Forgiveness

How To Love Yourself Part 2

How To Love Yourself Part 2

As Teri shared yesterday, an inability to love ourselves extends to being unable to accept love from others. But where do we start? It's easier said than done, but there are manageable starting points for each of us. This week we're going to discuss ways that we can love ourselves. Some ways will apply and some will not.

All About Affairs- Healing From an Affair

All About Affairs- Healing From an Affair

The Imagine Hope ladies have shared some great statistics and information on infidelity, and how to affair proof your marriage, but what can you do if an affair has already happened?

  1. Seek out a professional counselor that has knowledge and experience in healing from infidelity.  This one is imperative, because if you can't heal from the affair, it will cause more damage to your marriage on down the road!  It's important to understand how your relationship got to this place, and without professional help, it can be difficult to do so.  We all have blind spots-- that's what makes us human.  Most of the time, it's necessary to have someone who is a neutral party help us understand things from an outside perspective.

Forgiveness Part 5

Forgiveness Part 5

As Natalie discussed yesterday in Part 4 of our blog series on forgiveness, it's important to try and hang onto forgiveness, once you have gone through the steps of the process.  While she discussed some different ways you can make the commitment to forgiveness, what happens if you are struggling with this, and the memories continue to come back?

Forgiveness Part 4

Forgiveness Part 4

I hope with this weeks blog series on forgiveness, you've been able to understand it's importance and how it frees you more than anyone else. We all struggle with forgiveness so navigating it in a healthy way can lower your risk of stress, physical problems, as well as emotional problems. Today we want to talk about how you hang on to forgiveness. 

Forgiveness Part 3

Forgiveness Part 3

Have you ever considered how giving someone forgiveness is actually a gift to yourself?   Well, it is.  Forgiveness is a choice...an active decision to let go of bitterness and resentment towards a situation or a person who has wronged you.  By choosing to let go, one of the greatest benefits is that you release yourself of the burden of caring negative feelings, such as anger, towards the person who has offended you and refocus your attention on something that is more positive and meaningful.

Forgiveness Tips 4 & Resources

  • Forgiving someone is not saying you are ok with what they did. Many people worry that forgiving someone sends the message that they are condoning a person's behavior. It is not about making a moral judgment, but about you being free from holding onto the pain. They will suffer natural consequences for their actions. It is not necessary for you to be the "punisher" of their actions.

 

  • Forgiving someone does not mean you have to be friends with them. Some people are not emotionally safe for you to be around. For example, if you or someone you love, has been abused by someone, you can choose to forgive that person. However, it would not be in your best interest to continually allow yourself to be in your abusers presence. Forgiving them does not mean you have to let them back into your world.

If you need more resources on Forgiveness, here are some that we have found helpful:

Forgiveness: The Path to Happiness by Sandra Summerfield Kozak

Forgiveness: How to Make Peace With Your Past and Get on With Your Life by Sidney B. Simon & Suzanne Simon

Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall

Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves: Healing Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families by David A. Stoop & James Masteller

How Can I Forgive You: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To by Janis A. Springs

Thanks for reading this week. Have a great weekend!

Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

Forgiveness Tips 3

Hopefully you've been reading Teri & Joleen's tips on Forgiveness this week thus far. This is such an important piece to incorporate into your life. Rick Warren, Pastor & author of The Purpose Driven Life, says that, "Forgiveness needs to be given immediately, but trust will take longer to be rebuilt." Here are more tips for Forgiveness:

  • You don't have to wait for someone else to say "I'm sorry" to forgive. Many people think they have to be "asked for forgiveness" to receive it. The reality is you may never hear "I'm sorry" from someone who hurt you. They many never see that they did anything wrong, let alone ask for forgiveness. Waiting for them to make the first move will many times cause you to stay stuck and not get past the pain of the wound.

 

  • Forgiving is recognizing someone's humanness. We are all human which makes us imperfect and capable of hurting other people. Just because someone hurts people doesn't mean it was intentional. Recognizing someone's humanness doesn't make it ok that they hurt you, but it can help you accept that pain is a hard part of relationships and caring about people.

Tomorrow we will discuss the last tips on Forgivness, along with some resources for further reading on this topic.

Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counselingat Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

Characteristics of Healthy Friendships-2

Ahhh, friends. I hope you're blessed with the best friend in the whole world. I know I am. It's through friendship we grow, are challenged, and see the best and worst of ourselves. Friendships are forgiving. At their core, friendships are two imperfect people having a relationship. Feelings are going to be hurt (on accident). Toes are going to be stepped on (on accident). Lines are going to be crossed (on accident). Tears will be shed (as a result).

How quickly and easily are you able to forgive your friend for being human in your relationship with them? Maybe this question is best asked, "How quickly do you want your friend to forgive you when you make a mistake, or unknowingly hurt their feelings?"

Too often we can hold our friends at a higher standard of performance than which we hold ourselves. I'm guilty of this too. Forgiveness is freeing and we need to remember to forgive, because we've been forgiven as well.

Thanks for reading, please check back Thursday & Friday as we cover more healthy friendship characteristics.

Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

Tips for Healthy Dating – Forgiveness

I have many clients who are in different stages of dating—clients who are contemplating putting themselves “out there”, clients who are actively dating and in a relationship, or even clients who have recently ended a relationship. I think this week’s blog is full of good tips and insight! Tip #3- Forgiveness

You can tell a lot about a person by their ability or inability to forgive. Those who forgive easily often show grace and understanding, knowing that everyone makes mistakes. They are able to express their feelings and explain why they were hurt. They can use the hurtful situation as a way to grow with their partner.

Those that hold grudges can make it very difficult to move on past an offense. It may get brought up over and over again, or used as a weapon to manipulate. I would even say that some people get “pleasure” from not forgiving. It’s something they can hold over your head for a very, very long time.

Can you bring up hurtful things with your dating partner? How does it go? Partners who are not safe may turn a concern you have about them into a personal attack on you. They twist your words, saying that you’re crazy for feeling the way that you do.

If you realize that lack of forgiveness is an issue, you may need to re-evaluate this dating partner and where the relationship is heading. There is a good chance that the relationship is not a healthy one and needs some work.

Keep reading this week as we continue to share tips for healthy dating.

Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

Quotes That Inspire- Joleen

One of my favorite quotes is by Lili Tomlin:  "Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past". This quote is so revealing and true, in so many ways.  In therapy, though we do focus on gaining a  better understanding of how our family system and childhood has impacted us to be the person we are today (strenghts and weaknesses, alike), it's also about learning how to change life patterns.  To stop reacting to things as though we are stuck in our past.  This quote is a great example of how, when we choose to forgive, we are accepting the very thing we cannot change-- our past-- while at the same time, creating hope for our future and how things can be different, if we only challenge ourselves to be different from this point forward.

Forgiveness means letting go-- freeing ourselves to move forward and accept what we cannot change about our history.  It truly is a sense of freedom when you forgive.  You are basically saying that, from this point forward, I am no longer allowing my past (or anyone in my past) to have control over me and my future.

How have you forgiven from your past?  Do you still hang onto hope that somehow your past will magically be different?

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

 

Do I Love Unconditionally?

This week, we are talking about unconditional love.  On Monday, Teri talked about what unconditional love really is.  Today, we will discuss whether or not you are loving unconditionally in your marriage. To determine whether or not you are loving unconditionally, there are several questions you can ask yourself.  It's important to be able to step back and truly try to evaluate how you love, in order to figure this out.  Answer these questions as honestly as you can:

Do I determine how I treat other people based on their behavior towards me?  If you are reacting to others by basing your treatment of them on how they behave towards you, then you are loving conditionally.  This does not mean that we shouldn't set boundaries to protect ourselves when warranted, it just means that unconditional love is not dependent on others behaviors.

Does my partner's performance determine the degree of how much love I give him/her? Again, when we are reacting to another person, we aren't free to love them fully and unconditionally.  Remember that it starts with you and your behaviors to your spouse.

Do I think that love should be shown only as a reward for good behavior?  Unconditional love isn't about a "reward".  It's about meeting your spouse where they are at, and loving them fully, regardless of what they do for you (or don't do).

Do I feel that my partner has to change before I can love him or her more?  (See above)

Do I think that I can improve my partner's behavior by withholding love?  This is one that we see quite frequently in marriage counseling.  The concept of stonewalling means that when you are disappointed or otherwise upset by your partner, you withhold conversation, communication, affection or attention... like a "stone wall".  This is a passive-aggressive attempt at trying to get your partner to understand you are hurting by withholding, as well as a passive-aggressive attempt to control your partner's behavior.  This rarely (if ever) works, and can be very damaging to the relationship.  It's also the opposite of unconditional love.

Am I reacting to other people most of the time?  As stated earlier, when we react to others, we aren't free to love them unconditionally.  Their behaviors are controlling how we feel, and we are allowing it.

Did you recognize any areas this week where you can practice unconditional love?  If so, how do you think that could possibly change your marriage?  Remember, don't wait for your partner to change.... Change can start with you!

Source:  Love Life for Every Married Couple by Ed Wheat & Gloria Okes Perkins

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

Benefits of Loving the Agape Way-2

Yesterday we talked about how unconditional love (or Agape Love) can provide safety during extremely stressful times.  Today we will continue to address other ways that unconditional love can benefit your marriage: Security and Stability Can Help You Grow

When you experience an unchanging type of love, full of stability and security, it creates an atmosphere of openness and trust.  When you feel that you are in a trusting relationship, it allows you both to mature together in a healthy way.  Wheat and Okes believe that when you experience Agape Love personally, it can help you to grow and become the type of person you want to be—by reaching your full potential.

Every Day is Easier

When you experience Agape Love, you feel secure in your relationship.  Due to this, you are less likely to lash out at your partner or deal any devastating blows to the relationship.  Wheat and Okes believe that the longer you experience unconditional love, the lesser your anger, depression, worry, and fatigue become.  Instead of being quick to anger, you are more likely to respond with patience and kindness.

Continue to read this week as we talk more about the benefits of Agape Love.

*Source: "Love Life For Every Married Couple" by Ed Wheat and Gloria Okes

 

Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group.  Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling.  Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

Let Go & Let In 2

I love that we're talking about how to replace bad habits or ways of life with something positive. Let's continue with the positives we need to let into our lives as we let go of the negatives. 3. Let In Compassion

This starts by allowing ourselves to ask for help, and having compassion for ourselves. We can't worry we can't do everything on our own...no one else can do everything on their own, so why should we be any different? We need to start being kind to ourselves and stop judging ourselves for not being perfect. The more we're able to do this, the more we'll be able to be kind to others and stop judging others. Letting in compassion can also mean opening ourselves to being comforted and loved by others. It can be easier to offer comfort to friends and family at times, but letting them return the favor is necessary as well.

4. Let In Forgiveness

Forgiving others is just as healing and important as forgiving ourselves. Letting in forgiveness allows us to experience personal freedom, and internal peace. A key to experiencing forgiveness is allowing ourselves to be human, and admitting we're going to make mistakes. Once we're able to admit this, it will be easier to let in forgiveness. If there is someone in our lives we need to extend forgiveness to, this applies here as well. Not extending forgiveness to someone will hold bitterness inside, rather than create peace.

Hopefully this list is giving you some good ideas for letting some positive things into your life. We have many more wonderful things to discuss over the rest of the week. Thank you for reading!

*Adapted from “You Are Worthy of Receiving: 10 Things To Let Into Your Life” by Kathy Kruger

Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

Spring Book Recommendations- Natalie

Constantly Craving by Marilyn Meberg This book is a wonderful book that is insightful, engaging, and filled with humor. Marilyn has a way of getting her points across in an easy fashion and lets you enjoy her books by filling them with stories that make you laugh and make you cry.

We all have a craving for more. More time, more material possessions, more love, more this, more that, more chocolate......you get the point. In this book, she addresses why we all have a craving for more in life. Why do we crave more out of our relationships, our marriages, our jobs, our time, and ultimately out of life? Can any of these things fill us up? Marilyn gives you wisdom in answering this question and guidance in obtaining what you are craving.

She also talks about non-traditional cravings such as one for revenge or a craving for relief from guilt and not feeling forgiven.

If you find you want more and you are not sure what it is, this book is for you. Or if you get what it is you are craving and you still don't feel "full", read on.

Written by Natalie Chandler

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville