It is often said forgiveness allows the victim to move on from the pain, trauma and/or anger caused by someone else. From a psychological perspective forgiving someone is less about the person being forgiven and more about the forgiver. Forgiving someone who harmed you in some way doesn't mean letting them off the hook, inviting them back into your life or forgetting what happened. Forgiving is the process of letting go of what happened and moving forward. Below are five steps that may assist in the process.
1. Identify the person who you feel wronged you and and put into words what was done to you. This may seem simplistic but often we hold on to anger to the point we forget why we are angry. The first step of forgiving and moving on is being clear you understand who wronged you and what behavior it was that has affected you.
2. The next step is to identify the emotions associated with the situation to be forgiven, experience and process the emotions either through therapy or a self-guided process. The key is to understand how the situation has made you feel. Putting words to your emotions is the first step in moving forward.
3. Understand the need for forgiveness. No-one can force you to forgive someone that has hurt you or harmed you. You have to come to an understanding of why forgiveness is important. Remember, forgiveness is about you moving on.
4. Set Clear Boundaries. Often, we are still in contact with the person who caused the pain or trauma we are experiencing. It is very important to set boundaries with the perpetrator, to understand the need to protect yourself emotionally and/or physically and to arrive at a place where you feel competent in asserting your boundaries in a healthy manner. Whatever decision you come to, it is important to have a clear plan if the individual is still in your life.
5. At the end, forgiveness is an internal process that concludes with the release of negative emotions. Becoming confident in your ability to forgive for your own sake is key to moving forward. Worked through properly, each stage assist you in finding the confidence to forgive.
adapted from Curran (2013). Trauma-informed interventions: activities, exercises and assignments to move the client and therapy forward. Eau Claire, WI. PESI Publishing and Media
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What is love? Poems have been written about it, songs have been sung about it, and vows have been cemented because of it yet do we really understand the concept of love? I made it a task to think about love, what love means, and how I know I love someone. No mater how much mental energy I spent thinking about the topic, I couldn't truly define love in a way that fits all the different people I love in my life. For instance, is there a hierarchy of love? Does the love I have for a friend differ from the love of a spouse? Is love a feeling or an act? Is it both? No, I couldn't really put words to the concept. Whatever words I used seem cheap, too simplistic, or complicated. I turned to google for the answer and found an article by Derrick Silvers titled What's the difference between like, love, and in-love? Silvers asked his friend what the difference was between like, love, and in-love. I found the responses thought provoking. To read the article in its entirety, please visit https://sivers.org/inlove
Nico Boesten (2009-10-06) #Love is a series of actions. Being in love doesn't take any effort...that's why dating is so fun.
sera (2009-10-06) #Well, I love you for posting this article. ;-)d
Chris Nelson (2009-10-06) #I can tell you that I knew I was going to marry my wife the second time I met her (the first time, I thought she was already married!). This was something that went far beyond the usual horniness that occurs with youth. We have been together for over 20 years now and we've endured a lot and shared a lot of good times. Now that I'm older, I think that cooking is actually more important than sex :). Basically, Liking someone is enjoying their company periodically, in-love is a pre-occupation with a person that borders on obsession, and loving someone is caring about someone in all times, good, bad, or otherwise.
Antti (2009-10-06) #Finnish does not have the precisely same trichotomy. There are words for liking, being infatuated and loving. The word "love" is probably understood mostly as "being in-love". When a Finn says "I love you" it is probably a tad more intimate than the English counterpart.
Unrequited love is called either "infatuation" or "unrequired love".
If you really want to hammer home that you and I are "in-love", you can say "we love eachother".
The important questions, however, are pretty much the same. How do I know this feeling is liking or loving? If I only had the answers...
Fortunately, the mad rush of infatuation is easy to recognize. Even in others :-) The questions
John Chiasson (2009-10-06) #Your thoughts are always appreciated Derek. Thank you!
Mathieu Fiset (2009-10-06) #In french, there's not so much difference, because "to like" is "aimer" and "to love"...is "aimer" too !
And being "in love" is "en amour".
But anyway, for me, "to like" is more friendly, "to love" is more passionate, and to be IN love, well that's more amorous. You can love a really great friend, but you are in love with your girlfriend.
Jane Eamon (2009-10-06) #Love is something that grows over time...there's a sense of companionship and sharing and wonder at this person you love. I like dogs - but I wouldn't want to marry one. I like a lot of people but I don't think I could live with them. I've been in love many times, but that bloom fades with time. It's wonderful to be in love - it's joyous, passionate and so consuming but so worth it...we glow. But loving someone is a lifetime and takes patience, commitment and joy all at the same time...it's that ultimate surrender...
Ritch Esra (2009-10-06) #Interesting post. I've always believed that Love is a decision.
Jody Whitesides (2009-10-06) #For a friend, I will be there for things they need.
For someone I love, I'm there for anything they need.
For someone I'm in-love with, I will take a bullet if they need it.
The tough part is hoping that the person you're in love with would do the same. That's the beauty of love, you leap for them and hope that you can fly because otherwise all you're doing is falling.
gregory (2009-10-06) #love washes over a multitude of things, it is a choice. To be "in" love is a temporary me, not a resolved, confident, and determined me.
For many of us these are uncertain times. Anxiety is rampant because we don't know what to expect and don't know where things are headed. As a result, we worry too much and bring ourselves much distress. While I can't tell you there is nothing to worry about - the future is ALWAYS uncertain - what I can tell you is you can do something about it; you can take control of your life and create the best environment possible. With 24 hour news and social media we are constantly fed information and much of it is negative which can lead to fead. Fear can get you motivated but it can also cripple you. Politicians count on this, the media counts on this, and a bully counts on this. Fear is important when it motivates you to get out of danger. Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where fear sells. The media sells you fear for ratings and politicians tell you what to fear in order to get your vote. If you look around, what do you think the hatred is all about? Why are women, muslims, people of color, and LGBTQ folks singled out? Why does there appear to be so much hatred towards what is different? If you guessed fear, you would be right. Fear can cause us to do many things, even hate one another. To get past the fear, we must avoid as much of the negativity as possible. Below are some tips to help you manage your anxiety and avoid negativity during this stressful time.
Get out of the house. Get outdoors and get some exercise. Moving is excellent for the body and helps to relieve stress.
Unplug. Give yourself a limit on how much news and social media you are exposed to. The more you listen to the ugliness in the world, the worse you are going to feel. Now, I am not suggesting you need to ignore what is happening in the world, however, being glued to the news and Facebook isn't going to help anyone.
Take time to relax. Relaxation is important. Find down time if you can and do something you find soothing. Perhaps taking a long bath or a walk through the woods may calm reduce anxiety.
Meditate. Learn to soothe your mind by meditating. Research has show meditation reduces stress and less stress means less anxiety.
Take it easy on yourself. You cannot fix the world. Worry about the things you can change and leave the rest at the door.
Defense mechanisms have become embedded in language. We often refer to someone as "in denial", "projecting", and acting in a "passive-aggressive manner". However, the average person does not often have a good understanding as to how defense work and what purpose they serve. Below I discuss denial, one of the most common defense mechanisms. Denial is the unconscious act of denying or ignoring the importance of something. We deny our awareness of something that we know to be true, even if we are not consciously aware of it. For example, many individuals who experience same-sex attraction often deny those feelings, convincing themselves they are not, in fact, gay or bisexual. By denying these feelings, individuals are able to maintain a certain perception of themselves, and avoid the psychological and emotional pain that facing the truth may cause. However, there is a downside to denying one's true feelings. Desires, even when denied, tend to creep up on us and cause all sorts of problems. One may feel depressed, anxious, or angry and not know why. While denial can be helpful in order to get through difficult times, much of the psychological and emotional suffering one experiences relates to the denial of some aspect of one's self or the reality in which they exist. Denial is a common defense and is rarely in complete conscious control. While we can actively ignore something that makes us feel uncomfortable, denial is usually an unconscious process that we are not completely aware of. Much psychological suffering is attributed to denying the truth. By facing one's fears and developing awareness of the parts of self or reality that has been denied, one can begin to heal. Working though and understanding defense mechanisms is a critical part of psychotherapy.
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking,"What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?"
In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, "No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough," and to go to bed at night thinking, "Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn't change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging."
"This important book is about the lifelong journey from 'What will people think?' to 'I am enough.' Brown's unique ability to blend original research with honest storytelling makes reading The Gifts of Imperfection like having a long, uplifting conversation with a very wise friend who offers compassion, wisdom, and great advice."
Most of us report feeling depressed at some point in our life. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2014) nearly 7% of adults meet the criteria for a major depression. However, feeling down, blue, sad, or even depressed does not mean one is experiencing a major depressive episode. As I mentioned, nearly everyone feels down or depressed at some point in their life. The loss of a loved one, divorce, or a bad day can cause one to feel depressed. There is a difference between feeling depressed and meeting the criteria for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD). In order to meet the diagnostic criteria for a major depressive disorder one must have (a) experienced at least five of the symptoms below during the same two week period:
Depressed mood most of the day
Not as interested in activities that are normally pleasurable
Change in appetite
Trouble with concentration or lack of motivation
Sleep disturbance nearly every day
Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly ever day
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal attempt
Feelings of worthlessness
Fatigue or lack of energy nearly ever day
Additionally, (b) thesymptoms must cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important area of functioning and (c)the depressive episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance of medical problem. Moreover, (d) the above symptoms must not be better accounted for by a psychotic disorder and (e) there has never been a manic episode or hypomanic episode. The above may sound quite clinical and may be difficult to apply to yourself or someone you know. Therefore, it is imperative to speak with a mental health professional in order to receive a proper evaluation. If MDD is diagnosed, the mental health professional can recommend a treatment strategy that may include psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. It is important to remember no two individuals are a like and it may take some time to develop a treatment plan that works. David Kearby, LCSW is a therapist in downtown Indianapolis serving individual adults.
It is thought the highly sensitive person (HSP) has a sensitive nervous system that makes he or she vulnerable to light, sound, smells, or anything that tends to be uncomfortable. Additionally, the HSP tends to withdraw during busy days, often seeking a dark room where privacy is paramount. The HSP was often shy as a child and may still be shy as an adult. The HSP often has an interesting inner life and can become over-stimulated in situations where their senses become overloaded. In fact, studies suggest there is a correlation between HSP’s and introversion. It is not surprising that an HSP would tend to be an introvert as extroverts get their energy from others whereas introverts go within. For more about introverts, see my blog post.
The HSP tends to stay within his or her comfort zone and rarely participates in situations that makes he or she feel overwhelmed. This HSP may also be emotional and may be referred to as someone who is ‘thick skinned.’ Does this sound like you? If so, you are not alone. It is estimated that 15 to 30% of the population is highly sensitive. If you would like to find out more, take the quiz today to find out of you are an HSP.
From Amazon.com Stage One: Preparation The journey begins by preparing for what’s to come, solidifying your motivation, revealing fears and building a support system. Stage Two: Reflection You move ahead by looking back and trying to make sense of thoughts, feelings and behaviors you may not have understood before. Stage Three: Exploration Through easy-to-follow exercises, you’ll actively explore your gender identity, layer-by-layer, so you can form a more complete, authentic picture of yourself. From the start, Dara Hoffman-Fox LPC explains why understanding your gender identity is an essential component to finding your place in the world and becoming your true, authentic self. Along the way, the book covers how to: "Understand Your Gender Identity" Your gender is a core element of who you are and affects all areas of your life— greater awareness of this can lead to clarity and a stronger sense of self. "Sustain The Highs and Lows" Resources, connection and self-care can help you stay on the challenging path of self-discovery. "Reveal and Uncover Your Fears" Facing your feelings of fear, loneliness, and shame head-on—understanding why they’re there can be one of the most empowering parts of the journey. "Reflect on Your Past" Reflection through the lens of gender exploration can help you make sense of past experiences and how they formed who you are today. "Thoughtfully Explore Your Gender" Thorough, step-by-step exercises and gentle contemplation not only help reveal your true self, but also allow you to travel at your own pace. "Discover and Embrace Your Authentic Self" You will have a deeper understanding of your gender, yourself, and the options for “what’s next” so you can express this authentic self to the world. Stop waiting and start walking your path today with YOU AND YOUR GENDER IDENTITY: A GUIDE TO DISCOVERY.
Do you classify yourself as an introvert? Perhaps you feel there is something wrong with you because you don’t enjoy large crowds and get more excitement from solitary activities. If so, you are not alone. Studies have shown that between one-third to one-half of the population is introverted. Personality research suggests one is either born an introvert or an extrovert. This does not mean, however, there aren’t times when you feel more lively around others and might describe yourself as “extroverted.” When we talk about introversion, we are talking about tendencies. Everyone has times when they would rather be around others and times when they would rather be alone. The difference is introverts become energized by going within whereas extroverts get their energy by being around groups of people. Some studies suggest the neurotransmitter Dopamine plays a key role. Whereas extroverts use of their dopamine more quickly than introverts, they rely on external activities to replenish their dopamine levels. Here are six interesting facts about introverts: 1.Introverts process information in a way that requires internal thought process. Essentially, it takes longer for introverts to store information in long-term memory. 2.Introverts require less stimulation from the outside world and, as a result, tend to become over-stimulated. 3.As mentioned above, introverts store dopamine more readily than extroverts. 4.Introverts feel less excitement from risky activities. 5.Introverts pay careful attention to their surroundings. Introverts tend to stand back and watch crowds as opposed to participating in the excitement. 6.Introverts tend to be thinkers by nature and have an active imagination and running dialogue with themselves. Do you think you might be an introvert? Take The Quiet Revolution Personality Test to find out!
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, otherness refers to “the quality or state of being other or different.” While there is an endless array of ways in which individuals are different, the understanding of otherness is narrowed a bit to specific culturally constructed categories that people are often placed in. Examples include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. We often find comfort in belonging to a certain category and find meaning and acceptance in our otherness. But what happens when the experience of being an ‘other’ is detrimental to an individual’s psychological well-being? As Crastnopol (2011) notes, the experience of otherness, especially in regards to sexual desire, can cause feelings of shame and despair. Gay and lesbian individuals often find solace in their otherness, especially when they find a community that welcomes them and supports them. However, there are many LGBTQ individuals that find it difficult to accept the otherness that is projected onto them. Many LGBTQ individuals find that they are place in particular categories long before they feel the need to identify as an ‘other.’ Consider, for example, the teen boy on the school bus who is referred to by his peers as a "faggot" despite the fact boy has yet to understand his sexuality or has yet to identify as gay. It is quite common for others to notice our differences long before we do. Teens, especially, struggle with the idea of not fitting in, and the idea of being an 'other' can be intolerable. Before this boy has even had a chance to make peace with this difference, he is already forced into the role of being an 'other.' uch of the pain and trauma that young LGBTQ individuals face directly relates to being consider different from his or her peers. Assimilation is often the desire at this stage of development, and for some, being labeled as gay, lesbian, or queer can be devastating to one's self-esteem. It is unfortunate we live in a society that forces individuals into categories. My hope is one day, individuals of all sexual orientations, religions, colors, and ethnicities will be embraced for their sameness while relishing in what makes them unique. David Kearby is a therapist in Indianapolis who specializes in working with the LGBTQ community.