Retire WOW » Friendship http://www.retirewow.com Retirement Life Matters Thu, 02 Jun 2016 19:44:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.11 5 Keys To Forgivenesshttp://www.retirewow.com/5-keys-to-forgiveness/ http://www.retirewow.com/5-keys-to-forgiveness/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:50:15 +0000 http://www.retirewow.com/?p=3630 The keys to forgiveness is a powerful process that will give you greater understanding of yourself. It will also free more of your energy and access to your power. But forgiveness of deep wounds shouldn’t be done lightly; otherwise, you’re just covering up the hurt. Wounds caused by what loved ones, friends, colleagues and employers […]

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The keys to forgiveness is a powerful process that will give you greater understanding of yourself. It will also free more of your energy and access to your power. But forgiveness of deep wounds shouldn’t be done lightly; otherwise, you’re just covering up the hurt.

Wounds caused by what loved ones, friends, colleagues and employers say and do can affect you at a deep level. However, hanging onto the hurt can harm you even more. Not only is it bad for your mental, emotional and physical health, but also it can draw more distress into your life.

Unforgiveness poisons your mind, body and affairs. Healing traditions from religion to psychotherapy to 12-Step programs agree that forgiveness of self and others needs to occur before you can have peace of mind.

For true healing, you need to acknowledge what happened, how it affected you and discover what you can learn from it. Any true forgiveness changes you at a deep level. It clears a path for the Law of Attraction to flow smoothly, to draw what you want into your life.

To work towards forgiveness, apply these five points when someone has hurt or offended you.

1. Identify the injury. This doesn’t mean relating what actually happened, but what you feel was broken. Before you can actually forgive, you need to understand what you’re forgiving. What principles, beliefs or expectations were violated? Whatever you feel was shattered has to be identified before you can truly forgive.

2. What do you feel about the offense? What did the injury mean to you? Journaling about how it made you feel can help you understand it better and reprocess the experience. Most people experience anger as a result of some wound. If you hold onto anger, you’re doing so totry to protect yourself and keep the event fromhappening again.

3. Mourn what has been lost or changed. You may feel a loss of belief in another person, in fairness, or safety. Grieving over the loss in necessary and appropriate. Your life has changed irrevocably. The relationship with the other person has also altered. But you will emerge stronger from this process.

4. Uncover the lesson for you. You could decide that no one is trustworthy, but is that belief going to be useful for you? That’s not necessarily the best lesson from what happened. You can decide what message you want to take from the event. What do you want to believe that will help you in the future? Wouldn’t a more reasonable belief be that some people can’t be trusted, and to be more vigilant for red flags in the future? By doing this step, you’re reprocessing how you fit into life and adjusting your beliefs to reflect the new you. This can help you learn what values you hold most dear.

5. Choose to forgive the person. You are not pardoning or excusing what happened. In this step, you’re making a choice to let go of any anger towards them. They’rehuman, with their own faults and character flaws. By accepting them as they are, you recognize that they can’t fill all your needs. The relationship will be different, because you’ll be more self-reliant and aware of their imperfections.

Just because you’ve forgiven them doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences from their actions. You may forgive the person but not want them in your life any longer. Their offense may be so severe that any trust is permanently broken and you realize they won’t change. In this case, you want no further association with them. By forgiving them, you’re freeing them and yourself to move on with your lives.


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How to Build Friendships in Retirementhttp://www.retirewow.com/how-to-build-friendships-in-retirement/ http://www.retirewow.com/how-to-build-friendships-in-retirement/#comments Wed, 28 Dec 2011 09:17:39 +0000 http://www.retirewow.com/?p=3515 It’s assumed by the time you get to retirement age, you’re surrounded by lifelong friends. While that may be true for some, it’s not for everyone. Whether you have a plethora or a few close ones, building friendships is an important activity in retirement. Knowing how to build friendships requires effort, but the reward is […]

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It’s assumed by the time you get to retirement age, you’re surrounded by lifelong friends. While that may be true for some, it’s not for everyone. Whether you have a plethora or a few close ones, building friendships is an important activity in retirement. Knowing how to build friendships requires effort, but the reward is well worth it.

Friendships need nurturing. If you’re having trouble getting together, schedule time to talk or see each other. It might mean making time to talk on the phone every Saturday morning or going to lunch once a month. It might take a while to find the right schedule that works for both of you, but be willing to experiment.

Make time to do things together. Share the experience of a spa date or lunch and going to art galleries. Make time to have fun together. Often friends becomes the people we complain to, but a good friendships need more.

Connect with friends virtually. The largest growing demographic on Facebook is women over 55. Search out old school chums or former work colleagues. Connecting on Facebook is a way to connect and renew friendships that doesn’t take a lot of time or money.

Reach out to new people. If you are new to a community or have people moving in don’t hesitate to reach out to others. Not all connections will result in strong relationships, but over time you can find people to have fun and share your time.

Building friendships requires effort, but like most things in life, worth the effort.

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How to Find and Keep Friendships in Retirementhttp://www.retirewow.com/find-keep-friendships-retirement/ http://www.retirewow.com/find-keep-friendships-retirement/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 01:12:55 +0000 http://www.retirewow.com/?p=14833 Excerpt from Retire to Great Friendships by Edward Zinkiewicz Identify activities you want to engage.  Make list of things you enjoy or would like to do. • Golfing? • Playing cards? • Being with animals? • Gardening? • Cooking? • Taking photos, perhaps through a telescope? • Listening to speakers? • Seeing art exhibits? • […]

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Retire_GreatFriendshipsExcerpt from Retire to Great Friendships by Edward Zinkiewicz

Identify activities you want to engage.  Make list of things you enjoy or would like to do.

• Golfing?

• Playing cards?

• Being with animals?

• Gardening?

• Cooking?

• Taking photos, perhaps through a telescope?

• Listening to speakers?

• Seeing art exhibits?

• Singing, playing an instrument, or attending concerts?

These activities provide the means for meeting folks. Here’s our favorite:

Early in our married life, my wife and I moved 2,000 miles away from home to attend graduate school. We knew no one. We definitely felt isolated! The advice we were given? Kids and dogs. Dogs and kids. You have to walk the dog or the baby or take the preschooler to the playground. People will greet you! You’re one of the safe ones, because you have a cute dog—or a cute kid. Kids and dogs—a good way to meet your neighbors.

What might your to-do list look like? You can start with the dreams you had for retirement. When I planned my retirement, I promised myself I would learn more about photography and take better pictures. So I added photography classes to my list. One instructor turned out to be a neighbor, and now we’re working on other projects together. Bingo. A “two-for”!

Sometimes these activities come with their own venue. If so, you can go back and add a circle or worksheet for that group. Sometimes activities don’t come with a particular setting. If they do not, you can connect those dots in Step 2.

When you are listing activities, pay attention to your internal “comfort meter.” Some folks are just not at ease stepping forward and introducing themselves or walking up to a group and asking to join in an already engaged activity. In some situations, doing so might also be rude; we certainly don’t want to start off a potential relationship by alienating everyone.

If you are more reticent, then you may want to join in activities that expect newcomers. Our water aerobics class was fun, and it was always open to newcomers. That group included enough outgoing folks so that any stranger was likely to feel welcome without having to step forward to meet folks.

Joining a Sunday school class or attending a Wednesday night church dinner would put you in a place where people would recognize a “newbie” in the group. The folks there will likely welcome you and find ways to get you involved gradually.

One final word about expectations: Don’t pick a large group. For example, if you walked into a worship setting with 600 people, you may not meet anybody. Those 600 people may have no way of recognizing the newcomer! However, if you joined a small group at the same church or synagogue, the story should be different.

Ed  is one of the interviewees in Living the Dream Audio Series. Hear him and learn more about the special offer available until Jan 19, 2014.

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Social Activities for Life After Retirementhttp://www.retirewow.com/social-activities-for-life-after-retirement/ http://www.retirewow.com/social-activities-for-life-after-retirement/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2011 20:11:40 +0000 http://www.retirewow.com/?p=2725 An important aspect of retirement life is staying connected to others. People often underestimate the role our co-workers play in our social life. They may be surprised at how much effort it takes to stay involved with others. Many people are naturally drawn to social endeavors. Whether or not you are an innately ‘social’ person, […]

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An important aspect of retirement life is staying connected to others. People often underestimate the role our co-workers play in our social life. They may be surprised at how much effort it takes to stay involved with others. Many people are naturally drawn to social endeavors. Whether or not you are an innately ‘social’ person, everyone needs social activities that connect them to others as part of life after retirement.

For the Retirement Life Project, Social activities involve other people, either being in service to, educating, and communication. It also includes spiritual activities. Social activities can easily be turned into a part time job, opportunity for starting a business or a way to volunteer. People helping people as a fun activity is only limited by your imagination. There are literally millions of ways you can get involved socially.

This is a broad category where activities in retirement may include work, starting a business, hobbies or volunteer. Some subgroups are more conducive for different activities than others. For example, spirituality is more likely to be an interest area for volunteering or personal growth than a part or full time job as one gets older, although, there are exceptions.

The Social activities are divided into five subgroups.

Spiritual – Your own spiritual growth or helping others with theirs is included in this group. Spirituality becomes much more important as people age as they look for a bigger meaning to life and also come to deal with their own mortality. Spiritual service is also a rewarding activity that becomes important to people as they have the time to connect with others on a deeper level.

Communication – A love for language, literature and the expression of self through written and oral communication is included in this group. While it might be difficult to find a paid position in the field of communication, there are certainly opportunities for using communication as a hobby, volunteer activity or even starting a business.

Personal Services – Catering to the needs of others is a huge group that presents a multitude of opportunity for people who have the desire and talent to work with others meeting their basic needs. Most jobs in personal services don’t require a college education. What training is required can be acquired with on-the-job-training or short term training.

Education – While many retirees have an interest in learning, there has also been a rise in seniors as teachers. Many schools have made allowances in certain subjects for professionals to enter the classroom without having to return to school to get a teaching degree. Beyond formal teaching, there are numerous opportunities to turn your passion and knowledge into volunteer or work activities.

Social Services – Involved with helping people in a more professional arena, there are fewer work opportunities in the social services unless you are a trained professional. Interestingly enough there may be many opportunities to get involved as a counselor, coach or therapist as a volunteer if this is an area of passion.

Get involved with others for fun, as a volunteer or in a job. Social activities keep you engaged, involved and connected to something outside yourself.

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The Hard Truth!http://www.retirewow.com/the-hard-truth/ http://www.retirewow.com/the-hard-truth/#comments Wed, 01 Jun 2011 18:35:21 +0000 http://www.retirewow.com/?p=2637 The first time I heard that expression was in a coach training class I attended almost 10 years ago. It was being used to describe a coaching skill to the class with little ole me as the example! The teacher sensed that this skill was a challenge for me to use. He hit the nail […]

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The first time I heard that expression was in a coach training class I attended almost 10 years ago. It was being used to describe a coaching skill to the class with little ole me as the example! The teacher sensed that this skill was a challenge for me to use. He hit the nail on the head with that one. Paradoxically though telling the truth was a high value of mine I also had fear of conflict, which often got in the way of full truth telling on my part. In situations of high emotion I had a habit of fudging a bit on the truth. Soft soaping, watering down, glossing over are all terms that come to mind when I think back on the way I used to avoid speaking the hard truth to others as well as myself.

I have learned over the last 10 years in my work as a coach and my personal life, that it is this particular kind of truth that is most likely to be at the core of what is blocking us from our highest good. It is also, this kind of truth that is most likely to set us free when it is known and accepted.

What is the hard truth exactly? For me it is a truth that is hard to see, hard to accept, hard to deny once known. It is a truth that is usually at the core of our not getting the results we desire in our lives. The hardest aspect of this kind of truth can be seeing how long a limited belief and sabotaging behavior has been working against us.

When we see a hard truth about ourselves we are forced to accept responsibility for creating trouble for ourselves. Yikes…that can be super hard to do.

There is nothing more freeing however once you get past the shock and shame of it.

I have come to appreciate and use often the skill of telling the hard truth in my work with clients. I have seen the transformation that happens and know that it is a rare event in our lives to have someone willing to risk the wrath that can come when a well-hidden truth is poked and prodded into the light.

The positive results of knowing the hard truth became apparent to me in a new way last week in the Relationship Alchemy Coaching Circle conversations. Having focused on the truth for the month of August we were reaping the benefits that truth telling offers. I noticed that many of the women were getting down to some core beliefs that had been limiting them. There is a certain sound or vibration felt when a hard truth is named. It feels like a …CLUNK!

When I am on the phone with someone it is palatable. In person there is a look people get that is a kind of “deer in the headlights” look, with the deer in this case being a startling new awareness of themselves.

My challenge to you this week is to take a look at your life and see if there is an area that is not working the way you would like. Pay attention to how you feel when you think about this. Do you get a knot in your stomach? Does your thinking get kind of fuzzy? Do you suddenly feel drained? If so you have most likely hit on something that could use a good dose of hard truth telling!

Ask yourself. If I were willing to see clearly what would a possible hard truth be in this area? Take a note from last weeks message and PLAY with this. Soft focus on the question and see what comes to the surface. It may take a minute it might take a week but eventually you will see a hard truth. The benefit of knowing a truth is being set free. The best thing about knowing a Hard Truth is the feeling of being set WAY free!

 

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Aging Boomers Helping Seniorshttp://www.retirewow.com/aging-boomers-helping-seniors/ http://www.retirewow.com/aging-boomers-helping-seniors/#comments Mon, 04 Apr 2011 08:16:23 +0000 http://www.retirewow.com/?p=2345 Ed Note: As aging boomers shift from full-time careers, they are looking for new options. Many will get involved in helping seniors. Maggy Young shares her story. I hope my story is just starting. For many years I had been involved in a property business, but the slump brought this to a close. I am […]

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Ed Note: As aging boomers shift from full-time careers, they are looking for new options. Many will get involved in helping seniors. Maggy Young shares her story.

I hope my story is just starting. For many years I had been involved in a property business, but the slump brought this to a close. I am a ‘boomer’ but was used to being busy and active and didn’t want this to end. Plus having even a small business gives you additional interests, together with many contacts and new friends, all of which helps to keep you young. So I went looking for a new venture and for three years found nothing which seemed to be right. Opportunities of course were not helped by the combination of the recession and the rise of the web resulting in many traditional businesses dying on their feet.

That was when a memory from the old property days came back to me. I had purchased a quality second floor apartment in a modern block which was being sold by a nearby relative of a deceased elderly lady. I heard from the neighbors in the adjacent flats how the old lady had lain there for three months or more until suspicions were aroused and eventually there was a forced entry. It had always stuck in my mind about how sad this all was.

I had read that Guy Kawaski, – the famous venture capitalist, entrepreneur and author of ‘The Art of the Start’, said that you should look for a wrong to right, look for a problem and help to answer it. I thought how people nearby almost certainly never realized how few callers that old lady locked in her flat sometimes had and wondered if she might have survived if a no answer had been detected earlier….. if she had had any callers of any sort. And how people probably never realized how few callers she sometimes had.

From the memory of that sad flat, in March 2011 I launched a new business marketing a daily call program for Seniors and the infirm. The program runs every day of a week except Sundays, with a nominated relative being notified if there is no answer after three calls. Initially I saw it as a first line of senior citizen services, providing a level of reassurance to both family and the client being called. Then the concept of the social angle became more prominent as I discussed it with others and this related back even more to that senior lady in her apartment who had so few callers from time to time. I read commentaries in the New York Times ‘New Old Age Blog’ featuring the increasing loneliness and isolation of many seniors who have lost touch with family, friends and neighbors and decided that lessening this situation was the key aspect which a daily call program offered.

This is reflected in our Mission statement: “To ensure that Seniors and others do not pass more than one day of a week without enjoying at least one conversation to brighten their day and a contact with the outside world.” The program has only just launched in the US and UK, but I have now found a new business with a strong sense of purpose and one which can hopefully make a contribution helping seniors.

 

 

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The Issues Men Talk About With Each Otherhttp://www.retirewow.com/issues-men-talk/ http://www.retirewow.com/issues-men-talk/#comments Thu, 10 Oct 2013 07:15:49 +0000 http://www.retirewow.com/?p=14074 The Issues Men Talk About With Each Other (But Not Their Wives) As a psychologist and expert on men’s issues, I have facilitated men’s groups and gatherings for over two decades (not to mention participating in my own men’s groups as well), and I can tell you that men really value the company of other […]

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group of menThe Issues Men Talk About With Each Other (But Not Their Wives)

As a psychologist and expert on men’s issues, I have facilitated men’s groups and gatherings for over two decades (not to mention participating in my own men’s groups as well), and I can tell you that men really value the company of other men. Why? Because they can say things to each other that they cannot say to their wives, things the other men readily understand.

Once trust, friendship and comfort are achieved in a men’s group, a man often needs to talk about…

• His wife’s greater emotionality and how difficult it is for him to stay calm when she’s expressing intense – and often critical – feelings.

• His wife’s need to talk about all manner of emotional complaints that sometimes seem inconsequential to him but highly consequential to her, leaving him feeling confused, wrong, angry and defeated.

• Perceptions of his wife’s views and behaviors that typically evoke defensive anger and judgment from her. As a result, he feels it’s impossible to give her the same kind of feedback without escalating the conflict – a no-win situation.

You see, men are rather easily defeated by a woman’s emotions and then face the difficult choice of suppressing their feelings or blowing up. Complicating matters further, men often lack the verbal ability to skillfully express emotions. As they try to explain their point of view, they quickly feel out-argued. This why men retreat into their “man cave” where, for a time, they get to make up the rules. So in men’s groups, there is often a tangible sigh of relief at finally being able to share these struggles with others who completely understand, not to denigrate their wives, but to feel less powerless, abnormal or dismissed.

This kind of gender conflict has been well described by writers like John Gray in Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, Carol Gilligan’s In A Different Voice, and Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand. It arises because we are psychologically differently. Men strive by nature and conditioning to be independent, tough, logical, stoical, action-oriented and in control. They are warriors that don’t like to have their feelings read or interpreted – indeed they often don’t know what their feelings are. They love, but in a different way than women. When there is a problem, they love by wanting to fix things. Women, more attuned to the subtleties of relationship, often feel that they are the relationship, so when their feelings are not mirrored in their mate, they strive mightily to get them to understand because the discrepancy is itself so painful. They don’t want to be fixed, they want to be understood and resonated with, completely baffling their husband.

I could go on for pages describing and exploring these differences. What’s most important, however, is for both men and women to admit the reality of these different emotional styles. Neither can change the other, but understanding can change the way they both manage the relationship. Men blossom in men’s groups because they feel it is safe to be who they are. With time, support and understanding, they also find the courage and the words to stay in the marital conflict without exploding or retreating. Of course women have the same kinds of legitimate complaints about their husbands. Specifically, they don’t like being told that they are too emotional or instructed on now to fix their problems – such criticism makes them feel inadequate, misunderstood and even more angry. No one wins when this gender argument deteriorates into blaming; both win when the pattern is recognized and each takes responsibly for responding more constructively.

 

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How to Make Friends for Women Over 50http://www.retirewow.com/how-to-make-friends-for-women-over-50/ http://www.retirewow.com/how-to-make-friends-for-women-over-50/#comments Wed, 16 Mar 2011 07:53:45 +0000 http://www.retirewow.com/?p=2245 A challenge to the friendship of women for those facing retirement is often a new move closer to grandkids, to a warmer place or to a dream house, could mean leaving behind a network of local friends and starting the process all over on how to make friends for women over 50. Do make new […]

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A challenge to the friendship of women for those facing retirement is often a new move closer to grandkids, to a warmer place or to a dream house, could mean leaving behind a network of local friends and starting the process all over on how to make friends for women over 50.

Do make new friendships reflecting your current life. It does take time to feel familiar with new friends, usually 2-3 get-togethers for about 3-6 months, sometimes up to a year. But the time is an important investment. Make sure you start connecting with others who live in your new community, who share your interests and who can journey with you for who are now.

Do stay in touch with a select few from your past. It is hugely important to have people in your life who you feel like know you and have witnessed significant milestones in your life. In other words, shared history matters. Be intentional to choose a few people from different phases of your life to devote energy and time to writing, calling and visiting.

Do be authentic. In the retirement transition, many life areas that have given you your identity (career, kids, marriage) may shift. As you step into more awareness around who you are and what you are offering in a friendship, one of the gifts that comes with age is a freedom to be real. Talk about things that matter. Be authentic. Show up as you—not as so-and-so’s mom or the manager of this-and-that. Your relationships have the possibility of being richer than ever for women over 50!

 

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Importance of Friendship For Women Over 50http://www.retirewow.com/importance-of-friendship-for-women-over-50/ http://www.retirewow.com/importance-of-friendship-for-women-over-50/#comments Tue, 08 Mar 2011 01:01:36 +0000 http://www.retirewow.com/?p=2198 Research has long shown the importance of friendship to preventative & restorative health, increased happiness and lower stress levels, but as findings are connected to longevity, baby boomers should definitely take note of the tips from Shasta noted below on how to establish or increase a circle of friends for women over 50. Shasta Nelson, […]

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Research has long shown the importance of friendship to preventative & restorative health, increased happiness and lower stress levels, but as findings are connected to longevity, baby boomers should definitely take note of the tips from Shasta noted below on how to establish or increase a circle of friends for women over 50.

Shasta Nelson, founder of GirlFriendCircles.com and a prolific expert on the subject of friendship of women initially launched the site that connects women for real, offline friendships with the intention of matching women in there 20’s and 30’s. However, she has now found that baby boomers are the fastest growing age group of women looking for new friends. Women over the age of 50 now make up one of the fastest growing age categories in the community.

In fact, Dr. Jacqueline Olds, a psychiatrist and prolific author says, “Aside from genetics, the two most important factors in longevity are exercise and a network of friends.” And certainly as our exercise abilities change as we age, the friendship piece could play a stronger and more significant role in the quality of our life.

Increased Desire

As generations age, their awareness of the importance of caring for their physical and emotional health seems to intensify. The life experiences of baby-boomers now include having their own fair-share of death, divorce, loss and disappointment, which increasingly heightens the desire to have real friends, not just a social life. Both women and men recognize an amplified desire to participate in supportive friendships that include regular meaningful conversations and quality time together. Baby-boomers age they are also able to devote more consistent time to the development of friendship. Their children are no longer as time consuming to their schedules and many are trying to retire or, at least, don’t want to live for work anymore.

Increased Challenges

The flip side of that truth also presents a challenge that baby-boomers will face as they seek to foster new friendships. Kids, careers and spouses were effective ways to meet new friends in the younger days, but as our kids move out, divorces occur and we cut back on working at the office, those popular areas of commonality become less helpful in forging introductions.

Another challenge to the friendship of women for those facing retirement, which often includes a new move closer to grandkids, to a warmer place or to a dream house, could mean leaving behind a network of local friends and starting the process all over.

 

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The Lessons of Bitternesshttp://www.retirewow.com/the-lessons-of-bitterness/ http://www.retirewow.com/the-lessons-of-bitterness/#comments Wed, 28 Aug 2013 06:15:09 +0000 http://www.retirewow.com/?p=398 I have worked with hundreds of people in the course of my life and most have just faded out of memory. A few have become my dearest friends. There aren’t many against whom I hold a grudge. However, there are two that betrayed the trust and confidence I held in them. Over the course of […]

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I have worked with hundreds of people in the course of my life and most have just faded out of memory. A few have become my dearest friends. There aren’t many against whom I hold a grudge. However, there are two that betrayed the trust and confidence I held in them.

Over the course of a long and full life, we all experience betrayals. A parent, a friend, a co-worker, a lover, or a child betrays our trust or love or faith. First, we are profoundly shocked. Then, profoundly angry. Then, often, we become profoundly bitter. A permanent bitter taste.

How do I find my way back? After descending into the depths of bitterness, I finally realized that this is not the way I’d like to spend my life. I thought about the state of mind and heart I’d rather have. Then, I tried to face the realities of the unhappy relationship honestly, without discouragement or judgment, seeing my part in the problem. Even though I found I couldn’t forgive my betrayers at present, I set the intention to forgive them at some future time. Hard as it is to let go the angry clutching and holding of betrayal, I know the only release from bitterness is to forgive. It can be a long, long process.

When I was young, I thought that once I had forgiven someone, they would stay forgiven, but I found that in similar circumstances those feelings rise up again. It is as if that profoundly bitter experience creates a spiritual sensitivity that won’t quite heal. Sometimes I don’t even recognize that the sudden rush of anger in an entirely different situation is directly linked to an old wound.

I learned to ask myself “What is the first time I felt this way?” and I often uncover a connection to a previous experience. With this question, I recently discovered that angry feelings toward my co-worker have some of their beginnings in my relationship with my father.

Did that make forgiveness and release easier? Not really, but I have become aware of my own bitterness and begin to look toward a brighter future. I know I’d rather be happy and at peace about the people in my life and past. I am doing my best to face these relationships directly without discouragement or judgment, and finally I try, again and again, to release the situation and move forward.

In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing; a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window…my daughter in a yellow dress…the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learn to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy over and over again.

Barbara Kingsolver
from High Tide in Tucson

 

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