We revisit this conversation where Mary introduces her awesome recipe for getting through and getting over the inevitable losses, disappointments, and mistakes we all experience, and for peacefully coexisting with annoying and difficult people.
Mary’s “Eight Steps to Freedom” is an indispensable tool and life skill for restoring a sense of peace and joy whenever you feel angry, resentful, disappointed, and hurt by situations and people in life, including yourself.
Episode Highlights, Ideas And Wisdom
- There’s a process that always heals the pain from tough times and dealing with difficult and disappointing people. It’s more specific and quicker than “Time heals all.”
- Peace and joy is found in letting go of unrealistic expectations that cause hurt and repeated disappointments.
- You don’t have the power to make other people change their ways. You do have the power to adjust your expectations of them.
- You can count on having disappointing life experiences. You can expect that life is going to change. People are going to let you down. People are going to die. People are going to get sick. You are going to lose a job. Life is hard at times. You need to know how to process the hurt from these difficulties right out of your system and recognize the valuable golden nugget of wisdom that you can learn from these experiences.
- Mary’s definition of forgiveness: “The refreshing experience of releasing an expectation that is causing you to suffer.”
- Forgiveness is an absolutely necessary life skill. We should be learning it in junior high. It’s the way we heal the pain of disappointing life experiences.
- It’s really hard to get over things by just saying to yourself “get over it!”
- Step One: State your will to make a change. Make a decision to make a choice to let go of a disappointing situation or person and move on and open up to life again. This decision can be hard and take time, particularly if you feel that you were truly wronged.
- Step Two: Express your feelings exactly as they are inside you. Vent. Let out your tears and your rage. Yell. Complain. Curse. Judge. Let out your true feelings about the situation or person that’s causing the hurt. This stuff needs to come out. It’s keeping you from being able to move on.
- Good healthy anger is kind of like a fiery quick moment that comes through and then it’s gone. If you keep anger inside, roiling and revving, it hurts you. It makes you sick. It makes you ill. It’s meant to come out of you.
- Step Three: Release expectations from your mind, one by one. Unhook the unrealistic expectations that have been glued into your brain by the fixed emotions that you let out in step two. Expectations are good. They’re based on your values and your hopes. Sometimes we have to let them go because a certain person is incapable of being decent or honest or responsible in the way you expect them to be. Or, what you hoped would happen in a certain situation turns out to be unrealistic and doesn’t happen.
- Step Four: Restore your boundaries. You have your own personal space and values. You can’t be responsible for the bad actions of people around you. In this step, you set these people outside your personal space and give them full responsibility for their bad behavior and the problems it causes. You stop carrying around these burdens because they aren’t yours. You’re only responsible for your own integrity.
- Step Five: Open up to God to get your needs met in a different way. Imagine being completely unattached from the person or situation you’re forgiving, no longer looking to him or her or the situation to satisfy your needs. You are now turning to a spiritual source for peace and joy saying, I’m giving myself into your hands. I trust you to give me my needs met and to lead me forward in a new way.
- Step Six: Receive God’s healing energy into your personality. Imagine a source of healing light and love above your head. Visualize opening up the crown of your head like a big skylight to receive fresh clearing energy from above.
- Step Seven: Send unconditional love to the other person and release him or her. Send light and love to the person just as they are, just as they will be. Release them from you to be how they are and ask God to bless them.
- Step Eight: See the good in the other person or situation. With new eyes, knowing you don’t want to hang out with them, marry them again, or even see them again, look and see them as having some goodness. Everyone does. Name that goodness. Rest your mind on that goodness in the future.
- Forgiveness is a tough sell to some people. We’ve been taught a lot of wrong things about it. We’ve been taught to forgive and forget. We been taught to forgive and reconcile, kiss and makeup. Sometimes we can’t do that. Sometimes we really need to just forgive a person and not have anything to do with them ever again.
- A lot of people don’t want to feel their feelings. They don’t want to feel sad. They’re afraid that if they’re going to feel their sadness and their loss, they’re going to be lost in it for three weeks. They don’t realize that you can travel through it in 20 minutes. You can actually go through it and be done.
- Human beings are an amazing combination of resilience and resurrection and fixity and stubbornness. We can be so fixed and stubborn. We can be so attached to being right. We love that. Before we decide it’s a good day to die and step off the cliff and have a new attitude, we can be very fixed and stubborn.
- You don’t have to rely on other people or situations to change. You always have the power to change your experience of the situation and to find peace and coexistence around a difficult person.