In the middle of the night, I awoke in a rage, my heart pounding, my jaw set, fists clenched, ready to punch the guy who had stolen my mother’s wedding rings. In my mind, I replayed the story with all the reasons justifying my right to take him out. He had, at one time, been a family friend. The betrayal, disappointment, and hurt fueled my righteous indignation. I felt power surge through my right arm as I vividly imagined my fist breaking his jaw. I’ve never actually punched anyone, but that night, I knew how it would feel to connect my fist with his face. He went to jail for the theft, but that didn’t restore my mother’s wedding rings. In that moment, I wanted revenge.
Then suddenly, I realized I want a different world for my children. I want a world where restorative justice heals wounds, where wrongdoers can redeem themselves in their own eyes and in the eyes of the community by taking meaningful responsibility for their actions. I want a world where people feel self-esteem and don’t need to take what other people love. My stress level lessened as my heart opened, thinking of the peaceful world of cooperation and well-being I want for everyone. Forgiveness is not something I do for the other person. Forgiveness increases my inner peace.
Do you have a story of a small betrayal, maybe not a 10. Maybe a 5 that you could reframe as a starting point? Write about what happened. How did the situation make you feel? How did the other person feel after the betrayal? Why do you suppose the wrongdoer took the action he or she chose? What action could the wrongdoer take now to redeem him or herself in your eyes?
Listen to this guided meditation to align with your inner well-being and find the flow of Forgiveness and Reconciliation.
When you reframe your story to look through the lens of
forgiveness, gratitude, and excitement,
you can reconnect to your natural state of inner well-being.
Raise Your Emotional Intelligence
You’re no doubt familiar with IQ, which measures certain types of intelligence such as reasoning, language, and memory skills. A newer intelligence scale, EQ measures emotional and social intelligence: self-actualization, assertiveness, empathy, impulse control, and flexibility, plus a few more. Why is EQ so important? According to Dr. Daniel Goleman, decades of research show that emotional intelligence has twice the impact on your success in work and life than technical intelligence and cognitive intelligence combined. Think of a brilliant mathematician with no friends who doesn’t get promoted because he lacks social skills. Luckily, although IQ stays constant after about age seventeen, your EQ can improve through awareness and practice.
The good news is that you can raise your emotional intelligence, and improve your quality of life, through awareness and reframing.
You can change how you feel by changing the words you choose to describe a situation. By first using your awareness to notice how you are feeling and then reframing to change your perception, you can reduce your stress and anxiety in a given situation. I transformed rage into forgiveness by changing the way I thought about the situation. Open-hearted compassion brought me inner peace.
Play the Gratitude Game
Have you played the Gratitude Game?
- Write a list of 100 things you appreciate
- Every night before bed, write five things you are grateful for in a Gratitude Journal
- Make it a practice to find things during the day that fill you with gratitude
- Bless your food and all the hands that brought it to you
Notice when you are feeling down and toggle to a positive feeling by finding something beautiful to appreciate. I especially appreciate reflections in glass. The contrast of colors, shadows, shimmers, and sparkles catches my eye and changes my mood to an upward spiral.
Practicing gratitude will help you re-find your calm center and manage your stress in powerful ways that you can’t see. Unleashing the power of gratitude in your life will start a chain of events to help you transform your anxious, fearful feelings into more usable energy like excitement.
Fear and excitement share a common thread. Riding a roller coaster or singing karaoke can feel both fearful and exciting, both terrifying and exhilarating, depending on your frame of reference and the words you choose. Before starting something scary, try saying to yourself three times, “I feel excited! I am so excited!” Notice how your feelings change.
If you are interested in feeling healthy, happy, and whole, you will do what is convenient. If you are committed to feeling healthy, happy, and whole, you will do what it takes.
Will you do what it takes to reframe a story in your current reality with forgiveness, gratitude, and excitement to reduce your stress and re-find your inner joy?
If you would like support and encouragement in expanding your emotional awareness, check out my free Master Class, Raise Your EQ on my WU Profile page HERE.
Emotional Intelligence or EQ measures how we perceive ourselves, interact with others, achieve success, and find happiness. You can raise your emotional intelligence, and improve the quality of your life, by reframing the stories you tell yourself. Noticing the connection between an emotion and the thought that triggered the emotion empowers you to choose your response. When you raise awareness of your emotional responses, you increase your response options and decrease your suffering. When you reframe your story to look through the lens of forgiveness, gratitude, and excitement, you can reconnect to your natural state of inner well-being.
In next month’s Seeking Serenity, we will focus on mindfulness to enhance your feelings of inner calm and joy.
*This article is excerpted from Seeking Serenity: How to Find Your Inner Calm and Joy. Available on Amazon.
Connect with Leah Skurdal on The Wellness Universe and walk away feeling better!
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