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How to Stop Being Driven

I’m Susan and I’m a workaholic.  My life has become unmanageable and exceeds the bounds of moderation.

I don’t think I’m alone, especially in the Baha’i community.

I’m driven to complete my goals.  I’m driven to please others.  I’m driven to being the best Baha’i I can be.  I’m driven to participate in the community building process.

The thesaurus lists the following synonyms related to being driven:

  • Ambitious
  • Determined
  • Single-minded
  • Obsessed
  • Motivated
  • Focused
  • Compelled
  • Pushed
  • Forced
  • Obliged
  • Manoeuvred

The problem with this addiction is that it’s praised in our materialistic society, and with employers more interested in the bottom line and maximizing profits at the expense of their employees, many of us are unwittingly caught up in this behaviour.

At the root of being driven is a mistaken belief that:

  • No one will love me for who I am.  I have to earn their love
  • Someone always has something better and I have to have what they have, and more
  • I have to find a solution to all my own problems
  • I have to take responsibility for things that aren’t mine to take on
  • I did something to deserve abuse, bullying, humiliation, rejection, disapproval etc.
  • I have to do everything right, all the time, to be number 1.  Nothing else is acceptable.
  • I have to be a “somebody” to be accepted.
  • The only way to survive a broken heart is to get busy.

Fear is at the root of it all.  In my case, it’s:

  • Fear of letting go – who will I be if I’m not driven?
  • Fear of poverty – who will I be if I’m fired or take time off for disability, or declare bankruptcy?
  • An overwhelming disappointment in this life and wanting to do everything in my power to earn “spiritual brownie points” so I can secure a better place in the next world
  • Feeling guilty for not doing enough for the Faith and being judged by the Institutions

I had to learn that being asked by representatives of the Institutions to do something is not necessarily the voice of God.  I could be driven towards people pleasing, wanting to be seen and judged by others as a “good Baha’i”.

God doesn’t want us to seek the approval of others, though.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha is reported to have said:

To be approved of God alone should be one’s aim.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 6, No. 6, p. 44)

. . . at all times seeking the approval of men is many times the cause of imperiling the approval of God.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, June 24, 1915)

Even if we let go of the need to seek the approval of others, there are pressures coming from the goals of the 5-Year plan, especially at a time when the workers are so few and we’re being called on to make a “herculean effort.”

I wonder if being driven is from God, though.  Somehow I doubt it.

Bahá’u’lláh tells us:

In all circumstances they should conduct themselves with moderation.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Lights of Guidance, p. 294)

Overstep not the bounds of moderation.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 235)

And even:

Whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 216)

So what is moderation and how do we achieve it?  This is a question I’ve taken to the Writings.  Come along with me as I see what I can learn.

What I’ve Learned About Being Driven:

First of all, this quote got my attention!

Ambitions are an abomination before the Lord.  (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West –  4)

So not only are we NOT to push ourselves towards our goals, we aren’t to have ambitions in the first place!

Drivenness is a lack of awareness of God in that moment, and a belief that I have to push on with a task, regardless of the cost to self and family.  It’s easy in the Faith, at this period in history when the workers are so few and the tasks requiring a “herculean effort”, to give everything we’ve got and more, and to believe we can’t say no, when an Institution asks us to give even more.  Instead of asking God what He wants us to do, we assume we know the answer from reading the recent letters of the House of Justice.  The problem is, we may be applying the wrong remedy!  Although insulin and penicillin are both valuable medications, each has to be applied to the right ailment at the right time.

Many workaholics do tasks that are not necessarily theirs to do.  They may feel absolutely responsible for something, but inadequate to do it and/or unwilling or unable to delegate or ask for help.  They can be hard on themselves for not being able to do it all, or as well as they would like.  They blame themselves and feel guilty and ashamed and don’t know why, because in their minds, they believe they are doing all the right things.

The paradox is that we’re hard on ourselves because we know we have to follow the current guidance from the House of Justice, and when others aren’t stepping up to the plate, we do more and more and eventually burn out.

For example, here’s something I wrote about 3 years ago:

I totally understand and see the vision of the House of Justice, in which we do the core activities in our own neighborhoods as a way to build communities.  I want to be part of the process but my passion lies in researching the practical application of the Writings to everyday problems, and making this information available to others through books and my blog.  Even though I’m having several devotional gatherings with others over the phone; and tutoring 3 Ruhi Books over the phone, and supporting others who are animators and children’s class teachers, over the phone, I feel hugely guilty that I’m not doing it in my own cluster.  Surely God sees my efforts as “enough”, yet my guilt has driven me to do more.

Recently, a member of the Institute Board told me that community building was the role of the Institutions and not the responsibility of the individual.  It was a huge relief!

Also, God never asks us to carry anyone else’s responsibilities.  As the House of Justice said in its Ridvan Message of 2014:  “Everyone has a share in this enterprise; the contribution of each serves to enrich the whole.”

If I’m trying to fill someone else’s role because they are inactive, I don’t have time to fill my own.

Finding this quote really got my attention!

No good but only evil can come from taking the responsibility for the future of God’s Cause into our own hands and trying to force it into ways that we wish it to go regardless of the clear texts and our own limitations. It is His Cause. He has promised that its light will not fail. Our part is to cling tenaciously to the revealed word and to the institutions that He has created to preserve His Covenant.’  (Universal House of Justice, Quickeners of Mankind, p. 119)

YIKES!  “only evil can come from taking the responsibility for the future of God’s Cause into our own hands and trying to force it into ways that we wish it to go regardless of our own limitations”!  That’s exactly what I was doing!

But as a workaholic, it was one thing to leave the community building to the institutions and another to know what moderation looked like.  I had to ask myself – when working full time on my business, is tutoring 3 study circles; holding devotional gatherings and accompanying others  excessive?  Or is it applying a “herculean effort”?  I didn’t know, until I carefully studied the second half of this quote:  my job is to “cling tenaciously to the revealed word and to the institutions.”

Recently, I joined Workaholics Anonymous who gave me the 3 R’s as a standard:  In addition to working (and service), I need to spend equal amounts of time on Rest, Relaxation and Relationship Building.

So which “revealed word” can help shed some light on my need for rest, relaxation and relationship building?

Recently at a Baha’i Conference, we looked at this quote, where Shoghi Effendi told us:

…you should not neglect your health, but consider it the means which enables you to serve. It — the body . . . should be well cared for so it can do its work! You should certainly safeguard your nerves, and force yourself to take time, and not only for prayer and meditation, but for real rest and relaxation.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 297)

It was a real “aha” moment for me.  I felt that Shoghi Effendi really understood me, when he said I should “force myself to take time for real rest and relaxation”!  That’s what it will take!  A force of willpower and a herculean effort, because I don’t know when or how to stop the work and service I enjoy doing.

That takes care of 2 of the 3 R’s right there!  That’s a quote I can cling to tenaciously.

But how does an introvert like me go about building relationships when I have no ties to my biological family or a spouse?  Home visits and elevated conversations with like-minded people seem to be clues, but only if these activities aren’t coming from a place of “should” and only if they lead to real rest and relaxation.  I think that’s a topic for another day!

The good news is, even with a society that promotes workaholism, we can overcome it and not live in drivenness, constantly trying to measure up to someone else’s standard. God knows what we need and will provide everything we need, if only we remember to ask.

What’s your experience with drivenness?  Post your comments below.

Who is God and How Can He Help Restore Me to Sanity?

This book, by Justice St. Rain of Baha’i Resources, is now available on Amazon.  Click the book title for more information!

By Anonymous

I’m a workaholic and adrenaline junkie and my life has become unmanageable due to burnout and adrenal fatigue caused by drivenness, compulsive caretaking and approval seeking.

For the past several months, I’ve been attending five different 12 step programs over the phone (Workaholics Anonymous,   Underearners Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous,  Adult Children of Alcoholics Anonymous and Survivors of Incest Anonymous ).  I’ve got a sponsor and am actively working the 12 steps in Workaholics Anonymous.

As I completed Step 2, my sponsor asked me to identify the qualities of God I wanted to help me with my addictions and recovery. I thought this was a great idea, as I had already written 2 blog postings which could help:

Understanding the Power in the Long Healing Prayer 

Using the Names of God for Healing

I chose these 12 as my most important, and share them with you in case you’d like to do something similar in your own recovery:

  1. My only Hope
  2. The Healer
  3. The Helper
  4. The Forgiver
  5. The Loving
  6. The Inspirer
  7. The Unfolder, Unfastener and Uprooter
  8. The Comforter
  9. The Best Lover
  10. The Restorer
  11. The Satisfier
  12. The Bringer of Delight

Here’s how I elaborated on each one.

My only Hope:

I started with this one because it’s so true.  It’s the basis of everything.  God is the All-Knowing, the All-Seeing, the All-Wise and the Well-informed. He is a huge, immense, vast, large, abundant, boundless, enormous, omnipotent, unknowable God.  He can do anything!

He has a greater vision of what’s going on with me than anyone else can, (including me), so He knows where and how to apply His healing remedy. I’ve tried everything I knew to try and I still had a problem with drivenness, perfectionism, compulsive caretaking, people pleasing and approval seeking.

It’s nice to know that God has no equal and is the best there is, so I can trust Him with my problems and my healing and stop looking for second class help.  He’s become the security blanket I don’t want to let go of, the cord I cling to at all times and under all conditions.  He’s the life force that keeps me going.

Of all the things I can remember, His absolute, unconditional love for me and His continual presence in my life is the greatest of them all.  That’s why it’s so important for me to continually call Him to mind.  I can trust Him to keep my issues confidential.

I can trust His advice and guidance.  He is the most sympathetic, empathetic, gentle, kind-hearted listener I will ever find, the one who can get at the root of any of my problems and solve them.  He has a quick grasp of reality, comprehends, perceives, understands and is able to figure out problems I can’t solve by myself.  He has the cure, the medicine, the therapy and the treatment I need to recover, restore, refresh, regenerate, rebuild, repair and recuperate.

He’s all I need to restore me back to health.  He is there to guard, shield, defend, protect and act as my bodyguard.  He’s able to offer, provide and give generously whatever I need from His hidden storehouses.  He’s concerned, sympathetic, empathetic, gentle, caring and considerate.  He’s eager to be understanding and forgiving.  In short, He’s got it all and He’s my only hope.

The Healer:

God is my Divine Physician and He has the remedy for all my ills.  I trust Him to heal me.  In WA, I’m learning that healing involves so much more than my puny mind can conceive.  When I give my will over to the care of God, He can help me get at the root of my problems, where on my own I would just focus on the symptoms.  His medicine is effective and quick acting, as long as I remember to listen for and apply His remedy.

The Helper:

This is the aspect of God who brings aid, assistance and comfort.  He relieves the pain, supports and rescues me.  He gives me a helping hand where one is needed.  He steps in and takes care of the practical details.  I almost always feel like I have to do everything myself.  Sometimes it’s even easier that way.

Delegating can be exhausting and time consuming, so it’s nice to know I can ask the Helper to send the help I need.  Sometimes I need practical help.  Often I can’t even imagine what I need.  Neighbors and friends often say:  “if we can do anything to help . . .”, and they really mean it, but often I can’t think of anything and need “The Helper” to figure it out for me, and find the right person to deliver it in the right way, at the right time.

Although many people call on The Helper, He’s never too busy to help me too.  He has no limits or boundaries. He’s free and unencumbered by anything or anyone.  He’s not restricted or regulated. He is the one who can find solutions where none seem to exist.  I can trust that whatever solutions He has in mind for me will help me beyond my wildest imagination.

The Forgiver:

He stands ready to forgive me for my unhealthy attachments and can help me forgive everyone behind my fear of abandonment.  God is Merciful and not punishing.  Nowhere in the Writings of any religion, do we see God referred to as the All-Punishing or the All-Condemning.

He’s the one I want to root out and extinguish all of my character defects and sins.  We all do things that are not pleasing to God.  We have all done things we think are unforgiveable, and yet, God shows everyone, including me, His mercy, favor, kindness and leniency.  This is the aspect of God I most need to relieve me of my shame and humiliation.  He grants His forgiveness, mercy, compassion, understanding, tolerance, pardon, pity and reconciliation to everyone who asks, so I know I can rely on His forgiveness and mercy.

The Loving:

God’s love for me brought me into being.  He’s provided me with the foundation and basis for life. He’s the loving parent I need when life is falling apart.  He has an endless supply of resources and knows where to find the help I need.  He’s a loving friend who is with me “at all times and under all conditions”.  He gives a helping hand where one is needed.  He steps in and takes care of the practical details.  He is the one I can count on when all others have gone home.  He’s the one I want to curl up beside and share all of my woes, knowing He’s got a listening, non-judgmental and compassionate ear.

I know I can ask God for anything, but like any loving parent, sometimes He has to say no for reasons I may not understand till later.  Sometimes He knows that the kind of healing I want isn’t what’s best for me right now.  Sometimes it may seem that He’s withholding His help, especially if I’m expecting a certain outcome. His answer may come in ways I find hard to recognize.  I can trust that He loves me so much that nothing is too much trouble and He always has time for me.

The Inspirer:

God has eagle-eye vision.  He knows every aspect of my life and my place in the world.  He notices things I may have long forgotten.  He sees everything I’ve ever done or ever will do and He’s able to remind me of my strengths, and show me which path is best for me to go down at this time.

He is single, unattached and free to give me His full attention as He inspires, uplifts, moves me and helps me transcend my problems.  All I have to do is listen for His guidance, so that I can align with His will.  In the past, I’ve turned to everyone else for help, but God’s knowledge is infinitely higher.  He can steer me to the right people when I remember to ask His advice.  I’m learning that I’m not unique.  My problems aren’t unsolvable.  With God’s inspiration, I’ve got a limitless storehouse of solutions to draw on.

The Unfolder, Unfastener and Uprooter:

These are the aspects of God who seem to destroy, ruin and wreck things.  God knows when things aren’t working anymore and need to be broken so something new can come in its place.  He helps me burn away my satanic self in order to purify and cleanse me, in order to draw closer to Him.

These are my least favorite aspects of God, because I don’t like change.  I frequently pray for healing so I can go back to life the way it was before starting into recovery, but when I ponder these attribute, I realize that maybe God has something better planned for me.  He has to unfasten me from my old way of being, so I can be the person He created me to be.

In any given day and depending on my level of attachment to the old “me”, this can be as painful as ripping Velcro, or as easy as unzipping a coat.  He knows when it’s time to move me from a shady spot to a sunnier one; from gravel to a loamy soil.

I don’t know what’s in my best interest, but the Uprooter does, and He’s not afraid to prune me and replant me somewhere better.

Every time the Unfastener has been at work in my life, it’s felt like Velcro ripping apart, or like a Band-Aid pulling hair out of my skin when it’s ripped off.  It HURTS!  The pain of each of these tests is excruciating, whether He’s been unfastening me from people I love, jobs I’m attached to, or locations I’ve been living in!

When I meditate on the meaning of the “Unfastener” as a name of God here for my healing, I realize God is helping me to let go of something or someone I thought I needed in my life and the best way to heal is to recognize I need to detach, forgive and move on to something better.

The “Unfolder” needs to be active in my life because I’ve  folded myself up to protect against hurt or pain, and my muscles have atrophied from curling in on myself.  I need to be unfolded, so I can heal and live the life God has in store for me.

The Comforter:

This aspect of God is meek, mild, gentle, warm, soft – all comforting words.  This is the aspect of God most likely to bring me a metaphysical cup of tea, exactly when I need it or gift me with someone whose kindness is quietly given at exactly the time I need it the most.

The Best Lover:

God has “unfastened” me, so that I could draw closer to Him and make Him my “Best Lover”.  The actions I need to take include letting go of my excessive worry and self-pity, blame, hurt and self-hatred, trusting that He’s not going anywhere, and is everything I need and more.

Most of us look to our spouses to be our “best lover” and wonder where the love goes when it fades away.  Humans were never meant to take this on.  God wants me all to Himself.  When I put Him as my Best Lover, calling on Him day and night; serving Him; mentioning His name, He’ll never leave me.

He’s with me always; permanent, steadfast, unshakable. He’s with me long after everyone else leaves. People have come and gone in my life.  Sometimes it was the ones I most counted on who suddenly, abruptly and with no warning, disappeared from my life in times of crisis, but I’ve come to appreciate that God’s love and presence in my life has been constant, endless, unceasing, unbroken, steady and invariable, even when I thought He had abandoned me.  I know I can count on Him even when I can’t count on anyone else.

The Restorer:

God is the only one who can restore me to sanity. He’s is in my life for the long haul.  He doesn’t leave when His shift is over. He works weekends and never takes holidays.  He’s there to support and nourish and hold me up, even when my resolve is flagging and I’m exhausted.  He’s the one who can give me the energy to carry on with the next right action.  He’s all I need to nurse and restore me back to health.

I used to hope that God would restore me to the same level of health I enjoyed prior to my burnout and adrenal exhaustion but that may not be as quick and easy as I would like. I’ve noticed that there are 125 separate names or attributes of God embedded into the “Long Healing Prayer”.  Now when I say it, I imagine each one as a separate entity, able to assist with a specific area of healing, so that by the time the prayer is finished, I’ve humbly asked God in all His manifest attribute to restore me to sanity so I can better serve His Cause and His servants.

The Satisfier:

I’m learning that nothing can satisfy me but God. He satisfies my thirst in ways my addictions never could.  He is pleased and satisfied with me and wants to satisfy my every desire.  I don’t have to do anything to earn His love.  It’s unconditional.

I can trust Him with my problems more than anyone else because His love is never going to change.  He is generous, giving, open-handed and makes sure I have plenty of what I need.  He’s caring, sympathetic, gentle, thoughtful, compassionate, kind-hearted and humane.

He’ll see that things are handled well for everyone around me, so I can let go of any need to compulsively-caretake or people-please.

God can speed things up, accelerate solutions and help move things forward at a quicker pace.  His “yes” might not look like the “yes” I was expecting, but I can always count on it to be the right “yes” for me, at this time and in this place.

When I call on the Satisfier, I’m asking God to heal not only me, but everyone dealing with disease, poverty, pain, distress, ordeals, tests, hardships, anguish, grief, mourning, worry, stress, trouble, danger, difficulties, misfortunes, burdens, regrets, disappointments and torments, knowing He can satisfy everyone in just the right way.

The Bringer of Delight:

It’s hard to imagine that in the middle of my darkness there can be any joy, but God wants to bring me joy, happiness, enjoyment, delight and pleasure in the little things, so I can live in the present and appreciate, relish, enjoy and savor each moment.

He wants me to be enthralled, captivated, mesmerized, hypnotized, entranced and delighted as He transports me to another place, high above my troubles.

He is the one who shows me everything beautiful in nature, to remind me that there is still beauty to be found, even in the midst of my pain.

He loves to give extravagant presents!  His gifts are always over the top, lavish and plentiful.  He can bring beauty into even the ugliest of settings, so this is the aspect of God I want when that dark cloud is following me and I want Him to cheer me up and brighten my day.

And I am grateful!

How do you define your “Higher Power” and how does this definition help with your recovery?  Post your comments below.

Overcoming an Attachment to Gambling

One of my readers asked me to write an article on The Courage to Stop Gambling.  He worried that we’ve become obsessed with winning raffles and lotteries; playing games of chance; casinos and online gambling has become a big part of our consumer-driven, materialistic society. Entertainment is so embedded in our psyche that life without it seems dull or boring.

Another reader wrote:

I know it is forbidden and that The Universal House of Justice has decided that for the present time it is the responsibility of each individual to decide for themselves what constitutes gambling.

I was wondering four things:

1) What do the Baha’i writings say should be the legal consequence?

2) According to the Baha’i writings why is it forbidden?

3) Does the Baha’i Faith say anything positive about gambling?*

4) To the best of our knowledge, did Bahá’u’lláh permit any forms of gambling?

So I thought it was time to turn to the Baha’i Writings to see if I could find some answers.

Some shocking statistics to consider:

  • about 80 percent of North American adults gamble on a yearly basis
  • approximately 6 million American adults are addicted to gambling
  • an estimated 50 percent of those affected by gambling problems commit crimes in order to support their addiction (primarily by writing bad cheques or embezzling money from their employers)
  • youth between the ages of 20-30 have the highest rates of problem gambling.
  • gambling addictions are about a prevalent as those who abuse cocaine or amphetamines.
  • families of problem gamblers are more likely to experience child abuse or other forms of domestic violence.
  • early onset of problem gambling increases the lifetime risk of suicide
  • the most common gaming activities among Canadian adults are lotteries and instant-win tickets

The DSM-5 has re-classified the condition as an addictive disorder, despite the fact that  pathological gambling has long been considered by the American Psychiatric Association to be an impulse control disorder rather than an addiction.

I think it’s no surprise that gambling is prohibited.  It’s interesting to me that it’s combined with the use of opium, in light of the comments above.

Gambling and the use of opium have been forbidden unto you.  (Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 75)

What is prohibited?

In response to questions about whether lotteries, betting on such things as horse races and football games, bingo, and the like, are included under the prohibition of gambling.  (Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 238-239)

Are all games prohibited?

Asked whether the Bahá’í prohibition of gambling applies to game of every description, ‘Abdu’l-Baha replied: —No, some games are innocent, and if pursued for pastime there is no harm. But there is danger that pastime may degenerate into waste of time. Waste of time is not acceptable in the Cause of God. But recreation which may improve the bodily powers, as exercise, is desirable.  (Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 103)

Is anything NOT prohibited?

As far as individuals are concerned, we have carefully studied the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi on this point and it is apparent that such subsidiary matters are not recorded in the Holy Texts. The Universal House of Justice is not prepared to decide at this time whether the purchase of lottery tickets should be permitted or prohibited.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 357)

When and how is it enforced?

The Universal House of Justice has indicated that this is a matter that will be considered in detail in the future. In the meantime, the Assemblies and individuals are counselled not to make an issue of these matters and to leave it to the conscience of the individual believers.  (Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 238-239)

Raising Money for the Funds

The House of Justice has ruled that it is not appropriate for funds for the Faith to be raised through lotteries, raffles, and games of chance.  (Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 238-239)

As to participation in Bingo games by a Local Spiritual Assembly with the intention of contributing to the Fund, we do not feel it is appropriate for funds for the Faith to be raised through games of chance or raffles.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 357)

In reviewing your Minutes for 15 March 1967, we note Item 25-8 in which the Treasurer suggests a lottery as means of disposing of a Persian carpet which has been given to you by one of the believers. We do not feel this is an appropriate way in which to raise funds.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 357)

Reasons for the Injunction

Betting on horse racing is a pernicious disease. It hath been seen in Europe what distress this hath caused. Thousands have become afflicted and distraught. The friends of God must engage in work which is lawful and attracted blessings, so that God’s aid and bounty may always surround them.’ (Translated from the Persian) (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 357)

The trials of man are of two kinds. (a) The consequences of his own actions. If a man eats too much, he ruins his digestion; if he takes poison he becomes ill or dies. If a person gambles he will lose his money; if he drinks too much he will lose his equilibrium. All these sufferings are caused by the man himself, it is quite clear therefore that certain sorrows are the result of our own deeds. (Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 49)

The world’s wealth is, by contrast, the stuff of illusion. Those who lust after it are the followers of evil and, erelong, they shall be plunged into confusion and despair.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 343)

The problem seems to be our materialistic world, where we’re taught to want more and more “things” and even to see consumption as normal.

Baha’u’llah has a different thought about wealth.  In the Hidden Words He states:

Thou dost wish for gold and I desire thy freedom from it. Thou thinkest thyself rich in its possession, and I recognize thy wealth in thy sanctity therefrom. By My life! This is My knowledge, and that is thy fancy; how can My way accord with thine?  (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words 56)

The problem with this is that it causes us to turn away from God:

All around us today we see how man surrounds himself with every modern convenience and luxury, and denies nothing to the physical and material side of his nature. But, take heed, lest in thinking too earnestly of the things of the body you forget the things of the soul: for material advantages do not elevate the spirit of a man.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 62-63)

When we gamble, we put all our affairs in someone else’s hands.  Since our entire purpose in life is to “know and worship God”, every time we fail to turn to God for our needs, we fail to achieve our purpose.

In God’s eyes, our wealth lies in our love for Him:

The essence of wealth is love for Me; whoso loveth Me is the possessor of all things, and he that loveth Me not is indeed of the poor and needy. This is that which the Finger of Glory and Splendour hath revealed.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 156)

Everything we want from life – happiness, status, pleasure and peace can never be found in material wealth:

The happiness and greatness, the rank and station, the pleasure and peace, of an individual have never consisted in his personal wealth, but rather in his excellent character, his high resolve, the breadth of his learning, and his ability to solve difficult problems.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 23)

Many people see lotteries as a way to improve the lives of their families and friends, but in this new world order we’re creating, the wealthy have an obligation to help the poor.

Good God! is it possible that, seeing one of his fellow-creatures starving, destitute of everything, a man can rest and live comfortably in his luxurious mansion? He who meets another in the greatest misery, can he enjoy his fortune? That is why, in the religion of God, it is prescribed and established that wealthy men each year give over a certain part of their fortune for the maintenance of the poor and unfortunate. That is the foundation of the religion of God, and the most essential of the commandments.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 283-284)

And contributions made to the Right of God are used for charitable purposes:

Furthermore the Huquq will be used for charitable purposes.  (Compilations, Huququ’llah 62)

Many people look at quick-fix winning as some magic pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but it comes with a high price.  If you’re unhappy, bad with money and surrounded by people you don’t trust, money will make those problems worse.  About 70 percent of people who suddenly receive a windfall of cash will lose it within a few years, either to their own greed or the greed of those around them, all with their hands out looking to share the wealth.  Many declare bankruptcy, become divorced and even commit suicide.

Even this earth’s happiness does not depend upon wealth. You will find many of the wealthy exposed to dangers and troubled by difficulties, and in their last moments upon the bed of death there remains the regret that they must be separated from that to which their hearts are so attached. They come into this world naked, and they must go from it naked. All they possess they must leave behind and pass away solitary, alone. Often at the time of death their souls are filled with remorse; and worst of all, their hope in the mercy of God is less than ours.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 33)

God wants us to achieve our wealth through making efforts in our crafts and professions:

Having attained the stage of fulfilment and reached his maturity, man standeth in need of wealth, and such wealth as he acquireth through crafts or professions is commendable and praiseworthy in the estimation of men of wisdom.  (The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 437)

The legitimacy of wealth depends, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has indicated, on how it is acquired and on how it is expended. In this connection, He has stated that “wealth is praiseworthy in the highest degree, if it is acquired by an individual’s own efforts and the grace of God, in commerce, agriculture, crafts and industry”.  (Universal House of Justice message to the Believers in the Cradle of the Faith, 1 April 2010)

The members of the younger generation would do well to ponder the above statement
of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in which He conditions the acquisition of wealth on diligent work and the grace of God. Let them weigh carefully in their hearts and minds the difference between gaining wealth through earnest effort in fields such as agriculture, commerce, the arts, and industry, on the one hand, and, on the other, obtaining it without exertion or through dishonourable means. Let them consider the consequences of each for the spiritual development of the individual, as well as the progress of society, and ask themselves what possibilities exist for generating income and acquiring wealth that will draw down confirmations from on high. It will surely become evident, as they do so, that what will attract God’s blessings and ensure true happiness both in this world and in the next is the development of spiritual qualities, such as honesty, trustworthiness, generosity, justice, and consideration for others, and the recognition that material means are to be expended for the betterment of the world.
(Universal House of Justice, [Authorized Translation from Persian], 2 April 2010, to the Believers in the Cradle of the Faith)

In 2006, Americans lost nearly $91 billion on all forms of gambling combined.  According to some economists, the total cost per year to end extreme poverty worldwide in 20 years, would be about $175 billion.  So if everyone just stopped gambling and applied that money to eliminating poverty, we’d be half way there!

So what does all of this have to do with overcoming an attachment to gambling?

To stop, we must provide education and training, (which I hope to have done above).

If a soul be ailing and infirm, we must produce remedies; if ignorant, we must provide education; if defective, we must train and perfect that which is lacking; if immature and undeveloped, we must supply the means of attainment to maturity.  (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 315)

For remedies, many countries have now got helplines available to help people stop.  Some of them are listed here

Online programs are available through Gambling Therapy

12 Step programs are often successful and “approved”:

A variety of self-help groups, in addition to Alcoholics Anonymous, may be available in different areas and, as long as they are reasonably in keeping with the principles of the Faith, believers should feel free to use them as needed. One such organization is the Bahá’í Network on AIDS, Sexuality, Addiction and Abuse (BNASAA), sponsored by the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada. The BNASAA website is www.bnasaa.org (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 6)

In regard to your question about the fifth step in the “A.A. 12-Step Programme”, we have been asked to share with you the following extract from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice on 26 August 1986 to an individual believer: …there is no objection to Bahá’í being members of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is an association that does a great deal of good in assisting alcoholics to overcome their lamentable condition. The sharing of experience which the members undertake does not conflict with the Bahá’í prohibition on the confession of sins; it is more in the nature of the therapeutic relationship between a patient and a psychiatrist.  (The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Feb 7, Issues concerning community functioning)

The Bahá’í community should feel free to call upon such agencies as Alcoholics Anonymous for assistance and upon public agencies who work with the problem, but must realize that the greatest healing of this social and individual disease is God’s Cause which in its fullness will eliminate the causes of alcoholism.  (Universal House of Justice, dated August 8, 1979, to a National Spiritual Assembly)

For more on this topic:

Gambling: To Wager or to Work

Baha’i Law on Gambling

Dealing with Addictions

What has been your experience with gambling and how has this helped you understand the issues?  Post your comments below.

Bahai’s With Eating Disorders Part 2

 

Recently one of my readers wrote:

One of my current favorite quotes from Gleanings, pp316-317, is “God grant that your desires and unmortified passions may not hinder you from that which hath been ordained for you.”  I believe I am stuck in one of these passions and would like help breaking free.

I have been struggling with an eating disorder for over 40 years.  I have had a lot of therapy, been to two outpatient treatment centers and been involved in various programs.  I have made tremendous progress, but am not free yet and am going through a particularly difficult period with food.  My weight is low and I have trouble keeping food in my stomach.

I know what I have to do, set up a food plan that has me eating  4 or 5 times a day in small enough quantities that do not trigger purging. I often eat more than I can keep down and the eating/purging cycle begins.  My problem is with quantities and stopping eating at appropriate times.

I think the disorder is driven by habit and addiction.  This disorder has cost me dearly in lost time, loss of self-respect, lost opportunities, lost money, and countless known and unknown spiritual costs.

So, my question is, are you willing to help me continue on the road and, hopefully, become free of this consuming addiction, so that I can take more advantage of the gifts Baha’u’llah has given me I odder to become a fuller person and a more effective teacher and servant?

I replied:

I admit freely right up front that I don’t have any experience in dealing with eating disorders!

The following Baha’is specialize in eating disorders (among other things).  I don’t know them personally – just what I’ve read on their websites:

Mahsa Migalski is a Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in individual and couples-work, depression, anxiety, trauma, grief work, eating disorders, and self-injury

Marzi Radpour-Wiley is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with a special interest in women’s mental health issues specifically related to sexual trauma, adjustment struggles, eating disorders, and personality disorders; adolescents and adults with mood and anxiety problems

I’m sorry to hear that your eating disorder has you “stuck in one of these passions” and admire your sincere desire for help breaking free!

Have you seen this article?

Baha’is with Eating Disorders

I wonder:

  • How and when was the food plan successful?
  • What stops you from setting up and following a food plan now?
  • What is going on at the moment you eat more than you can keep down?
    • Who are you with?
    • What stressors are you dealing with?
    • What thoughts are going through your head?

But even more importantly:

  • What spiritual practices are you doing?
  • Are you reciting one of the Obligatory Prayers with pure-hearted devotion each day?
  • Are you reading the Sacred Scriptures every morning and evening, with reverence, attention and thought?
  • Are you prayerfully meditating on the teachings, in order to understand them more deeply, fulfil them more faithfully, and convey them more accurately to others?
  • Are you striving every day to bring your behaviour more into accordance with the high standards that are set forth in the Teachings?
  • Are you teaching the Cause of God?
  • Are you selflessly serving the work of the Cause and in carrying out your trade or profession?
  • Are you participating in the core activities?
  • Are you sacrificially giving to the Fund?
  • Is your Right of God up to date?

Use this as a checklist, and make sure you focus on achieving all of these things.

Are you familiar with this story?

A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other.

One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.

The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed

My hunch is that this issue has occupied much of your attention for the past 40 years, and all of the treatment programs you’ve been given have focused on “the problem”.

But that’s not how things work in the Faith!  We work from “strength to strength”:

Despite the blows leveled at its nascent strength, whether by the wielders of temporal and spiritual authority from without, or by black-hearted foes from within, the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh had, far from breaking or bending, gone from strength to strength, from victory to victory. Indeed its history, if read aright, may be said to resolve itself into a series of pulsations, of alternating crisis and triumphs, leading it ever nearer to its divinely appointed destiny.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 147)

I think that’s probably what’s been going on in your life too:  a series of alternating crisis and triumphs.  It sounds like you’re in a crisis now, but they are always followed by victory!  Here’s something I found on Facebook last night that appealed to me:

Just remember – even your worst days only have 24 hours!

In this Faith we turn our back to the darkness and our faces to God, and we do that through the items listed above:

He urges you to persevere and add up your accomplishments, rather than to dwell on the dark side of things. Everyone’s life has both a dark and bright side. The Master said: turn your back to the darkness and your face to Me.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha’i Community, p. 457)

Remember, although you probably have a lot of shame around purging, it’s misplaced.  This article will explain it better:

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Guilt and Shame

Here are some prayers you could say:

O my Lord! Make Thy beauty to be my food, and Thy presence my drink, and Thy pleasure my hope, and praise of Thee my action, and remembrance of Thee my companion, and the power of Thy sovereignty my succorer, and Thy habitation my home, and my dwelling-place the seat Thou hast sanctified from the limitations imposed upon them who are shut out as by a veil from Thee.  Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the All-Glorious, the Most Powerful.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 261)

O Divine Providence! Bestow Thou in all things purity and cleanliness upon the people of Bahá. Grant that they be freed from all defilement, and released from all addictions. Save them from committing any repugnant act, unbind them from the chains of every evil habit, that they may live pure and free, wholesome and cleanly, worthy to serve at Thy Sacred Threshold and fit to be related to their Lord. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 149-150)

O my Glorious Lord! Help me to refrain from every irregular inclination; to subdue every rebelious passion; to purify the motives of my conduct; to conform myself to that meekness which no provocation can ruffle; to that patience which no affliction can overwhelm; to that integrity which no self-interest can shake; that I may be qualified to serve Thee and to teach Thy Word.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, English Sources and Authenticity of Fifteen Prayers in the Dutch Prayer Book, Bahá’í Gebeden by Universal House of Justice 2001-10-22)

God doesn’t want you to focus on what’s wrong with you, He needs all of your attention focused on serving the Cause.  Remember, He has chosen YOU!

For I say unto you that He has chosen you to be His messengers of love throughout the world, to be His bearers of spiritual gifts to man, to be the means of spreading unity and concord on the earth. Thank God with all your hearts that such a privilege has been given unto you. For a life devoted to praise is not too long in which to thank God for such a favour.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 68)

You can’t fulfill this task if you are focused on “the problem” and feeding the wrong wolf.

I have a tendency to wallow in self-pity but when I read in this year’s Ridvan Message:

The sustained effort required will be arduous. But the outcome has the potential to be profoundly significant, even epoch making. Small steps, if they are regular and rapid, add up to a great distance travelled.  (Paragraph 4)

 In each cycle are vested fleeting opportunities for a stride forward, precious possibilities that will not return. (Paragraph 4)

And

In society at large, alas, the symptoms of an ever-deepening malaise of the soul multiply and worsen. How striking that, as the peoples of the world suffer for want of the true remedy and turn fitfully from one false hope to another, you are collectedly refining an instrument that connects hearts with the Word of God eternal. How striking that, amid the cacophony of fixed opinions and opposing interests that grows everywhere more fierce, you are focused on drawing people together to build communities that are havens of unity. Far from disheartening you, let the world’s prejudices and hostilities be reminders of how urgently souls all around you need the healing balm that you alone can present to them.  (Paragraph 5)

I realized I could no longer wallow.  The world “needs the healing balm that only I can present to them” and if my attention is focused on self; then I’m going to miss the “fleeting opportunities that will not return”.  All I need to do is realize that “the sustained effort required will be arduous” and “take small steps, regular and rapid”; and if I do, “the outcome could be profoundly significant, even epoch making”.

Those are my marching orders!  Are you willing to make them yours?

It seems you’ve tried everything else!  🙂

So that would be the approach I’d take to the problem!

How has this been helpful?  Post your comments below!

Forgiving Yourself for Being Codependent

By a Reader of this Blog who Wishes to Remain Anonymous

One of my clients, inspired by the Codependent Checklist, went through the list, identified the ones he related to, and systematically used it to forgive himself. We both agreed it would be helpful to share this process with others who might be inspired to do it for themselves.

I suggest you go through the list first, identify the ones you’d like to forgive yourself for, then put your name in front of each section, saying each one out loud, starting with “Susan (or your name), I forgive you for . . .”  By speaking the sentences out loud, it will have a very powerful effect on your soul!

Caretaking

I forgive you for

  • thinking and feeling for other people`s feelings, actions, choices, wants, needs, wellbeing, lack of wellbeing and ultimate destiny.
  • feeling anxiety and guilt when others have problems.
  • anticipating other people`s needs.
  • saying yes when you mean no
  • doing things you don’t really want to do
  • doing more than your fair share of the work
  • doing things other people are capable of doing themselves
  • trying to please others instead of yourself
  • feeling and expressing anger about injustices done to others and not for injustices done to you.
  • feeling safest when giving.
  • feeling insecure and guilty when someone gives to you.
  • finding yourself attracted to needy people.
  • abandoning your routine to respond to or do something for somebody else
  • overcommitting yourself.
  • feeling harried and pressured
  • believing deep inside you are somehow responsible for others.
  • blaming others for the spot you are in
  • feeling angry, victimized, unappreciated and used
  • all the times other people become impatient or angry with you for all of the above

Self-Worth 

I forgive you for

  • coming from a troubled, repressed and dysfunctional family
  • blaming yourself for everything
  • picking on yourself for everything, including the way you think, feel, look, act and behave
  • getting angry, defensive, self-righteous, and indignant when others blame and criticize you for something you regularly do to yourself
  • getting depressed from a lack of compliments and praise
  • feeling different from the rest of the world
  • thinking you’re not quite good enough
  • feeling guilty about spending money on yourself or doing unnecessary or fun things for yourself.
  • fearing rejection
  • taking things personally
  • being a victim of sexual, physical, emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment and alcoholism
  • feeling like a victim
  • telling yourself that you can’t do anything right
  • being afraid of making mistakes
  • wondering why you have a tough time making decisions
  • expecting yourself to do everything perfectly
  • wondering why you can’t get anything done to your satisfaction
  • having a lot of “shoulds’
  • feeling a lot of guilt
  • feeling ashamed of who you are
  • thinking your life isn`t worth living
  • trying to help other people live your life instead
  • getting artificial feelings of self-worth from helping others
  • getting strong feelings of low self-worth, embarrassment and failure from other people’s failures and problem
  • believing you don’t deserve good things and happiness
  • wishing other people would like and love you
  • believing other people couldn’t possibly like and love you
  • trying to prove you’re good enough for other people
  • settling for being needed

Depression 

I forgive you for

  • Pushing your thoughts and feelings out of your awareness because of fear and guilt
  • Becoming afraid to let yourself be who you are
  • being rigid and controlled

Obsession 

I forgive you for

  • thinking and talking a lot about other people
  • losing sleep over problems or other people’s behavior
  • worrying
  • never finding answers
  • checking on people
  • trying to catch people in acts of misbehavior
  • being unable to quit talking, thinking and worrying about other people and their problems
  • abandoning your routine because you are so upset about somebody or something
  • focusing all your energy on other people and problems
  • wondering why you never have any energy
  • wondering why you can’t get things done

Denial 

I forgive you for

  • telling yourself things will be better tomorrow
  • staying busy so you don’t have to think about things
  • getting confused
  • lying to yourself
  • spending money compulsively
  • wondering why you feel like you’re going crazy

Dependency 

I forgive you for

  • not feeling happy, content, or peaceful with yourself
  • looking for happiness outside yourself
  • latching onto whoever or whatever you think can provide happiness
  • feeling terribly threatened by the loss of anything or person you think provides your happiness
  • desperately seeking love and approval
  • trying to prove you’re good enough to be loved
  • not taking time to figure out if you love or like other people
  • centering your life around other people
  • looking to relationships to provide all your good feelings
  • losing interest in your own life when you love someone
  • worrying other people will leave you
  • not believing you can take care of yourself
  • staying in relationships that don’t work
  • tolerating abuse to keep people loving you
  • feeling trapped in relationships
  • leaving bad relationships and forming new ones that don’t work either
  • wondering if you will ever find love
  • not saying what you mean
  • not meaning what you say
  • not knowing what you mean
  • not taking yourself seriously
  • thinking other people don’t take you seriously
  • taking yourself too seriously
  • asking for what you want and need, indirectly
  • finding it difficult to get to the point
  • not being sure what the point is
  • trying to say what you think will please people
  • trying to say what you think will provoke people
  • trying to say what you hope will make people do what you want them to do
  • eliminating the word No from your vocabulary
  • talking about other people
  • believing your opinions don’t matter
  • waiting to express your opinions until you know other people’s opinions
  • lying to protect and cover up for people you love
  • lying to protect yourself
  • having a difficult time expressing your emotions honestly, openly and appropriately
  • thinking most of what you have to say is unimportant
  • begin to talk in cynical, self-degrading or hostile ways
  • apologizing for bothering people

Boundaries 

I forgive you for

  • gradually increasing your tolerance until you can tolerate and do things you said you never would
  • letting others hurt you
  • keep letting people hurt you
  • wondering why you hurt so badly

Trust 

I forgive you for

  • not trusting yourself
  • not trusting your feelings
  • not trusting your decisions
  • trying to trust untrustworthy people

Anger 

I forgive you for

  • being afraid of your own anger
  • being frightened of other people’s anger
  • thinking people will go away if anger enters the picture
  • thinking other people make you feel angry
  • being afraid to make other people feel anger
  • feeling controlled by other people’s anger
  • repressing your angry feelings
  • being ashamed for feeling angry
  • placing guilt and shame on yourself for feeling angry

Extremely Responsible 

I forgive you for

  • being extremely irresponsible
  • becoming a martyr
  • sacrificing your happiness and that of others for causes that don’t require sacrifice
  • finding it difficult to feel close to people
  • finding it difficult to have fun and be spontaneous
  • vacillating in decisions and emotions
  • staying loyal to your compulsions and people even when it hurts
  • being ashamed about family, personal or relationship problems
  • being confused about the nature of the problem

Progressive 

I forgive you for

  • becoming withdrawn and isolated
  • experiencing complete loss of daily routine and structure
  • feeling hopeless.

Once he completed this process, he then asked God to forgive him for the issues he identified with, asking for the virtue he wanted instead.  You might want to have a look at it too.

How has this been helpful?  Post your comments below!

Prayer Requests for Overcoming Codependency

By a Reader of this Blog who Wishes to Remain Anonymous

One of my clients, inspired by the Codependent Checklist went through the list, forgave himself and then asked God to forgive him for the issues he identified with, asking for the virtue he wanted instead.  We both agreed it would be helpful to share this process with others who might be inspired to do it for themselves.

Read it over once, and if it resonates with you, take the time to read each statement out loud for yourself, to have the greatest effect.

Caretaking

  • Please God, forgive me for thinking and feeling other people`s feelings, actions, choices, wants, needs, wellbeing, lack of wellbeing and ultimate destiny. Please help me to detach and let go of all these emotions.  I know you are there to take care of every one of us.  Please bless me with inner eyes so I can look at my inner and outer being and keep improving and learning and progressing in all aspects of my life, and can serve people with full detachment.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling anxiety and guilt when other people have problems. I completely surrender myself to you, and have realized that you are there to take care of others and my problems. O my God have mercy on me and let me drink a cup of your divine happiness which is from inside me and permanent.
  • O my God, please forgive me for anticipating other people`s needs. Please give me the wisdom to do things according to your priority and your requirements of every situation.
  • Please God, forgive me for finding myself saying yes when I mean no; doing things I don’t really want to be doing; doing more than my fair share of the work and doing things other people are capable of doing themselves. O my God help me let go of this wrong thinking that this is the kind of service you have in mind for me and help me to understand Your reality.  Please bless me with the power so that I can be my genuine self in all situations and can protect my respect and peace.
  • O my Master, please forgive me for trying to please others instead of myself and You. Help me to understand the actual meaning of this quote “the more you make others happy the more your happiness increases”.  Help me to realize that it is totally my responsibility to keep myself happy and my happiness is totally independent of everything except You and that it comes from inside me.
  • O my Beloved, please forgive me for finding it easier to feel and express anger about injustices done to others, rather than injustices done to me. By your wisdom I now know that every problem can be solved by keeping my mind calm and composed.  Bless me with utter power to handle every situation of injustice with Your support and guidance, realizing that everything passes.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling safest when giving to others. Please detach me from this emotion and help me to know I am safe because You are here to look after me and I have no fear now.  Bless and rejoice me with your utter happiness.
  • O my God, please forgive me for feeling insecure and guilty when someone gives things to me. Please bless me with the wisdom so I can identify when it is right to take something and how, so I feel happy and thankful instead of feeling insecure.
  • Please God, forgive me for finding myself attracted to needy people. Please help me in letting go of these emotions. I have realized now that there is only one thing where I should feel attracted towards, which is You, My Lord.  If I do something for someone who is needy, bless me with wisdom so that I can do it with full detachment, pleasing only You.
  • Please God, forgive me for abandoning my routine to respond to or do something for somebody else. Please bless me with the firmness, clarity and wisdom to prioritize tasks and act according to Your will and not the will of others.
  • Please God, forgive me for over-committing myself. Please help me do the things which are most important and make a proper balance in my life.
  • O my Master, please forgive me for feeling harried and pressured. Please help me to let go of these emotions. Bless me with the feeling of complete freedom and fearlessness.
  • O my Beloved, please forgive me for believing deep inside that other people are somehow responsible for me. Now I know that my destiny is completely independent from anyone else`s deeds or thinking, please bless me with the strength to take responsibility for all my failures, the wisdom to learn from them and the detachment to let them go forever.
  • O my Lord, please forgive me for blaming others for the spot I am in now. I know it was for my learning and benefit, and trust that miracles are waiting for me through your help.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling angry, victimized, unappreciated and used. Please help me in letting go of these emotions forever.  O my Master, please fill my heart with utter motivation and concentration so that I can achieve my goals and keep me detached from everything except You.  Please let me be always filled with full presence and awareness, whenever the requirement of me is to be genuine.
  • Please God, forgive me for worrying when other people become impatient or angry with me for all the preceding characteristics. Please let these emotions go forever and blow my soul with your immortal love, and all good virtues.

Self-Worth

  • Please God, forgive me for being upset about coming from a troubled, repressed and dysfunctional family. Please help me realize that I had no control over my birthplace.  It was your decision and you are the one who thinks of my betterment unconditionally.  Help me to remember there might be some wisdom behind it, and give me the power to free myself from all negativity, and realize that I can achieve my all goals with Your help.
  • Please God, forgive me for blaming myself for everything. Please help me let go of these emotions.  Help me so I can look at myself through your eyes and can realize that only You are perfect and You love us even with our imperfections.
  • Please God, forgive me for picking on myself for everything, including the way I think, feel, look, act and behave. Please help me with the wisdom to  release myself completely, and be myself, comfortable in my own skin in all places and situations.
  • Please God, forgive me for getting angry, defensive, self-righteous, and indignant when others blame and criticize me for something I regularly do to myself. Please bless me with spiritual eyes so I can learn from everyone without being affected and without being judgmental.
  • Please God, forgive me for getting depressed from a lack of compliments and praise. Please make me realize that to be approved by you should be my aim always, with a practical approach towards the world also.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling different from the rest of the world. Please make me realize that we all are the flowers of same garden.
  • O my Almighty, please forgive me for thinking I am not quite good enough. Please bless me with the utter faith in your powers and capacity which you have gifted to all of us, so I can keep myself motivated, always.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling guilty about spending money on myself or doing unnecessary or fun things for myself. Please help me let go of this self-hatred, so I can start loving You, myself and others.
  • Please God, forgive me for fearing rejection. Please make me realize that rejection teaches us a lot and gives us space to learn and grow more and more.  Please bless me with the right attitude to handle rejections.
  • O my God, please forgive me for taking things personally. Please help me to be detached from these things, and please attach me to You so that I never forget Your presence in my life.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling victimized by sexual, physical, emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment and alcoholism. Please help me let go of this whole past and all the emotions that came with it.  Please give me the power to forgive and let go, so I can focus on the present and on the good things that are of You.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling like a victim. Please make me realize that if You are with me, everything is still possible, and there is nothing that can’t be overcome through Your help.
  • Please God, forgive me for telling myself that I can’t do anything right. Please make me realize that it is OK to make mistakes.  Please God, give me a learning attitude and bless me with the never-giving-up attitude so I can do things with as much perfection as each situation requires.
  • Please God, forgive me for being afraid of making mistakes. Please make me fearless from everything except fear of You, which is out of love.
  • Please God, forgive me for wondering why I have a tough time making decisions. Please bless me with a strong decision power, and the courage to follow and respect my decisions.
  • Please God, forgive me for expecting myself to do everything perfectly. Please make me realize that it is OK to make mistakes and learn from them. Please give me the power to take chances with full faith and confidence of Your help.
  • Please God, forgive me for wondering why I can’t get anything done to my satisfaction. Please make me realize who I am and what I want, and help my actions align with Your will.
  • Please God, forgive me for having a lot of “shoulds’ in my life. Please give me the spirit and courage to listen and do what my heart says.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling a lot of guilt. Please blow the air of your love and motivation and happiness in my lungs.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling ashamed of who I am. Please make me feel blessed and proud on my identity, realizing that I am your best (human) creation.
  • Please God, forgive me for thinking my life isn`t worth living. Please give me the power to make my life most significant; cheerful and joyous, by progressing spiritually as well as materially.
  • Please God, forgive me for trying to help other people live their lives instead of living mine. Please give me the power to focus on my improvement, realizing that You are there to help me and other people so I don’t have to.
  • Please God, forgive me for getting artificial feelings of self-worth from helping others. Please make me realize that we are your loved ones so we are priceless pears for You and particles of dust in front of You.
  • Please God, forgive me for having strong feelings of low self-worth, embarrassment and failure from other people’s failures and problem. Please help me to let go of these emotions permanently, my God, and ignite a lamp of self-respect and humility in my heart.
  • Please God, forgive me for believing I don’t deserve good things and happiness. Please make me realize that I am Your son and deserve everything which You have given to all of us.  Help me to have a positive attitude instead of coming from a place of ego because of this thought.
  • Please God, forgive me for wishing other people would like and love me. Please God, be my Best Lover and the goal of all my desires.
  • Please God, forgive me for believing other people couldn’t possibly like and love me. Please make me realize that You love me unconditionally, and it is not possible to always be loved by everyone.
  • Please God, forgive me for trying to prove I am good enough for other people. Please make a genuine person, detached from what others think about me.
  • Please God, forgive me for settling for being needed. Please make me free from these emotions and bless me with your unconditional love.

Depression

  • Please God, forgive me for pushing all thoughts and feelings out of my awareness because of fear and guilt. Please help me take responsibility for my thoughts and feelings and act in ways that please only You.
  • Please God, forgive me for being afraid to let myself be who you created me to be. It’s been such a waste of my skills, talents and capacities.  Please help me reclaim my nobility.
  • Please God, forgive me for appearing rigid and controlled. Please make my soul a free bird in your kingdom.

Obsession

  • Please God, forgive me for thinking and talking a lot about other people. Please detach my thoughts from all things which are useless.  Please help me realize that I am not the controller, You are!, so I can focus on You and myself and can improve.
  • Please God, forgive me for losing sleep over other people’s problems or behavior. Please make me realize that I can`t control their thinking or reactions and I am totally free from them because I am in Your protection.
  • Please God, forgive me for worrying. I surrender all my problems to You with full faith, and now I am happy and fearless.
  • Please God, forgive me for never finding answers. Please give me the power and guts to identify your hints and intuition and follow them with utter faith.
  • Please God, forgive me for checking on people. Please make my soul detached from everything except You.
  • Please God, forgive me for trying to catch people in acts of misbehavior. Please shift all my focus and energies towards positivity.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling unable to quit talking, thinking and worrying about other people or their problems. Please make me realize that You are there to take care of everyone, and let me detach my thoughts and emotions from this worry.
  • Please God, forgive me for abandoning my routine because I am so upset about somebody or something. Please bless me with a very strong mind and willpower to keep moving in service to Your Cause.
  • Please God, forgive me for focusing all my energy on other people and their problems. Please help me to let go of these emotions.  O Lord refresh my soul with your divine love, and bring all my focus on my deeds and not on the deeds of others.
  • Please God, forgive me for wondering why I never have any energy. Please bless me with your attributes of love, happiness, positive energy and enthusiasm etc.
  • Please God, forgive me for wondering why I can’t get things done. Please my God, bless me with utter faith in Your powers guiding my efforts.

Denial

  • Please God, forgive me for telling myself things will be better tomorrow. Please give me the power to take actions and have faith that you are with me.
  • Please God, forgive me for stay busy so I don’t have to think about things. Please God, bless me with the power of taking responsibility for all my actions.
  • Please God, forgive me for getting confused. Please remove all my confusion and bless me with utter faith and clarity of thoughts so I can set and achieve goals with Your help.
  • Please God, forgive me for lying to myself. Please bless me with utter honesty with myself and You and others.
  • Please God, forgive me for spending money compulsively. Please make me sensible and mature.
  • Please God, forgive me for wondering why I feel like I am going crazy. Please give sense to my life and bless me with the capacity to understand reality.

Dependency

  • Please God, forgive me for not feeling happy, content, or peaceful with myself. Please awaken my soul with Your love.
  • Please God, forgive me for looking for happiness outside myself. Please help me feel infinite happiness in my inner being.
  • Please God, forgive me for latching onto whoever or whatever I think can provide me with happiness. Please God, give me divine eyes so I can see, love and respect myself through Your eyes.
  • Please God, forgive me for feel terribly threatened by the loss of anything or person who I think is responsible for my happiness. Please make me realize that source of utter happiness is only You.
  • Please God, forgive me for desperately seeking love and approval from others. Please let my only aim be to seek love and approval from You, my God.
  • Please God, forgive me for trying to prove I am good enough to be loved. Please help me let go of all these thoughts.  Please help me to be the self You created me to be.
  • Please God, forgive me for not taking the time to figure out if I love or like other people. Please God give me the wisdom to do so.
  • Please God, forgive me for centering my life around other people and their needs and wants. Please bless me with the wisdom to focus on my life, without being selfish.
  • Please God, forgive me for looking to relationships to provide all my good feelings. Please be my source of all good feelings, so I can pass it on to others.
  • Please God, forgive me for losing interest in my own life when I love others. Please make me realize that I have to look at myself as well.
  • Please God, forgive me for worrying that other people will leave me. Please give me the power to treat everyone with love and patience, being detached from their opinion of me.
  • Please God, forgive me for not believing that I can take care of myself. Please make me realize that You are with me and with Your help, everything is possible.
  • Please God, forgive me for staying in relationships that don’t work. Please give me the power to let them go.
  • Please God, forgive me for tolerating abuse to keep people loving me. Please bless me with the wisdom to protect my self-respect.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling trapped in relationships. Please make me detached and give power to be myself.
  • Please God, forgive me for leaving bad relationships and forming new ones that didn’t work either. Please make me wise to manage relationships and friendships.
  • Please God, forgive me for wondering if I will ever find love in this world. Please let this emotion go and make me realize that Your infinite love is always there for me and finding someone to love will automatically happen in the right time and place.
  • Please God, forgive me for not saying what i mean. Please give me the power to express my point of view honestly and confidently.
  • Please God, forgive me for not meaning what i say. Please give me the firmness to say what I mean.
  • Please God, forgive me for not knowing what I mean. Please give me the wisdom to realize what I mean and say it fearlessly.
  • Please God, forgive me for not taking myself seriously. Please give me the power to look at me  through Your eyes so I can respect and love myself.
  • Please God, forgive me for thinking other people don’t take me seriously. Please make me wise, mature and sensible, and detached from what other people think.
  • Please God, forgive me for taking myself too seriously. Please make me realize that You are there to take care of me, so I can be calm, happy, focused and energetic.
  • Please God, forgive me for asking for what I want and need indirectly though sighing. Please give me the courage to express myself with full faith.
  • Please God, forgive me for finding it difficult to get to the point. Please make me calm and wise.
  • Please God, forgive me for not being sure what the point is. Please make me wise and sensible enough.
  • Please God, forgive me for trying to say what I think will please other people. Please make me speak from my original self in all circumstances.
  • Please God, forgive me for trying to say what I think will provoke other people. Please make me sensible enough to understand the context and situation.
  • Please God, forgive me for trying to say what I hope will make other people do what I want them to do. Please bless me with honesty.
  • Please God, forgive me for eliminating the word No from my vocabulary. Please give me the wisdom and courage to say it when required.
  • Please God, forgive me for talking about other people. Please be my focus and bless me with the wisdom to do all my tasks with honesty.
  • Please God, forgive me for believing my opinions don’t matter. Please make me genuine and  wise so I can express myself and be detached whether my opinion will be accepted or not.
  • Please God, forgive me for waiting to express my opinions until I know other people’s opinions. Please give me the confidence to say something if I feel  I have something worth saying.
  • Please God, forgive me for lying to protect and cover up for people I love. Please make me truthful and give the wisdom how to speak truth wisely.
  • Please God, forgive me for lying to protect myself. Please give me the courage to be honest and truthful.
  • Please God, forgive me for having a difficult time expressing my emotions honestly, openly and appropriately. Please bless me with wisdom and clarity of thoughts.
  • Please God, forgive me for thinking most of what I have to say is unimportant. Please ignite Your love in my heart so I can love and respect myself and others and can understand my importance.
  • Please God, forgive me for talking in cynical, self-degrading or hostile ways. Please awaken my self-respect, my Lord.
  • Please God, forgive me for apologizing for bothering people. Please make me feel worthy and respectable.

Boundaries

  • Please God, forgive me for gradually increasing my tolerance until I can tolerate and do things I said I never would. Please make me wise, firm and courageous to stop doing things You don’t want me to do.
  • Please God, forgive me for letting others hurt me. Please make me unaffected by their negative behavior and remain open and receptive for positive interactions.
  • Please God, forgive me for keep letting people hurt me. Please make me immune enough with Your love and strong enough to take action if required
  • Please God, forgive me for wondering why I hurt so badly. Please protect me, my God, with your love. so no one can hurt me.

Trust

  • Please God, forgive me for not trusting myself. Please make me believe in my powers and capacities given by You.
  • Please God, forgive me for not trusting my feelings. Please connect me with You and myself again and give me the wisdom to recognize and follow my inner voice which is from You.
  • Please God, forgive me for not trusting my decisions. Pease reignite my faith in Your miracles and in myself.
  • Please God, forgive me for trying to trust untrustworthy people. Please make me wise enough to recognize them and be aware.

Anger

  • Please God, forgive me for getting afraid of my own anger. Please give my anger a proper direction.
  • Please God, forgive me for being frightened of other people’s anger. Please make me fearless and courageous.
  • Please God, forgive me for thinking people will go away if anger enters the picture. Please give me the wisdom to do things smartly and humbly if required.
  • Please God, forgive me for blaming other people for making me feel angry. Please free me from hanging on to other people’s feelings and emotions.
  • Please God, forgive me for being afraid to make other people feel angry. Please give me the courage to express myself positively and sensibly.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling controlled by other people’s anger. Please free  me from being influenced by other people’s emotions.
  • Please God, forgive me for repressing my angry feelings. Please give me the wisdom to express them in a much wiser manner.
  • Please God, forgive me for being ashamed for feeling angry. Please make me realize that anger is a natural emotion.  Please give me the strength to control and channel it properly.
  • Please God, forgive me for placing guilt and shame on myself for feeling angry. Please let these emotions go, and make me happy and joyous.

Other:

  • Please God, forgive me for being extremely irresponsible. Please make me sensibly responsible.
  • Please God, forgive me for becoming a martyr, sacrificing my happiness and that of others for causes that don’t require sacrifice. Please give me the wisdom to be sensible and genuine so I can stop doing that.
  • Please God, forgive me for finding it difficult to feel close to people. Please open my heart, mind and soul totally, and let me embrace the world wholeheartedly.
  • Please God, forgive me for finding it difficult to have fun and be spontaneous. Please make me spontaneous and blow my soul with your divine love.
  • Please God, forgive me for vacillating in decisions and emotions. Please make me stable and composed.
  • Please God, forgive me for staying loyal to my compulsions and people even when it hurts. Please make me flexible when required.
  • Please God, forgive me for being ashamed about family, personal or relationship problems. Please help me let go of these emotions and give me the courage to deal with them with love and wisdom.
  • Please God, forgive me for being confused about the nature of my problems. Please show me the right path.
  • Please God, forgive me for becoming withdrawn and isolated. Please open my heart and soul and let your infinite love and happiness flow through me.
  • Please God, forgive me for experiencing a complete loss of daily routine and structure. Please give me the wisdom to reorganize myself.
  • Please God, forgive me for feeling hopeless. Please blow my lungs with utter faith, hope and confidence.

Thank you God for all the ways you’ve forgiven me.  I lay all my affairs in Your hand, trusting You in all my affairs.

 

How has this process been helpful?  Post your comments below.