I love to get emails from clients and newsletter subscribers sharing their stories. It’s deeply gratifying to hear about successes they’ve experienced by applying what they’ve learned from me – knowing I can help make that difference for someone else is why I do what I do.
Last week I got an email from someone that started out:
“I don’t always remember to use my new skills right in the moment when they would do the most good (like, stopping and taking some slow, deep breaths to keep me from getting upset in the first place!). But even when all I can do is review them after the fact to see ‘what I should have done,’ they are always a huge help!”
Without going into the details of her story (which she graciously offered to let me share with you here), suffice it to say that she had caused an upset in her family over the holidays, saying something she wished she hadn’t just as her sister and nephew were about to make a five hour drive home.
In a moment of hurt and frustration that she had intended to keep to herself, she let slip a complaint that instantly reawakened long-standing resentments between herself and her sister. That’s all it took to mess up a perfectly pleasant “goodbye” – and, it seemed, the whole visit!
Here’s how she handled the crisis with mindfulness and love after the fact and felt re-inspired about her relationship with her sister, by using the affirmative declarations I shared with you as my holiday gift this year:
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[following her description of the incident, she continued…]
Then I remembered something I had read in one of your blog posts about forgiveness: you said that “pain is a given in life, but suffering is optional.” And I really got this time how I was keeping myself suffering by dwelling on the argument with my sister for hours on end. I finally decided I didn’t want to suffer any more!
I tried repeating in my head, as though I were saying it to her, “I forgive you, and I love you no matter what.” But it felt like a lie. I still had too much anger, sadness and resentment in my heart.
So I got my list of declarations, and went through them. While they were all inspiring, as I spoke them out loud several seemed exactly relevant.
Numbers 1, 2 and 4 helped me realize that I really want to FEEL LOVE and BE LOVING, regardless of what is going on around me. I want to be that kind of person as much as I possibly can.
I saw that I totally blew it (!) on number 6 in that moment with my sister, but resolved to practice that skill until it comes more naturally to me.
Number 7 helped me remember that her life has not been so easy, and that from her point of view the world looks a lot different than it does to me.
Number 9 also is a skill I’m obviously not great at now, but that I intend to get good at!
I also created my own declaration, and repeated it to myself multiple times before I went to sleep. It was almost like a poem: “No matter what you do, no matter what you say, I love you anyway.” As I fell asleep repeating it to myself, it no longer felt like a lie. It felt true. And that was a great feeling.
The next day I sent them both a text of apology from my heart, saying I loved them and missed them. They both sent back messages that were very gracious and said they loved me too. What a blessing!
So even though I screwed up, at least I was able afterwards to apologize and mean it. I hope it restored some positive feelings for them too. More importantly, I got clear about what I really want when it comes to my relationships, and how I want to be consistent in communicating love even when the circumstances aren’t exactly the way I wish they could be.
I want to be loving, because love is what I want to feel. It’s completely selfish, when you really get down to it. It’s not about whether “they deserve it” in any situation. I’ll be doing it for myself – so I can stop suffering! What a miracle to see that, and finally understand how true it is. I’m looking forward to keeping this “Christmas miracle” alive in my life.
Thank you for teaching me how!!
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…couldn’t have described better myself what I’m hoping you, too, can learn!
(…and if you haven’t downloaded the mini-poster of affirmative declarations yet, click here!)
I wish for you, in 2015 and beyond, similar moments of learning, practice, and inspiring results that help you create the sort of life you really want.
See you next year!