GRIEVANCES BE GONE! Give up judgment to find love and connection

worry less now

Grievances–grudges, judgment, criticism, resentment, blame, disapproval, or attack—block us from happiness and serenity.

“Well I don’t DO those things,”

You might think this, and you’re probably right. But what about the condemning attitudes living in our minds? Can any of us say we don’t constantly judge others’ words and actions? Of course we do.

It sounds like this: “If I were him, I wouldn’t do that.” “Why can’t she just get along with us? What’s wrong with her?” “They should not be doing that; they’re corrupt.”

The Problem with Grievances

Even though such statements seem true, the problem is that we’re focusing on the negative rather than the positive.

When we choose to hold a grievance, we can’t see the other person’s true self—the purity of their spirit. Further, if we can’t see the goodness in them, we can’t claim it for ourselves. What we send out to others comes back to us; it’s that simple.

Many of us deny our own negativity by numbing ourselves with substances or other unhealthy habits—a dead end to positive growth. Even those trying to be more positive still struggle with inherent dark thoughts. I certainly do.

The good news is that I’ve found so many ways to escape my mind’s tendency to criticize and judge. You can find them in my book, “Worry Less Now,” and in my blog.

How to Overcome A Grievance

Here’s a technique that showed up today as I read Lesson 78, “Let miracles replace all grievances,” from A Course in Miracles. First I was to recall all my negative thoughts about an important person in my life: what that person had done, their “weaknesses,” and other offenses. Then I was to ask spirit to help me see him through the eyes of love—“Let your mind be shown the light in him beyond your grievances.”  Then it suggested that I thank this person for prompting my negativity and discomfort so that I could release it and be peaceful and happy.

I just did the exercise as directed. As I chose to focus on the perfection of this person’s spirit rather than the images my mind had conjured, I found a deep peace creep over me. I could hardly remember what I thought was “wrong,” and I felt a loving connection with the person. As a result, I felt the light of spirit growing in myself.

The miracle of replacing fear with love had occurred. Amen.

I would love to hear from you: What gets in the way of your serenity? How do you overcome grievances or grudges?

Worry Less Now Cover

Gigi Langer has been clean and sober for 33 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She’s a sought-after speaker and retreat leader who has helped thousands improve their lives at work and at home. 

Read her blog here or order her award-winning book (50 Ways to Worry Less Now) from Barnes and NobleAmazon (5 stars), and all e-book vendors. 

HOW EASY IS IT FOR YOU TO RECEIVE CARE FROM OTHERS?

receive care worry less nowHow easily can you receive care from from others?  This question stopped me in my tracks when I read it in The Answer Is Simple: Love Yourself, Live Your Spirit! by spiritual teacher Sonia Choquette.

Surely, I thought, that wasn’t a problem for me! I had allowed plenty of men to “take care” of me–but only when I was in control of the payoff. The rest of the time, I was fiercely self-sufficient.

When I considered that I could receive care from other people, with NO strings attached, I could barely fathom it. I had always felt church and other organizations only welcomed me because they wanted my money or time.

Further, I didn’t feel I deserved such generous attention. My alcoholic home had taught me I wasn’t worth someone’s care or love; and that being a care-giver was safer than expecting it from another.

So, it’s not surprising that when I first went to 12-step programs, I was hesitant to accept the support offered by others–especially the women! Up until then, I had always relied on my lover and one female “using buddy.” I had no idea how to interact with healthy women without my old manipulative ways.

But, after months of hearing my recovering friends talk about their loving sponsors, I finally took the plunge and asked someone to be my sponsor. I couldn’t believe it when she said yes and gave me hours and hours of her undivided attention, just so I could stay sober (and she stayed sober too!)

It’s almost impossible to grow spiritually without healthy friends whose main purpose is to do the same. So, if you’re trying to straighten out your life (or keep it sane), you’ll consider this question carefully:
** How willing are you to receive help from others? **

It took me a while, but I’m happy to report that I now count myself rich, knowing that a select group of friends would immediately come to my rescue in any crisis.

To examine your own willingness to receive care from others, take a moment to consider these questions.

1. How easy is it for you to ask others for help?
2. Do you believe you always need to appear strong and competent?
3. Are you most comfortable in the role of helping others?
4. Can you graciously accept healthy loving care regardless of where it comes from?
5. What false beliefs might stand in the way of you being a better receiver?

If you can’t trust others to give you love without expecting something in return, or if you believe you don’t deserve others’ support, I encourage you to let go of this “I am an island” mentality (as in Paul Simon’s song, “I am a rock”). Perhaps counseling, spiritual practices, or other healthy people can help you  accept loving care from others.

For tips on finding healthy friends, read this article. To learn more about overcoming negative, self-limiting thinking so you can enjoy peace, clarity, and connection, see GigiLanger.com.

Gigi Langer Worry Less NowGigi Langer holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She’s a sought-after speaker and retreat leader who has helped thousands improve their lives at work and at home. 

worry less nowOrder her award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now at Amazon or get 20% off with promo code 20lessnow here.

 

AVOID THIS KIND OF “SUPPORT” WHEN YOU’RE HURTING

support worry less now

How many times have you shared a painful experience or emotion with another, and felt completely frustrated with their lack of support? In fact, you left the conversation feeling more alone than ever? 

 

An old saying, “Don’t go to the hardware store for milk,” warns us not to  look for understanding from those who are unable to give it. 

So, who are the best  people to turn to for emotional support? Although many think their lover or spouse should provide all the care they need, it’s an impossible task. Others turn to their family members whose own wounds may block them from providing the care we’re looking for. 

These three patterns will help you determine which people in your life are most likely to provide loving support when you’re hurting.

Pattern 1. “Here’s my solution,” rather than “Here’s how to access wise guidance.”

  • A less helpful friend suggests immediate solutions that attempt to control the situation. Because he’s uneasy with your discomfort, his goal is to fix it right now. Such advice can make the situation worse rather than better.
  • A helpful friend offers ideas and tools that bring you peace of mind and intuitive guidance. He’ll remind you that a serene state of mind will result in the best actions.

Pattern 2. “It’s all about me,” rather than “It’s all about you.”

  • A less helpful friend responds by sharing her own troubles. If she’s not able to focus on your concerns, then she may not be truly interested in your well being.
  • A helpful friend listens, carefully summarizes your thoughts and feelings, and asks questions to understand you. If this friend shares her own story, it’s only offered to give you hope; then she returns the focus to you. 

Pattern 3. “Let’s focus on the problem,” rather than “Let’s find a place of peace.”

  • A less helpful friend wants to hear the lurid details. She commiserates about how terrible your situation is and helps you justify your pain. Such friends end up reinforcing your resentments, fears, and worries.
  • A helpful friend refuses to escalate your fears by “awfulizing” events. She might suggest that you accept the situation as it is for now, and work toward a peaceful state of mind. Finally, she reassures you that this situation will find resolution in the best way for all, and that it may take time.
  • The Litmus Test: Consider how you feel after talking to the person. If you feel more agitation than hope, try sharing your vulnerabilities with someone else.

The most helpful people probably won’t come from your family. Your family members may unwittingly reinforce the very same patterns you’re trying to overcome. Give yourself some time to heal before you share deeply with family members.

Choose a confidant who holds no sexual attraction for you. A romantic partner hates to see you suffer, and may try to fix your problem for you. Or, if your partner struggles with security or power, their responses may be damaging rather than helpful.  

gigi langerGigi Langer holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She’s a sought-after speaker and retreat leader who has helped thousands improve their lives at work and at home. Order her award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now at Amazon or get 20% off with promo code 20lessnow here.

 

 

 

 

How to Stay Serene with Your Family During The Holidays

worry less now gigi langerThose of us who grew up in dysfunctional homes often have an especially hard time staying serene during the holiday season. For example, long ago I saw a TV ad showing a smiling, happy family sharing Christmas dinner. I just blew up, “That’s not how it was at my home!” Later, I wrote this poem.

Possum Hill Christmas

 “I’m the youngest of four at this Christmas dinner. My feet dangle—clean socks, patent leather shoes. We sit, waiting for Dad to come home. Mom’s tense, fretting over peas, turkey, and gravy. Her mother is quiet, reserved, disapproving. Something unspoken thickens the air. But we pretend it isn’t there. Finally, he arrives, boots muddying the carpet, drunken roars clouding the air. I sink lower and lower into my chair. This isn’t happening. I’m not here.”

[Read how I healed the insecurities created by these and other events in Chapter 5 of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now.]

So many of us have harsh memories of the drunken bashes and ugly scenes birthed by copious amounts of holiday “spirits.” What an upside-down way of celebrating Christ’s birth! We knew we were supposed to be happy, but all too often we felt hurt and confused.

 Family Holidays: Tips To Stay Serene

Now, however, we’re no longer at the mercy of others. We can choose to be serene with our families by using the following tips.

  • Family Wounds. If you were harmed by your family members OR if you harmed the family you created, the damage may take years to heal. Instead of trying to fix that, we first heal ourselves and gain spiritual strength. If being with your own family might prove too distressing this year, feel free to set some boundaries.
  • Time with Family. Early on, I discovered (the hard way!) that, after about three days, I reverted to my old insecurities and unhappiness. So, I kept my family visits short. After a few years of growth, I was able to extend my time and stay serene.
  • Prayer and Meditation. To prepare for family gatherings, I often increase my prayer and meditation. If I start feeling upset or defensive during the visit, I use one of my favorite prayers : “Please help me to see this (situation, family member, etc.) differently.” It acknowledges that my perceptions are clouded by judgment or anger; and that a power greater than my self-centered fear can restore my serenity. I also use guided meditations to reprogram my tension or negativity, for example Kelly Hine’s bodyandsoulretreats.com and Kristin Neff’s SelfCompassion.org.

My Wish for You

I wish you the wisdom and power to put your own happiness and serenity ahead of the need to please others, especially family, during this holiday season. I send you lots of love and encouragement!

What are some of your favorite ways of staying serene during the holidays? Please share them in the comments section below.

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer
From me to you!

Gigi Langer is a former “Queen of Worry” who  holds an MA in Psychology and PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is a popular speaker who has helped thousands of people improve their lives at home and work. Gigi hasn’t had a drug or drink for over 30 years, and lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.