January 2010 | www.susansilvers.com

Successful living requires a balance of courage and compassion, just as it demands we balance the time we devote to achievement with the time we invest in our relationships. Courage & Compassion is a free monthly newsletter about success in life and business.

Building on the forgiveness theme begun in the Point to Ponder section of last month’s newsletter, consider this definition: “Forgiveness – giving up your perceived “right” to hurt someone back for having hurt you first.” It may be helpful to realize that forgiveness is a process, not an event. Initially, you may need to mentally release the offender many times a day. You will know that you have fully forgiven someone when you can truly be happy for him when something good happens in his life. Refusing to forgive puts you in a prison cell that is locked from the inside. As you mentally release your offender, it is really yourself that you are letting out of prison.

When an offense occurs, the anger you feel releases adrenalin that causes a spike in the level of IgA hormone in your saliva. IgA is your first line of defense against illness. Shortly after the initial spike, your level of IgA hormone drops significantly below its typical level and remains depressed for twelve hours. The same process occurs when simply recalling the event, replaying it in your mind. Your body reacts as if the event is actually occurring again. This process explains why a person often becomes ill following a serious offense or conflict. It has been discovered that when a person chooses to focus her thoughts on something that makes her happy or brings her joy, (playing with her dog, walking along the beach or having a cup of coffee with a good friend) rather than on the offense, her IgA level not only quickly returns to normal, but continues to increase over the next twelve hours, strengthening her immune response.

The way we choose to think has a great deal to do with our health. As a well-known proverb states, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Refuse to allow unforgiveness to rob you of your health.

It seems I may have to change the title of this section to, “What Susan has been reading and thinks may be of interest to you.”

A young lady approached me this past week asking for counsel on how to move forward with her life. She is approximately twenty-two years old and attempting to chart a career course that aligns with God’s will. I found a terrific little booklet that speaks to her need to know if she is being led by her own thoughts or God’s desires for her. The booklet, authored by Bill Hybels and put out by InterVarsity Press, is titled, “How to Hear God.” It sells for less than two dollars and is one of the best resources I have come across for helping people hear God’s leading.

Life purpose coaching is one of the fastest growing fields worldwide. Not only do young people just starting out need this kind of help, but so do many people in mid-life. These people may be in a time of transition where they want to focus on fulfilling dreams they set aside while raising families or providing a stable income.

Life purpose coaching is only one of many coaching specialties. Whatever the specialty, coaching is always about getting results as defined by the client. A coach helps a client move from where he is to where he wants to be. My areas of specialty include: marriage, dating, relationships, blended families, life purpose, conflict and teams.

A person with whom you interact may not remember what you were wearing or even what you said, but she will always remember how you made her feel. Set your “Judge” aside and release your “Encourager.” Take time to acknowledge the strengths and potential you see in others.

There is a Spanish expression that reads, “Las comparaciones son odiosas.” Translated it means, “Comparisons are hateful.” Looking at others and assessing whether you are “greater” or “lesser” than they are leads to nothing good. You may end up with either an inflated sense of self or a paralyzing feeling of inferiority. What if instead we truly understood that we are each “one of a kind”, carefully “put together” and capable of having a unique and positive impact on the world and those with whom we share it? Jealousy and unproductive competition would disappear. There is room for all of us to make our unique contribution.

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