Archive for the ‘Growth’ Category

Other People’s Needs

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

We think we know so well what other people need. Often enough we do. But before we can tell what we know, we must first, paradoxically, forget we ever knew it. We must enter the fire of a person’s living presence and accept the risk of spontaneous, unpremeditated relationship. Only in the midst of the free fall of real personal encounter may we discover, when we least expect it, the wisdom to confront a thorny problem.

Whenever possible, it is best to let others take the lead in correcting themselves. It is surprising how willing many are to do this if only they catch a whiff of genuine love. In this atmosphere, as often as not, the forbidden issue will actually be raised by the other person first, and suddenly we’re invited to give the counsel stored up within us. Alternatively, once we come to know and appreciate others, it may no longer seem so important to give them a piece of our mind!

— Mike Mason, Practicing the Presence of People, p. 155

[Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 11, 2018]

Punished By Our Sins

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

This view of sin and punishment is perhaps not as commonly held now as it was in previous generations, so I’m not sure how many people believe that God is holding a big grudge against them for being bad. Sure, some still believe that in heaven there is a list of good behaviors and bad behaviors and therefore to know that God forgives your sin is to know that God has erased the red marks against you and therefore is no longer mad, which means he won’t punish you.

But honestly, I’m much more tortured by my secrets, which eat away at me, than I am concerned about God being mad at me. I’m more haunted by how what I’ve said and the things I’ve done have caused harm to myself and others than I am worried that God will punish me for being bad. Because in the end, we aren’t punished for our sins as much as we are punished by our sins.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Accidental Saints, p. 130

[Photo: Sunrise, South Riding, Virginia, March 16, 2015]

Real Self-Love

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Real love allows for failure and suffering. All of us have made mistakes, and some of those mistakes were consequential, but you can find a way to relate to them with kindness. No matter what troubles have befallen you or what difficulties you have caused yourself or others, with love for yourself you can change, grow, make amends, and learn. Real love is not about letting yourself off the hook. Real love does not encourage you to ignore your problems or deny your mistakes and imperfections. You see them clearly and still opt to love.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 16

Increasing Accountability with Self-Forgiveness

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Surprisingly, it’s forgiveness, not guilt, that increases accountability. Researchers have found that taking a self-compassionate point of view on a personal failure makes people more likely to take personal responsibility for the failure than when they take a self-critical point of view. They also are more willing to receive feedback and advice from others, and more likely to learn from the experience.

— Kelly McGonigal, The Willpower Instinct, p. 148.

Forming a Grievance

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

There are very few instances where the long-term use of anger will be of help to you. I want to make clear, once a situation has passed, both the long-term naming of angry feelings and the expression of anger rarely lead to good results. Anger can be a wonderful short-term solution to your life’s difficulties, yet it is rarely a good long-term solution to painful events. Anger is simply our way of reminding ourselves that we have a problem that needs attention. Yet too often we get angry instead of taking constructive action, or we get angry because we do not know what else to do.

It is my contention that the long-term experience of anger, or what we call a grievance, is almost never helpful.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 14.

The Broken

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Hannah tasted salty tears of infertility. Elijah howled for God to take his life. David asked his soul a thousand times why it was so downcast. God does great things through the greatly wounded. God sees the broken as the best and He sees the best in the broken and He calls the wounded to be the world changers.

— Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way, p. 24

Fuel for Growth

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

To soar above is to go beyond limits, to become greater, to become the most empowered and humane persons we can be. This, I believe, is the evolved function of pain: not to suffer or to identify with suffering but to grow beyond it. As we’ve seen, the natural function of pain is to motivate behavior that will heal, correct, and improve. The Adult brain uses pain as fuel for growth.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 144

Making a Pearl

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

Most of us have had traumatic things happen to us. At the time of a trauma, we have a choice as to what the experience will become for us. Either we choose for this experience to become the thing that wounds us so mortally that it eventually kills us because we never get over it or we choose for it to become the grain of sand around which we produce a great pearl.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 221

Feedback Loop

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

The human brain must do three operations when confronted with a bad situation. The first is in the Toddler brain. When something bad happens — or seems like it might happen — the alarm sounds in the Toddler brain: fear, anger, shame, anguish. The alarm is usually triggered by external change (cues in the environment) or internal change — something felt, thought, recalled, or imagined. (Remember, the Toddler brain has only primitive reality-testing; toddlers confuse reality with what they feel, think, remember, and imagine.) The second operation is in the adult brain, where the alarm/signal is interpreted and the perceived bad thing assessed for threat and damage. The third and most important operation, improve (without making things worse), is in the more profound part of the Adult brain. Alas, those who have developed habits of retreating to the Toddler brain under stress tend to get stuck in a feedback loop of the first two operations. Instead of testing the alarm against reality, the interpretations and assessments by habit enhance it by justifying it. They never get to the Adult brain’s ability to improve.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 123-124

Call to Courage

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

If there is one thing failure has taught me, it is the value of regret. Regret is one of the most powerful emotional reminders that change and growth are necessary. In fact, I’ve come to believe that regret is a kind of package deal: A function of empathy, it’s a call to courage and a path toward wisdom. Like all emotions, regret can be used constructively or destructively, but the wholesale dismissal of regret is wrongheaded and dangerous. “No regrets” doesn’t mean living with courage, it means living without reflection. To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life.

— BrenĂ© Brown, Rising Strong, p. 210-211.