THREE KEYS TO MOVING BEYOND

Janis Cohen

Janis Cohen

Blame is one of the surest ways to stay in a problem. In blaming another, you give away your power.

When you solely focus on what someone else has done, you rob yourself of precious time that can be experienced in freedom from pain, anger and betrayal.

You cannot change the past. The past is done. You can let it go now.

All too often, you hang on to the emotions connected to past experiences. Unless it provokes positive change within you, it serves no other purpose than to keep you cemented in unnecessary emotional and spiritual darkness.

There are three practices that I teach clients to utilize when they are stuck in blame.

1. Awareness of thoughts without judgment. There is no shortage of critical voices in your head. Most of the time, you aren’t even aware of how quickly you go to your default setting of “let me beat myself up a little more.

”Practicing awareness without judgment means that you resist the urge to condemn your thoughts as you think them.

Once aware, let your thoughts just be there, noticing how you feel as you think them.

After all, our thoughts let us know how we are doing. Should you realize that what you are thinking about doesn’t best serve you, understand that you can shift your focus instantly.

When the critical voices turn up the volume in your head, tell them, “Hey, I know you want to make me feel bad right now, but I am not going to allow that. So, just go away. Enough!”

2.    Forgiveness of self is a “must have” when you decide to move forward from pain inflicted upon you by another. Month after month, year after year, you carry the weight of your wounds. They grow heavier and heavier, don’t they?

Their shape carves itself out into they way you live your life, and before you know it, you have become someone you dislike, wishing for a different life for yourself.

It’s like that mattress commercial: “Over time, your mattress becomes weighed down with sweat and dust mites, and you need to get a new mattress.”

It’s the same with the pain you carry. Over time, the residue builds up, and you must decide whether to trade it in for a new, clean place to rest or hold on to what you have accumulated over time.

Forgiveness isn’t about letting the perpetrator of your pain off the hook; it simply means that you choose not to carry around the aftermath of your wounds for one moment longer than this moment right now.

When you forgive yourself for carrying pain from your past, you give yourself the chance to exhale easily, as if you were sitting by the ocean, closing your eyes, and letting the sound of the waves regulate your breathing. You are soothed and safe.

You can now re-define yourself.

3.    Having compassion for the person who hurt you can be very challenging for some and next to impossible for others. But, it is the key to living a clean life.

When you realize that the person who has caused you pain is operating from a limited emotional, psychological and spiritual place, you can then look at their behavior from a perspective where you see the pain they inflicted on you as theirs, not yours. It becomes your experience of them and their limited self.

Perhaps out of their own insecurities, they try to dominate and control. Maybe they are scared and frightened, just like all of us are at times in our lives, and say and do mean things to fend off potential rejection and pain of their own. Their ego and need to feel significant can drive them to exploit you, causing you great pain.

Regardless of their motivation – which, by the way, you don’t need to spend your time figuring out – people hurt people because they have yet to be enlightened about a better way to be. They are on their own path of self-actualization, even though they don’t know it yet.

Blaming others for your pain keeps no one but you imprisoned.

We are all here to transcend our limitations and to recognize our own magnificence and divinity. You have the ability to see things and others as they are: imperfect, flawed and with compassion.
Louise Hay, founder of Hay House Publishing,
offers this prayer to find peace from your past pain:

“In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole and complete.
The past has no power over me because I am willing to learn and to change.
I see the past as necessary to bring me to where I am today.
I am willing to begin where I am right now
to clean the rooms of my mental house.
I know it does not matter where I start, so I now begin with the smallest
and the easiest rooms, and in that way, I will see results quickly.
I am thrilled to be in the middle of this adventure, for I know I will never go
through this particular experience again.
I am willing to set myself free.
All is well in my world. ”

Let all be well in your world and refocus on what is happening in your “now.”
It’s all that you have.

Editor’s note: Janis R. Cohen, LCSW has helped to better the lives of children, adults and families for 21 years, adding a spiritual and strategic touch to her clinical work in private practice. She can be contacted at jrcohen@cohenfamilycounseling.com; find out more at www.cohenfamilycounseling.com.

By Janis Cohen
AJT Columnist