Saturday, March 30, 2013

How to get your life on track

Ruth Field's fun and inspiring book,  Run, Fat Bitch, Run  has changed my attitude to exercise.  If you want to lose weight, get fit and become an ass-kicking, gets-things-done superwoman, there’s only one thing left to do … RUN!”  says the author.  

She doesn't advocate hitting the floor running, but mapping out a route and walking it with determination, then slowly building up stamina, endurance and determination until you are able to run the whole distance.  I like the no-nonsense message in the book because it echoes what I feel about relationships; no, not 'when things get tough, RUN', but if something isn't working stop complaining and start taking effective action.

If it hurts, forgive. 
It seems almost counter-intuitive that the most effective action you can take when you are struggling in relationship is to learn the art of forgiveness.  I could talk about developing better communication skills, addressing commitment issues, improving self-worth - all of these are important parts of the process, but forgiveness is the path that allows the process to run smoothly.  It determines the ease and effectiveness of any conversation, relieves the burden of guilt or shame and is the route to take when you want the outcome to be great relationships and a happier, more wholehearted life.  

We may loftily say “I can forgive, but I can’t forget” but that's not forgiveness, that's taking the moral high ground – whilst rubbing someone's nose in the dirt and compounding feelings of guilt and shame.  

Like running, forgiveness takes effort, it takes practice and you need to train yourself to do it.   It hurts because you have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and become pro-active rather than sitting around feeling resentful, hurt, guilty or ashamed.  Forgiveness means that you give of yourself - to give forth - no-one can do it for you and you have to want do it because you'd rather be happy than stay miserable.

When it comes to forgiveness it doesn’t matter where or how you start, what matters is where you want to end up. Whether you start by forgiving yourself, the other person, the circumstances, the dog – whomever or whatever you believe is responsible for making you feel so bad - the more you do it, the better you will feel. The better you feel, the more forgiving you become - of others and of yourself.

Forgiveness, like running, is good for the heart and helps shed pounds of ill-feeling, it lightens your mood, alleviates stress and creates goodwill. You feel looser, lighter, freer. Forgiveness develops your emotional intelligence and allows you to live more wholeheartedly.

If you want fit, healthy relationships and to get your life on track, start with forgiveness in mind and keep going.  Begin with baby steps, make it easy and focus on where you want to be in the end, you'll be amazed (and amazing) with the results.

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