Happy Is The Goal

  


Happy is the goal, right? At least it is for me. 

Relationships are hard. Be it parent/child, sibling, spouse, friend, co-worker, acquaintance we are bound to have conflict. We are going to have misunderstanding, offense, strain, and, sometimes division. But that is never the end of the story.

It is interesting how often it is easier to walk away from our valuable relationships (whether physically or emotionally) than offer forgiveness which might build a bridge across the gap of frustration, anger or hopelessness.

More often than not, we just throw rocks at each other until nothing remains but a banged up, dented in, gnarled vestige of a relationship. Something that was once of great value. Destroyed by our own hands.

I was taught that being a good steward of what is valuable helps to maintain the value. 

My dad will tell you that as soon as you drive a new car off the lot, the monetary value drops immediately. However, regular upkeep and maintenance preserves the amount of pleasure and use you receive from an investment you deemed worthy to make. You certainly do not take a sledge hammer to that investment because it got a flat tire, ran out of gas or worse yet shows signs of wear in the interior. You fix the problem.

Every relationship I have ever entered into held a valuable place in my heart when I entered into it. As I look back, those lost relationships most commonly disintegrated because we hurt each other and instead of repairing the damage, we chose to cripple it by withholding forgiveness.

On the other hand, I’ve seen how forgiveness builds a bridge that afforded the opportunity to reclaim and restore what was lost.

Forgiveness is tricky. It’s often discussed and acknowledged as necessary but rarely operated properly. Basically, I believe, because we do not believe it holds any real power. 

As a young car owner, I used to scoff at the idea that regular oil changes were necessary until I experienced a few break downs. Wisdom and experience have shown me how stupid my thought processes were at the time.

Forgiveness is the oil change of a relationship. 

It is vital to empty the heart on a regular basis of the gunk that is causing the relationship to break down.

Pride will cost us our happiness. Stubbornness will devalue what we once held dear. Maintaining the gap between us imprisons our hope and replaces it with anger, bitterness and contempt.

Sadly, we think walking out is the answer to restoring happiness. Have you ever listened to two people who ended a relationship…there is nothing joyful, or happy resounding from their being (and cut the air with a knife if they are within 2 feet of each other). True happiness is never restored until they reach the place of forgiveness and move on. 

So, why do we withhold forgiveness in the first place?

I’m not sure I have the answer to that one. 

I do know this, in my own life, I am seeing the value that “forgiving quickly” produces in my own heart. I see my relationships maintaining a happier level. And retaining my investment is rewarding (and less painful than parting ways).

We’ve all heard “Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath”. It means apply forgiveness quickly, regularly. The heart can’t function properly without it.

The truth is…A happy relationship is made up of two good forgivers.

  

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How To Give Up Your Hope For A Better Past

  
Forgiveness gives us an opportunity. When we forgive, we let go of the hope for a better past. 

We can not make the past better than it was or change what it is.
We can do the intentional, purposeful work of healing from our past.
And we will find the opportunity and freedom to create a better present and future.
Journey on,

Dee

Give and Give Again

deeclarknz.comit is far too easy to live as though we are invincible…as though there will always be numerous opportunities before us.

why do we wait for the last opportunities to emphasize value on what we might be faced with loosing?

being in only this moment-not regretting, grieving or obsessing over the past; not worrying, being anxious or fearful of the future-but fully living, appreciating and dwelling in this moment and all its splendor would change so much about our lives.

we would forgive and give more.

we would love more deeply.

so, why not?

we should!

i should!

it would require focus.

probably a lot of focus.

yet, it’s doable….

Love, forgive and give as if you only have this one chance…
D

forgiveness test…this one will nail it!

forgiveness myths/insight from a woman's heart

i’ve been talking alot about forgiveness over the past couple of days. i had a reader write to me and say that forgiveness is important but is very difficult to do.

so, true!

even when you think it’s all done and dusted…whamo…you can feel like you’ve been hit in the gut by the whole thing over again. i totally understand! keep working on it. believe me…you will get there. you will surprise yourself with how much strength you have to do this!

i love quotes…and the proverbs…as i’m sure you have noticed. i found a great one today.

guess what?

it nailed my heart! i am calling it my forgiveness test.

want to see it? (i will warn you that if your wound is still fresh…you may not want to yet.)

but…here goes….

forgivness test/insight from a woman's heart

i have to admit…as soon as i read it…one of my offenses flashed into my mind and i thought,

“i will NEVER say “thank you” for that experience!”

so, i reminded myself – “dee, you have forgiven that offense and you wouldn’t be the woman you are today without it. what you have to share flows directly out of your heart’s experience.”

i can’t say that i am totally there…but it was great that i came face to face with this heart test…because my goal is complete wholeness. i don’t feel any pain from the offense any more. i am way past it in many ways. however, i like a challenge…and this challenged me today.

like i said above, newly wounded hearts will not be able to accept the challenge…today and that is perfectly ok!

i had someone tell me recently, that a dirty pair of underwear on the floor can be as damaging to a relationship as betrayal – if forgiveness is not applied.

that is far too much power. i don’t want to give the power over my happiness away…so again today…

i choose forgiveness.

and i hope you will as well.

D

10 practical steps that will move you toward emotional healing

forgiveness1/insight from a woman's heart

  1. stock your life skill tool box. have a conversation with your heart long before it becomes wounded. the two of you decide to make forgiveness a tool you will use when it is needed. this way when forgiveness is required, the decision is already made and the issue is settled. your best life decisions are made when you are not in the midst of trouble. decide beforehand, what your approach to life will be.
  2. give yourself time. a raw wound is not ready for healing. it may be necessary to allow time and distance. however, deciding to make forgiveness part of the life skill tool box will guide the heart toward forgiveness when the time is right.
  3. forgive yourself. a great place to start when forgiving is to forgive yourself. often, we can feel upset with ourselves. “why did i not see?”, if i had only…”, “i swore i would never let…”. we put our hearts through torture trying to figure out “why”, “what if”, or “if only”. we add insult to injury by blaming ourselves. we can be wounded without any effort on our part. release yourself from responsibility that does not belong to you. forgive yourself for any real part that you played and refuse to punish yourself.
  4. learn the valuable lessons. if you need to apply more wisdom going forward. learn what that wisdom should be…apply it where possible…move forward. evaluating if healthy boundaries are necessary and setting them in place can assist the heart in returning to a feeling of safety.
  5. remember when you needed forgiveness and mercy. try as we might, we are going to blow it…maybe by the end of the day. remembering you have needed mercy in the past helps to soften the heart. realizing that when you desperately needed and wanted forgiveness because your intentions were not to wound, will help your heart walk toward forgiveness.forgivness2/insight from a woman's heart
  6. refuse to inflict pain because you were hurt. maya angelo says that just because you have pain does not mean you have to be one. revenge feels like a natural weapon to raise in defence of your heart yet it is very destructive. your heart needs to understand that you do not have to extract punishment. however, forgiveness does not remove consequences especially if legal action is required.
  7. practice being kind and tender-hearted. keeping your heart tender will prepare it for forgiveness. practice kindness in some way toward someone outside of your situation. practice speaking kind words. be gentle with an infant. find ways to open your heart in non-threatening situations so that is not tempted to become hard, harsh and cold.
  8. have your say. i’m sure the heart would love the opportunity to provide an “earful” to the offender. most often, we don’t get the opportunity for confrontation. if the opportunity is provided and is safe, think carefully about what you need the offender to know about what happened, how it impacted you and that you plan to move forward with life. if you are not provided the opportunity or it is not safe to do so in person, writing a letter (whether sent or not) can provide the ability to “get off your chest” what your heart feels is important to be said. once you have given voice to your heart…let it end there. don’t keep rehearing the situation. rehearsing the offense just keeps the wound bleeding.forgiveness3/insight from a woman's heart
  9. put forgiveness to work. when you are ready…apply forgiveness. if you will replace the temptation- to tell yourself or a friend how badly you were hurt- with the statement, “i am forgiving this offense”- the wound will begin to heal from the inside out.
  10. practice forgiveness. practice bringing your emotions, behaviour and thoughts back to a functional place. when i was working with my heart to forgive my ex-husband, i began to practice speaking to him in a respectful way…even before i wanted to offer a respectful response. with each conversation, it became easier to speak kindly. even when it was necessary to be firm, i found that i could say what needed to be said in a kind way- for my heart’s sake. understanding that forgiveness is a life-style is important. it is not an immediate fix or a one time occurrence. it’s an act of faith. a decision. a hard decision. a valuable, life changing decision.

i have had many opportunities in my life that required forgiveness for me to live my best life. these are not just words. i have lived in an attempt to extract revenge…my heart growing harder…my life unsettled…and feeling trapped.

  • there have been simple offenses- hurtful words spoken to or at me.
  • a drunken driver caused an automobile accident that put me in the hospital, injured my baby sister and claimed the life of my fiancé.
  • i have been through a very volatile divorce.
  • i have had business partners betray my trust and steal assets that they had no rights to steal.
  • i have been tricked.
  • i have lied to.
  • i have been cheated on. forgiveness4/insight from a woman's heart

yet, in each and every circumstance, i have found the most healing, freeing approach for my life was to walk through the steps of forgiveness.

in fact, the last situation i found myself involved in was a complete shock to my heart and system. i was amazed at my heart because after years of practicing forgiveness – i heard myself say, “i forgive you”…immediately. i had to pinch myself to make sure i was really aware of what i had just said…it was me…i had quickly chosen forgiveness…and it was so much easier than it used to be.

hopefully your heart will be able to find this life skill useful on your journey.

forgiveness is a sweet fragrance…your heart offers when it is crushed.

D

10 benefits you gain when you offer forgiveness

unforgiveness/insight from a woman's heartyesterday’s post was 10 things you are NOT doing when you forgive. today, i want to explore what i feel is the important next step- what forgiveness is and how it benefits your life.

forgiveness is a powerful life skill within your grasp. using this tool can help the heart in its search for wholeness.

When you forgive, you are:

  1. choosing a healthy coping strategy. there are two coping strategies: keep cycling in the pain or move forward. one is a healthy strategy, the other is dysfunctional. one leads to healing and growth, the other can lead to “post traumatic stress”.
  2. practicing true love. understanding the importance of love to all human beings helps prepare the ground of the heart for sowing the seed of forgiveness. in the initial stages of forgiveness, this might make you as mad as a hatter. it’s still true. living a life motivated by compassion is very powerful. i may hate the offense but compassion will open my eyes to the pain within the offender’s heart that directed his/her behaviour.
  3. offering a debt-free status. have you ever had a bill paid for you or on your behalf? have you ever handed a person in need the money to pay off a bill they were struggling with? do you remember what that felt like? i have and i do. no matter how hard we try, we will never be able to undo the offense. it’s been done. when you forgive, you are not excusing the offense. you are acknowledging the inability to ever undo, compensate, or change what was done. clinging to unforgiveness will never bring my fiance who (was killed by a drunken driver) back to me. that man will never be able to pay what is owed. he paid legal consequences but he has no ability to settle the score in my heart. i can release the debt so that i can go on living.
  4. giving your heart a gift. the Aramaic meaning for the word forgive is “untie”. when you forgive -you untie yourself from the effects of the offense. you grab a “get out jail free card” and you set your heart free. you step out of the prison of stress, frustrations, anger, bitterness, torment, and unhappiness.
  5. taking control of your own life. while you may not have had a choice when the offense occurred, you do have a choice in what happens next! your heart can become wounded with no action on your part. you can take action -take control of your life by using a powerful tool called choice.
  6. laying down your judge’s gavel. our heart naturally cries for justice. however, lay your gavel down and leave ultimate justice to the One who wears the judge’s cloak. it’s been said -what goes around comes around~karma bites~you reap what you sow~…you may have a differing philosophy than i do. we all recognize that in the end, we never really get by with anything…there is a principle at work in life. i, personally, believe it is an unchangeable, spiritual principle of reaping and sowing. i don’t believe it can be ignored and more than the law of gravity can be. it relieves me from the role of judge that i was not built to take on.
  7. exchanging your weapons for useful tools. revenge is a weapon. when we lift our weapon of revenge, we become willing to make great sacrifices to our lives. we are willing to exchange useful solutions for a consuming drive for recompense that is surrounded by hatred, anger, and scheming. i choose to pursue a better way of living…not a destructive way of living.
  8. guarding your life values. i want to be free to live my life plan. one of my core values is to live practicing being useful, helpful and kind to one another, tender-hearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely]…(-Paul to the Ephesians). i can not be true to this life value if i am allowing my heart to be weighted down with anger, resentment, revenge, etc. i guard my values and standards and refuse to take on any attributes that do not line up…i have to be me…and forgiving allows me to be the best me i can be!
  9. offering mercy. i am convinced that hurting people-hurt people. wounded, broken hearts drive people to behaviors that they would never have imagined. i have been shocked at some of my behavior patterns following devastating circumstances. my daughter had an abusive boyfriend one time~following many attempts to help the young man and behaviors worsening, i lashed out in a way that i must admit embarrasses me to recall today. when i took time to objectively think about what he had been through in his life, i changed my approach dramatically. i was able to show mercy while outlining healthy boundaries for our family’s safety. interestingly enough, his behavior toward me changed. when he spoke to me, he used respectful words. my offer of mercy did not change his behavior overall but when he was in my presence and with my child, he showed restraint. i impacted my environment.
  10. activating a powerful spiritual law. you don’t have to study nature for very long before it becomes quite evident how the laws of nature work. i can not defy gravity with out some strict boundaries in place for my own well-being. airplanes crash all the time because simple rules have not been followed. i am familiar with governmental laws. whether i agree or not with tax laws, i am required to pay taxes unless i want to pay the penalty. there is a powerful spiritual law called the law of forgiveness. i can ignore it. swear up and down i don’t believe it exists…yet, when i refuse to apply it to my heart…the consequences are devastating. on the other side of that, if i live within its boundaries, there is safety, wholeness, happiness and well-being available to me.

10 things that you are not doing when you forgive

love like you've never been hurt/insight from a woman's heart

love never fails

perfect love casts out fear

my heart can not believe

when my eyes are full of tears…

how in the world

can my heart fully live?

it must confront the offense

provide a decision – forgive.

70 X 7

seems a big price to pay

but less of a price

than giving happiness away.

when broken and wounded

my heart will not heal

by building a dwelling

on a past, distant hill.

forgiveness becomes

the key in my will

…my heart living freely

present and still.

when i cut my finger, i protect and nurture it as the healing process takes place. i don’t keep digging at it, irritating it and reopening it- healing never occurs when i do that. i allow the necessary time to heal the wound from the inside out…and once it’s healed…i leave the experience behind me and use that finger like it was never injured.

forgiveness is an important part of healing the heart. protect and nurture it as it heals…but don’t keep the wound forever bleeding…apply the salve of forgiveness and allow the heart to love like it had never been hurt. it will heal. if i let it.

10 things you are not doing when you forgive…you are NOT:

  1. ignoring the offense
  2. justifying the injustice
  3. immediately re-trusting
  4. reconciling
  5. immediate healing
  6. forgetting
  7. waiting for an apology
  8. enabling a recurrence
  9. expecting forgiveness to be a one time event
  10. gaining power over the offender

forgiveness is a gift…given to the heart…a permission to live on…pursue happiness…live large…to love again.

“Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another…” -Paul to the Ephesians

…..for we have been forgiven many times.

Look forward to seeing you soon,

D

i moved beyond the pain to build…way of life..Forgive

i sat among thorns/insigh from a woman's heart

i sat among the thorns

they pierced my heart

and filled my eyes with tears

my wounded soul would now retain

the wisdom learned for years

anger blinds the eyes to love

revenge too much to pay

a fortress wall to shield the heart

will not remove the pain

pity builds a victim mind

which chains me to deep fear

discomfort stirs my spirit on

and drives me from despair

what’s left behind

i did not need

a shedding of the waste

for only then i start to taste

 the truth i came to know

the thorns were meant

bring to me

damage unrepaired

i moved beyond the pain to build

a gentle place to live

for from my wounded heart

will flow

a way of life…

Forgive.