Archive for the ‘forgiveness’ Tag

BACK TO THE SEMINAR   Leave a comment

Forgive me for the long delay. I’ve been busy preparing and giving an in-person presentation on reconciliation at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Excelsior, Minnesota, on Wednesday, February 13. You might be interested to know an answer I gave there to the question “Why?”

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go: first be reconciled to your brother or sister and then come and offer your gift.” Mathew 5: 23-24

It’s the biblical way of saying you can’t enjoy the blessing of internal peace if you are harboring anger over a damaged relationship. It’s another way of emphasizing the importance of removing the impediment from your own eye before trying to straighten someone else out.

The point is, reconciliation requires coming together in one way or another with the other person(s). It’s a two-way street. Except when the other person refuses to engage. Then the reconciliation requires engaging oneself internally in working through the hurt and anger.

For now, though, I’d like to talk about initiating the connection. It’s important to know the outcome you hope for …  and how likely it is that you’ll get what you’re looking for. Do you want a response? What might it be? An offer to meet and talk? An agreement to follow through on the direct action you’ve requested? Or even for the person to realize there’s a problem in the first place? Are you creating more pain and anger for yourself by imagining an unlikely response, the absence of which will leave you disappointed (and even angrier?)

Or what if you just want to express your anger. If you do that and stop there, it’s guaranteed you’ll accomplish two things – hurt the other person, and encourage defensiveness, denial, and/or retaliation.

But if hurting the other person is what you want, here are the rules for doing it.

  • Create a triangle. Try to get a third person to deliver your message for you. Or maybe bring in someone else as in, “And Mary Jane agrees with me, too.”
  • Don’t respond if the person reaches out to you
  • Send a letter – snail mail or e-mail – with no opportunity for the recipient to respond. End it with something like, “I just had to tell you how I feel.”
  • Make sure you blame the person.
  • Make sure you imply that you are blameless.
  • Maybe offer a diagnosis to explain the other person’s misdeed, as, for example, “You always were good at being passive aggressive” or “I have to understand that you can’t help being like that, given what I know about your upbringing.”
  • Avoid the Jennie rule. Jennie, my mother, one of those people who qualifies as a natural confident – one whom other people felt comforted by – recommended “Always put the best construction on all your neighbor’s actions.” That doesn’t mean making excuses or accepting abuse. It means there’s always another side. Finding it is the essence of love. It’s also the best route to understanding and potentially resolving a painful issue. Or maybe realizing that it’s time to give up. So, if what you want is to hurt the other person, then don’t invoke the Jennie rule.
  • Finally, and above all, if you want to avoid reconciliation, don’t communicate directly with the other person.

Maybe you can tell from reading this that I’d rather be talking with you in person, watching your reaction, coming up with spontaneous stories to illustrate my point. But I hope these thoughts are of some help.

And, to tell the truth, I hope you won’t apply any of the rules I’ve given above.

I’ll be back soon with the more positive side of the story, but maybe you can guess what will go into the next section: “What to do if you want to reconcile.”

I’d love to hear your reactions to this.

 

 

LET’S GET SERIOUS ABOUT FORGIVENESS. NOPE! BETTER YET, LET’S LAUGH   4 comments

Just click the link below — so good, and so good for you

Let’s laugh instead

Posted September 23, 2018 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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Forgiveness — Thanks to Jean Budge   6 comments

I owe so much to my friends. Like the most recent addition to my web site — a very moving account of forgiveness where one might think it impossible. I hope you’ll take the time to click on “my web site” and watch it. I think you’ll be glad you did if you haven’t seen it already, and even if you have, a second viewing might be worth it.

Posted October 8, 2017 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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SCIENCE BACKED STRATEGIES THAT MAY HELP IN THESE STRESSFUL TIMES   3 comments

Just back from a fabulous Smithsonian trip to Egypt, I’m way behind, of course, in almost everything that needs doing. I’m not even ready yet to post the photo of me standing by a camel. No, forget it, I’m not brave enough to ride one.

Anyway, this link leads to a long article, but you may find it helpful. I especially recommend the material at the end on forgiveness. In fact, I wish it would lead you to my books on forgiveness. But, no matter what, I hope you have the time to enjoy it.

Science Backed Strategies

Mona’s Books

 

Posted November 10, 2016 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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FORGIVE AND FORGET?   8 comments

I have really enjoyed seeing sales of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses” increase as I’ve shared some reviews, but I had promised to get rolling on the issue of forgiveness. So here’s my first entry. It ties directly back to promises I made when my web site was established some time ago.

First, let me say that I personally don’t like posts that are too long. I find myself anxious to get back to writing “My Father’s House,” so I’ll assume that it’s a good idea to keep my own posts short. That means what I say is going to be imperfect. I hope that in itself will encourage arguments, examples, and other comments.

So, here goes.

I loved Lewis Smedes “Forgive and Forget,” but I hated the title. I was told later by someone who knew him personally that he didn’t like it either. Publishers have a way of imposing things on authors. Why not like it? Because it’s basically impossible, certainly unrealistic, to think you can forget the offense you’ve suffered.

Try to shove the offense out of your mind? Well, to put it maybe too simply, but realistically, you’ll be pushing it into your body to create all the possible negative effects of stress. Like a viral or bacterial infection it will grow without control.

The truth is, you can work on relieving the terrible aftermath of suffering an offense, but you won’t forget it. What will happen with good forgiveness work is you’ll lose the emotional pain and protect your body.

Forgiveness usually takes hard work over time. Why would you want to forget the benefits of that herculean effort and all you learned from it?

If I can tear myself away from my other writing, I’ll soon be sharing the forgiveness process as presented in “Forgiving One Page at a Time.”

By the way, I loved Smedes’ later book, “The Art of Forgiving

I grieved as if I had known him personally when he died.

THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN GOODNESS   12 comments

Many years ago now, my friend and colleague Barbara McEwen, a physiological psychologist,  made me aware that I didn’t fully understand the meaning of “The Survival of the Fittest.” Like so many people, I thought it meant that the winners were the ones who managed to beat the competition and pass on their genetic material. Barb pointed out that cooperation is every bit as important as competition, evoking my reaction of “Of course, why didn’t I know that,”

Sadly, Barb is no longer with us to see the influence of people like her. But, fortunately, scientists are now exploring the implications of humanity’s cooperative side, with an emphasis on human goodness. Right now I’m reading a collection of articles by scientists who are exploring this side of humanity. They don’t deny what we can’t avoid seeing — the competitive side of our heritage. But it’s not the only side. (In fact, right now it seems to me that’s the major battle going on politically and throughout the world: selfish competition vs. compassionate cooperation.}

The book to which I am referring is edited by Dacher Keltner and Jason Marsh,”The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness.”It’s a selection of articles from the magazine “The Greater Good.” It’s one of three magazine I need in my life to offer the positives over the noise and stress of today’s communications.

I’m not going to review the book here, or try to summarize the kinds of things that have been studied. I just want to mention two of them: gratitude and forgiveness.

As for gratitude, I’d like, ironically, to start a competition. Who can provide the longest list of things for which one is grateful.

As for forgiveness, I’m going to break down and summarize, bit by bit, the content of my own “Forgiving One Page at a Time.”

So be prepared, I’m about to start compiling my own gratitude list and share the numbers, not necessarily the content.

Forgiveness will be next.

Tell me, does that sound like a good plan?

 

IF YOU’RE LOCAL, PLEASE JOIN ME ON APRIL 14   8 comments

I’m delighted to kick off a series at Auburn Homes and Services here in Chaska at 6:00 p.m on Thursday, April 14. It will be a challenge to do something useful with such a complex topic as forgiveness in such a small amount of time, but I think I’ll provide something worthwhile. And providers can collect CEUs by attending these offerings.

I’d love to see you there.

caregiver_flyer

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