“Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted. . .
He lived happily ever after.”
I M A G I N E
t h a t
Who Cares - What Matters
He lived happily ever after.”
I M A G I N E
t h a t
It’s kind of amazing isn’t it. . .
It’s Valentine’s Day week,
Which means it’s a great day for people who really love each other
but not so great day for people that are grieving
or folks who have lost
or others who are alone. . .
Wonder if it
about that kind of love
Wonder if Valentine’s Day
was actually a gift that you give to somebody,
that includes Everybody
no matter alone
no matter grieving
no matter sad or happy
What if it was a day that you
just to love
and maybe even better
Wonder if it was just a day to love
the way a person deserves to be loved
now that would be quite a day
we’re celebrating, right
and guess what
. . .not just on February 14
How about let’s make it that kind of a day
not only on Wednesday
but each day
T O D A Y
before the 14th of February
(or the 14th of any other month)
S E E. . .
When Valentine’s Day is more than just a day
it has the greatest opportunity to become a
l i f e s t y l e
Now, a new study suggests another potential gain from forgiving others: It may decrease our paranoia—something that could otherwise keep us locked into patterns of distrust and isolation.
In a series of experiments, researchers measured forgiveness and paranoia. In one, for example, participants completed a questionnaire measuring their tendency toward forgiving others that asked how much they agree with statements like, “I continue to punish a person who has done something I think is wrong” or “Although others have hurt me in the past, I have eventually been able to see them as good people.”
Three days later and ten days later, researchers asked participants to recall a pleasant and difficult social experience they’d had recently, and to rate how stressed and paranoid they felt after each experience. Difficult social experiences included things like not being invited to a friend’s party, being treated rudely by a store clerk, or fighting with a colleague about work issues. Ratings of paranoia came from asking people how much they agreed with statements like “Someone has it in for me” or “Someone would have harmed me if they could.”
After analyzing the results, the researchers found that all participants had higher levels of paranoia and stress for unpleasant events than for pleasant events—no surprise there. However, those who were more forgiving types experienced lower stress and paranoia in those difficult situations than people who were less forgiving.
“These findings add dispositional forgiveness to the range of psychological resources that buffer or attenuate paranoia,” write the authors.
Though the results imply a positive role for forgiveness, it’s hard to know whether more paranoid people are less forgiving or people reluctant to forgive become more paranoid. To get at this, the researchers performed another experiment in which they tried to encourage people to take on a more forgiving mindset.
Since there is no quick, easy way to do this—forgiving others can actually take a lot of effort and time—they used a proxy activity. Participants filled out a questionnaire created by the authors that supposedly measured their forgiveness tendencies, then were randomly told that they’d scored either above or below average on their willingness to forgive others who’d harmed them. After being asked to write an essay explaining why they scored the way they did, they filled out actual, scientifically validated forgiveness surveys, which indicated if they’d absorbed this view of themselves as more or less forgiving people.
Next, they were given the paranoia survey to see if being forgiving affected their scores. Those prompted to feel more forgiving scored lower on the paranoia survey than their less forgiving counterparts. This suggests that encouraging a forgiving mindset may help us avoid overreacting to harm from others.
“We conceptually replicated and extended [our] findings by demonstrating, for the first time, that forgiveness exerts a causal effect on (reduced) paranoia,” the researchers write.
Of course, it’s important that forgiveness not be coerced and that people who have harmed you aren’t simply “let off the hook.” Researchers often emphasize that forgiveness is more about personal well-being for the person who was harmed—and that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to reconcile with someone or preclude you from seeking justice.
So, if you are withholding forgiveness, it may mean you are also holding on to paranoia, making it difficult to trust others’ motivations in everyday life. If so, it could be useful to consider the work of forgiving others—not just for your own mental health, but to prevent you taking out your pain on other people.
Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about
well. . .there’s never not a time to
THINK AGAIN. . .
Sometimes I feel like a snow bank
that has never been found
and like a snow bank
especially one like that
not for more snow
that could build upon me
but for what can become
maybe a snowman
maybe a snow fort
or maybe just someplace
something to be seen
to be recognized
to be identified
to be known
Sometimes I feel like a Snow Bank
w a i ti n g
until some warm rays
find their way to me
and thaw away
And remember. . .
before you completely melt away
P L A Y
Go get cold on purpose
and then go to your warm place and
R E M E M B E R
reminds us:“The stories we tell ourselves shape our reality. We may try to box ourselves in, but we’re much more expansive and multifaceted than we think. Maybe if we tried to count our sides, they’d approach infinity—like a circle.”
(My thanks to Grant Snider.
W E L L. . .
ARE YOU A RESOLVER?
Another way to ask that question is:
ARE YOU A RESOLVING RESOLVER
or do you even try
or do you even care. . .
IN EVERY CASE
(and a few in between)
. . .And JUST LIKE THAT
A NEW YEAR
Whether a new year fills you with excitement or dread (or maybe a mix of both!), the hope is that when you look back on 2023
there are too many wonderful moments to count
which serve has the greatest foundation
for new memories to be
m a d e. . .
ALL WAYS Remembering that
which are gentle reminders
between old and new years of
Letting us each know in between all of the Seasons
“May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay forever young
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay forever young.”
And may you stay forever young.”
Photo in New York, by John Cohen (1962)
This is one of my
FREEZE THE FRAME MOMENTS. . .
This picture of my sister and I was taken in front of my grandparents fireplace on a Christmas morning. I was two and my sister was 4. It was before my two other brothers were born. I have no idea what I got for Christmas that morning but I know the people who gave me the gifts loved me and even in death, still do which is
THE BEST GIFT OF ALL. . .
FREEZE THE FRAME MOMENT?
No matter what they may have been
or even if they are in the making
it allows us to know that our
M E M O R I E S
N O T H I N G
L O V E
is attached to them
and then they are everything they are
everything they were
and everything they’re to become
FREEZE THE FRAME
and may your greatest memories
be those yet to be
f r a m e a b l e
T H I S
is a picture that needs no caption
especially TIME of the year
when our already hectic lives go in to
C H A O S
m o d e
CRAZY ON STEROIDS. . .
where calm feels like just a word
but not a feeling
or another WAY. . .
which is why I dug deep into my files
and with the help of the
GREATER GOOD Editors
have provided some much needed
r e s p i t e
(IF YOU’LL TAKE IT TO HAVE IT)
The holidays can be rough—really rough at times; so here are literally dozens of articles and that try to help readers navigate the issues that arise when far-flung family members gather, everyone expects a present, and they all have an opinion. There are also some collected articles on making sense of this quickly-almost-gone-previous year and looking ahead to the new one. However you celebrate or are celebrated, here’s wishing you some severely-well-deserved-happy holidays!
It’s enough to just not get your wires crossed but to literally,
BLOW A CIRCUIT. . .
and here’s the biggest kicker of all,
it’s not that we don’t have the
R E S O U R C E S
WHAT TO DO’S
(uhhhhhhhhhhhh did you see how long this blog post is, already)
so much as utilizing them
plugging some of them in
and unplugging a few others
B U T
will you. . .
It just may be all of the difference between a really good or a really bad
h o l i d a y
(AND YOU GET TO CHOOSE. . .or let it CHOOSE FOR YOU)