire!  From a distance, we can’t see their feet so we think they are free from any stress whatsoever and that things come easily for them.  Just like the person who is stressed out and doesn’t show it.  On the outside, they are Mr. or Mrs. Calm but on the inside, they are stirring up a storm that only they know all too well.  Just like the duck’s feet, we cannot see what is on the inside or in the duck’s case, under water.  That is not to say that stress is not a good thing, it can be very motivating in certain circumstances, especially if you are in front of an audience giving a talk, you definitely want to be the duck.  It’s when stress turns bad and starts to affect you physically, that’s when you want to learn how to sail.

caribbean-sailing-september[1]  Watching sailboats is so beautiful and relaxing.  With the right amount of wind and catching the best angle for your sails, you are off to the race of feeling free.  By letting the wind carry you while you ride the waves in the water, trusting you are safe is like letting go of some control in your life, dealing with stress as it comes and knowing that you will be ok is freedom of stress.  Often times on the sailboat there is a lot happening on the outside that we can see in order to make the sailboat move like watching out for the boom!  It looks busy and to some stressful but in fact, it’s organized and well thought out, almost with anticipation of what might come next.  This is what I have found to be useful in dealing with stress, if you can organize your thoughts and beliefs, you will focus your intention on smooth sailing and therefore have a relaxing day on the water, watching the ducks bobbing by!  So toss out your anchor, enjoy the present moment and watch out for the guy on the sea doo!         -JJ