Home   |   About   |   Who is Dawn?   |   Resources   |   Stages of Recovery   |   Art and Writing   |   Panel of Experts   |   Your 2¢
This is a sample issue of the weekly inbox magazine, Survive, Transform, Soar!
To begin receiving this free publication directly to your inbox, please subscribe here.
Survive, Transform, Soar!
Issue #15 - Friday, June 16, 2017
Dear Subscriber,

Rick Hanson, PhD is back today telling us about the most important kind of forgiveness. In this week’s essay, “Forgiveness...Really?” he tells us not only why it’s important, but specifically how to do it.

Also in today's issue . . .

Find out more from Dr. Hanson about how to build self-acceptance, self-forgiveness and self-worth from the inside out in Check It Out! Learn about sentence stems in Short Takes, plus a good article about forgiveness, mercy and handling toxic people we can't easily avoid in In The News.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Survive, Transform, Soar! 

Because survival is not enough...
"Once you forgive yourself, the self-rejection in your mind is over. Self-acceptance begins, and the self-love will grow so strong that you will finally accept yourself just the way you are. That's the beginning of the free human. Forgiveness is the key."

~ Don Miguel Ruiz
By Rick Hanson, PhD
This may be a sensitive topic for you…forgive that toxic partner? Never!
Forgiving over and over kept you bound in a dangerous relationship much longer than was healthy for you. Now, your friends and family may be urging you to forgive again and ‘just move on.’ Or maybe you’ve been out of the relationship long enough to consider forgiving him/her yet again.

No matter where you find yourself in the process of recovering from a toxic relationship, there is a critical act of forgiveness you must complete. Whether you eventually forgive your former partner or not is a different decision; what’s important now is that you learn to forgive yourself.

Forgiving Yourself
Everyone messes up. Me, you, the neighbors, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Ghandi, King David, the Buddha, everybody.

It’s important to acknowledge mistakes, feel appropriate remorse and learn from them so they don’t happen again. In fact, your ability to do that distinguishes you from your former personality-disordered partner. But most people keep beating themselves up way past the point of usefulness; they’re unfairly self-critical.

Inside the mind are many sub-personalities. For example, one part of me might set the alarm clock for 6 am to get up and exercise . . . and then when it goes off, another part of me could grumble: “Who set the darn clock?”

More broadly, there is a kind of inner critic and inner protector inside each of us. For most people, that inner critic is continually yammering away, looking for something, anything, to find fault with. It magnifies small failings into big ones, punishes you over and over for things long past, ignores the larger context and doesn’t credit you for your efforts to make amends. Your toxic partner knew how to capitalize on this voice.
Therefore, you really need your inner protector to stick up for you: to put your weaknesses and misdeeds in perspective, to highlight your many good qualities surrounding your lapses, to encourage you to keep getting back on the high road even if you’ve gone down the low one, and – frankly – to tell that inner critic to Shut Up.
Banish Your Toxic Partner’s Voice
Most people who have experienced emotional abuse blame themselves for not leaving sooner and they continue to hear the critical voice of the abuser inside their own minds long after they are gone from their physical lives.

With the support of your inner protector, you can see your faults clearly without fearing that will drag you into a pit of feeling awful. You can clean up whatever you are responsible for and move on. The only wholesome purpose of guilt, shame or remorse is learning – not punishment! – so that you don’t repeat the behavior in that way again.

Anything past the point of learning is just needless suffering. Excessive guilt actually gets in the way of you contributing to others and helping make this world a better place by undermining your energy, mood, confidence and sense of worth.

Seeing faults clearly, taking responsibility for them with remorse and making amends, then coming to peace about them – this is what I mean by forgiving yourself.

Start by picking something relatively small that you’re still being hard on yourself about, then try one or more of the methods below. I’ve spelled them out in detail since that’s often useful, but you could do the gist of these methods in a few minutes or less. Then if you like, work up to more significant issues.

1. Start by getting in touch, as best you can, with the feeling of being cared about by some being: a friend or mate, spiritual being, pet or person from your childhood. Open to the sense that aspects of this being, including the caring for you, have been taken into your own mind as parts of your inner protector.
2. Staying with feeling cared about, list some of your many good qualities. You could ask the protector what it knows about you. These are facts, not flattery, and you don’t need a halo to have good qualities like patience, determination, fairness or kindness.
3. If you yelled at a child, lied to your ex, succumbed to addictions to numb your pain, let a friend down, criticized your partner behind his/her back or were secretly glad about someone’s downfall – whatever it was – acknowledge the facts: what happened, what was in your mind at the time, the relevant context and history, and the results for yourself and others.

Notice any facts that are hard to face – like the look in a child’s eyes when you yelled at her – and be especially open to them; they’re the ones that are keeping you stuck. It is always the truth that sets us free.

4. Sort what happened into three piles: moral faults, unskillfulness and everything else. Moral faults deserve proportionate guilt, remorse or shame, but unskillfulness calls for correction, no more. (This point is very important.)

You could ask others what they think about this sorting (and about other points below). You alone get to decide what’s right. For example, if you gossiped about someone and embellished a mistake he made, you might decide that the lie in your exaggeration is a moral fault deserving a wince of remorse, but that casual gossip (which most of us do at one time or another) is simply unskillful and should be corrected (i.e., never done again) without self-flagellation.

5. In an honest way, take responsibility for your moral fault(s) and unskillfulness. Say in your mind or out loud (or write): I am responsible for ______ , _______ and _______ . Let yourself feel it.

Then add to yourself: But I am NOT responsible for ______ , _______ and _______ . For example, you are not responsible for the misinterpretations or over-reactions of others. Let the relief of what you are NOT responsible for sink in.

6. Acknowledge what you have already done to learn from this experience, and to repair things and make amends. Let this sink in. Appreciate yourself.
Next, decide what if anything remains to be done – inside your own heart or out there in the world – and then do it. Let it sink in that you’re doing it and appreciate yourself for this, too.

7. Now check in with your inner protector: is there anything else you should face or do? Listen to that “still quiet voice of conscience,” so different from the pounding scorn of the critic. If you truly know that something remains, then take care of it. But otherwise, know in your heart that what needed learning has been learned and that what needed doing has been done.

8. And now actively forgive yourself. Say in your mind, out loud, in writing or perhaps to others, statements like: I forgive myself for ______ , _______ and _______ . I have taken responsibility and done what I could to make things better. You could also ask the inner protector to forgive you or others out in the world, including maybe the person you wronged.

9. You may need to go through one or more of the steps above again and again to truly forgive yourself, and that’s alright. Allow the experience of being forgiven to take some time to sink in. Help it sink in by opening up to it in your body and heart and by reflecting on how it will help others for you to stop beating yourself up.

Remember that the abuse was not your fault and you never deserved it. Forgive yourself if you ever thought that or stayed because of it. May you be at peace.
About the Author
Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley and New York Times best-selling author. His books include Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing and Mother Nurture

He edits the Wise Brain Bulletin, has numerous audio programs and is the founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. He’s been an invited speaker at NASA, Oxford, Stanford, Harvard and other major universities, featured on the BBC, CBS & NPR and taught in meditation centers worldwide. He offers the free Just One Thing newsletter and online Foundations of Well-Being program (free with financial need).
Check It Out
Rick Hanson's Foundations of Well-Being program is a personal path that helps you recover resilience (something that is still a challenge for me) and can help free you from past painful experiences. I am loving it!

In just an hour a week, Dr. Hanson guides you step-by-step to develop inner strengths like kindness toward yourself, grit, gratitude and self-worth. Think you’ll never be happy again? This program might change your mind. Check it out here.
Short Takes
Sentence Stems: Self-Awareness Creates a Path to Self-Acceptance

I first learned of sentence stems from Nathaniel Branden, a psychotherapist known for his work in self-esteem. They were very helpful to me earlier in my life and I re-visited them during the aftermath of the toxic relationship.

The idea is to write down a partial sentence at the top of a piece of paper (You can use a computer, of course, but I like writing long-hand when calling upon the unconscious—it seems to help.)

Then you write down quickly every phrase that comes to mind that would complete the sentence. Here are some examples of stems:
    •  If I were less afraid, then …
    •  If I trusted myself, then …
    •  If I were alone without a partner, then …
    •  If I earned more money, then …
    •  If I lost weight, then …

You would choose one, then brainstorm endings. When the ideas slow down, just say the sentence stem in your mind again and allow the thoughts to flow. Do it with no judgment or analysis—just go as quickly as you can and don’t re-read anything you’ve written—it’s OK if you end up with duplicates. Just write as quickly as you can, keep repeating the stem when you slow down and get as many ideas out as possible.

After finishing, you can go back and read over your list. Most people find some amazing insights show up, especially toward the end. This is a great tool for gaining self-awareness and self-acceptance around a specific subject.

I would love to hear if you found this valuable.
Suggested Intention for This Week
(choose one depending on your stage of recovery)
Surviving: I will set aside 10 minutes to seek out and spend time with my ‘inner protector,’ honoring the love and acceptance that s/he brings. (Could you do that three times this week?)

Transforming: I will identify one thing I want to forgive myself for and write down what I learned from the experience and how I would like to do it differently if I could live that part of my life again.

Soaring: I will think of ways I may have hurt others due to the effect the toxic relationship had on me. I will forgive myself and follow my heart’s guidance about whether to share my learning and growth with them.
What Is Dawn Doing Now?
Redwood Reflections
I am visiting the beautiful Pacific Northwest from Humboldt County to northern Oregon. I always love visiting ‘my trees,’ the wise, majestic and peaceful Redwoods.

I’ve enjoyed sharing time and travels with an old friend who just returned from a year in India. I am learning there are many of us (way past college age) who have chosen nomadic lifestyles.

For me, after leaving a toxic relationship with nothing much I could recognize about myself, this has allowed me to discover a ‘me’ again, as well as others all over the world who actually value my presence.

As the world becomes a smaller place that enables these excursions and connections, my heart expands to embrace it all.
In The News
Tips for handling a toxic relationship--5 steps to more peace, especially when it’s really hard to practice no-contact, such as with bosses, co-workers and family members…with some special insight about forgiveness. The comment section is good too.

By Christine Carter in Greater Good Magazine, May 17, 2017

What Did You Think?
Help me encourage our writers - let me know your thoughts on today's or past issues. What topics would you like to hear more about? Which have not been helpful? And please share your own tips and successes; they are an inspiration to those who are a little earlier on their paths toward tremendous!

To begin receiving free weekly issues of Survive, Transform, Soar! sent directly to your inbox, please subscribe here. (You will also receive our latest special report.)
Remember - sharing is caring;
Forward this email to a friend!
If someone forwarded this email to you...

Check out our social media sites and please follow us!
We share a lot more great information from other sources there.
Survive, Transform, Soar! is a lifestyle magazine designed for former partners of toxic relationships. While we occasionally bring information to improve your knowledge about the characteristics of people with Cluster B pathology--antisocial, narcissistic, borderline and histrionic personality disorders--this magazine is really about and for YOU, the partners who have been devastated in these relationships. Our panel of experts and I bring a variety of topics to support you in re-discovering the many aspects of your whole self as you soar into the dawn of a new life. If we are missing one of your needs, please let us know here. For more information, see SurviveTransformSoar.com.
Disclaimer: Survive, Transform, Soar! only recommends products that we have personally checked out or that come from people we know and trust. For doing so, we sometimes receive a commission, which enables us to bring this information to subscribers and site visitors.

Nothing in this e-mail should be considered personalized Financial Advice. We are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. None of our communications to you should be deemed as personalized Financial Advice. Any investments recommended in this letter should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus of financial statements of the company.

Nothing in this e-mail should be considered personalized Health Care Advice. We are not licensed health care professionals. None of our communications to you should be deemed as personalized Health Care Advice. You should consult with your own physician, therapist or other health care provider before making decisions that could affect your health.
Sign up for our free newsletter!
Copyright 2016 Survive, Transform, Soar! | All Rights Reserved
Powered By ClickFunnels.com