Tag Archives: self-love

Joseph and the power of forgiveness

Are you struggling to forgive yourself and others? The biblical story of Joseph is one of the most powerful teachings of how the ways of the universe or God can be very different from the plans we often make in life.

Joseph was slandered, beaten, and sold into slavery by his own brothers because of jealousy. Joseph could have easily succumbed to his fate but he never lost faith that everything in life had purpose and meaning.

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Photo by Hussain Badshah on Unsplash

The trap of the blame game

Only from such a perspective could he forgive his brothers and move out of the trap of the blame game. He made the best out of his situation to such an extent that Potiphar, the man who bought him on the slave market in Egypt, soon promoted him to a higher position. Later he was put in charge of managing Potiphar’s huge estate.

Potiphar had taken a liking to Joseph and must have been impressed by his kindness, wisdom, and humility. For all intents and purposes, Joseph had made it. But Potiphar’s bored wife had taken just as much a liking to the handsome young Joseph. Realizing that he would betray his master who had done so much for him, Joseph avoided the advances of Potiphar’s wife who became so upset that she accused him of rape. Joseph was thrown into prison losing everything. He could again have succumbed to despondency.

But it so happens that he meets in prison two of the Pharaoh’s ministers who had lost favor with the ruler. One of them was eventually released from prison and restored to his old position. Only when the Pharaoh had a strange dream did the minister remember the time in prison with Joseph who had impressed him as an interpreter of dreams. Long story short, Joseph gets released from prison to interpret the Pharaoh’s dream. The essence of the dream was that the ruler had to prepare the country for seven years of drought. Amazingly Joseph’s fortune changed in an instant when the Pharaoh recognized the wisdom of the man he was dealing with.  Joseph gets made viceroy of all of Egypt as the righthand man of the most powerful ruler of the world at the time.

Life comes in strange twists and turns

True to the dream interpretation the drought did come and only by wise management of the food and grain resources could countless lives be saved including those of Joseph’s brother and aging father Jacob.

Life comes often in strange twists and turns. Fortunes can be earned and lost overnight. High positions of political power and influence may be gone tomorrow. The amazing story of Joseph is that he never lost trust and faith. By forgiving his brothers and Potiphar’s wife for falsely accusing him, he made peace with himself and could go into trust and humility. From that energy grew his wisdom and incredible foresight to prevent a catastrophe.

Forgiving does not mean approval of wrongdoing

Forgiving does not mean that you are approving of wrongdoing, of abuse, and all the terrible things that humans do to each other. It is making peace with the past in the knowledge that you are the person today because of all of that which you have experienced. The famous Austrian psychiatrist Victor Frankl only survived the Nazi death camps by telling himself that “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s one way.”

Nelson Mandela was often asked why he did not seek retribution from the white apartheid rulers who imprisoned him for 27 years. His answer: “Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear. That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.”

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

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Self Love – the trick to a lasting New Year resolution

How often have we started the New Year with a resolution to make some lifestyle change? Be it the will to do more exercise, stop smoking or spending less valuable life-time watching meaningless TV shows, most New Year resolutions seldom last through the first month of the year.

Very few of us seem to have the strength and the willpower to change habits that we know from a rational point are doing us harm. We then end up being frustrated and angry at ourselves for not making the change we feel is really necessary.

In principle most of us find it pretty safe to stay in a “comfort zone” because making a change requires effort and energy. Sometimes we are even afraid that the changes we implement might rock the boat too much, requiring even more energy and input. We fail to realise that such a “comfort zone” has actually become pretty uncomfortable or even painful for a long, long time.

 Experts at the Harvard Medical School believe that the chances of making lifestyle changes succeed are much greater if they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based. I would add that the factor loving self-care is just as important. The more we care for ourselves, the more this will manifest itself in our habits and dealings with our immediate surroundings.

 So lets take the idea of getting more exercise because we know from all the information out there that it improves our health on all mental and physical levels. First of all I would choose a physical activity which appeals to me and sounds like fun. If it is running, then start choosing a place where you would have fun going for a run. It should be measurable, achievable and realistic. Find a realistic time commitment which you know will have a realistic chance of working . So why not start off by going for a short run of say ten or 15 minutes with a slow walk included so that you don’t over-exert. You can always extend your routine a little as you go along.

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Better still: Find a friend or partner who shares your commitment or resolution. You could motivate each other and discuss a reward you would give each other for keeping at it for say two weeks, like spending a day at a spa. Keeping up a regular exercise or diet routine over 40 days has a much more lasting effect. If you have managed to keep at it for 40 days you will definitely feel a lot healthier physically and mentally. Friends or colleagues may start commenting positively on the visible change they see in you which is an additional motivation to keep up with your training programme.

 More importantly: You will notice yourself how much the quality of your life has improved. You would not want to go back to the situation most people in the industrialized world currently find themselves – an uncomfortable “inbetween-state” of not really being healthy nor really ill.

Falling into positive health habits impacts our lives more than we realize. It is enormously liberating to know that we have the freedom of choice in order to live a healthy life by looking closely at such factors as exercise, sleep, food, emotional stress factors, addictions and time management. Genes are only a small part of our destiny. Making necessary lifestyle changes has a major impact on obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many of our modern-age scourges, according to many recent studies:

Genes are not destiny – Harvard School of Public Health

Lifestyle and cancer incidence in men

The 40-day path to health

 My Book: Yield and Overcome

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