Monthly Archives: December 2014

Day 26: Radical Forgiveness


I haven’t been actively doing a lot of forgiveness exercises because I’ve been reading more about self-forgiveness, specifically, about all the “selves” that fall into “self.”

I often hear people talking about having different parts of themselves. Most commonly people talk about their “inner critic” and “giving myself a hard time.” Sometimes someone will also say, “I’m the one getting in my way.”

These are good examples of those other parts of ourselves.

What I’ve discovered so far is:

  • We all have parts of ourselves that we’ve disowned in order to get along better with other people. For example, I often tone down my creative side when I’m working with people who are focused on doing things in a logical, step-by-step way.
  • I was happy to realize how much progress I’ve made when it comes to rediscovering and integrating those parts of myself. It’s been fun and exciting to remember the things I loved doing when I was a kid.
  • There are still things I push down but I see myself making a lot of progress.
  • I don’t have any regrets about the way I’ve lived my life. That’s good too. I feel like I’ve usually done my best with what I knew at the time. Also, the things I might regret have ended up working out for the best.

This is encouraging.

Tomorrow I’m going to be reading about my “shadow” self and my “sabotage” self. I’m really curious and kind of excited to learn about these because these are parts of me that have kicked my ass in the past. I’m excited about the possibility of “diffusing” these selves. Not getting rid of. These are parts of me that have served a purpose in the past. It would be like saying, “I want to cut off my nose.”

But I would like to be able to say, “Thank you for doing what you did because you were wanting to protect me. I’m not going to need you anymore, you can go now.” More like, leaving these selves behind me as we leave old beliefs and habits behind that no longer serve us.

I really can’t wait to learn more!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Radical Forgiveness

Day 23: Radical Forgiveness – On “Staycation”


I haven’t posted anything for the last few days for a few reasons:

  1. Christmas and time spent with my family. Between wrapping gifts, cooking, tidying up and just hanging out, I haven’t had the blocks of time I like to have when I journal or do an exercise.
  2. Hit a “stopping point.” When I finished reading Radical Forgiveness and completed the forgiveness process three times, I had the sense of hitting a natural stopping point. It isn’t as though I’m “done.” This is the kind of work that is done over a lifetime.
  3. I also felt some resistance. I enjoyed reading Radical Forgiveness and although I wouldn’t say going through the forgiveness process is exactly “enjoyable”, I’ve definitely felt a sense of progress and forward movement. When I did the self-forgiveness worksheet, I didn’t find what I had experienced forgiving others to be directly applicable.

Colin Tipping wrote Radical Self-Forgiveness after writing Radical Forgiveness to address some of the challenges people were experiencing when trying to forgive themselves. Although I felt some resistance to buying another book (the reviews for the second book were more mixed than for the first book and this also contributed to my unease), I think the second book has some useful ideas that compliment the original Radical Forgiveness book.

I began reading Radical Self-Forgiveness today and I find myself agreeing with Colin Tipping:

  • The radical self-forgiveness process doesn’t feel as clear cut as the radical forgiveness process because it can feel confusing when it comes to “who’s actually doing the forgiving here?”
  • For this reason, it helps to better understand the different selves we each have as well as to understand there is a self representing the Divine within.
  • It also helps to identify parts of ourselves we’ve adopted from others but that don’t serve us. All those “shoulds” that kick our ass all the time. Maybe there are things we don’t even need to forgive so much as unload because it was never ours to begin with.

To that last point, I suddenly had this awareness of how I was feeling bad because I didn’t spend the holidays the way I “should” have. I didn’t reach out to anyone over the last few days; no phone calls, no emails, no cards…and although I’m not aware of any feelings of loneliness  or isolation…a little voice in me is giving me a hard time because that part of me feels it’s not OK to “keep to myself.”

I haven’t felt inspired to reach out. Usually if I’m inspired to reach out, I do.

This is an example of something that I might think I should forgive myself for when actually I’m just being myself.

Tomorrow I’m planning to do the exercises around how I define myself and what qualities I’m fine owning and what I can give back. I imagine I’ll also learn about the qualities I own which I don’t like about myself. Those are the things, I’m guess which require self-forgiveness.

On a final note, I’m wondering if I’ll want to extend my time practicing Radical Forgiveness. Quite possibly although I expect to do it parallel with the work I’ll be doing to find my “right work.”

Leave a Comment

Filed under Compassion, Mindfulness

Day 19: Radical Forgiveness – Time to Create a Doorway?

draw a doorway

When I wrote my post on day 17, I mentioned that one thing I wanted to look at was my inability to make a decision about the direction in which I wanted to take my work.

I’ve been obsessing about the direction in which to take my business for years and as of today I still have no crystal clear direction to follow. On the other hand, I do have a few directions I’m clear I don’t want to follow and that’s progress.

Today I completed the Radical Self-Forgiveness to have more peace with myself and my lack of direction. It’s challenging not having a sense of what’s next but it’s a lot more difficult when I make that challenge all about what’s wrong with me.

One of the main insights I had was on how many beliefs I carry about the right way to go about finding my “right work.”

Although I had good grades when I graduated from college and I was a marketing major, I wanted to find a job in consumer research and at the time there weren’t many companies offering entry level positions in marketing research. The easiest marketing-related job to get was in sales and I pretty blew all the interviews I had for sales jobs.

What most people I knew did was read the want ads and send resumes to the Fortune 500 companies. I lived in Chicago and there were plenty of big companies to go after.

But because I wanted a job in an area most people had never heard of I did things differently. I followed the advice in What Color is Your Parachute and I did informational interviews.

I know my parents were really nervous about the fact I wasn’t sending my resume like everyone else. They thought I was spinning my wheels and probably that fast forward 30 years into the future and I’d be living in the basement with six cats and still no job.

It turned out that the best thing I ever did was those informational interviews. It’s the reason I got a job in my field of interest to begin with and I probably spoke with more leaders in the field than I ever would had I used a different route.

It took me about 18 months to find the “job of my dreams” and I made a lot of mistakes and detours along the way.

Then I kind of forgot that experience because I decided I “knew” what my career was supposed to be. I guess I decided the soul-searching part was over and I knew enough about what I wanted and didn’t want to be in a position to make quick decisions.

I’ve done a lot of zig-zagging: technical writing, life coaching, business coaching, creating information products, etc.

At this point, where I’m leaning toward is going through the self-assessment process again as outlined in Parachute and that will probably be my next major project. For one thing, it doesn’t exclude the option of technical writing. For another thing, I think I needed to cast a wider net than I’ve allowed myself in the past. Finally, I suspect I’ll end up creating something original to fit my particular set of talents and whether I work for someone else or decide to make it a business, it’s going to be important that I’m clear about what I do, who I help, and the value I bring to the table.

For the last ten years I’ve been trying to force myself into a particular value definition and it’s been more or less an exercise in frustration. Not unlike throwing myself against a brick wall and wondering when it will stop hurting.

When I stop throwing myself against a brick wall and create a door to walk through, that’s when. Not unlike the Pink Panther tossing a black circle onto the ground and jumping into the hole he just created.

Not a final decision as of today but feeling like the most promising direction. Having a promising direction I’m willing to commit to is real progress.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Creating Possibilities, Radical Forgiveness

Day 17: Radical Forgiveness – Sales and Self-Worth


Yesterday I wrote about how I have a tendency to want people to hire or buy from me. This is regardless of whether the person is a prospective customer or even makes sense to be a customer.

This is embarrassing because it’s so illogical and I also know it’s disrespectful and often inappropriate in the context of the relationship. There’s no better way to lose friends and irritate people than to turn every encounter into Let’s Make a Deal.

And no matter what I tell myself, the impulse stubbornly comes up.

To get at the bottom of this, I did a Self-Forgiveness Worksheet yesterday from the Radical Forgiveness program.

I learned something really interesting about this compulsion.

Like a lot of Baby Boomers, I was raised by Depression Baby parents. Although my parents both grew up in relative comfort, one grandfather was a successful salesman and the other ran a successful menswear store, they heard stories and saw evidence everywhere of how easy it was to go from comfort to poverty. They had close relatives who couldn’t find work and heard all the time what a “terrible thing it was when a man couldn’t find a job.”

So although they were comfortable, they constantly heard “be grateful because you’re lucky your father has a job.”

They also grew up with lots of stories about how even the most menial job was not only a JOB but it was a FOOT IN THE DOOR to show your employers what you were made of and make something of yourself.

When I was working for other people, for example, working in the corporate world, I usually felt successful when I had a job. Being employed meant someone thought I was valuable enough to be worth hiring. The desire that other people buy from me didn’t cross my mind.

When I started my coaching business, it seemed like the main way I could judge how well I was doing was by how successful I was when it came to enrolling clients.  So I began to equate my sense of self-worth and value based on whether or no someone wanted to buy something from me or wanted to hire me.

This is what I discovered as I did the self-forgiveness process.

Having seen this clearly helps me have a lot more compassion for myself because if this is one of the few ways I can find to feel good about who I am as a human being of course I’m going to constantly desire getting this kind of affirmation.

So this brings up some questions for me to contemplate (without any pressure to come up with answers):

  • What are other things from which I can find self-worth
  • How can I feel secure in my value as a person that aren’t dependent on what is outside my own control? This is because ultimately I have no control over other people nor do I have control over most events. My control ultimately comes down to my choices including how I choose to respond.
  • What would it take for me to truly believe in my intrinsic value (which would pretty much address point #2)

That last point is my dream, to feel so secure in my own self worth and the value of what I create through my work that I don’t require the approval of other people to feel fulfilled. It isn’t that I won’t love it when my work makes a difference for people and when I’m paid. But what I receive from other people makes things that much more sweet. It isn’t what I require to feel successful and good about myself.

I believe the answer is in me. I don’t see it right this moment. So for now I’m going to continue putting my energy into what is immediately in front of me.

Maybe one thing I could do is to do the self-forgiveness process on this very situation…to forgive myself for not knowing because I do feel like I’m failing somehow by my lack of direction. I also feel bad because it feels like I’m letting my family down as well.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Radical Forgiveness, Uncategorized

Day 16 – Radical Forgiveness – How to Win Friends and Influence People


My main motivation for doing 30 days of radical forgiveness was inner peace. I was seeing how I used online shopping and other addictive behaviors as a way to suppress feelings of disappointment, resentment, depression, and anxiety, and I reasoned if many of those feelings were the result of grievances, especially toward myself, why not go right to the source?

But in addition to self-compassion and inner peace, one of the biggest gifts resulting from the radical forgiveness process is better relationships.

I’ve been skeptical of this benefit because I’ve been largely disappointed by most processes I’ve used to improve my relationships.

For many years I’ve been doing different things to deepen friendships and cultivate community but I’ve never gotten the results I most wanted. For example, I often find that despite my efforts, most friendships don’t go beyond a certain point. I also find it’s hard to maintain relationships even at that relatively superficial level.

I tended to blame this on:

  1. Most people don’t want close relationships. They think they do but they aren’t willing to take the risk and do the work.
  2. It’s hard to find people who do want those relationships.
  3. The processes that help you develop relationships are generally created by extroverts for extroverts and as an introvert I seem to lack the fortitude to get out and meet enough people to find the few who would be good friends.

I also perceived most communities, particularly online communities, to be stuck at the “getting to know you stage.” Most members seem interested only in showing off their expertise and trolling for leads. I’ve seen a lot of generous gestures and I’ve gotten so good advice but I rarely felt people were sharing what was really important to them.

Bringing this back to radical forgiveness, I believe the limitations I perceived in others were mostly reflections of my own perceived limitations. I have a couple reasons for this perspective:

  1. As I do the radical forgiveness process I see my friends and family approaching me with more appreciation and trust without me doing or saying anything to initiate this behavior. This is evidence that my beliefs and the way in which I am present has a strong effect on the way I experience my world.
  2. Since October, I’ve been listening to the audio version of How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age which is a rewrite of the 1936 original updated to apply Dale Carnegie’s original principles to relationship development online. One of the primary points in Dale Carnegie’s work is first be the friend you want to have…kind of a specific application of the Golden Rule. If you want trustworthy friends, be trustworthy with others. If you want others to sincerely engage with you, first engage sincerely with others. And so forth.

What keeps coming up is that I’m not the only one who desires more trust and authenticity in relationships. Nor am I the only one who feels at a loss about how to have more of those relationships. The Dale Carnegie book also talks about how social media is great for giving the perception that people are out there connecting but that those connections are often superficial and fragile. Not the kind of relationships that are any kind of foundation for creating community.

What now appeals most to me is to begin reaching out more in an authentic way while practicing radical forgiveness. Some of the things I’d like to do more are to become a better listener and to ask better questions so I can get to know people better.

I realize that although I’ve wanted to be a better listener and know about people, I’ve spent a lot of of time talking about myself and trying to make myself look good in the eyes of others.

I’d also like to let go of that subtle need for people to want to buy from me or hire me. Even when I go into interactions with people in which it is not my intention to sell something I still find myself feeling vaguely disappointed when someone doesn’t express an interest in either buying or introducing me to someone who might.

I especially dislike this side of myself because it reveals an extremely not-cool level of neediness…something I’m constantly trying to suppress for fear my friends and colleagues run screaming from the room. When I do my self-forgiveness work this part of my character is one of the first on my list to make peace with.

The benefit of the radical forgiveness process is it enables me to have and offer what it is that I’d like to receive from others. I can only give what I already have however much I may want things to be different.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Radical Forgiveness

Day 14: Radical Forgiveness – One more thing


I’m still feeling tentative about this process. It’s a new habit and it feels fragile. Like my new won sense of peace and equilibrium could easily be upset. It feels like the crystals are just beginning to form and it wouldn’t take much to dissolve those little buds.

That’s why it’s important to keep doing this for 30 days and not stop today after an initial success.

There’s also a certain amount of comport and reassurance knowing that this process is always available. I feel more willing to take emotional risks than before knowing that one bad experience won’t send me spinning into “victim rumination mode.”

Leave a Comment

December 17, 2014 · 6:12 pm

Day 14: Radical Forgiveness


Yesterday I completed the Radical Forgiveness process for another situation that was consuming a lot of my energy and thoughts.

The one situation that causes me more distress than just about any other is when I disappoint someone I respect and care about. I had some real concerns about whether the Radical Forgiveness process would “work” because my feelings were so intense at the time.

The Radical Forgiveness process breaks out into three parts:

  1. Telling the story from the victim perspective. (I need to forgive someone for doing something to me)
  2. “Collapsing” the story. In this section you spend some time reframing the story to see if there is a way to step out of being a victim. For example, looking at the facts and how I interpreted the facts. I also begin to consider that there may be a gift in what has happened and the nature of that gift.
  3. Radical Forgiveness. This is where I am able to actually tell the story from the perspective that there is perfection in what happened and to actually heal the hurts. This is where I go from being a victim to being fully healed.

As I did parts 1 and 2, I realized just how much emotional pain was triggered. So, so much! By the time I finished writing the story and writing about the emotions I was feeling I was pretty wound up energetically. I was absolutely open to the possibility of reframing the situation (which is really good because sometimes I’m reluctant to give up some old stories) but skeptical all that negativity could be shifted beyond feeling some relief from the intensity.

But as I finished part 2 and began part 3 I found myself letting go of the negative feelings and actually feeling peace and a desire for reconciliation. I was able to stop seeing myself as a victim and no longer had the urge (a really strong urge) to share my story with other people in order to get their sympathy and agreement.

One of the “requirements” for Radical Forgiveness to work is to really feel the feelings. Not gloss over them. Not say “it’s not so bad,” but really feel them fully. I was wondering whether I was letting myself do this because I can stuff feelings and say “I’m fine” because I don’t want to bring my shit into other situations.

But by the end of the process I actually felt slightly nauseous from all the anger and hurt and sadness that came up in the first part and I also felt a lot of relief. It felt like a really intense physical workout.

When I was complete I felt I had returned to a state of emotional equilibrium and as though I could ride up and down with whatever came at me. I went downstairs and spent the rest of the evening with my family.

So the “Huzzah” is because this process worked for me. It is a transformative process and in my case it enabled me to stop worrying over an upsetting situation to to be fully present for the remainder of the day. This is a great gift for me.

It isn’t what I would call a fun or easy process. It isn’t fun or easy feeling those feelings. I’m not feeling excited about going through the process again today to address a different issue.

I think, however, it will get easier because I’m not just venting…I’m healing so some of the emotions will become less daunting in time. There are also other tools I can use in addition to a written worksheet such as doing the process as drawings.

Finally there are rituals such as burning the written worksheets which I think will give me a greater sense of meaning and release.

I also want to look into groups and communities because I think this is a lot to take on alone. Having other people who are doing similar work to share my experiences with will help and I imagine other people will have some good ideas and suggestions to integrating the process more.

Today I’m delighted and celebrating what feels like an accomplishment that paid off in the best possible way.


Leave a Comment

Filed under Celebration

Day 12: Radical Forgiveness – First Completed Process

Young Girl Wearing Fairy Costume in Mid Air

Today I completed the forgiveness process for a situation that was troubling me…bringing up the “Big Three” negative emotions: sadness, fear, and anger.

There are a number of ways to go through the radical forgiveness process. The method I used was to complete a radical forgiveness worksheet.

Initially when I began my 30 days of radical forgiveness I thought I would complete one worksheet a day. But in this case It’s taken me 12 days to complete one worksheet. One reason is the situation that triggers the need to complete a worksheet is rarely in isolation. Usually there’s a a whole string of previous situations that are very similar which occurred in the past and I found myself not just writing and processing the immediate issue but seeing patterns and having insights related to those past events.

The whole point of radical forgiveness is to heal those hurts and transform the beliefs which are interpretations of facts into the truth: that I am here to experience these situations and heal the resulting hurts. Not to carry the wounds around and feel the pain every time a similar situation arises. In fact, the idea behind radical forgiveness is that my higher self will continue creating these situations until I have fully healed and can move on.

I have no illusions that healing one trigger will make my life perfect. I’m sure there are other situations that will trigger this belief or perhaps a different belief I didn’t realize I was holding but at least this particular situation will no longer carry a charge for me.

As I write this I feel the process has worked! The situation for which I was seeking relief is no longer creating emotional distress. I don’t feel any resentment or disappointment.

A couple other issues have come up and this time i’m going to try doing worksheets on each with the intention of completing the process faster. However, I want to give the process the time needed and if it takes me another 12 days, that’s what it will take.

There’s a Radical Living community created by the author of Radical Forgiveness, Colin Tipping, for people who are interested in being part of a larger group of people committed to living the radical forgiveness principles. I feel intrigued about this community and I’m thinking about checking it out perhaps after I’ve gone through the process a few more times and don’t feel quite so overwhelmed with learning and integrating the ideas.

Being a perfectionist and someone who has high expectations of what I should be accomplishing, I’m aware of how I’m already thinkig about all the things I want to accomplish in the future so I want to end this by writing what Colin Tipping wrote about the final step in the Radical Forgiveness worksheet:

“Remember all forgiveness starts as a lie. You begin the process without forgiveness in your heart, and you fake it until you make it. So honor yourself for doing it, yet by gentle with yourself and let the forgiveness process take as long as you need it to. Be patient with yourself. Acknowledge yourself for the courage it takes simply to attempt to complete the Radical Forgiveness worksheet, for you truly face your demons in the process. Doing this work takes enormous courage, willingness, and faith.”

Radical Forgiveness, © 2009 Colin Tipping

Leave a Comment

Filed under Radical Forgiveness

Day 11: Radical Forgiveness – Why am I Doing This?


I remember attending a coaching conference and one of the topics was how to coach people who want to be less sensitive to things that that trigger negative emotions. After I shared a comment, the presenter looked at me and said, “Wow, you’re just one big button!”

He wasn’t trying to be mean. He was just making an observation but he was right, an awful lot of people and situations were making me angry and defensive.

It made sense because I had only recently made the decision to start a coaching practice and I was feeling really vulnerable.  I couldn’t rely on any of the coping mechanisms that worked in the corporate world. Instead of limiting my resentment to my boss, co-workers, and “management,” the world became my minefield. So many opportunities to be hurt, made angry, offended, etc!

Up until fairly recently, I had a certain comfort level with being a victim of unfairness and other people’s bad behavior. I usually just found other people to complain to or complained in my journal.

But I’ve gotten tired of feeling like every other step trips an old resentful or frustration. It’s like just waiting to be attacked so I can go into defensive mode. It is emotionally exhausting and it isn’t surprising that I wasn’t waking up in the morning rarin to go.

The appeal of the radical forgiveness process it that it is designed to transform the hurt energy that lies in my old stories (keeping in mind these stories are ones made up by 3-year old me) into love and gratitude. As absurd (or wishful) as this may sound, I’ve had some experience in spiritual awakening and I know from experience that this can happen. It just requires some commitment and willingness to be open to the possibility. Oh, and a deep desire to stop dwelling in the beliefs and actions that are causing so much pain.

I noticed yesterday how impatient I was feeling. It’s only the eleventh day I’ve been studying radical forgiveness and working the process and I’m already thinking, “So why do I still have so many resentments and hangups?” I haven’t even completed the all the steps to address one situation because so much stuff comes up and I want to give myself time rather than rush the process.

Yesterday was a particularly tough day because multiple incidents occurred and i was feeling like as soon as I felt resolved about one thing, two additional issues popped up. Like some kind multi-headed monster.

Part of me was thinking, “Jeez, do I have to sit all day completing forgiveness worksheets? Will I ever get some relief here?”

Fortunately, the Radical Forgiveness book is very clear about doing your best and that more effort doesn’t mean you speed up the process. The point is to simply spend time on the process and the process will work on you.

This makes a lot of sense in light of my personal experience. Spend an hour on the process and get on with my day. Allow my unconscious mind to work on it and integrate it while I’m doing other things.

I HAVE already noticed a sense of lightness in my daily presence and if nothing else, I have the awareness that when I get triggered, I remember “You don’t have to remain stuck in the victim story. Maybe there’s a higher purpose working here that will help me heal in a more complete way.”


Leave a Comment

Filed under Radical Forgiveness

Day 10: Radical Forgiveness


I was discussing radical forgiveness with someone and they said, “Maybe you’ll help other people who feel misfits find a way to be successful?” That sounded really appealing to me.

But one of the gotchas that always comes up for me around this is the idea of helping others be successful because I’ve discovered a process that has helped me become successful rather than helping others have success that I myself cannot yet claim to have.

For example, a few years ago my interest was in helping small business owners create and sell information products when I myself couldn’t claim to have created an information product that made much money.

And there’s the issue of just because a process works for me … it doesn’t mean it will work for other people.

Again, I’m not looking for a specific answer so much as I’m asking the question to be open to something I’m not seeing.

One thought I’ve been having to the second part of the question, the process piece, is to keep the process as simple as possible so that it’s based on greater truths (which tend to be true for everyone otherwise they wouldn’t be considered ‘great Truths.’ And encourage people to find the way that will work for them.

Or perhaps tell stories and share a variety of examples as a way to help people find a way that they could apply.

And another requirement, I think, is to be practicing a process that allows for finding your truth and inner guidance so you don’t get caught up in the “shoulds” and can say with confidence “this approach doesn’t fit who I am.”

The process should be a part of a larger environment that supports the persons journey.

This raises an interesting question for me: if I were to create an environment that would support my own growth and expansion, what would that environment look like?

Interesting question to consider. Perhaps do some journaling about. I’m thinking by writing about what I know I might learn at least what my next steps are in terms of things I don’t know but would feel I need to know to move forward. Hmm.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Expansive Questions