Friday, July 23, 2010

The Heart of the Matter

Have you ever had an ongoing conflict with someone or a relationship in which you easily slip into an ugly dance of thinking negative thoughts about the other person? It could be with your son or daughter or spouse or your own mom or dad. It could begin as a simple pet peeve about closing cabinets after opening them or putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of leaving them on the table. It could be about your child’s requests for a cell phone, a car or a sleepover with friends. Your discussion might begin as a conversation but it always seems to dissolve into the ugly dance. You feel unappreciated or disrespected and the other person is angry. You've attempted to change things, and the problem stubbornly resists. Sound familiar?

Just as dance classes train your body to elegantly perform grand jet├ęs, continued practice of the ugly dance trains you to quickly begin that dance at the first sight of an open cabinet or request for a cell phone. You see dishes on the table and the spotlight is on you as you take the first steps in the ugly dance by thinking, “How many @#%& times do I need to remind him to put the dishes in the sink? He doesn't respect anything I say. He is a brat!” If you have an ugly dance-a-thon happening in your home, check out Wes Hopper’s insights in this article The Heart of the Matter:

"I have discovered from years of work with hundreds of people that when a stubborn problem does not yield, it is because there is a need for forgiveness." … Catherine Ponder

Forgiveness is a subject that many people misunderstand, and as a result they suffer needlessly. It's easy to believe that forgiving someone who has hurt us is letting them off the hook for their bad behavior. Actually, forgiveness is freeing US, not them. Carrying a grudge works havoc in our body and affairs. It takes up space in our mind that could be used for better things. And as our quote suggests, it can cause problems in other areas of our lives that don't seem to be related at all. Forgiveness can clear up health problems, business problems, mental problems, of all kinds. Why would we want to carry that kind of baggage around?

One of my favorite songs is one by singer and songwriter Don Henley about a failed relationship, "The Heart of the Matter", in which he concludes "It's about...........forgiveness." And that is the heart of the matter, whether it's a relationship or some other issue. So set yourself free with forgiveness.

And you'll be grateful you did!

Thanks, Wes, for the insights, and you may be asking yourself how forgiveness relates to your child’s demands for a cell phone or car. Set clear boundaries after you forgive your child for having desires. Forgive yourself if you’ve given up your desires and stoke your fire to live your life more passionately. Forgive him for not knowing how to show you how much he appreciates and respects you. Then teach him how to do just that. Show her how to appreciate you by consciously appreciating and respecting her.

You are your child's guide. It is through your guidance that your child will begin to understand the heart of the matter.

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