Finding Freedom by Offering Forgiveness to Others.

Forgiveness: What is it?

What is it to forgive? To forgive is to release the anger or resentment that is felt because of an offense, flaw or mistake. Forgiveness isn’t necessarily about reconciling relationships, though it could lead to that. But forgiveness most certainly is a decision we make to give ourselves the ability to let go. At some point throughout our lives, we are going to deal with making the decision to forgive or not. So why should we forgive?

Why Should We Forgive?

There is a great example of why forgiveness is so important in this article that tells the story of a mother’s journey to forgiving her only son’s killer. Imagine being in the position of having your child murdered, and eventually coming to a place where you could hug the person that so painfully changed your life. That is exactly what this mother was able to do. But why would she?

There are other extreme instances where individuals were able to forgive. After years of holding onto hatred and resentment, they are finally set free to take responsibility for those feelings. And with responsibility comes the ability to move on and take their lives back. There is tremendous freedom to be found in forgiveness. As the mother in the article states “I felt something leave me,” she said. “Instantly I knew all the hatred, bitterness and animosity — I knew it was gone.”

Forgiveness is for unchaining ourselves from the unnecessary weight of our painful pasts. So we may look to the future more clearly and optimistically. We don’t belong stuck in the past, reliving painful events over and over again. It is living mindfully in the present moment that we truly belong. But we must make the decision to release ourselves to a mindful present moment.

The Decision to Forgive.

Above, I stated that we will all come to a point in which we will need to forgive. Some versions of the following questions may arise for you here, such as. How do we know we are ready to forgive? Does this mean we are letting the offenders off the hook? These are valid and important questions.

Forgiveness does not mean we are forgetting or dismissing the actions of an offender. The act of forgiveness does not mean that we are letting the individual who hurt us off the hook. This is where setting boundaries with others comes into play. A boundary such as, just because I am forgiving this offense, I certainly will not be putting myself in a similar position with that individual again.

If the situation allows it we may be able to continue on with a relationship that is meaningful to us. Forgiveness is no walk in the park and there are many emotions involved that need attention and mending. Some of these include but are not limited to, anger, sadness, resentfulness, bitterness, revengefulness, and embarrassment. These are all completely normal reactions when we have been hurt.

The amount of pain that we feel can make the decision to forgive that much harder. We make this decision when we feel that we are ready. But there is a difference between feeling we are ready and believe we are ready to forgive. There are bodily impulses that may be begging us to forgive, sometimes for long periods of time before we learn how to listen. The louder the anger, the louder the anxiety, speaks to the desire of these impulses that are crying out for freedom.

Forgiveness choice

 

Time to Forgive?

Here is a question to help figure out when it is time to forgive. How do I want to feel? For most people feelings of anger and resentfulness will not be on the top of the list of the way they want to feel, at least not consciously anyway.

Most people naturally want to feel good and these feeling states keep us feeling anything but that. When we choose to not be forgiving of others our happiness becomes a direct target. Being full of hatred and resentment can take over our lives, drain us from our happiness, and make us feel less purposeful. These feelings may spill over into all areas of our lives. Meaning that we won’t simply torture ourselves, but also cause an extra struggle for the people closest to us.

We know it is time when we want to rid ourselves of the powerful emotions that are holding us back from life.

Forgiveness is a Process.

This is a process and healing will come over time. Acknowledging how we feel versus ignoring it will greatly help our journey of forgiveness. Slowly we will start to feel the benefits as we begin to free up from the negative energy that we continue flowing through ourselves. In Steven Taylors article, “Are you ready to forgive”, he talks about four different phases of forgiveness that highlight this process.

1. Uncovering Phase- In the uncovering phase we are becoming aware of the impact the resentment we are holding is having on our lives.

2. Decision Phase- In the decision phase we come to a place where we decide that we are ready to take the step to forgive.

3. Work Phase- In the work phase we come to accept a certain amount of the reality of what has happened to us. It is here where we can begin to empathize with whoever has hurt us.

4. Deepening Phase- In the deepening phase we get to come to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our lives. Hopefully having life makes more sense with the responsibility we have found in taking our lives back.

 

Closing Thoughts.

Forgiveness is not easy, it is not desirable to be in a place where we need to give it. Although forgiving is not easy, it is necessary. It is necessary for giving back the ability to feel buried emotions and free our impulses to help us live more authentic lives.

If you find yourself in a position where you might need to forgive someone, give yourself a break. Remember how it is that you want to feel and slowly start taking steps from there. And like I said in the beginning, we are not meant to live in the past reliving the same feelings over and over. We owe ourselves the ability to reside peacefully in the present moment. Being forgiving of others won’t necessarily bring us the whole way but will at least point us in the right direction. And that is a big deal.

That is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We wish you growth in your process of learning to be a more forgiving person.

Maintaining Healthy Communication Through Differences.

Good communication in any relationship is essential for continued growth. As well as keeping problems from growing into something that could tear them apart.

I bet it isn’t a surprise for any of you to hear that communication is important for relationship health. Then why is that somewhere around 65% of divorcees site that communication problems were their biggest issue in bringing those marriages to an end?

My guess is that we all know that it is important, but either forget that in the heat of the relationship or never developed the proper skills to communicate healthily in the first place.

Lets talk about why healthy communication is important to the health of relationships, why it can be difficult, and some ideas for smoothing out the process. Not just for the romantic type of relationships like marriages, but for relationships of all sorts.

Communication Differences

Communication Through a Sea of Differences.

Communication can be extremely difficult because we are all so different. We have different beliefs, values, communication styles, expectations, trust issues, past traumas, and the list goes on and on. With so many differences to navigate, it is a surprise that us human beings can hold any relationship together. To create healthy relationships we need to learn to bridge the gap between all the differences we have. Now that gap is easier to bridge with some individuals more than others. Though I do believe that most individuals can find a way to close that gap and build healthy relationship with all those others that are also able.

The sea of differences between us breeds unpredictability. And I don’t know about you, but my brain loves being able to predict what is coming next. I like to know what the people around me are thinking, feeling and planning. But I also know that my brain likes shortcuts. So instead of starting a conversation with an individual, I may just come up with an idea in my own head and treat it as reality. Making the assumption that I know what this person is up to no good, when really they are just fine.

This doesn’t mean that some individuals are not dangerous and shouldn’t be trusted. But to know for sure we will need some direct evidence from outside of our own skulls. That is where learning how to communicate in a healthy way comes into play.

What is Healthy Communication?

Healthy communication is a balanced method for communicating. It is assertive, meaning that is neither too aggressive or passive. It is the sweet spot of connecting with the core energies of anyone we come across.

There is no relationship that will grow in a healthy way without consistent communication in this style. It binds our relationships together in a way that is informative, mainly enjoyable, and respects the personal boundaries of all involved. Allowing our relationships to live and let live, without letting them walk all over our dreams. It helps mesh our collective dreams, enhancing and not snuffing out the life long desires of others.

Communicating in a healthy way, often enough allows for a relationship to be strong, flexible, and unified. It keeps all parties on the same page, leaving less uncertainty to obsess about. Do this enough and it will be a formidable force to navigate through the world of differences that are both inside and outside the relationship.

Methods for Communicating Through Differences.

We will not be able to get rid of all the differences and unpredictability in our relationships. But relationships need equal life energy from all parties involved to be there best. What we need are methods to get by the barriers in ourselves and the others in our relationships to healthy communication happen. Here are some methods to ponder.

1. Get to Know and Respect The Others Beliefs.

We all have different beliefs. Many of our beliefs whether religious, ethical, or political conflict heavily with the beliefs of others. Learning about these beliefs and how to respect them is of great importance to building a relationship with them. To respect their beliefs is not to tip toe our own beliefs around them. No, in the process we also need to respect our own beliefs. Respecting their beliefs also doesn’t mean believing them, but we do not need to be rude or putting them down for having them.

I have had many respectful conversations about many controversial topics with those that deeply believe the opposite of me. What I have learned is that just because someone believes the opposite of me, doesn’t mean they are insane. They have something to teach me and I have something to teach them.

2. Respect Others Communication Styles.

There are many different communication styles. Some are very expressive, emotionally putting themselves out there openly unapologetically. Others, much like myself are more reserved unable and not wanting to express themselves in that same way. For communication to be balanced and healthy the different styles need to meet in the middle somehow to be equals. The more aggressive style may need to slow down for the passive to get a word in edgewise. And the more passive may need to speak up more so that the more aggressive doesn’t dominate the conversations.

To respect the styles of the others, we need to test the waters and make adjustments. These adjustments may be difficult to make since our communication styles are well established. But as painful and frustrating it may be, to get the most out of our relationships with these various styles the adjustments must be made.

3. Have a Growth Mindset when Learning to Communicate.

Developing Healthy Relationships has been one of the most difficult things for me to learn. I have put my foot in my mouth over and over again, disrespected people, been too aggressive, been too avoidant, assumed too much and listened too little. I believe the only way to develop healthy communication skills is to practice, make a fool of ourselves and learn.

I do believe that the art of communication is about getting to the place in which we are equals. Where we are not trapped in a game of superiority or inferiority. With all the issues we have, getting to equality with others can be feel like an impossible destination. It is possible though. With a lot of hard work and practice it is possible. With a mindset that is focused on learning from mistakes and growing from them over time the skills develop. This is what I have come to learn through my own experience.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

Managing Feelings of Rejection.

Any individual that is making an effort at building a life worth fighting for is going to have to face rejection.

We are going to have our efforts pushed back in our faces from time to time. Maybe in ways that are meant to hurt, possibly in gentle ways. The rejection could just be from simple misunderstandings.

Lets look a little closer at rejection and see if we can discover some ideas for how the feeling begins. As well as find some helpful solutions for moving through it as smoothly as possible.

Any Relationship Offers up a Good Deal of Rejection.

Whether the relationship is with family, lovers, children, co-workers or whatever form the relationship has, the feelings of rejection are going to happen. There is no way around it.

Life is always changing and that is the nature of relationships as well. Everybody has their own worlds of creative energy coming to the surface. The truth is that we won’t always have the same ideas in mind on how to move forward in our relationships.

Sometimes rejection is flat out rejection. Simply put, not everyone in this world wants our time, our thoughts, or our presence. We offer ourselves up, and individuals say “get out of here with that!” Other times the rejection may not be so simple.

Relationships are such a difficult thing to manage, they are complex. They require negotiation, compromise, hard work, and continuous communication. We agree on terms for the relationship, then the terms change.

Growth is needed to keep relationships alive. Boredom happens, making it necessary to leave some of the old behind. We may end up expressing ourselves in different ways, forcing others into the position to respond.

They may play along or they may decide not to play along. Not playing along can be a retreat to the old by the rejected, or a refusal to move into the new by the rejecter. Too much rejection and not enough growth can be the death of a relationship. In any relationship we are a part of this is the case.

Another time that rejection may occur in a relationship is when the other person or we are just not in the mood. In this case, even every day expected actions may not be acceptable. Most everything may be annoying and all others may need is the look on our faces to feel rejected.

A close friend told me that it’s okay for one person in a relationship to be in too sensitive state for a little bit, but not both. Probably because there ends up being too many rejections for a relationship to handle in a healthy way.

Rejection man

The Feelings of Rejection.

What it really comes down to is that anytime we introduce ourselves, speak our minds, offer or request support, give a gift or give a damn, there is the possibility of being rejected. So beware and remember that certain emotions may follow.

Powerful feelings may be triggered when we feel rejected. They can range from deep agony and loneliness to all-out blind rage. The feelings could also be as subtle as a little irritation, to really no problematic feeling at all. Some of these emotions can bring great pain. Especially if there was a great emotional investment in and great expectations for the relationship.

When we offer up our needs, desires, and assistance we are putting ourselves out on a limb of sorts. These efforts are an investment toward a way of life that we may want. As well as a bit of a lifeline at times to see that we aren’t alone in this world. It can suck to have our efforts rejected since other people are so important for our successful personal development and often times our survival.

The pain from rejection is very real. In this Psychology today article it talks about how feelings of rejection piggyback on physical pain pathways in the brain. Another hint at this is that pain relievers like Tylenol have actually been shown to dull the pain of rejection.

The feelings of rejection don’t seem to be just in our heads. They stem from somewhere. It’s very possible that a strong rejection I feel today could stem from a situation that happened in the past. It could have taken place many years ago and here I am feeling as if it is all has to do with this very moment. Or it could be that we just had a proverbial knife stabbed into our backs, or maybe right in our faces.

Risk personThe Importance of Risking Rejection.

In any relationship, in order for it to grow and ourselves to grow in it, we must risk rejection. We must confront issues that arise and offer new ideas and new efforts to continue adapting to the changing world.

If there are too many problems in a relationship eating up our conscious or unconscious energy we are missing out on further adaptation. The energy that would be better-used tackling issues heads on tends to fester into anger, worry, resentment. The relationship risks rotting from the inside out.

Problems in relationships need swift action to remedy them. But when confronting problems in a relationship there is always a risk of rejection. It is almost as if we need to be willing to risk losing the relationship at times when confronting tough issues. But I have found that it is the avoidance of the issues, that is even more damaging.

I have lost many relationships and great opportunities throughout my life because I was not willing and possibly not able to deal with rejection. I am truly grateful that over the years I have learned a great deal about this process.

Dealing With The Feelings of Rejection and Finding Healthy Ways to Risk.

1. Know What We are Risking Ahead of Time.

Taking risks in relationships is critical to their growth and personal growth. But we should try to understand the risks we are taking before we take them. This can help curb undesired consequences and maybe save some pain.

Of course, rejection can be felt any time new little risks are taken that we don’t even think about. If someone doesn’t laugh at a silly joke of mine I sometimes feel rejected. Though life wouldn’t be much fun if I constantly measured my risk of rejection before every time I opened my mouth.

What I am talking about here is not constant monitoring, but just having some awareness of the big moves that are coming up in life. Thinking about them in a healthy way and preparing accordingly. It is also important to have an awareness of when the fear of rejection comes up.

2. Understand the Level of Risk Aversion and Test for Balance.

Some people are completely cool with taking crazy risk after risk. Others like myself need to come out of the shell to balance out high-risk aversion. Some people may risk too much, and others are way too uptight.

If you are on the too risky side and are troubled with feeling a lot of rejection, maybe slow down a bit. And if you are too risk-averse, finding yourself feeling stuck in life, jump out there and get your feelings hurt a little bit. It’s going to be alright. It is entirely possible for people with both tendencies to find a balance.

Some individuals recommend going out and actively seeking opportunities for rejection to help squelch the fear of rejection. This is not something I have actively tried. But over the decade I have spent in recovery from addiction I understand the need to take risks and prove our fears of rejection wrong.

3. Have Healthy People Around Often.

Without healthy people around to talk to we are essentially swimming around in an ocean of uncertainty all alone. It is more difficult to see our personal strengths and weaknesses. They can help us see the pieces of our reality that we currently may be blinded from.

Having healthy people around to bounce ideas and emotions off of has many benefits. They can keep us in finding solutions instead of allowing us to complain. As well as build us up and remind us of how capable we are when we are doubting ourselves. And they may be able to point out when we are in way over our heads and don’t see it.

4. Timing is very Important.

Not every time we want to make a change in our lives and in our relationships is the right time. Sometimes striking when emotion is high is the answer. Other times waiting for the emotion to cool down can keep us from overwhelming those we wish to grow with. Acting too fast or too slow may snuff out the fire of a new opportunity.

I like to take time out to meditate, talk to my trusted people and then meditate some more. Then I generally find that balance I am looking for. But don’t get me wrong, sometimes decisions need to be made quickly and that’s why it’s important that my thoughts and emotions are in a good place as often as possible.

5. Keeping Our Thoughts and Emotions in Check.

Life is unpredictable and without keeping ourselves in healthy mental and emotional states we can get tossed around like ragdolls. The feelings of rejection are much easier to handle if we are in stable mood states. We will not be able to predict all of the times that people will not be emotionally, mentally or physically available to us. Nor can we predict when someone will decide to maliciously attack our characters.

Of course, even if we are mentally and emotionally stable, rejection can hurt. But maybe we can stop that hurt in its place, then feel the rejection responsibly. Allowing us to keep the rejection from hurting us more, or winding up hurting others.

Closing Thoughts.

So yes, rejection is unavoidable. But this is no reason to avoid living our lives. Life goes on after rejection, coming with many more opportunities for interpersonal connection and personal growth. Step up and take some of those upcoming risks everything is going to be okay.

I wish you well on your path of navigating the feelings of rejection. This article was written out of what was learned from personal struggle and growth. We truly believe that if you take what was written here that it will benefit you greatly.

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Up Complaining.

I’m sure if you are anything like me, then you find yourself complaining about this or that throughout your day. It comes easily when we are upset about how something played out. Or maybe the way that someone treated us at work or in any other of our relationships. We all do it from time to time and some complaining is normal and even healthy. But, with that being said there is a line that can be crossed that takes complaining from blowing off steam to using it as an unhealthy coping skill.

And just an FYI Complaining in this article is not just about any time we air grievances to people for the purpose of creating change. It is mainly for finding healthy ways to catch ourselves when stuck in a routine of complaining just for complaining’s sake

Why do We Complain and is there anything good about Complaining?

So why do we complain? It might seem like a complex question but I believe it is more simple than it seems. We complain when we are upset about something when something internally does not feel right. When upset, our inner tension seeks to find relief. So we discuss what is giving us displeasure about this, that, and the other thing. Not discussing what is bothering us is a recipe for bottled up stress and more dissatisfaction. But taking complaining too far can become like a drug in the wrong hands, giving instant personal gratification but long term undesired consequences.

There is a problem at hand when complaining and we may be looking for a solution. Granted there are those who complain all the time no matter what. But generally there is irritation and we either consciously or unconsciously seek to understand what is bothering us. Like if there are problems that need grievances aired to create change.

Is there anything good about complaining? I can think of only one good reason why complaining could potentially good. When we complain we may talk to several people or just a few and hopefully somewhere along the lines we are given what we needed to hear. Whoever is on the receiving end of our complaints just might be able to snap us out of it. Then we can get busy looking for creative ways to better our lives.

Grumpy ComplainingWays that complaining negatively impacts life.

There are numerous ways in which complaining impacts our lives. Whatever the situation may be, repeatedly complaining about the same thing increases negative feelings and adds more stress. When this takes place we are generally not looking for a solution from those who are listening to us, but rather to receive sympathy, attention, or validation.

And what happens to the people that we consistently complain to in order to find relief from what ails our minds? What we may not realize is that listening to complaints can be draining for the people we are unloading this on. It erodes happiness as well as the ability to feel good will towards others. And it certainly doesn’t bring any positivity to our peers.

Another way that complaining can impact us negatively is that it keeps us stuck and unable to move forward. Ruminating on the same situation harvests negative feelings over and over again. There is a certain amount of acceptance we need to have over certain situations we can’t do much about. Acceptance has taken the back seat when we don’t allow ourselves to move on from whatever it is that we are complaining about. It doesn’t matter if it happened two hours ago or two days ago, continuously talking about it will not help to let go.

My experience with complaining.

Now, I know that this is something that I struggle with at times. I find it easiest to complain and dive right in with coworkers complaints while I am working. Working in retail is not always the easiest thing and I encounter a variety of people in a day. As you can imagine not all of them are the nicest. Not having a positive experience with them makes complaining about them seem effortless. Going through our work day we end up sharing stories mostly of the things that went wrong or upset us. There are plenty of positive things that happen throughout the day but those stories are told less frequently.

Recently at work I was focusing on complaining less and a customer told me that my spirit was very refreshing. It was nice to hear and we both had a positive experience. But, I know for a fact that had I not been focusing on not complaining that our encounter would not have gone as it did. This got me thinking about some of the positive consequences that might continue to show up in my life as a result of less complaining. It also excited a new desire to stay more mindful about the ways I complain and finding ways to stop.

Stop Complaining

Stopping the process of complaining

1. Have People in Your Life that Stop You From Complaining.

Having someone to talk through issues with rather than fueling the complaint will get you better results. We recommend having close relationships that will not allow our complaining to control our conversation with them. This way you can reach needed solutions rather than spinning in circles, hyper-focused solely on the problem. These people can seem like complete pains in the ass but in the long run, the way they help us take responsibility for our current situation is priceless.

2. Practicing Acceptance.

Nothing will ever change if there is no acceptance for what is at hand. We complain because we have not accepted and moved on from whatever issue we can’t change. Again, this is what keeps us stuck. Once a level of acceptance has been reached then we can stop ourselves from continuing to complain about the same thing. Then maybe we can find a place to put in some productive action.

3. Positivity and Gratitude.

Focusing on gratitude and pulling out positive thoughts can stop complaining in its tracks. For instance, thinking about that one really nice customer instead of complaining about the bad one can help to keep negative feelings out. When we are practicing gratitude it becomes easy to let complaints go to the wayside.

4. Don’t Engage in the Complaining of Others.

When hearing others complain about something don’t dive in and add fuel to the fire. We can amp each other up while we complain. It may feel good in the moment but overall there are no positive feelings to bounce off of each other. Knowing that I do not have to participate in negative conversations allows me to choose gratitude versus other negative feelings.

5. Take Productive Action.

Putting energy into not complaining is not the easiest thing to do. But having put a stop to the complaining there is finally an opening to take productive action. Productive action is using that upset energy and putting it to work to take care of what is causing our problem. It definitely takes more work to take a productive action than it does to complain. But there is no better way to release our creative energy from focusing on the problem.

It is true that the more we complain the more hardwired the behavior becomes in our brains, the same as any other behavior we learn. It is also true that well worn habitual behaviors are able to be changed if we are willing to put in the work and feel the discomfort of not using them. For me, it has been challenging but I find that with practice I am getting better about not giving my complaints the light of day.

Well, that is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

Developing Healthy Personal Boundaries.

pain to learn. As difficult as they can be to navigate, I need healthy relationships. But in order to have healthy relationships, personal boundaries need to be established.

In this article, we will discuss what healthy personal boundaries tend to look like. As well as discussing some manageable ways to develop them.

Personal Boundaries
Photo by Jules D. on Unsplash

What are Personal Boundaries?

A simple definition of a boundary is that it is a “dividing line.” Not surprising for you to hear, It is the place where one thing ends and another begins.

With relationships come boundaries, there is me and then there is the other. Sure we may share in a relationship. Though we are most certainly our own individuals.

Anyone of the many relationships I am a part of do not make me, me. I am not my marriage, my family, my job, or the recovery program I attend. These are relationships I am a part of, and though they are extremely important to my healthy world, they are only a part of my world.

Without personal boundaries, any relationship could turn into a distraction from the rest of life. Meaning that they will get way too much of our time, attention and effort. We can engulf them and they engulf us. Leaving other areas of our lives to suffer, which in turn causes suffering for ourselves. As well as harms the relationships we end up neglecting.

Why Our Personal Boundaries are Important.

Our personal boundaries set the parameters for the type of lives we are going to live. They decide what we do, who we do them with, where we do them, and how often. If we do not figure out the proper boundaries we need to live the types of lives we deep down desire, well then we are set for some disappointment in life.

To progress in the multitude of areas in our lives, we need balance and proper time management. We need to learn to say no when we need to say no, and yes when we need to say yes. Understanding that we are the only individual in control of our next moves is crucial in seeing the importance of personal boundaries. Only I can let my work know that I cannot pick up that extra shift. And I don’t think anyone else is going to let my wife know that I need that next recovery meeting.

Detaching from what we think, others think we should be taking care of, is a difficult thing. But it’s the only way to properly care for the dizzying amount of responsibilities all us productive folks human beings have.

Without personal boundaries, we may also end up with not enough personal time. Becoming resentful as people seek too much of our time and we don’t have the boundaries to say sorry but I can’t help with that. We also may end up allowing unhealthy people too much freedom to mingle in our worlds. And may end up taking advantage of us in return.

There are many reasons that personal boundaries are important. But where do we begin with creating the healthy version?

Developing Healthy Boundaries is On Ourselves.

First of all, when it comes to healthy personal boundaries, they are of course personal. They are our own. Nobody can set up our personal boundaries for us. That responsibility falls squarely on ourselves.

Since healthy boundaries are personal, I take that to mean that they may look very different from person to person. This is because we all have different values and beliefs, and different levels of comfortableness with stretching our boundaries. Nobody can tell us what is important to us or what is manageable for us. They are able to give us some hints, but ultimately we have to find all this out through our own trial and error.

Finding Boundary Balance.

To handle the responsibility of developing healthy boundaries it is important to understand a few things. It’s important to know whether our boundaries are currently too rigid and keep too many of our relationships shut out. Or do they seem to be nonexistent, not allowing ourselves to stand up for ourselves? If we can’t be sure on our own, then we can ask a handful of trusted friends and they should be able to help find valuable info.

Having too rigid boundaries may make us seem a little scary and ward off potential opportunities to grow. Whereas too loose of boundaries may have us all over the place, tossed around by the requests and attention of others. Both of them have their dangers and rewards. What we are looking for here is a balanced approach, one that neither makes us too scary to others. But also doesn’t leave us looking and feeling like pushovers. And of course, allows ourselves to have our own personal decision making space to feel in control of our lives.

Developing a balanced approach may not be easy if we are entrenched in a certain boundary pattern. It will require experimentation with new habits. As well as feeling all sorts of emotional energy that fuels the old habits.

What Healthy BoPersonal Spaceundaries May Look Like.

A lot of the time when my personal boundaries are on point, I don’t even need to let others know what they are. They just get a feel for them.

But that is not always the case so learning to communicate boundaries effectively is the only way to ensure that they will be respected. The assertive approach for letting others know we are busy and unavailable is best. This means respectfully but promptly letting requesters understand why we are unavailable.

But I feel even most people with already assertive natures will go a little too far in teaching others the lessons of their boundary-breaking. Or they may try to sneak off, avoiding requests they would rather not partake in. I am guilty of both of these. Honestly, though I think these tendencies are just part of being human. There is nothing wrong with them as long as they don’t become our primary approaches.

I feel the next important aspect is that they are set and shown consistently. This speaks to integrity. If I am going to tell people I have certain boundaries, then that is something people should be able to expect in the future. And if we are going to break them, then we better have a damn good reason. Because believe me, people are going to notice.

Of course, life changes often though, and as responsibilities change so do priorities and boundaries. I know this well since my wife and I welcomed our beautiful baby girl into the world. Through the process, I have come to find that as long as my boundary changes are reasonable and well communicated, my relationships seem to be understanding.

Conclusion.

Setting healthy personal boundaries can be a difficult thing to do. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to avoid relationships altogether. But having healthy relationships is very important in building a healthy life. Learning to develop healthy boundaries can ensure that we are able to balance out our relationship workloads. Getting the most out of them while still having our presence enjoyed.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

Trusting: Finding a Healthy Path for Giving Our Trust.

Trust and Being Actively Trusting.

Life without being able to give our trust to others is a lonely undertaking. Of course, trusting others can lead to painful situations when things go badly in relationships. But it also an ingredient that is entirely necessary to maintain healthy relationships.

Let’s take a little deeper look at this topic and see if we can find some ways to avoid some of the pain of trusting. And of course, find healthy ways to give it out.

A definition for trust I found describes it as a ” firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Trust is so important to the health of our relationships and for maintaining our mental and emotional health.

But it is not enough to simply believe in the reliability, strength, etc, of this or that relationship. We must put our trust into action and be actively trusting to receive the full benefits.

To be trusting is to consistently show this belief to ourselves and to our trustworthy relationships through our actions. It is to push doubtful thoughts to the side when we are fed untruths. As well as to remind ourselves that the intentions of the other party are good unless clearly proven otherwise.

Trusting PainWhy Trusting can be Difficult.

Trusting others is not necessarily an easy thing to do. Why? The obvious answer that comes to my mind is pain.

To give our trust is to let our guards down, to be vulnerable. So the same essential element to maintaining a healthy relationship also leaves us open to the potential for great pain.

Most of us have no doubt had our trust disrespected. Trusted friends may have gossiped behind your back. Close romantic relationships may have shown themselves to be unfaithful or abandoned us. The business you work for may not have given you the raise you were expecting and deserve. Any of these examples and many more are a cause for disappointment and emotional pain. They may have us trusting that relationships are not worth trusting since all they bring is more pain.

Allowing ourselves to give our trust to someone and having them take advantage of our vulnerability is a real possibility. In fact, it is going to happen many times throughout our lives. So what just wander up into the hills and denounce all relationships?

Few of us will seriously think that is the answer. What is needed is a balanced approach to trusting others, one in which we still get healthy relationships and less chance of having our trust abused.

Actively Trusting and Healthy Relationship.

It is easy for me to see that without trusting others there is no foundation for a healthy relationship. Giving our trust is needed to be able to let our guards down, and let other people into our lives. It is also necessary to keep them in our lives and in our confidences.

Without trust, the mind tends to question the goodness of most intentions. It is left to wade around in an endless sea of mistrust. All of those past relationships that either betrayed us or where we perceived betrayal, can fuel suspicion in our current thoughts and perceptions. This is close to the death of any healthy relationship.

Being actively trusting in a relationship does not mean keeping our heads in fairytale land, thinking others will never betray our trust or hurt us. But it does require us to leave the pathway for communication open to allow others to make amends and correct the pain. And also to eventually leave the relationship if the behavior does not improve. It also means not expecting that all the things that went wrong in the past are destined to repeatedly happen again.

Trusting PathFinding the Healthy Path to Trusting.

Trusting others, of course, comes with its risks as well as it’s benefits. Though in my mind as long as some self-work is done a healthy path to trusting can be found.

1. Develop Self Trustworthiness.

All through my recovery, I have heard an important statement about trusting others. I was told that the way to trust others is to be trustworthy myself. But what does my own trustworthiness have to do with trusting others? The answer lies in the fact that when I am able to trust myself, then I will generally judge the trustworthiness of others more effectively.

This Psychology Today article outlines the problem of jealousy in relationships. It gives some evidence that jealous and overly suspicious partners in a relationship are much more likely to be the unfaithful ones. The article focuses on romantic relationships and cheating but there are many types of relationships in life. In any of these relationships, when we are trying to get one over on the other individuals involved, we are very likely going to be suspicious of their actions. Whether they are faithful to the relationship or not.

Our own lack of trustworthiness gets projected onto others, hurting relationships. When we feel deep down that we are trustworthy we are more likely to project the opposite, and give a healthy relationship a chance to grow.

Thankfully over the years I have learned many skills that have led me to develop self-trustworthiness. One of them is practicing forgiveness towards myself and others.

2. Forgiveness of Self and Others.

In order to develop self-trustworthiness and actively trust, we must also learn how to forgive. Working on forgiving ourselves of our past and present. As well as doing the same for the individuals surrounding me.

Throughout my recovery from addiction, I have had to dissect my past to recognize painful emotions coming from experiences where I felt wronged or wronged others. I have had to forgive myself and feel those emotions. This has allowed me to be more trusting, spending less of my creative energy reliving the pain of past emotions while trying to live in the moment.

To forgive is not necessarily to forget. Our pasts and our pain have a great deal to teach us, they are not to be forgotten. Though often times I have found that as healing happens, the unimportant tends to disappear from the memory anyway. Forgiveness tends to put our relationships into a healthy perspective. But all this forgiveness only works when we are living respectably.

3. Living Respectably.

Living respectably to me means simply living in ways that don’t cause ourselves unnecessary guilt. Ways that are in line with OUR OWN moral compasses.

As I said above when we live and think dirty, we tend to expect others to be doing the same. But when living respectably, we wind up projecting less of our own negative intentions onto others.  It frees our minds up to be less critical, more kind and better judges of the characters of others.

Also when by living respectably we tend to attract more trustworthy people into our lives. People that are more able to be trusted. But of course there are days where I am feeling tricky emotions and I may feel unsafe and more likely to not give my trust out. Though as long as I continue to live in a way that I won’t regret, the emotion will pass and I will return to a more trusting self.

Trusting LedgeConclusion

So yes, being trusting can be a complicated issue. But even though it has it’s risks, the rewards are incredible. It doesn’t really matter if you have been too trusting in the past or scared to trust at all there is a balanced way of giving out trust that can be learned. One that is backed up with boundaries with others and still isn’t isolationist. It may take work and it may require lots of healing from painful emotions, but it is entirely possible.

There are many amazing people out in the world to be met, and new depths to be discovered in already intimate relationships. Each of these requiring us to put our guards down a little bit more and allowing ourselves to trust.

Well, that is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

Lessening Suffering By Being Teachable.

In the last 10 years that I have been in recovery from addiction, a certain principle has been immensely important to my success. That principle is remaining TEACHABLE.

My History with Being Teachable.

This guys history with being teachable before recovery is a horribly checkered one.

I don’t remember much of being really young. But as far as I can look back on my life I could see that my mind was generally closed to what people had to teach.

In school, I was a destructive class clown. At home, I was kind of an entitled little brat. Though now I do understand that I was doing the best I could with what I had. Though for some reason my brain was naturally obstinate, refusing most information that people need to get by in a law-abiding world.

This type of attitude toward letting people teach me only intensified. Though when I find out mind-altering chemicals would help me escape the jabbering of every ones teaching I fell in love. Finally, I didn’t seem to have to care. Also, many people that would have tried to teach me pretty much gave up trying as well. Heaven right?

What seemed to me like heaven was actually unknowingly signing me up for a rough damn ride through life.

By the time I was able to enter recovery and get my act together, I had made an incredible mess of my existence. Being closed off to the world teaching me how to live life only gained me increasing amounts of suffering.

Ledge Teachable

Why Be Teachable?

This is something you must answer for yourself. For me I allow myself to be teachable because I have made the decision to never cause myself the suffering I once felt. Who in their right minds desires to suffer?

That is also the point! When we excessively close ourselves off from the healthy thoughts of others, suffering generally increases.

There is something within all of us that strives to expand, grow and create. But we cannot use solely our own information to grow in the ways that are desired. We need the successes and the support of the thoughts and emotions of others to get where our bodies impulses instinctually desire to go.

I also need other people’s info because they see things I may not be seeing. And paraphrasing Buddha here, “suffering comes from being unaware of the causes of suffering.” Without other people’s info, I’m susceptible to walking into the causes of suffering ill-prepared and ready to get beat on.

The quality of life we most deeply desire requires allowing other people to teach us how to get it. That means showing us where to go as well as where not to go.

Being Teachable can go too Far.

To be teachable doesn’t mean that we are just be blown around by other people’s information. It doesn’t mean that we blindly accept ideas and run with them. But it does mean that if we feel the truth of some information, even if it goes against our beliefs, that it be taken sincerely.

Being teachable does require that we be open to having our minds changed. But not to the extent that we are left with a whole mess of ideas that we feel we are “supposed” to believe, instead of ones we feel to be true. Every human being needs to have a belief system to help the world make sense. So my motto is question everything, but not so often as to have the world make no sense at all. 

Of course, it doesn’t mean we allow ourselves to be taken advantage either. I generally believe that the vast majority of individuals in this world are good. But there are those who seek to take advantage of those that are not well-versed in certain areas of expertise.

So remain teachable but don’t allow yourself be taken advantage. It is all about balance. Such is life!

How to become more Teachable.

To be teachable means to be opened up to the information around us. It requires momentarily dropping our judgments about what is being taught, opening our minds and listening.

Being teachable means being active in our relationships. Whether the information comes from conversations with people we chat with, a book someone wrote or a YouTube video we watch. For me, the day just didn’t feel right if I didn’t pick up some valuable new information from whatever source it comes from.

Here is how I keep Myself more healthily teachable:

  • Make sure we are in a healthy emotional place.
  • Seek reputable sources to be taught from.
  • Remind myself that I am seeking to be taught before I will be presented with new information.
  • Drop my judgments about new information until after all the info has been presented.
  • Limit distractions like trying to multi-task with a cell phone or other things that keep our minds busy.
  • Make eye contact and actually listen.

A Life Opened up and Healed by Being Teachable.

At the beginning of the article, I described my life of being teachable. I did not know how to be taught by healthy sources and that led me down a dark path. My mental, emotional and physical Health were in shambles.

Since coming to recovery I have learned a great deal about this skill, and my life has opened up greatly as a result. All areas of my being have been healed in ways I never thought possible.

I know how to find healthy people and have developed a keen sense for when someone is selling me info that is garbage.

The suffering I experience today pales in comparison to what it once was. And you best believe the feelings of success and joy I experience today were something that couldn’t be fathomed 10 years ago.

teachable roads

Struggling with Being Teachable?

If you are struggling with being healthily teachable I am happy that you found this article.

My first tip would be to find some healthy people that you can trust. Whether that needs to be a Mental Health Professional, your grandmother, or just a trusted friend. Actually, the ideal would be talking to several people you trust!

Get all of their information and what they would advise. Then do what they say as long as the advice they give would not harm you or others.

It is quite painful to be living in a world that is shut down from the helpful thoughts of other people. A world in which we think we know it all and therefore don’t need others is tremendously stressful.

So give yourself a break and allow someone to teach you something new today. It is most certainly for the better!

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

 

Releasing from Perfectionism Mindset.

So I was at a recovery meeting the other day and an individual shared something that struck a heavy chord with me about Perfectionism.

What was shared sparked the realization that my brain tended to get stuck in a state of Perfectionism. Meaning, a state, that while I am in it, I am constantly judging reality based on an ideal in my own brain. That and when the ideal is not met, the world is not okay. At least the world from this perspective anyways!

But our perspectives have a way of blurring what is going on in the real world. They can also be blurring the fact that the world may be perfect just the way it is.

Wandering through life in a perfectionistic state like this can make life very painful. A life where hardly anything seems good enough does not lend itself to having healthy relationships. Since this Perfectionism doesn’t seem to just be pointed at ourselves, we hold others to our standards as well.

I don’t know about you but this State of mind and not being in the moment has also done immense damage to my mental and emotional health over the years. What is really a trip is that as I look back on my life, even recently, I seem to be on autopilot while acting out on it.

Waking up to perfectionism.

Perfectionism tends to live on autopilot. Meaning that when in it, we may not be aware that we are.

Sometimes if we step back and examine our lives we may find the evidence for perfectionism we have been missing.

Here are some of the clues that we may be stuck in Perfectionism:

  • Having the feeling that something accomplished just wasn’t good enough.
  • Not having a healthy sense of pride for productive skills.
  • Being overly critical of something not completed exactly right.
  • Being overly critical of something done well.
  • Having the feeling of being a failure even when things are going well.
  • Setting to high of standards for what other people are attempting.
  • Not offering up enough healthy praise for jobs done well by ourselves or others.

For the sake of this article we need not be so worried about the why this problem comes to be a problem. We cannot do much about the past except do well for our present.

If perfectionism is a problem, on a bad day there isn’t much of anything that will be perceived as good enough. This isn’t right, that isn’t right, they aren’t right, life isn’t right. In this case there is some ideal that we are connected to and absolutely everything is missing it’s mark. This can set off a cascade of disappointment, anger, or possibly self-pity.

The Stress of Needing Perfection.

Perfectionism Stress
Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

There is an important place for being rigorous in getting things done well. I also believe that there is a place for pushing ourselves and other people to work hard to do well for what we collectively set out to do.

But after a certain point, the rigor and pushing for a certain outcome turns into a pushy and unhelpful cause of unneeded stress. Maybe it will get something helpful done, but is all that stress worth the trouble? That is a conclusion we all need to come to for ourselves.

We may push people to do what they don’t care about. As well as attach ourselves to ideas that we believe we are supposed to care about, but at our cores we don’t.

Not believing in what we are working for is stressful. And so is trying to push others to work hard for what they don’t believe in, at least when they won’t follow the plan and be obedient!

So what is the answer here, just sit back and not challenge ourselves or others to become more skilled? Absolutely not.

Letting Go of Perfectionism

Letting Go Perfectionism
Photo by Robert V. Ruggiero on Unsplash

Perfectionism is about control. There is something in a Perfectionistic brain that seems to like having things just so!

We have to find ways to let go of this control. That is,unless you are perfectly alright with beating yourself up! As well as harming relationships because they aren’t interested in following WHAT WE PERCEIVE to be the correct path.

I get it though, we desire what is best for the people that we care about, and yes this includes ourselves. It may hurt to let go, because we are invested in a way that may have once worked.

But the truth is that if we are willing to ease up on our Perfectionism, a better way will likely present itself.

There are a few questions we can ask ourselves to put the whole situation into a better perspective.

  • Am I working towards something that actually matters to me?
  • Do the people I am pushing actually want what I want?

These questions require honest self-reflection, to find out what we really desire. As well as some thoughtful conversations to find out what our relationships desire.

It takes some work, but ultimately could lead to using our and our relationships time and energy more effectively. This means more productivity and less resentment.

From Perfectionism to Realistic Perspective.

If after reflecting and communicating you find that you are pushing for what you desire and others are on board, then awesome. I recommend spending time giving ourselves and those in our sights more compliments than criticisms.

This can help us from being too harsh and inflexible, allowing me let go and trust the innate intelligence of the people we surround ourselves with. It can also help us stay in reality instead of locked into rigid ideals, which is a much more enjoyable state for everybody!

But, sometimes our relationships have no desire to buy into our visions anymore. It may be a hard pill to swallow. This takes grieving on our parts, so that we don’t get caught in a cycle of anger, self pity and resentment.

Here are some of my personal resources If you need some help to let go. Mind you that using them does not guarantee results for you, but have helped me immensely over the last decade in recovery from my own issues.

 Tips for Grieving Ideals and Getting Back into Proper Perspective

  1. Surrender our thoughts and come back to the moment.
  2. Work on getting over disappointment.
  3. Do some Therapeutic Writing.
  4. Work on developing healthy expectations.
  5. Get priorities in order

I hope this article may help you ease up on rigid ideals you may be forcing on yourself and others.

In the end our relationships with ourselves and others benefit by our pushing for ideals that we all truly find important!

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

 

 

 

Allowing Expectations for Our Success.

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There are Necessary Expectations

To have all the things we desire most, means hard work. It also means putting ourselves in the position to have other people help us. As well as allowing them to increase the amount of expectation they have for our performance.

Let’s face it, if people around us aren’t expecting much, this is a life snuffing ordeal. If people are not expecting much, then what kind of motivation will we get from them? Probably not much.

But I suppose this is only for the type of life I desire to live. Some may appreciate a life with as few expectations on them as possible. I have before as well, and still do often. I have also found out that the ambition coursing through my veins will not allow me to be comfortable with a life of low expectations.

Don’t get me wrong though, most of the time when realizing someone is expecting something challenging of me, I do have that initial thought of “who in the hell do you think you are.” Our initial tend to keep us engaged in mindsets and behaviors that resist change. So, when someone recommends we do something that challenges our mindset, a defense mechanism coming up is pretty normal.

resist man.jpg

Reactions to Expectations.

I tend to resort defenses like over-intellectualizing or sarcastic humor to try to avoid allowing the advice they may be trying to impart into my skull. I get the feeling I reactively avoid the advice because if I allow them to see it make sense to me, then they may EXPECT me to follow through. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of feeling that someone is trying to control me.

I laugh there because there is nothing about allowing the other persons advice to be logical, that says I need to do what they said. Let alone have it “Control” me. But I might need to do what they preach if I am going to receive the results in life that I desire!

I don’t know what it is in my brain that has me believing that if other people expect something from me, that they have some sort of control over me. But I am guessing that I am not alone. The truth is that there are so many people that know a ton more about every subject available, than ourselves alone. And if we want what they have to offer, we are going to be able to allow them to influence us.

We need to allow them to expect some things of us and allow them to let us know when we am not meeting those expectations. This can be a very hard pill to swallow. Let’s look at some ways that we can help this pill go down a little more smoothly.

9 Habits for Allowing my Relationships to Have Healthy Expectations for me.

1. Stay on top of my decision making.

I find that it is easier to allow people to help me when I am consistently making the decisions I need to make. I tend to feel people are trying to control me more, when I am not feeling in control of my daily affairs.

2. Find Challenging People.

I find it important to have people around me that will help push me to be my most productive self. By having people that will help me actualize my goals instead of push their own on me, has taught me to have healthy relationships.

3. Find out Which challenge style works best for me

Some people may push their expectations for me like drill instructors, and others as gentle as can be. I tend to like a mixture of these, although I get annoyed at both. But if it seems like someone is trying to mother me, that is what I am looking for, the least.

4. Make sure the expectations are healthy.

I desire a healthy life so if the expectations people are having for me are not healthy, then I cannot meet them. I also will not be able to continue the relationship.

5. Follow people that care for me.

When I know that people have my best interests in mind, it definitely makes it easier to let them have expectations for me. Though sometimes these might be the ones I fight back against the most. But also, who’s advice I will likely end up following.

6. Choose credibility.

I find it easier to allow people to have expectations for me if I know they practice what they preach. If someone isn’t willing to follow their own advice they give me, it makes it much more difficult to follow their advice.

7. Stay Reminded of Rewards.

If I am having a hard time allowing someone to have expectation, I can keep myself reminded of why I am seeking advice from them in the first place. I am seeking because I desire something. Whether I am desiring the rewards I will receive from emotional support, business advice, parenting advice or whatever other advice I may seek.

8. Do Our Own Research.

Just because I trust someone doesn’t mean I should just be blindly following their advice. If I have extra questions for them, I ask them. If I need to do further research, then I do that too. If I don’t do my own research, I tend to blame the person I sought to help guide me.

9. Remind myself that its ultimately my decision.

No one makes our decisions for us. Even when we feel like they are. Reminding ourselves that we are not a victims to other people’s guidance, and that we ultimately make the decision ourselves helps a lot.

None of us have all the answers, but other people can help us get at least some more answers. But we need to allow them to challenge our current thinking and allow them to have some expectations for our growth. Their help is vital to growing in our own little worlds, but only we can allow them to help.

Never Stop Learning

That is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We wish you growth on your path of becoming better at accepting healthy expectations from others. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. If you would like to help support this website by offsetting some of the costs of running it. There is a PayPal button below or in the right sidebar, depending on if you are viewing with mobile or by computer.
  2. Join our email list below, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
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Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer’s and owner’s of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

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