Forgiveness and the Narcissist

Here is a short video from my YouTube Channel. If you like it you may like the others:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF7HO62Ol-laN6cj6vlkiOA

Are you Avoiding your Feelings?

IMG_0007Do you find yourself shopping when you don’t need anything and spending more money than you have? Do you eat when you are not hungry and past the point of being full? Do you need a drink in order to face your day, or perhaps several? People do many things to distract themselves from their feelings. If you do anything habitually, that you know you probably shouldn’t be doing as much as you do, you may be trying to avoid your emotions.

Emotions can be uncomfortable things. Most people enjoy the good feelings of love, happiness and enjoyment–but not all. The emotions that most often cause us to reach for the icecream or the credit card are usually the negative ones like anger, fear and hate. These are uncomfortable feelings. When we are young, emotions can be overwhelming and painful and we all learn ways to avoid feeling them. As adults, these patterns can take on a life of their own and can result in behaviours that are bad for us.

Unfortunately, emotions do not go away until they are experienced. When we routinely push emotions down, two things can happen. They can build up and then erupt, when they get the opportunity, or they can result in physical discomfort or illness.

If you find that you start crying for little or no reason, you erupt in anger at the slightest provocation, you become frightened or burst out laughing for no apparent reason, you may just be experiencing suppressed emotions that are bubbling up to the surface.

Depression; lack of interest in things that you used to enjoy; feeling like you are just going through the motions–can all be symptoms of repressed feelings. If we close the door on one emotion, it is very difficult to let other emotions in.

Denollet (2009) showed that unexpressed anger increased the risk of heart attack. Miyamoto (2011) demonstrated that the Japanese freedom to express negative emotions is better for your overall health than the North American societal pressure to only express positive emotions. In general, it has been demonstrated that expressing emotions, instead of repressing them, is better for your overall well being (Barber, 2011). There is no question that the happier you are the healthier you are.

Those of us that avoid rather than feel our emotions may be so programmed to reach for a drink or some other diversion that we no longer recognize that we are running away from a feeling. If you have a habit that you often turn to, especially one that you feel is excessive or not good for your overall well being, you need to become aware of it. When the urge strikes, stop for a moment.

Before you indulge in your diversion, be still. Take a moment to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Take note of where there is sensation in your body. Describe the sensation. Try to picture it. Start at your toes and pay attention to each part of your body up to your head. Is there any vibration, heat, tension, pain, discomfort, numbness or any other sensation? Can you feel your entire body or are there parts that you can no longer feel? Sit with this for a while and pay attention.

This exercise gets you out of your mind and the thoughts that you may try to tell yourself about why you should just go shopping. It does not focus on trying to identify the emotion that you are feeling, just the way that you experience the emotion as a physical sensation in your body.

The next step is to think backward from the moment that you went to your favourite vice until you become aware of what happened that caused you to reach for your diversion. The habit of not feeling emotions right away can become so refined that it may have even been something that happened a day or two ago, or longer. Continue to retrace your memory until you start to recognize the physical sensation in your body again. When remembering “feels” the same way you felt when you started the exercise you have identified the cause of the feeling.

Remember the event. Think about what you thought at the time and try to get in touch with what you were feeling. Do not censor yourself. Some emotions are considered unacceptable in our society and you might be a master of telling yourself what you should be feeling and how you should be responding. Denial of your own emotions is not good for you. You can feel anger without acting on it. You can feel hate, pain and fear without having it change how you behave. Forcing yourself not to feel these emotions causes them to be stored.

By recognizing what you were feeling at the time and allowing yourself to feel it, you can let the emotions move through you. Once an emotion is expressed, it is released from the body. The discomfort that you feel trying to avoid an emotion can last much much longer than the emotion itself if you allow yourself to just feel it directly.

At this point you may find that you choose to indulge in your habit anyhow. The advantage of this exercise is that you become more and more aware of why you are distracting yourself. Also, if you allow yourself to feel your emotions, you may find that your need to avoid them decreases over time.

Narcissism Navigated — Top 21 Narcissism Posts

Whether you are dating a narcissist, want to leave one, think you might have one in your life, want to know how to spot one or protect yourself from one, I have probably written a blog or a book about it. Here is a summary of the most informative posts that I have on this site.

Identifying a Narcissist

1.   10 Things You Need to Know About Narcissists 

2.   The Confusion of Spotting a Narcissist

3.   Are you living with a Narcissist?

 Dating and the Narcissist

4.   Top 10 Signs You are Dating a Narcissist

5.   My Soulmate is a Narcissist

6.   The Narcissistic Pattern

7.   10 Ways to Discourage Narcissists from Dating You

8.   My Friend is Dating a Narcissist What Should I do?

9.   Narcissist Attack

10. The Chemistry of Connection

Family Matters

11. Leaving the Narcissist

12. No Contact now Possible when Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

13. Narcissists and the Legal System

You and Narcissism

14. Protecting Yourself from the Narcissist

15. Why Were You With a Narcissist? (3 parts)

16. 6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist (3 parts)

17. Co-dependency and Narcissism

18. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Narcissism

19. Post Narcissism — Searching for Normal

20. Outsmarting the Narcissist

Interesting Tid Bits

21. A Narcissism Test??

Anecdotes from my life are done in a series entitled: Scenes from the Front Line (They all have links to the other posts in the series):   Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

My Book

Narcissist_frontcover

If you would like to be notified when my next book is released let me know, click here.

 

Shot of Cover

I hope that this summary is helps you to navigate my site.

 

 

 

Don’t forget to call home….

IMG_2550Remember to take it. I shouldn’t have said that. I wonder what it will be like next year. And on and on it goes. There is a part of your brain that does nothing all day except generate words. This is similar to your digestive tract that spends its entire day processing food. You don’t need to be paying attention to your brain or your stomach for them to continue doing what they do. The word generating part of your brain is quite useful when you are speaking to someone, but if you have no one to speak to, you speak to yourself. This might take the form of reminding yourself about what you have to do, planning your day, counting calories, worrying about the future, rethinking the past, or other stories that you tell yourself about how things should or shouldn’t be.

The important thing that we need to recognize here is that the constant jabber is not who we are. We often mistake the word generating part of our brains as the one running the show. If we are kind to ourselves this can be a good thing. But if we are self critical, demeaning or depressed, the things that we tell ourselves can not only ruin our day, but they can be bad for our health. (Are your thoughts making you sick?)

If a thought is causing you pain (and I mean all negative emotions here as well as physical symptoms) there is little doubt that it is not true. We all face tragedy in our lives. Experiencing it, mourning it and letting it be, is the best that we can hope for. Pain and loss are unavoidable parts of being human. However, our past is just that, behind us, and reliving it wastes right now. The same could be said about worrying about the future. We have no way of knowing what will happen tomorrow. Why spend time thinking about things that make you unhappy when you could be paying attention to the world that actually exists in this moment?

As recently as the mid-80’s researchers have been able to measure how neurons fire in groups or neuronal assemblies. Gerstein (1989) has shown that neurons fire in groups and preferentially in patterns. So, you have this part of your brain that has nothing to do but generate words all day and words that you have thought before, phrases that you are familiar with, are the easiest words to generate. This same group of neurons gets in the habit of firing together all of the time, repeatedly thinking the same thing over and over again. Thought ruts form. It is easier for the word generating part of your brain to refire in this familiar pattern saying the same series of words than it is to think a unique thought. It then becomes difficult to believe that these words are not true simply because you’ve heard them so often.

Once you recognize that you can pay attention to what you are saying to yourself, you can examine the truth of it. Acceptance and Commitment therapy, affectionately called ACT, is a way of examining how language creates pain. It uses techniques to get past the literal content of what we tell ourselves so that we can be present in the moment (Hayes, 2005). By accessing our thoughts and bringing them into our awareness the thoughts can be examined rather than just taken as the truth.

The same thing has been discovered through spiritual channels. Byron Katie, a spiritual healer, discovered this on her own after a bout of serious depression and now teaches it. She uses the phrase, “Is that true?” to help people examine their thoughts. And the work begins. By asking yourself whether or not a thought is true and then examining when it possibly might not be true, you help rewire the cluster of neurons that have fired in a similar way for a long time. This helps to develop alternate pathways for thoughts to take and you can literally free yourself from the pain that the painful thoughts have been causing you.

So what do you say to yourself all day? Is any of it true? Is it always true? Can you think of an example where it might not be true?

 

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This is the essential book for learning how to examine your thoughts.

 

How to Clean Up Your Whole Life MP3

A TELECOURSE LED BY MARTHA BECK

How to Clean Up Your Whole Life MP3

The pile of papers in your office, the long-unworn clothes clogging your closet, the tiny frozen quiches that have been in your freezer since the Carter administration…they’re all cluttering your outer life, but they’re also hogging a portion of your inner life.

Stress Eating?

IMG_0057You are on your way to check out the new fish that are arriving today at the pet store and a car rear ends you at a stop sign. Then, you get there to find out that they haven’t arrived yet and you see your lover petting kittens with someone that you don’t know. You rush out of the store and run into an old nemesis and exchange comments and then you rush home and dive into the refrigerator and eat until you enter a coma. Stress eating? Maybe…..

Stress eating is often confused with other types of over eating because the situations that bring on these bouts of uncontrolled eating are often very similar. The actual underlying cause may not be.

Stress eating can be defined, in broad terms, as any time that you eat when you really don’t need to eat. The eating is in response to stress and usually involves eating way past the point of being full and may include favourite, high calorie foods.

Let me back up a little. Our society is focused on a few very superficial things. These include symbols of wealth that are expressed as possessions, youth and beauty. Beauty is fairly narrowly defined and always includes being underweight. I purposefully do not use the word thin here, because the models that we see on runways, the way that women are airbrushed in magazines and the “beauty” image is one of being underweight.

The average model is 5’8″ tall and weighs 110 pounds. This gives a whopping BMI (body mass index) of 16.7. If your BMI is less than 18.5 you are considered underweight. So our standard of beauty, for a woman at least, is a body type that is underweight.

For the purposes of this explanation, lets divide ourselves into two parts. There is the biological part, your body, that focuses on keeping us alive, meeting our needs and finding things to take pleasure in. The other part is our brain. It too will find things to take pleasure in but it is also the “trainable” part that learns all of the rules. The brain is worried about what other people think and has learned the proper way to behave. The biological part cares less about that and just wants to protect and enjoy itself.

If you are feeling a lot of pressure to approach the weight of a supermodel, your brain will tell you how to do this. There is no shortage of information about diets, pills, surgeries, elastic bands, exercise clubs and juice fasts to help you lose weight. We have been convinced that if we just follow an eating plan and make a few life style adjustments, we too can look like a cover girl.

The problem arises when the biological part becomes fearful for its life. In any situation where the body is in fear of dying, it will do everything that it can to stay alive. If you doubt this, try to hold your breath for three minutes. It’s OK, I’ll wait.

How did that work out for you? Were you able to hold your breath that long or did your body just decide that it was going to breath anyway? The same thing happens when we try to reduce our body weight below what our bodies are comfortable with. Our biological part is not comfortable with the weight of the supermodels, remember they are actually underweight.

We go on a diet, or a “lifestyle” change or a “cleanse”–the meanings are the same the names have just been changed–and our brains are firmly in control. Then we find out that we can’t buy any new fish for our aquarium and that our lover may not be faithful to us and our brains lose control for just a moment. Our brains become preoccupied with the drama that is going on in our lives and WHAM, our bodies take over and try to replace all of that essential body weight that we have been trying to remove. This is not emotional eating, even though it has the same triggers.

Emotional eating occurs when you are feeding yourself properly and the above happens and you are in so much pain that you don’t know how to make the pain go away. You have learned that eating can take your mind off of it and so you start to eat so that you can focus on the food instead of feeling the emotions.

So, if you think that you may be an emotional eater, first ask yourself if you feed yourself properly most of the time. If you are constantly trying to lose weight, you may not be an emotional eater at all; it is just the body taking over to avoid starvation. Can you blame it for trying to keep itself alive?

 

Step away from dieting and try something new. Develop a new relationship with yourself. Here are some resources.

 

Releasing Emotions

http://www.exposix.com/answers/Chihuahua-Pictures.html
http://www.exposix.com/answers/Chihuahua-Pictures.html

My dog, Bug, was still alive, but she was not responsive. I had just found her on the floor of my mother’s car, a big black ford with bench seats. I ran to get my mother who was up at the club house watching the horse races with some of the trainers that she knew. She had decided to bring the dogs with her because she wasn’t sure if she would be returning home that night. The dogs would’ve been better off left on their own at our house.

We rushed Bug into a veterinary clinic. I watched the doctor expertly draw off some medication into a syringe. He proceeded to inject her with it and there was no discernable reaction from my dog. In hindsight, I’m sure he injected her with saline, realizing that she could not be helped but respecting our need to see the doctor take some kind of action.

I knew she was about to die and I was helpless to do anything about it. The pain of seeing her dying and the loss of having her leave, were too much for me to process at the time. This was compounded by the fact that it was ridiculous that my mother would leave two dogs in a black car in a large un-shaded parking lot on such a hot day, even if they had water and the window was open a bit. It was all pouring over me right now. I let it rip threw me and I started to sob. The pain in my body was intense, but there was relief from feeling the pain.

I was able to let it happen this time, instead of when Bug died, which would’ve been the best time to have cried over her death, because this time I was a doing an exercise aimed at releasing pent up strong emotions.

You see, strong emotions, once created, either need to be expressed through feeling them at the time, or the energy from the emotion just gets stored in your body. Since you have already decided that it would be too unpleasant to feel the emotion, each time you remember it, it tries to get out and a considerable amount of thought and effort must go into blocking the memory and the associated emotional response to it.

This effort to block the emotions can be expressed in multiple ways. It may take the form of an addiction to any type of medication, food, shopping, gossiping or simply being angry a lot of the time. You may be avoiding as much contact with other people as you can or working obsessively. Another unfortunate consequence of blocking emotions is that you will find that you do not feel any emotions. It is not possible to block only the unpleasant ones and you may simply find that you do not feel anything at all, good or bad.

If this blocking system fails you, say when you are tired, stressed or dealing with other issues, you will get an inappropriate emotional response when it is least expected. This will happen randomly, like snipping at a sales clerk, crying for no reason or getting angry with a co-worker. In order to release these feelings you need to create a safe time and place to just sit and allow yourself to feel.

This time and place can be deliberately created. The reason that you might like to do this is to let go of past trauma. Set aside some time when you have some privacy and actively allow yourself to conjure up old memories or just raw emotions. It might be helpful if you listened to music, read poetry or watched a particularly appropriate movie to help move the emotions along.

It is beneficial if you feel completely uninhibited. Loud sobbing or yelling may occur if you allow yourself to experience deep pain, hurt or anger. Also, it can be helpful to try doing this exercise in the shower or with a comforting blanket or quilt wrapped around you. Consider the fact that you want to maximize both your privacy and your comfort and try to find a suitable time and place to express the emotions you have been storing.

Be careful to keep your focus on the bodily sensations and your emotional response. It will not serve you if you focus on what happened, why it happened or why it should not have happened. These explanations detract from the experience of the emotion. What you want to do is feel the emotions, not try to justify them, explain them or even understand them. Focus on what you feel not how you would tell someone about it.

While doing this exercise, it was shocking to me to have the memory of Bug’s death surface. It had happened over thirty years ago and I had no idea that I had never processed the pain and anger. I guess it is understandable, given the fact that I deeply loved this dog. She travelled with me everywhere and I made a purse that was just the right size for her to fit into. She could tell me within seconds which friends were keepers and which should not be trusted. Despite the fact that she had a nasty habit of leaving my underwear at the front door, I adored this dog. Her death was not easy for me to handle. It took over thirty years to feel the pain.

After finally grieving this event, I can now recall her death. I still feel loss and sadness, but the deep pain and anger are gone. This is how you know that you have released the emotion. It is simply not still painful to remember anymore.

The Best Defense is a Good Offence — Chapter 4

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It is so dark outside that I closed the blinds in my office. Otherwise, I would feel like everyone could see me and I couldn’t see them. It is early in the morning and this time of year the sun does not make any appreciable impact on the day until about seven a.m.

I was still at home with my two preschoolers, but soon, the money from the government was set to run out. My youngest daughter was getting older and the pressure to be doing something worthwhile was mounting, so I started to apply for jobs.

There was a sense of surrealism to this part of my life because I was aware that Bob was telling people that I didn’t have to work and that he was supporting me financially. He made a habit of tailoring his message to his audience to maximize their opinion of him. This put me in the position of looking like I was lying, or at least contradicting Bob.

He would tell people one thing in public and me another thing at home. The needing/wanting to work argument got played through this scenario. Mutual friends and neighbours were probably confused by my insistence that I did not want to go back to work and Bob’s statements that I did not need to go back to work and the fact that I was applying to jobs.

This dysfunction played in every issue in our marriage. Bob had a secret fear that he would be figured out. I attributed it to a deep-seated insecurity, but the truth was that he probably spent an inordinate amount of effort dissembling the truth and trying to keep it all straight in his mind.

When I caught him in a lie, he went on the attack. ‘The best defense is a good offense,’ could have been his mantra. Like the night that I saw him kissing the teenager that he later went to live with, he accused me of being insane and of having an over active imagination.

I remember applying to several large animal practices and not even getting an interview. It was well known, at the time, that women were not suited to large animal practise. The argument went something like this. “A woman is not strong enough to deal with the large animals.” Let me tell you fellas, a man isn’t either if he is trying to use brute force to get a horse or cow to do something for him. It was simply difficult for male vets that thought of their profession as masculine, to envision a woman doing their jobs.

Now that a majority of veterinary students are women, these same men are finding that they can’t retire because there is no one that can take over their practices. This shortage of large animal veterinarians is becoming a problem for the farming community, but I digress. I did my best to become a large animal veterinarian and there were no takers.

I ended up working in a small animal emergency clinic for a short while. In Canada, we have our health care paid for. We do not purchase insurance individually and most of our full time jobs have additional insurance that covers other health benefits like dental, chiropractic care and eye glasses. What all of this means is that we have no way of knowing what health care costs. We never see anyone losing their homes because they had to pay for medical care.

This creates a certain amount of unpleasantness in small animal veterinary practice, especially the emergency type. When you are a general practitioner, you develop a clientele. These are the people that bring in their pets for regular vaccinations and other routine appointments. In emergency medicine you get the people that are forced to seek immediate health care for their animals, whether they can afford it or not. I spent more evenings than I care to remember explaining the cost of the services to the people that were in desperate need of veterinary care for their animals.

One night, about three in the morning, a woman brought in her elderly golden lab. This dog was her heart. The reason that she had brought in her pet was that the dog was dying. The dog could no longer sit up, she had not eaten all day and the woman did not want the dog to suffer to death and felt that the humane thing to do was to have her put to sleep.

While I was explaining the costs involved, and I must add here that this had already been explained over the phone when she called to say that she was bringing her dog in, the woman lost her temper at me and said, “I thought that people became vets because they loved animals?”

I understood her pain and her fear. She was losing an animal that meant the world to her, but she did have a point. Making money off of someone else’s pain and suffering does put a bad taste in your mouth. Feeding off of the desperation seemed, well, cruel. On the other hand, veterinary medicine is a profession and as the world is today, no one is going to bother doing veterinary medicine if they cannot charge for it. Anyhow, it hit a nerve. Was I actually helping people or was I just taking advantage of their desperation?

I did not stay at the veterinary clinic very long. Being at the clinic for fourteen-hour nights was not working out well with being awake all day to take care of the girls, even though Bob thought it was great! that I could do both by working at night. Much to Bob’s disappointment I found myself, once again, unemployed. He let me know how much I had let them down.

He liked to say things like, “It always feels like you are going to be making a lot of money, but you never stay long enough at your jobs.” Don’t forget, I left my other job just after getting back together with Bob, so he did have a point.

Read the entire book.
Read the entire book.
The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

Narcissism Navigated — Top 20 Narcissism Posts

Whether you are dating a narcissist, want to leave one, think you might have one in your life, want to know how to spot one or protect yourself from one, I have probably written a blog or a book about it. Here is a summary of the most informative posts that I have on this site.

Identifying a Narcissist

1.   10 Things You Need to Know About Narcissists 

2.   The Confusion of Spotting a Narcissist

3.   Are you living with a Narcissist?

 Dating and the Narcissist

4.   Top 10 Signs You are Dating a Narcissist

5.   My Soulmate is a Narcissist

6.   The Narcissistic Pattern

7.   10 Ways to Discourage Narcissists from Dating You

8.   My Friend is Dating a Narcissist What Should I do?

9.   Narcissist Attack

10. The Chemistry of Connection

Family Matters

11. Leaving the Narcissist

12. No Contact now Possible when Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

13. Narcissists and the Legal System

You and Narcissism

14. Protecting Yourself from the Narcissist

15. Why Were You With a Narcissist? (3 parts)

16. 6 Traits You Can Attribute to Being with a Narcissist (3 parts)

17. Co-dependency and Narcissism

18. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Narcissism

19. Post Narcissism — Searching for Normal

Interesting Tid Bits

20. A Narcissism Test??

Anecdotes from my life are done in a series entitled: Scenes from the Front Line (They all have links to the other posts in the series):   Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

 

My Book

Narcissist_frontcover

 

If you would like to be notified when my next book is released let me know, click here.

 

Shot of Cover

I hope that this summary is helps you to navigate my site.

 

Respecting Body Signals

IMG_0231Like Pavlov’s Dog I immediately began to drool when I received the notice for the annual HK5K in my inbox yesterday. Immediately I began to plan my training schedule and start to think about how much work I would need to do and when I would have to make a commitment to doing the work. Then, I had to revisit my promise to myself. I have made an agreement with myself to love myself and treat myself properly. In coneiya, it becomes clear that we cannot punish ourselves, put ourselves down or disrespect ourselves if we are “one”.

Last year was a disaster. I was pumped up to do the run and my daughters had agreed to do it with me and then the world conspired to make sure that I wasn’t ready. I had a two-week bout of unexplainable diarrhea that came and went and left me feeling drained and tired. I never found out what caused it, but I was definitely under the weather. Add in company from out of town, unexpected knee and foot pain and it was a disaster waiting to happen — but I had already said that I would do the run and I was allowing myself to be pulled along by the commitment that I had already made to my daughters.

This year, it will be different. Isn’t that the final war cry of the about to be defeated? I decided that instead of looking externally for a workout schedule, like I did last year, I would develop my own. In my mind, and based on some of the training plans that I used decades ago as a competitive swimmer, I would aim for a 10% increase in distance. This is very easy to calculate when you are on a treadmill because you can actually watch the distance tick off and then stop when you complete the right distance.

So I calculated increments increasing by 10% and put out a schedule of running every other day, except of course, where I already had plans in place. I fleshed out my schedule to four runs a week by adding in smaller runs, where necessary, the day after or before another run. These smaller runs would be one half the length of the previous run so they should be easier.

The schedule was complete and it gave me a full two weeks before the race to determine if I would be capable of running the full 5K before I had to commit to the race. There would be no need, this year, to tell anyone that I was training, until, of course, I was certain that I could do the run. If I never got to the level of running then no one would be the wiser and I would have established a pattern of exercising on the treadmill that would continue – theoretically – into the fall when I have to close the pool and I begin my desperate search for a new form of regular exercise.

So day one, I napped. Now, I know that that seems ridiculous, but I am trying to treat myself like I care about myself. This is in stark contrast to societies messages of “no pain no gain” and the like. I do not think that it is simply your force of will that gets things done. Coneiya teaches us that it is when your mind and your body agree and respect each other that the most lasting progress is made.

Anyone that has ever dieted and lost weight, short term, can attest to the fact that the iron will of your brain sooner or later fails. There is simply no way that most of us can use the army sergeant part of our personalities long term. Self-flagellation, self-criticism and unrealistic expectations ultimately lead to self-hatred, insecurity a sense of failure and loss of hope.

That is not where I wanted my new running schedule to take me. Last year, buoyed on by peer pressure and the belief that I could just put mind over matter, I ran the 5K with my daughters to end up ultimately hurting myself and then doing very little physical activity for several months afterwards. This is not a good thing.

So I napped, felt refreshed and then strapped on my running shoes. I have a sweet set up in my bedroom. The treadmill is off to the side and I can see the television from where I run so I put on Netflix. Did you know that all of the seasons of Star Trek the Next Generation are now on Netflix? True story. If anyone can support me through my run it is Jean Luc Picard. But I digress…

The plan was to run one kilometre. I have run much more than that in the not so distant past so I was not worried. I did the required three-minute warm up and turned up the speed to represent a slow run. This is always a point of contention with me, myself and I. At what speed are you running? If you are doing a slow jog at the speed of a walk, is that considered a run? I chose a speed that was moderate to low based on my personal experience and began.

Nothing went well. The first thing that I noticed is that one kilometre was not only out of reach, but was not even a consideration on the first day. I determined that I could go half a kilometre and then maybe a break and then run the remaining bit in as many pieces as it took. My logical mind was busy doing calculations. I could stay on my “schedule” if I just did the kilometre in pieces. I know from experience that I improve quickly once I am making an effort, so it is just a matter of doing the work.

Wasn’t gonna happen. Not only did I not make it to half a kilometre, it was difficult to make it twenty percent of the way. I struggled to get up to the even number, which is a testament to how foolish I can be. It is just as easy to remember any number, but I insisted with myself that I get to the even number. It took all that I had.

Then I walked. I was still convinced that I could walk until the blood flow regenerated my body and my breathing decreased somewhat and then I could do perhaps another twenty percent. If I did a total of five of those I would’ve run my kilometer even if I had to walk in between. My brain just does not stop doing these calculations.

Wasn’t gonna happen. Well, after a short walk I tried to run again, at a slower speed, (is it actually running? – can’t say) and I only made one tenth of a kilometre. So now what to do, what to do? I walked again. I was exhausted and I was aware that my legs were too weak to push myself too much further. That is the mistake I made last year. Despite knowing that my legs were getting wobbly I continued and hurt my knee — my good knee. I lived to regret that and I was not willing (or capable for that matter) of continuing the exercise.

So, I made a deal with myself. I would finish the kilometre. Yes folks, I managed the kilometre. One kilometre with a combination of sixty percent walking and fourty percent running was all that I completed. The good bits are that I did not hurt myself. Even this morning, the dreaded day after, I am a little stiff but not in pain. I respected myself and I am proud of that. Being a highly competitive person it is difficult to admit to this failure, so publically in my blog, but I’m trying to be honest. I’m sure I’m not the only one that can’t run a kilometre after not running for over ten months.

My new perspective on this is that I’ll continue. If I respect my body signals and do not hurt myself, I will continue to run on the treadmill. Isn’t that better than giving up or having to stop because of injury? Having running as a regular practice is a good thing even if I never run in a 5K for the rest of my life and I haven’t told anyone yet. I’m confident that my daughters don’t read my blog.

So wish me luck! My second day of training I am aiming for 1.1K. I hope that I can run more than 40% of it!

 

Forgiveness

IMG_1610What does it mean to forgive? It seems to have a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people. In some circles, it means that one person forgives another person. I personally was not very comfortable with this definition because it didn’t feel right to me. Who was I to determine that I was in the right and they were in the wrong? Who writes these rules? Is there an appeal process?

Another popular meaning is that you absolve the person of any blame. It is a sort of a pardon or a way to free the accused from the need for punishment. Does this mean that it is OK if someone has hurt you? Sometimes people insist on the other person apologizing before they will forgive them. Is the other person taking the blame necessary for you to forgive? This doesn’t ring true for me either because it gives someone else too much control over how I feel. Another view on this is that forgiveness has nothing to do with anyone else.

We can spend a lot of time discussing whether or not someone “deserves” to be forgiven or whether or not enough punishment has been doled out, or enough time has passed, but failure to forgive someone is only harmful to you. The lack of forgiveness is not hurting the person that has not been forgiven. The individual that is the focus of your hate is often totally unaware of the fact that you hate them and that you are refusing to forgive them.

If you consider the possibility that forgiveness has nothing to do with anyone else and see it as a way to free yourself from the pain that holding onto this blame is causing you, then you enter a different space. Oprah likes to say that forgiveness is giving up the hope that things could have been different in the past. This has nothing to do with what happened to you. It does not mean that what happened is OK. It does not mean that it did not happen. It means that it did happen and there is nothing that you can do about it.

Forgiveness becomes the act of accepting that something bad did happen and that is just a fact. There is nothing that you can do to change that. Spending today wishing that it had not happened or dreaming about how your life would be different if it hadn’t happened, is not going to make you feel any better.

Lets not forget that anger is often holding down other emotions. Below anger there is often pain or fear. For those of you that tried to express your anger to help release it after reading “Big Boys Don’t Cry” you may have found that there was another emotion underneath. This is common. As a society we are more comfortable feeling angry and disgruntled than we are feeling vulnerable. When you peel back the anger, you find the core of the problem and it is painful. This is now what you need to experience in order to release it.

Hanging onto the anger allows you to feel like you are protecting yourself from the pain or from feeling uncomfortable. It does not protect you it just forces you to spend your life feeling angry.

Holding onto blame and refusing to forgive can be used to avoid another situation that causes you pain. You can hold onto the anger in a way that keeps you from trying again. For instance, you are up for a promotion at work. A co-worker gets the promotion instead of you. You are hurt and embarrassed and instead of feeling this pain, you become angry.

The anger can be used to protect yourself from further pain. “I didn’t want that stupid job anyway.” “I will never forgive them for hiring that person instead of me!” “I don’t want to have to work nights and weekends anyhow.” “I am not as much of a ‘suck-up’ as the person that got the job and I’m glad about that!” All of these statements point to the fact that it is easier to keep the anger, to use these negative thoughts and accusations to keep the pain below the surface. Also, by convincing yourself through anger that you did not want the job, you can avoid trying again and the potential for being hurt again.

A better use of the anger, in the situation above, would be to recognize that your emotions are showing you how important the promotion was to you. You might use that as a trigger to start looking for jobs that could provide advancement. Acting on the anger is much more productive if the action you take is, in fact, productive.

But we began this whole discussion with forgiveness, so I will come back to anger that is in place because of something that has happened to you. You may feel that someone is responsible, that someone hurt you or failed to provide what you felt that they should provide. On the other hand, things may have just happened and you are angry that they turned out the way that they did. This would apply to events that occurred without anyone doing anything, like death of a loved one, loss of your home in a hurricane, your job being replaced by a machine — that sort of thing.

In any case the past is the past. This sounds ridiculous to even state because it is so obvious, but we do spend a lot of time wishing our pasts were different. “If I had only been loved as a child, I would not have to shoot heroine everyday.” “If I had been able to afford university, I wouldn’t have to sell pencils for a living.” “If my dog hadn’t been hit by a car, I wouldn’t be afraid to love again.” The core of each of these statements is that the past is interfering with your ability to live the way that you would like to be living in the present. The past is robbing you of your life.

This is when forgiveness is crucial. It has nothing to do with what happened or who did what to whom, simply a recognition that there is no way to change what has happened so it is best to make peace with it so that you can enter your life. There is nothing to stop you from getting a new puppy, kicking your drug habit and increasing your inventory to include erasers as well.