Tag Archives: dog

Why and How Would I Forgive that %&*$# ? Part One.

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2015 Nancy Virden

images (17)The longer you refuse to let something go, the longer you are chained to it.

We think we are in control when we hang on to hurt and blame. It is our anger, we want to own it!  We have the right to be angry because we were maltreated, our lives were ruined, and we were damaged. Because of someone else’s actions or inaction, we have suffered. How dare they? We have every reason to hold them in contempt, darn it!

Picture walking a big dog down the street. It is untrained, and is dragging you into yards and traffic. It smells another dog’s presence and forces you into a race. Later, you could claim you took the dog for a walk.  In the end of your version of the story you come out on top. You are the owner, the one who is right, and the dog is victimizing you by making your walks challenging.

Theoretically only, one of your options on the walk is to let go of the leash. Truth is, if you gave the dog freedom to run away your physical battle would be over. Later, your story could be that you once owned the dog, it made walks challenging, and so you let it go. How powerful you really are! Now you are free of the animal and the trouble that came with it.

In a similar way, letting the person or persons who brought you pain ‘off the leash’ so to speak, frees you from the mental difficulties that come with holding on. This does not mean they get off scot-free from wrongdoing, so please allow me to explain what I mean by ‘let go.’

Lawfully and morally, if someone commits a crime against another they ought to receive the punishment due them. Bringing legal charges against such a person protects you and perhaps others from further harm. With that said, you and I know there are deeper issues to wrestle in matters of forgiveness.

What does hanging on to anger look like?

  1. Thinking about the offense
  2. Thinking about the resulting harm
  3. Thinking about blame

For years I tried to forgive a person who lied to get what he wanted. His choices uprooted my life in significant ways. Whenever the consequences of his actions confronted me, I took a wrong versus right stance with me being right, of course. The events played in my memory as I searched for anything I may have missed.

A list of harm done became longer as life continued to unfold consequences. When his name came up I thought about him with disdain and distrust. How dare he get that promotion? How could other people be so blind? He is lucky I don’t go to his superiors. 

I felt powerful in my resentment. Yet because of my spiritual training, knew it was an obligation to forgive him. By trying to do so, I managed to conjure up moments of good feelings toward the man, but they were all temporary and required much effort. Before long, old thoughts and feelings would rise.

How does hanging on to anger feel?

  1. Depressed mood.
  2. Fear
  3. Paralysis
  4. Continued pain

Whether or not depression in this case becomes clinical is not the point; we are not happy when caught up in an anger cycle. In my case jealousy grew. I wondered what was wrong with me and questioned how did this lying %^&$* have success and I not?

Fear blossomed. Maybe doing the right thing never works out. Maybe I’m incapable. Maybe it will happen to me again. Maybe I cannot trust anyone. In part, this fear paralyzed me in relationships and goal-setting. In some ways it restrained me from reaching out. All the while,  continuing to blame this fellow for my difficulties fed pain in my heart.

And I felt powerful in my bitterness.

The dog was pulling me into alleys and dark tunnels. Blinded because of not forgiving this man, I lost sight of a few important things. His action altered my life temporarily while my choice to hang on to the offense helped to cripple me for years.

Stay tuned to part two of this series.

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

 

 

The Courage to Change the Things I Can

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden

photo-26229816-1119202014-holiday-cats-11Cinnamon the cat was a few weeks old when he was given to my youngest son. As he grew, his favorite game was hide-n-seek (Ok, that could be my son or the cat).

Cinnamon’s form of the game was to squeeze under chairs and bat at passing feet. For fourteen years, we didn’t know when those paws would catch us.

Cinnamon could be a fighter. One day, the neighbor’s German Shepherd saw Cinnamon crossing under the fence and into the dog’s territory. Within seconds, the scene was a little yellow cat, back arched, hissing at a crazily barking and threatening opponent ten times his size. I called to Cinnamon, but of course he could not leave his spot at the moment, so I called out to the dog’s owner.

It wasn’t necessary. The dog hovered just a little too close above Cinnamon’s head and out flew those kitty paws. “Yelp!” One swipe of his claws across the big beast’s nose and the cat was home free.

It had seemed from the outside that the little guy was sure to lose that battle. However, Cinnamon had the courage to change odds to his favor. If he had not acted, only God knows what would have been the end to this story.

Far from that day both in time and distance, a small circle of faces take turns glancing about the room then staring at the floor. Feet shuffle; one can hear the occasional cough or cleared throat. Sincere hellos break the silence with each new entrance. Metal folding chairs are squeezed more closely together to make room- there is always space for one more. Strangers and regular attenders alike are welcome.

Precisely on the hour, someone greets everyone with a smile. “This is a meeting of _______Anonymous. I am_______and I will be your leader tonight. Are there any other [addicts] here besides me?”

The title of this post is the second line of the famous Serenity Prayer, read and quoted and lifted to God in desperate hope during anonymous meetings around the globe. Quality decisions are made to deal with life on life’s terms as people in the process of change practice courage.

Elsewhere, in a small office, several volunteers stuff donation requests into envelopes with hope of raising enough cash to make a significant difference for their cause. A church basement across town is a scene of organized chaos as bags of clothes, toys, and food are sorted and prepared for giving to the poor. Across the oceans, courage rallies to bring clean water to whole villages.

Cinnamon might have thought himself a lion. People trying to build new lives are probably less sure of themselves. Having courage to change what we can for the human race may mean giving up something we want. There will always be the ferocious and scary looming over our heads, we are only in charge of our response.

We have the claws to fight back. Discovering how to use them is brave.

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

**picture from qualitystockphotos.com