More Endorsements

“Veritas was a safe place for me when I was struggling to make sense of my life circumstances. Glyn helped guide me to a place of healing, acceptance, and restoration without judgment or shame. If you are struggling, don’t do it alone, reach out.”

“My experience with Glyn was amazing, he helped me look at my anger and how to deal with it. It really opened my eyes and helped me. I can’t say this enough, Glyn has an amazing ability to help you with any issues or problems.”

“After going through a very difficult stage in my life with loss and finding it hard to deal with what had happened, I decided to go see Glyn at Veritas Counselling Solutions. Glyn really helped me deal with my loss and how to process my feelings in a way that was healthy and helpful allowing me to get strong again. He truly has a heart and gift for helping people. I would recommend Glyn to anyone who is having struggles in their life!”

Forgive Yourself

 

If I were to ask you this question, right now: “Who do you need to forgive in your life?” my hunch is that you would begin to think about those who have wronged you. Perhaps the image of someone once (or still) close to you would come to mind. You would picture a face, one that makes you either burn with anger, or crumble with hurt. Or perhaps you would think of that person and remember how far you’ve come—that where there was once anger, there is now a sense of peace and hope. But what if I were to ask you, “What about yourself? Have you ever considered if you need to forgive yourself?” what would you say?  

My immediate connection to forgiveness is about others, people in my life who have hurt me or I’m working on forgiving. I assume that all my hurts are about other people, yet when I look closely, I see that many of them are about how much I’ve hurt myself. When I think of what I need to forgive myself for, they are all instances where I’ve had a choice. I made the choice to hurt others with my words or by my actions, and I made a choice to hurt myself. It’s in that choice that my true pain lies, because I could have done something different.

In times of hurt and regret, I try to hold onto these seven important truths:

We are all broken. We all have something inside that is aching to be forgiven, yet that relationship with self is one of the most neglected. Quite often we don’t even realize we’re dealing with guilt or shame over a situation. We may have shelved it to the back of our mind, and when something triggers the memory we pretend we’re “all good,” that it doesn’t affect us anymore. And yet, underneath we hold on to our guilt and shame as though we are the only one who has ever hurt, betrayed, or done the wrong thing. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. As someone once said, “There is no perfection, only beautiful versions of brokenness.” None of us is perfect. We are all broken. We have all hurt and been hurt. Forgiveness is the only answer.

Your mistakes don’t define you. When I’m struggling with forgiving myself, the hardest thing for me is to separate my actions from who I am. At times, I can sink into the debilitating thought pattern of: “I’m a bad person.” Our mistakes don’t define us. The guy sitting in a jail cell doing time for murder is not only “a murderer,” he is also a human being with his own broken history. Yes, he may need to stay in that jail cell to protect society, but that doesn’t give us the right to define who he is. He is a person who has done a great wrong. But he is still a human being. Our mistakes, choices, and crimes are the things we DO, not the people we ARE.

You are always worthy of love and belonging. No matter what you have done, what I have done, what the guy in the jail cell has done, our “God-given” right is that we are loved and we belong. People may reject us, but they do not decide whether you or I are worthy of love and belonging, God does. The good news is, there is a God in heaven who will never abandon us, will always be there for us, and who will forgive us (even when we can’t forgive ourselves), who accepts us and loves us – no matter what.

You are enough. We all have “beat-myself-up-days,” times of regret or shame, when we say to ourselves, “I am not good enough” Yet I know, if a friend was to confide in me about their shame over the same behaviour, I would console them and want them to forgive themselves. I would tell them “You are enough,” and that “We all mess up.” It’s what we do with the mess that counts. It’s how we pick up the pieces and learn, how we use it for good and move on. If these are the words and thoughts we lean into for our friends, why then do we find it so difficult to do the same for ourselves?

Your mistakes are your teachers. The choices we make, both good and bad, can be great teachers if we allow them to be. There are some things I would do differently in my life if I had the chance. But I don’t have that chance. In fact, I have two choices: to live in a state of constant regret, or to allow my past mistakes to be my teachers. In every failure we learn. We learn what hurts ourselves, what hurts others, and who we are in the process. If we don’t like what we see, we have an opportunity to change.

You get another chance. Little Orphan Annie had it right when she sang “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you’re only a day away.” Tomorrow can be representative of a new beginning—an opportunity to let go, if we will allow it. The emotions attached to whatever it is you need to forgive yourself for won’t go away over night, but you can choose to consciously make an effort to let go of them each and every day. You do get another chance, but you have to be willing to give yourself that chance.

Self-forgiveness is always a process. Forgiving ourselves can be far more difficult than forgiving others. Often the thought, what right do I have to forgive myself? comes up. But forgiveness is never about rights—it is always about letting go and healing. When you forgive someone else, it isn’t for their benefit, it’s for your own. The same is true of self-forgiveness. You may feel like you have no right to release yourself from the chains that bind you, because the person you hurt may not be released. But should you spend the rest of your life beating yourself up for something in the past? Everyone’s journey is their own; don’t try to carry the pain for both yourself and the person you feel indebted to. Let go and hope and pray that they are able to do the same. None of this will happen overnight. Just as it takes time and often many attempts to forgive someone else, the same is true when forgiving yourself. Don’t allow your shame, regret or self-directed anger steal one more day of your life. Choose to begin walking the path of self-forgiveness.

Take out your journal, laptop, iPhone or whatever medium feels right for you and write your answers to these questions and statements:

What is one thing I need to forgive myself for?

When I think of this thing I feel ______ about myself

How can I separate who I am from what I did?

How do these actions of the past affect the way I live in the present?

How does knowing God forgives me impact on how I forgive myself?

What step or steps can I take today to begin the process of self-forgiveness?

Until next time …

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness “IS” – Part 2

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” ― Nelson Mandela

Forgiveness is an inner condition.

Forgiveness must take place in the heart or it is worthless.  If we have not forgiven those who hurt us, it will come out sooner or later. But if forgiveness has taken place in the heart, our words and actions will show it. When there is bitterness, it will eventually manifest itself; when there is love, it will manifest itself also. That is why reconciliation is not essential for forgiveness. If forgiveness takes place in the heart, one does not need to know whether one’s offender will reconcile. If I have a genuine heart experience, I will not be devastated if there is no reconciliation. If those who hurt me don’t want to continue a relationship with me, it isn’t my problem, because I have forgiven them. I can have an inner peace.

Forgiveness is the absence of bitterness.

Bitterness is an inward condition. It is an excessive desire for vengeance that comes from a deep resentment.  It will manifest itself in many ways – losing your temper, intense anger, high blood pressure, irritability, sleeplessness, obsession with getting even, depression, isolation, and negativity.  We must get rid of bitterness, otherwise, the attempt to forgive will fail. How do we know when it is gone? When there is no desire to get even or to punish the offender, when I do or say nothing that would hurt his reputation, and when a truly wish him well in all he seeks to do.

Forgiveness is forgiving ourselves.

Forgiveness means forgiving people, but it also must include forgiving ourselves. One common complaint I hear as a counsellor is: “I can forgive the person who hurt me, but I can’t seem to forgive myself.” This is such an important topic, that I will discuss in my next blog.

Until then, my hope and prayer is that what I have written will challenge and motivate you to forgive those who have hurt you.

What Forgiveness “IS”

                                               “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea                                                       until you have something to forgive.” C. S. Lewis.

Forgiveness is:  

Being aware of what someone has done and still forgiving them.  

It is a fact, we often avoid facing up to the wrong done, to keep ourselves from experiencing the pain. We want to sweep it under the carpet. But what we fail to recognize is, true forgiveness is often painful. It is painful to recognize what was done, and yet, still choosing to forgive, refusing to make the offender “pay.”

Choosing to keep no record of wrongs.  

Why do we keep track of the times we have been wronged? To prove we are right. To wave them in someone’s face. Well, that’s not forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice, a deliberate act of the will. It is a choice to tear up the record of wrongs before they become lodged in our hearts. This way resentment does not have a chance to grow. When we do this as a lifestyle, we not only avoid bitterness, we also begin to experience forgiveness as a feeling – a good feeling.

Refusing to punish those who deserve it.  

Forgiveness means giving up the natural desire to see the offender “get what’s coming to them.” We cannot bear the thought that someone who hurt us deeply would get away with what they have done. It seems so unfair! But, it’s not our job to punish, seek revenge, or harbour a personal grudge. It’s God’s prerogative to be free to decide what should be done. He doesn’t need our help. It’s our job to forgive.

Not telling what they did.  

There is often a need to talk to someone about how you have been hurt. This can be therapeutic, if it is done with the right person, and with the right attitude. If this is necessary, you need to choose wisely. You need to choose a person who is trustworthy, and who will keep a confidence, by never repeating your situation to those it does not concern. Anyone who forgives, does not talk about their offender or about what they did with others. If you share your pain and hurt with someone, examine your motives and be sure you aren’t doing it to punish anyone by making them look bad.

Until next time ..

 

What Forgiveness is “NOT”

                                                                              You’ve been wronged … wronged by your spouse, parent, child, friend or coworker. You thought you could trust them. They let you down. It hurts. The pain runs deep inside you. What makes things worse, you didn’t deserve it. It wasn’t your fault. Every day the painful video plays inside your head. You cannot erase it from your mental hard drive. Bitterness, resentment, and anger all start to flood your emotions.

How can you be released from this hurt? What can be done? Well, you’ve got a couple of choices. And only one is the right choice. You can choose to hold onto the hurt and spend the rest of your life with the pain, bitterness, and anger. Or you can choose to be released from it, healed and freed. It all comes down to a decision … a decision to forgive the person who has hurt you.

There are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about forgiveness. Let me tell you what forgiveness is NOT.

  1. Forgiveness is not a feeling. If it were, we would rarely forgive others because we would not “feel” like it.
  2. Forgiveness is not a weakness. A lot of strength is required to acknowledge the pain, declare it, and  forgive it.
  3. Forgiveness does not mean pretending it didn’t happen or hiding from it.
  4. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. The phrase “forgive and forget” is not reality.
  5. Forgiveness does not mean condoning or excusing a wrong. And it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. We can forgive the person without excusing the act.
  6. Forgiveness is not pardoning what they did. A pardon is a legal transaction that releases an offender from the consequences of their actions. Forgiveness does not release the person who did the wrong from any consequences. There may still be consequences.
  7. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciling. In fact, it does not require reconciliation. That is a separate issue. Reconciliation may follow forgiveness, but we can forgive an offender without re-establishing the relationship.
  8. Forgiveness is not based on the wrongdoer’s actions. Even if the other person never apologizes and asks for forgiveness, we need to forgive.
  9. Forgiveness is not conditional. It’s not an, “If you do this … this … and this, then, and only then, will I forgive you.”
  10. Forgiveness is not about changing the other person, their actions, or their behavior.
  11. Forgiveness does not mean trust. Forgiveness should be freely given. Trust must be earned. As I shared in a previous blog, trust is built in very small moments.
  12. Forgiveness is not about changing the past it’s about changing the future. Forgiveness accepts and addresses the past but focuses on the future. It looks toward a future of healing and hope.

Take the time to read, think about, and absorb these statements – it may change the way you see forgiveness. It may change your life. It did mine.

Until next time …

 

 

Forgiveness – Is It Possible?

Who is that person in your life?  The person who, every time you think about him or her, the pain comes back? You might have said the words “I forgive you.” But deep in your heart, the pain of what they did or said still echoes inside of you. You want to be free from the hurt, but you feel stuck. Each of us goes through experiences in life that cause hurt. You may have been wounded very deeply. That hurt might have been done intentionally or unintentionally. No matter the circumstances, you need to totally forgive.

In his book “Total Forgiveness,” R.T. Kendall does a wonderful job teaching about the overwhelming challenge we are given to forgive those who have wounded us deeply. Kendall begins by explaining the lies we believe about forgiveness. After explaining what forgiveness is not, he does a masterful job explaining the process of forgiveness and the difference between a surface level forgiveness and totally forgiving someone.

Forgiveness is not easy. But it is not impossible, either. You must make the choice to forgive. The consequences of choosing un-forgiveness are devastating. You can have freedom from the hurts of the past.

This is such an important subject, forgiveness, and is not often understood, nor addressed in counselling as it should.  I am devoting these next blogs to the subject, and will endeavour to walk you through the “forgiveness process.” It has helped me tremendously in my life, and I believe it will do the same for you.

Again, I invite your comments, and experiences you have had with forgiveness.

Until next time.

A Conversation To Build Trust

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If we understand the components of trust (i.e. boundaries, reliability, accountability, etc.) we can better identify and communicate where we are hurt or in need of more trust. This will help begin a healthful and non-threatening conversation with our partner, friend or family member.

In fact, this could alter our relationships, because it gives us a common language and understanding of the components of trust. Sometimes we can’t quite put our finger on why we feel off, but the inventory below gives us a structure to pin point what isn’t working quite right, and so begins a conversation.

Boundaries: You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no and you ask for what you need.

Their strengths: _______________________________________________________________

Their opportunities for growth: ___________________________________________________

My strengths: _________________________________________________________________

My opportunities for growth: ____________________________________________________

Reliability: You do what you say you’ll do. This means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t over-promise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.

Their strengths: _______________________________________________________________

Their opportunities for growth: __________________________________________________

My strengths:
_______________________________________________________________

My opportunities for growth: ___________________________________________________

Accountability: You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends. You don’t blame others for your mistakes and when you need to hold others accountable you do so honestly and with respect.

Their strengths: ______________________________________________________________

Their opportunities for growth: _________________________________________________

My strengths: _______________________________________________________________

My opportunities for growth: __________________________________________________

Vault: You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. I need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential.

Their strengths: ______________________________________________________________

Their opportunities for growth: _________________________________________________

My strengths: _______________________________________________________________

My opportunities for growth: __________________________________________________

Integrity: You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.

Their strengths: _____________________________________________________________

Their opportunities for growth: ________________________________________________

My strengths: ______________________________________________________________

My opportunities for growth: _________________________________________________

Non-judgment: I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.

Their strengths: ____________________________________________________________

Their opportunities for growth: _______________________________________________

My strengths: _____________________________________________________________

My opportunities for growth: ________________________________________________

Generosity: You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.

Their strengths: ___________________________________________________________

Their opportunities for growth: ______________________________________________

My strengths: ____________________________________________________________

My opportunities for growth: _______________________________________________

 

Until next time …

Braving to Build Trust

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In my last blog, I related how in relationships, we all have opportunities to build trust or betray the trust of another.  To choose not to connect when the opportunity is there, to decide to ‘turn away’ from our partner and choose not to meet their need, is a moment of betrayal. However, in those moments when we choose to ‘turn towards’ our partner and help address his or her need, in our willingness to connect, are we doing the important work of building trust.

Trust and betrayal is found in our willingness to connect with one another.

Brene Brown helps to build our understanding of trust by giving us a language to talk about it. She says, “When we trust, we are braving connection with someone.”

So what is trust?

Brown conveniently gives us the acronym B-R-A-V-I-N-G, which are the components or anatomy of trust:

B – Boundaries I promise to hold my own boundaries and respect yours both personally and professionally.  There is not trust without boundaries.

R – Reliability I promise to do what I say I’m going to do, not once, but over and over and over again.  I can only trust you if you do what you say you’ll do.

A – Accountability I promise to own, apologize, and make amends for what I do that hurts you.  I can only trust you if when you make a mistake, you’re willing to own it, apologize for it and make amends.  I can only trust you if when I make a mistake, I am allowed to own it, apologize and make amends.

V – Vault I promise that what I share with you I will hold in confidence, and I expect the same.  I acknowledge that telling even my closest friends a confidence shows I am untrustworthy.  I can only trust you if I know you can keep a confidence.

I – Integrity I promise to always act from a place of integrity. Brown’s definition of integrity: “Choosing courage over comfort, choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast or easy, and practicing your values not just professing your values.”

N – Non-judgment I promise that you and I can fall apart and that you can ask me for help without judgment.  You and I both can struggle and ask for help without judgment.

G – Generosity I promise you can always assume generously about my actions and I will do the same for you.  Our relationship is only a trusting relationship if you can assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions and behaviours.  And then check in with me.

B-R-A-V-I-N-G.

Using this language helps to decipher where the problem might be in building trust in relationships with those closest to us.

How can these seven components or elements of trust be used as a tool to understand and talk about trust in your relationship(s)?

Until next time …

Sliding Door Moments

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As I noted in my previous blog, trust is fundamental to any relationship, and yet, we often fall short in how we understand and talk about trust to each other. To say, “I don’t trust that person,” is a statement that provides no direction about what needs to change, and keeps us at an arms-length distance from people.

Fortunately, Brene Brown helps to build our understanding of trust, giving us a language to talk about it, and helping us to better identify and communicate where we are hurt or need more trust.

The first thing we noted was how trust is built in very small moments: The building blocks of trust happen in the seemingly ordinary moments. Remembering someone’s name, voluntarily introducing yourself to your friend’s parents, attending a colleague’s family funeral, remembering others significant moments. Moments like these, Brown notes, are what research has shown to be the building blocks of trust, a lot like a marble jar.

John Gottman, a world renowned author, therapist, and researcher of relationships, esp. marriage, calls these seemingly insignificant moments, sliding door moments. He says, we do the important work of building trust in our relationships, in the moments when we choose to “turn towards” our partner and help address his/her need. It is found in our willingness to connect.

Which leads us to the second thing, we have opportunities to build trust or to betray the trust of another. “To choose not to connect when the opportunity is there, is a moment of betrayal.”

Gottman says, “betrayal is more than just breaking trust, like lying or having an affair, it is the continued decision to ‘turn away’ from your partner and choose to not meet a need. It is rooted in the belief, “I can do better than him/her. Do I really have to deal with his/her needs again?” This leads to a pattern of disconnection, of not committing to a relationship.

“Trust and betrayal are found in our willingness to connect.”

Question: What are some “sliding door” moments that have built trust in your relationships?  When have you allowed a “sliding door” moment to slip away and missed an opportunity to truly connect with someone else?

Until next time …

What to Do If You Struggle with Trust

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Over the next few blogs, I would like to share some thoughts on the topic of trust, and to get your response.

Trust is fundamental to any relationship, critical in every aspect of our lives, and yet we struggle with how to talk about it. When we say, “I just don’t trust you” to someone, it rarely helps. It’s overwhelmingly painful to hear and it gives us no direction about what specifically needs to change.

Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston’s Graduate School of Social Work, who has tackled this in her, “The Anatomy of Trust.” In fact, she lays out a whole new definition and way of talking about trust.  As always, her storytelling is on par.

She explained how trust is a lot like a marble jar, which was a discipline and reward system her daughter’s teacher used in the classroom. If the class did positive things, marbles went in the jar and there’s a party when the jar is full. If the class did something negative, then marbles are taken out of the jar. When her daughter came home from school hurt and afraid to trust again because some friends broke her trust, Brown said to her, “Trust is like a marble jar. You share those hard stories and those hard things that are happening to you with friends who over time you’ve filled up their marble jar. They’ve done thing after thing after thing where you know you can trust this person.”

We often think trust is built by grand gestures at crucial moments in our lives, but trust is typically built with simplicity and small actions. After looking at the research Brown concludes, “It’s very clear. Trust is built in very small moments.”

How do you respond to what Dr. Brown has observed?  What do you think?

Until next time …