By Terri Willis
There is no question that there are difficult times in life. Whether a divorce, death of a loved one or some other tragedy, it can change your life in a second. During these times it is critically important that we realize we must take care of ourselves. I call it self care.
I define self care as decisions, attitudes and behaviors an individual may choose, which promotes and restores their health and well-being. Nurturing yourself fully and properly must include tending to your entire being, especially during trying times.
Caring for the 3 parts of you
I believe human beings are made up of three parts: Spirit, soul, and body. More specifically, we are spirit beings living inside of bodies, which also house our souls.
The soul may be defined as the area containing our mind, will and emotions. Therefore, proper self-care includes taking care of your entire being: spirit, soul & body.
For example, if you are going through the process of divorce, up to 85% of your energy may be drained emotionally, leaving very little to draw upon for your physical, mental and spiritual needs. Therefore, your attention and investment in becoming proficient in the area of self-care is crucial. Not only will proper self-care help you through the divorce process, it will play a vital role in your recovery.
Nourishing your spirit
One of the best practices to implement in caring for your spirit is choosing to forgive. Trust me, no one & no wrong you have suffered is worth the heavy chains of bitterness & resentment. The destructive duo only serve to contaminate your being and your life. Most people who are unwilling to forgive, believe the person who hurt them doesn't deserve to be "let off the hook." The truth is, your extension of forgiveness actually unhooks and liberates you.
The second deterrent to forgiveness is the myth that it is synonymous with reconciliation. While we may always choose to forgive with or without the other person’s request, knowledge or consent, reconciliation requires both people who desire and are committed to the process of restoring the relationship. Therefore, forgiveness only guarantees your freedom and ensures your well-being.
Some offenses are so diabolical, painful and destructive, that you will need supernatural help to fully accomplish the forgiveness. God has all of the supernatural power & strength needed to forgive and to release the burden of grudges. He is our very present help in our time of need.
Your part is to become willing to forgive, followed by saying in your heart, "I choose to forgive them for hurting me". Then ask God to help you to fully accomplish forgiving. I recommend repeating these three steps as often as needed, for as long as needed.
Lastly, extending forgiveness does not minimize their wrong, nor does it imply that the offense was no big deal. Instead, authentic forgiveness acknowledges the full weight and depth of the offense, in an effort to extend forgiveness that parallels. In other words, massive hurts require massive forgiveness.
The second vital way to feed your spirit is to pray. Praying is simply communicating with God. Be sure to remember that communication involves talking and listening. I encourage you to stay connected and tuned in to the loving help & comfort that is flowing from God's heart to yours 24/7.
Dr Teri Willis is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor, board certified in marriage and family, child & adolescent, and crises & abuse therapies. As a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor, Dr. Teri is board certified in marriage and family, child & adolescent, and crises & abuse therapies. She is founder of Love & Willis Family Counseling, and is licensed and ordained by The National Christian Counselors Association.
Dr. Teri is a published author of an inspirational mini book titled Cultivating Joy and an illustrated children’s book titled Hear the Flowers Sing.