Small Rant Then Second Post in How to Forgive Series 13

I last wrote a forgiveness post on May 15, 2011.  I started it with the first definition of forgive in the 2004 version of The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: to give up resentment of. 

Immaculee IlibagizaMy Inspiration

The few who actually read my blog regularly know that I have been working at becoming more like Immaculee Ilibagiza, the Rwandan genocide survivor who inspired me to forgive others.  I have been reading Forgive for Good by Frederic Luskin from the Stanford Forgiveness Project to help me along my journey. 

The Rant

This is where I rant.  A few short months ago I started a blog expecting that everyone related to the autism community would embrace my cause of educating others about girls on the autism spectrum and how being misunderstood causes harm.  I mailed my novel to family members thinking they would read it and understand.  I also gave copies of my novel to people at two local schools including counselors at my daughter’s now former school. 

006I wish I could tell you that everyone has been supportive and they are all helping me to promote my little novel written to teach tolerance and acceptance of differences to help decrease bullying in our schools.  Unfortunately, this would be a lie. 

Maybe I expect too much from people.  My daughter is now at a virtual school because she did not receive adequate support.  Some family members have failed to comment at all after having my novel for months. 

I am really working on forgiving those who let us down.  I believe forgiveness is the best option to avoid being consumed with anger at a world that let down not just me, but also let down my beautiful, talented, smart daughter.  I do not want to become “one of them.”  You know the ones I mean; the seemly, heartless bullies. 

Rant over!

I left off my last forgiveness post promising to tell you more about Forgive for Good and how I am doing with this.  Obviously, I am still working on forgiving.  Part III of Dr. Luskin’s book covers eight chapters.  I am only going to cover the first two steps today.   

Part III: Step I

The first step is to change the grievance story, so we are no longer the victims and to let go of resentment.   

I now realize that my daughter’s former school is an unhealthy environment for her, and I am grateful she is no longer there.  I am also letting go of relationships that are harmful while continuing to work to educate those who are willing to listen.  Others are still welcome to reach out, but I will not be begging for understanding.  I am at peace with my decision. 

I have wonderful supportive friends and some members of our family are supportive while others are trying to be supportive.  My daughter is gaining self-esteem through the support she is receiving from the autism community.  She is happy and her closest friends are supportive too.  She is telling her story and I am very proud of her.  Her story changed course, but it is still full of promise. 

Remote - CopyPart III: Step II

Changing the grievance story is step I.  Step II is to look for beauty, joy, and love in your life.  You can start with baby steps.  My project gratitude posts are my way of doing this.  You might do it another way.  Dr. Luskin calls this changing your channel and he gives an excellent analogy of TV channel surfing to illustrate how to do this so we are not stuck on the anger/ victim channel. 

Today I am grateful for my daughter’s happiness and for those who are supporting her as she tells her story.  I hope some of you also will support her meager college fund by encouraging others to read the story she inspired. 

Forgiveness Defined and Explained: First in How to Forgive Series 18

Definition and Why I Still Need Help

The first definition of forgive in the 2004 version of The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: to give up resentment of.

I am still learning and growing as I continue to pursue forgiveness. I realized that I still have much to learn when someone once again wounded my loved one. Therefore, I did more research and found a wonderful book, Forgive for Good by Dr. Frederic Luskin

Introduction to Forgive for Good

I am still reading it; however, the first eleven chapters have had a profound effect on me.  I hope by sharing what I am learning others will see the valve of using Dr. Luskin’s techniques too.

The introduction to Forgive for Good explains that forgiveness is about obtaining peace.  It is not for the offender.  Dr. Luskin notes, “forgiveness does not mean that we give up our right to be angry when we have been hurt or mistreated.”  Several things Dr. Luskin states ring so true to me.  One of my favorites is, “Forgiveness is the powerful assertion that bad things will not ruin your today even though they may have spoiled your past.”

Part I

Dr. Luskin divided his book into three sections with Part I focusing on how we all create grievances in response to not getting our needs met and in the process we “rent too much space in our thoughts to disappointment.”  He is not saying anger is never appropriate, instead he explains that, “Anger can be a wonderful short-term solution to life’s difficulties, yet it is rarely a good long-term solution to painful events.”

I also love that he points out that holding others accountable for their actions is not the same as blaming them for how you feel.  Therefore, you can hold someone legally accountable for an injury and still forgive so you can heal.

Part II

Part II explores our choice to forgive.  He makes a point of explaining how we get stuck in being victims and that these stories, “unlike wine, do not improve with age.”  He points out that forgiveness is about changing our story from victim to hero.  We become heroes when we use our stories to heal, to help others or to avoid repeating mistakes.  We then stop using our stories for revenge or to get sympathy.

He dedicates a chapter to the health benefits of letting go of the anger where he mentions four studies he conducted.  The benefits include psychological and emotional well-being.  Another study showed that people who are forgiving are less likely to have a wide range of illnesses.

He also shares stories of families affected by violence in Northern Ireland who took part in the Stanford Forgiveness Project and forgave those who murdered their loved ones.  They should set an example for all of us.  I imagine this is one of the hardest things anyone would ever forgive.

Part III gives techniques to help us with forgiveness which I will explore in a future post since I have five more chapters to read in this section.

Still Learning and Adapting 16

Easter of Long Ago - Copy“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  Colossians 3:13.  What better time to discuss forgiveness that the weekend we celebrate Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for our forgiveness.

Anger destroys us not others.  Immaculee Ilibagiza knows this more than anyone and she is the one who taught me how important letting go of the anger is.  Still, forgiveness is not easy and being in an environment that constantly reminds one of an emotional injury does not help.

Positive environments along with support and understanding help us to reach a place of peace and allow us to learn to let go of anger so we can move on with our lives.  Therefore, our family is once again adapting and learning as we work to forgive others.  Our family will join many of our fellow bloggers in the world of homeschooling for the 2011-2012 school year.

Today, I am grateful once again for the support and understanding of the blogging community and especially to those I mentioned in my previous post.  I am grateful that K12 International Academy has an amazing high school diploma program.  I am grateful that my husband and I are in complete agreement in our choice.  We are a team and we will do whatever it takes to help our children succeed in life.

Wishing you and yours a blessed weekend!

Inspiration for Forgiveness 12

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Immaculee Ilibagiza is the wonderful woman who inspired me to learn to forgive.  I got the chance to hear her speak and to meet her four years ago, and I encourage any of you who have the chance to hear her speak to go.  I wrote a blog post about this back in September.  You can click here if you missed it.

Today, I found a wonderful article about her that explains how hard forgiveness was initially for her too.  You can read it by clicking on the link below.

Learning Forgiveness