Hope for the Broken Hearted

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For there would be no sunrise without dark nights, … , no restoration without brokenness.  

 

Life is unpredictable.  The only thing constant is change, just like the four seasons.  And much like the many parodies of life, the human heart is so intended for contrast that, without one, we would not comprehend (appreciate) the other.  For there would be no rainbow without the storm, no child birth without pain.   If we follow this reasoning, it is possible to grow seeds of joy in the soil of sorrow!

As the famous author C.S. Lewis so aptly put it – a heart that is so sheltered from the possibility of wreckage “will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

What’s wrong with an ‘irredeemable’ heart?  To answer that question, rather let’s ponder on “What good is an irredeemable heart?”  Can it spread forth unconditional love; is it capable of genuine magnanimity, let alone, even appreciate true love?   See the picture?  An irredeemable heart is a heart of stone, impervious, insensitive, and incapable of growth.

Hence, perhaps we need to suffer the agony of a broken heart before our heart can be restructured and restored into a more beautiful heart.  Given that, I’ll gladly have my shabby heart wrecked and shattered.  So it can be restructured into something more splendid than before!

Though the process is painful and uncertain, knowing the end result is reason enough to help me focus on staying hopeful.  So besides having an attitude of joy, I’m journeying on with an attitude of gratitude, in anticipation of the beauty to come.

If this is what you’re going through right now, I welcome you on this trail.  Though our paths may be different, I believe we’re getting onto something more magnificent in time to come.  Never lose faith and Joy!

 

Isaiah 61:3 – he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning,

 

 

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Joy in Sorrow – Beauty for Ashes

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For there would be no sunrise without dark nights, … , no restoration without brokenness.  

– Reflections from the book ‘Overextended’ by Lisa Harper.

 

I’d like to warn you that this post is fairly long, I did not split this into 2 posts as that would lose the flow.  So please persevere and read on to the end …

When things are going our way in life, promotions, financial wealth, good  health, blossoming relationships, lovely new house/ car, and so on… it’s easy to be joyful, singing and dancing, looking to others and wondering why other people are acting like depressive maniacs, self- pity  partiers, low morale mongers indulging in sour grapes.

What happens when events take a turn in life, if we’re stricken with disease, incur financial losses, get betrayed by those closest to us, faced with career setbacks?  When the weather changes from a bright sunny day to a storm, can we still sing and dance in the storm? Especially when the world seems to be passing us by, friends are getting married or enjoying lovely marriages and kids, catapulting by leaps and bounds in their career or financial advances.

Under such circumstances, some people will spiral into depression, wallow in self-pity, become bitter, sour and even resentful of those who are seemingly in the celebration seasons of their lives.  After all, emotions (both positive and negative) are so attuned to our human nature.  I have to admit for once that I am a highly emotional girl.  Even the stormy weather can make me feel gloomy.  Being trained in psychology, I know far better about the colored lenses of depression and how behavior is affected by the cognition..  Nonetheless, that is easier said than done, as I’ve been down that road before (many times).  No matter how I convince myself to steer away from the negativity, I can’t help it!

Yet, there are some people who can still stay steadfast, purposeful.  Though, not all the time smiling, they choose to focus on the positive.  Though they feel down at times, they choose not to indulge in a pity party, more than a slice of chocolate cake.  What is the secret?

Life is unpredictable.  The only thing constant is change, just like the four seasons.  And much like the many parodies of life, the human heart is so intended for contrast that, without one, we would not comprehend (appreciate) the other.  For there would be no rainbow without the storm, no child birth without pain.   If we follow this reasoning, it is possible to grow seeds of joy in the soil of sorrow!

As the famous author C.S. Lewis so aptly put it – a heart that is so sheltered from the possibility of wreckage “will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

What’s wrong with an ‘irredeemable’ heart?  To answer that question, rather let’s ponder on “What good is an irredeemable heart?”  Can it spread forth unconditional love; is it capable of genuine magnanimity, let alone, even appreciate true love?   See the picture?  An irredeemable heart is a heart of stone, impervious, insensitive, and incapable of growth.

Hence, perhaps we need to suffer the agony of a broken heart before our heart can be restructured and restored into a more beautiful heart.  Given that, I’ll gladly have my shabby heart wrecked and shattered.  So it can be restructured into something more splendid than before.!

Periods of trials and tribulations in life serve to strengthen not only our minds but our hearts.  Psychologically speaking, that could be the process of ‘Self Actualization’, thanks to Maslow’s theory.  However, in layman’s term, I believe it’s a process whereby I am the clay and my potter is remolding me into a vessel for higher purpose.

Though the process is painful and uncertain, knowing the end result is reason enough to help me focus on staying hopeful.  So besides having an attitude of joy, I’m journeying on with an attitude of gratitude, in anticipation of the beauty to come.

If this is what you’re going through right now, I welcome you on this trail.  Though our paths may be different, I believe we’re getting onto something more magnificent in time to come.  Never lose faith and Joy!

 

(This post is inspired by an excerpt from Lisa Harper.)

The more I know God

sunshine,God's love,daily,faith

The more I know God, the more I realise

Life is not about the past.

What’s past cannot be undone.

No amount of regret can turn back time.

Life is not about the future.

For who are we to ponder,

as if we know any better.

Life is about the present.

For everyday from God is a gift.

Day by day, step by step,

eyes on God,

never from His wondrous love drift.

Maslow’s Self-Actualisation Theory

For the Psychology inclined, dig this:

 

The fulfillment of one’s potential, or self-actualisation is regarded to be critical to psychological well-being and optimal mental health (Rogers, 1959).  Maslow proposed that self-actualisation is achieveable only when basic needs (physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs) are fulfilled.  According to Maslow, self-actualisation includes being reality-focused, problem-focused, opened to experiences, receptive of self and others and autonomous (ruled by own values).  Self-actualised people may show negative attributes including stubbornness and detachment (Maslow, 1943).

In a study that investigated personality characteristics which correlate with self-actualisation.   Self-actualisation correlated negatively neuroticism but positively with extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness.  All correlations were significant.  Self-actualisation is an important concept within humanistic personality theories.  These theories believe that everyone has the capacity to develop their full potential and achieve self-actualisation (which is important to psychological health).  Hence, the focus is on helping people become more competent and achieve optimal mental health (Rogers, 1959).  In this light, further understanding of self-actualisation will be useful in counseling settings as psychologists help clients advance towards optimal mental health.

 

Further Reading

 

References

Chan, R., & Joseph, S.  (2000).  Dimensions of personality, domains of aspiration, and

subjective well-being.  Personality and Individual Differences, 28(2), 347-354.

Costa, P.T., & McCrae, R.R. (1980). Influence of extraversion and neuroticism on subjective

well-being: Happy and unhappy people. Journal of Personality and Social

Psychology, 38, 668–678.

Costa, P.T., & McCrae, R.R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEOPI-R) and

NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI).Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment

Resources.

Costa, P.T., McCrae, R.R., & Dye, D.A.  (1991).  Facet scales for agreeableness and

conscientiousness: A revision of the NEO Personality Inventory.  Personality and

Individual Differences, 12(9), 887-898.

Dahl, R.J., Wakefield, J.A., Kimlicka, T.M., & Wiedersteik, M.   (1983).  How the

personality dimensions of neuroticism, extraversion and psychoticism relate to self-

actualisation.  Personality and Individual Differences, 4(6), 683-685.

DeNeve, K., & Cooper, H. (1998). The happy personality: A meta-analysis of 137 personality

traits and subjective wellbeing.  Psychological Bulletin, 124, 197–229.

Draguns, J.G., Krylova, A.V., Oryol, V.E., Rukavishnikov, A.A., & Martin, T.A.  (2000). 

Personality characteristics of the Nentsy in the Russian arctic: A comparison with

ethnic Russians by means of NEO-PI-R and POI.  American Behavioral Scientist,

44(1), 126-140.

Hayes, N., & Joseph, S.  (2003).  Big 5 correlates of three measures of subjective well-being.

Personality and Individual Differences, 34, 723–727.

Heylighen, F.  (1992).  A cognitive-systemic reconstruction of Maslow’s theory of self-

actualisation.  Behavioral Science, 37, 39-57.

Jensen-Campbell, L.A., & Graziano, W.G. (2001). Agreeableness as a moderator of

interpersonal conflict.  Journal of Personality, 69, 323- 361.

Jones, A., & Crandall, R.  (1986). Validation of a short index of self-actualization.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 12, 63-73.

Knapp, R.R.  (1965).  Relationship of a measure of self-actualisation to neuroticism and

extraversion. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 29, 168-172.

Lolla, D. (1974). An operationalization and validation of the Maslow need hierarchy.

Educational and Psychological Measurement, 34, 639-651.

Luyckx, K., Soenens, B., & Goossens, L.  (2006).  The personality-identity interplay in

emerging adult women: Convergent findings from complementary analyses.

European Journal of Personality, 20, 195-215.

Maslow, A.H. (1943).  A theory of human motivation.  Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.

Maslow, A.H.  (1954).  Motivation and Personality.  NY: Harper.

Maslow, A. (1968). Toward a Psychology of Being (2nd ed.).  NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Maslow, A. (1971). The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. NY: Penguin.

McCrae, R.R., & Costa, P.T. (1983). Joint factors in self-reports and ratings: Neuroticism,

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4(3), 245-255.

Pettit, J., & Vaught, B.C.  (1984).  Self-actualisation and interpersonal capability in

organizations.  Journal of Business Communication, 21(3), 33-40.

Rogers, C.R. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality, and interpersonal relationships, as

developed in the client-centered framework. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of

a Science. Vol. 3: Formulations of the person and the social context (pp. 185-256).

NY: McGraw-Hill.

 

Shostrom, E.L. (1964). An inventory for the measurement of self-actualisation. Educational

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Sumerlin, J.R., & Bundrick, C.M.  (1996).   Brief index of self-actualisation: A measure of

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Live Your Life Without An Eraser 2

Written by Clint Cora

Life Without An Eraser

My real estate agent sends me regular newsletters and in one issue, I saw the following quote by John Gardner.

’Life is the art of drawing without an eraser’.

This quote pretty well sums up how to realistically live our lives. We all make mistakes and have some negative experiences in life. We don’t have giant erasers to erase the bad circumstances we all go through. However, if we learn from these negative experiences, we can live our lives better in the future much like how the developing artist learns to draw better each day.
In my Toyota Supra black ice accident, which I can’t erase, I quickly learned to change my driving habits. As a result, I have been accident free for the last twenty five years as a driver ever since (except for one small incident when another driver hit my car in a shopping mall parking lot).

Each day is a learning opportunity for us and having some bad experiences from time to time is just reality. We can’t erase these bad experiences whether they are accidents, failures or mistakes, but we can certainly learn from them.

Clint Cora is a motivational speaker, author and Karate World Champion. See his FREE 3-part Personal Development Video Series to learn how to expand your comfort zone to conquer even your most daunting goals in life.

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