forgiveness

Practicing Peace with Ourselves for the Benefit of All

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The #metoo movement, the Time’s Up Campaign, and the massive energy behind women’s empowerment and what we expect from others as women has me all fired up in so many ways. 

It’s kind of like waking up from a life-long dream… 

Wait.... of COURSE, we need to speak out about the daily misogyny we experience as women! 

How could I have just been letting the cat calls, the uncomfortable comments like 'your jeans look like they fit really well,"or the lack of respect I feel, every time someone chooses to comment on a physical attribute of mine, instead of commenting on the attributes of my mind, my intellect or my kindness? I was just letting that stuff “go” as “part of the life in this world”. 

It is majorly messed up alarmingly often women get sexually assaulted in their homes, places of employment, etc and don’t speak out about it because they are worried about retribution, judgment, and being seen as the one who “stirs things up.” 

Well it’s over, time is up now. We WILL STIR THINGS UP, because we are all humans beings who deserve to be respected and seen for more than our bodies. 

This is a great rule of thumb. 

This is a great rule of thumb. 

The thing I want to write about today is more about the source of this misogyny and how we, as women, can also be the perpetrators of violence. In our society when we think of violence we generally think of physical violence: inflicting physical harm to someone else. However, I want to expand that definition to any type of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual harm we cause to ourselves or others. 

We must realize that gross and extreme examples of violence aren’t just random acts. Like all things that go against the goodness of human nature, they build up slowly over time. Definitions and boundaries; slowly being eroded with small toes over the line of decency. Something, and then another thing, and then another thing, gets shoved underground, passed off as "normal", and eventually all these subtly not-OK things begin to fester, become toxic, and turn into something really ugly. 

In the case of extreme acts of violence, it’s the more indirect acts of violence that are consistently permitted on a larger, broader scale. When these seemingly “small” harmful acts are allowed, deemed normal, or seen as necessary, it is inevitable that larger, more extreme acts of violence will eventually take place. In this way, the violence we perpetrate on ourselves on the seemingly inconspicuous levels contribute to the society-wide severe violence we seen in our culture. That is why, as women, we must say “no” to any and all violence inflicted against us by other people, but more importantly the acts of violence we inflict on ourselves. 

Internal violence is pervasive. These violent sentiments can show up in so many seemingly “normal” actions. Suppressing our hunger is an act of harm to our bodies. Overeating to fill an emotional void is an act of harm to our emotional state as well as our physical bodies. Deciding to push our bodies way harder than they want to be pushed in the gym is harmful. Eating junk food mindlessly. Starving ourselves. I would argue, that certain types of plastic surgery could be considered acts of violence towards our bodies. Literally cutting our skin, manipulating precious body parts to be closer to a standard of beauty that society sets for us and has nothing to do with our worthiness. The way we talk to ourselves, treat ourselves, and the disrespect for our bodies and what they need/want/are asking for, is a massive source of “subtle’ violence in our world. 

We can’t expect people who don’t love themselves to be able to love other people. It truly does, and always will, start with us. {This isn’t a call for the victims of sexual assault or violence to blame themselves, and if you’ve been violated or had violence done to you by someone else it was not your fault in any way, shape or form.} We all have to realize that we must stop the violence where ever we can. We must say “NO” to the violence perpetrated against ourselves in the form of negative self-talk, cruel self-commentary, and the assumption that we need to use harsh language or action with ourselves to create internal/external changes. 

Non-violence and peace starts with you and me. It starts in our ability to forgive ourselves. It starts with allowing ourselves to be flawed, and still speak to ourselves lovingly. It starts with complete and radical self-acceptance. It starts with having grace with ourselves. It starts by refusing to inflict violence on ourselves. 

Practicing peace towards ourselves, daily, will allow peace to overflow from our hearts and into the collective. As we are less judgmental of ourselves we become less judgmental of others. As we become more kind with ourselves, we notice we are kinder to others.

So let’s say “time’s up” to the violent, abusive thoughts, behaviors we have been perpetrating on ourselves. Let’s bring awareness to where we are allowing violence in our daily lives, and start to choose Love instead. As we build the momentum within our own lives, we will see it spread out to others. 

I'm with you relearning how to treat myself with more love, forgiveness, and allowance every step of the way. 

Blame, Fault & Responsibility

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This past week I listened to Mark Manson's book "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck," and this book is GOOOOOODDDD. Read it. Listen to it. You won't be sorry, especially if you're struggling with something that you're not quite sure how to move through. 

One of the concepts that created an "aha moment" for me was the distinction he made between Blame, Responsibility, and Fault. I've known for a long time that taking responsibility for our lives and our experiences is THE cornerstone of personal development. It's the lesson we have to learn over and over again. But it always feels a little insensitive to tell someone who has just had something incredibly traumatic happen to them or has a big painful mess in their life their dealing with that they need to "take responsibility". It just always seems a little asshole-y, and I don't want to be an asshole. 

I'm almost always for 'telling it like it is' with compassion. I'm not afraid to make people uncomfortable by starting confrontational conversations that need to be had. I will never enable a friend's or client's old patterns with my words. However, telling someone who's dog just died that they need to take responsibility, just doesn't seem cool or feel good. 

I'm dealing with something personally where I am in a lot of pain because of the actions of another person. (sorry to be vague, I just don't feel quite healed enough to share the details) For all intents and purposes, this action that hurt me was taken by someone else and totally blindsided me. I think any interaction where two parties are involved, there is always the "it takes two to tango" aspect, but I can honestly say that I feel pretty innocent. 

So... taking responsibility for the hurt, pain, anger, sadness, disappointment, etc has been really difficult for me, because I feel like the victim. On a few levels, I am the victim, but I also know a victim-mentality never helped anyone. So this distinction between blame, fault, and responsibility really helped me work through that victim mentality and come to a more productive and healing outcome. 

So here's the distinctions: 

Blame

In a situation where someone or multiple someones is/are hurt, who is to blame is a valid question. It is totally fair to blame someone/something other than yourself if you've been hurt. The example I'll use is your boyfriend cheating on you. If your boyfriend cheats on you, the pain you feel from that breach of trust is very real and would not have been there had your boyfriend not cheated on you. This pain can absolutely be blamed on him. Ok, before you feel justified in your blaming and naming, read on. 


Fault

The main thing we need to understand is that fault is not always linked to responsibility. In our society, we tend to think fault equals responsibility, and sometimes it absolutely does. If you hit someone with your car, it's probably your fault. However, if we stay with this example of the cheating boyfriend, it is not your fault your boyfriend cheated on you. You could have been having arguments, you could not have gotten along with his friends, whatever, none of that makes it your fault. He took the action and cheated. That could never be your fault. Again, keep reading though...  



Responsibility

This is something you always, always have. There are no other options. We are the only ones that live in our bodies and are the only ones living our lives, so we always have responsibility for the way we react no matter who is at fault or who is to blame. Again with the cheating example, your boyfriend can be blamed for your pain, it is his fault that your relationship is blown up, however, it is still your responsibility to decide what to do with all this. You could see it as an impetus for change in your relationship, maybe it's a gift letting you know he is an asshole before you married him, or maybe it's an opportunity to look at yourself and how you act in your relationships. 

Taking responsibility for EVERYTHING is the only option for an empowered life, but that most certainly doesn't mean you have to take on blame or fault yourself. 

Want help getting clear on how to take responsibility for your life without feeling guilty or ashamed? 

I have 10 slots open for my 30min $20 Introductory Self-Love Sessions this week and next week. Request yours by filling out this form (first come, first serve).