Upper Torso

Part One

21st March 2019

The Upper torso is the area between the stomach and the neck which includes the back. This blog is divided in two. Part One of will concentrate on the neck and chest. The first Blog in 'The Body' series asked you to stand up for yourself...I relayed a quote that stated 'if you don't stand for anything you will fall for anything'. What do you stand for? Is there anything in your life that you are known for being passionate about, enough to stand up for that cause, forsaking everything else? Well done, if you do. However most of us do not. We have to consider our families first and our lives are dictated by their needs, wants and can I haves. Standing up for what you believe in can be as simple as insisting on a clean house. You can make strides to ensure that everyone in your household do their fair share to keep your home clean, maybe you have set rules in place that your household need to follow. Do you stand your ground and ensure they are followed?  Perhaps you are passionate that your work place follow their Equal Opportunity policy and provide a creche. Do you stand up for yourself in any area of your life? What is stopping you? Its survey your life time again! Many of us do not spend any time at all, on ourselves, even the time it takes to think about our lives. Consider what you stand for and how willing you are to stick your neck out to make a stand. Consider why you do not make a stand for what you feel passionate about? Do you feel that you will 'rock the boat'? What's the worst that could happen? Drscott@loveliveholistically.com 

The chest refers to the front part of the body between the neck and the abdomen - Front

The Chest - Do you 'big up your chest' (A Jamaican saying to mean, walk tall and be proud of yourself) Is that you? How often do you feel proud of your self? Once a year, twice a year.....At least once every month or perhaps every time you are able to do something most people take for granted?

The reason for the question is for you to acknowledge YOU. Do you find that you walk with your shoulders pinned back and your chest pushed out, or is the reverse more of a depiction of you? What do you think walking with your head bowed, shoulders turned in and chest hidden, portray and is it important? Maybe not! Consider what will allow you to walk tall? Now consider some of the reasons you should be walking tall, with 'your chest pushed out'. The mere fact that you are reading this, tells me that you woke up this morning and is something be grateful for. You may run a household, be proud, you have a family, be proud. You attend a work place, whether you are grateful for the place that provides you with money for food, to pay your bills and give you some pleasures in life or not be proud. It is something to be grateful for and something to walk tall to. (You actually have a job)! Showing the Universe that you are happy for what you have, generates more for you to be happy/grateful for. 

As opposed to 'bigging' up your chest, do you prefer to walk with your eyes firmly focused on your shoes? Maybe you don't want to be noticed. Another Jamaican saying...when trying to seat several people into a car or on a seat made for less than the amount of people to be seated, someone will say 'mek yuhself small' (make yourself small) meaning 'squeeze up' In my book ('SELF=YOU',(2017) Angela Scott, SELF=YOU,Chapter 6, Are you dimming your light? Amazon) I discuss how some people try to make themselves disappear in a room of peers or shrink in-order to stop others from feeling uncomfortable or feel insecure in their presences?  You know the type of environment, where you say nothing for fear of out-shining someone? Is that you? I ask you to consider why you do this?  Feeling proud of ones self, 'bigging' up your chest is Self care, Self love and Soul care and should be in the back of your mind in most situation you find yourself in...No, it is not selfish Iyanna Vanzant said it is Self Full! If anything in your life causes you to feel or be less than...It does not serve you. With Self care in mind, if it does not serve you, what is it's purpose in your life? Ahhh the person that makes you feel less than could be a relative, partner or close friend, what then.....With Self care in the back of your mind, you will ask yourself, how does the treatment you are receiving from that relative, partner or close friend serve you or the relationship you are in with them? Self care will not allow you to continue to suffer, Self care will ensure that something is done regarding the maltreatment. Remember I asked, what do you stand for and is it time you stood up for yourself ?.....Easier said than done, I know, but if you do not make a start, the maltreatment may never end....Seek advice, help is out there Drscott@loveliveholistically.com

The chest holds the heart, many things could be said about the heart, but here I want to focus on what you 'hold' in your heart and leads me to think about forgiveness. 

Forgiveness according to Wikipedia is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offence,[they]let go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, forswears recompense from or punishment of the offender, however legally or morally justified it might be, and with an increased ability to wish the offender well.The Oxford dictionary defines forgiveness as to 'stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake' 

The bible give us a some verses regarding forgiveness, here are a few:- 

Ephesians 4:32 - And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Matthew 6:14-15  14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 18:21-22 21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?  22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

To see more check out: https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Forgiveness/

What is your idea of forgiveness?

Some say forgive and forget. Some say they will forgive but never forget. For others, they will only forgive provided the person agrees to something. Some may find themselves forgiving over and over again for the same transgression against them. Many people wait until they or the other person is ill or dying before they really forgive. What type are you? I must admit. I will forgive and forgive, but may not forget. I do not put any conditions on the person I am forgiving, as I feel that once I have forgiven, that is the end of the matter. How do you feel about forgiving and what type of forgiving do you use when you claim you have forgiven? Thomas G. Fiffer in his April 2018 article called 'Understanding the different ways we forgive can help you move past hurt in the healthiest way possible' Fiffer gives us four types of forgiveness: Unconditional forgiveness, Conditional forgiveness, Dismissive forgiveness and Grace. Unconditional forgiveness, the best of all types of forgiveness, has you forgiving the transgressor and holding no grudge or malice towards them, this type of forgiveness aids the reconciliation of the relationship between the two. Unconditional forgiveness leaves you free to get on with your life, much quicker than any other type of forgiveness.

Conditional forgiveness as the title suggests, is forgiveness with strings attached. Fiffer states that 'The problem with conditional forgiveness, particularly in the case of intimate relationships and betrayal, is that it often creates a power imbalance: the hurt party holds all the cards and has the power to continue or terminate the relationship based on the offender’s behaviour.' I knew a woman who had been betrayed by her partner, which caused some physical ailment. This woman loved her partner who she had known for over thirty years, when he decided to move to another country, she vowed she would still do anything for him. Which meant travelling to him and sending what she had when she had it.  The woman lived alone and when asked why she didn't seek another love, she would say that she will never find a love like his. From the outside looking in I would have thought that if she cared for him so much, she would go to her love, and live the life she had envisaged with him. She one day confessed that although he had profusely apologised for what had happened, he needed to be sorry for what he had done. I assumed from what she said, her partner hadn't shown enough repentance for her to be satisfied that he was sorry. Now, some betrayals are hard to get over and although one may forgive, they can not foresee a reconciliation. Other betrayals as with unconditional forgiveness, can be forgiven and let go. This woman preferred to live alone, refusing to allow anyone new into her life and perhaps waiting for the 'love of her life' to beg and grovel for her forgiveness. 

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Dismissive forgiveness, Fiffer claims is where 'you as the forgiver decide not to waste time, energy, or emotional space on the hurtful event and to put measures in place—boundaries, distance, or both—to ensure it never happens again. It is a kind of cultivated indifference; a decision that the offender no longer has the power to hurt you or the privilege of being a meaningful part of your life [ ] and may constitute the only way forward.' For me, this type of forgiveness is a 'it can't matter' a phrase I coined to mean – 'Right now I can't consider how I feel about what has just happened, and I'll deal with it later' It is as if I put the damage or issue on 'hold' until I am able to deal with it. The issue is not forgotten it is just put to one side and I may at a later date, consider it. Do remember that I stated that I am a inshallah girl (meaning what ever happens is Gods will or if it is Gods will, I will be able to do this or be able to do that...) I didn't get the job I wanted/needed, that's a inshallah moment- God knows best. 'It can't matter' is different, for example, I had been promised that I would be given a pay rise this month, which I was 'banking on' Yes God knows best, but I am left without that expected money which was going to be used to pay a late bill or to make a visit to an ill relative, who lives many miles away from me. I will have to get the money, somewhere else. So, it can't matter, as I've got to find a plan B in a hurry. 'It can't matter' is used when I haven't got the time to ponder on the mishap, misdeed, or let down, but find a plan B or get to work with what needs to be done in-order to move forward.

Here's some examples:

I was sold the wrong piece of equipment to fix my car, which I need, as I must use the car for an important visit or event tonight.....It can't matter.......

I've been let down, when I was really depending on that person, the excuse given trivialises my need for help .... It can't matter........

I am waiting at the bus stop, for the last bus of the night, it drives right pass me and stops between bus stops to pick up what looks like somebody the driver knows.......It can't matter......

An electrician was meant to turn up this morning to fix a power outage in my house, they have been paid the call out fee, It's now time for me to leave for an important meeting and I will not be back till after dark.......It can't matter......

I suppose I put forgiveness on hold, while going through my ..It can't matter phase. For me, forgiveness comes after some thought...No, its not whether I will or will not forgive. I tend to digest what has happened, look for what I need to learn from it and let it go while forgiving the act along the way.

Dismissive forgiveness, Fiffer claims, is the lowest type of forgiveness. This type of forgiveness takes a “whatever” attitude towards the hurt and just moving on with your life in a positive direction. Dismissive forgiveness often involves terminating or dramatically reducing the closeness of a relationship. Dismissive forgiveness is a little like my 'It can't matter' because no effort is spent on considering the transgression, it is done and dusted in one clean swoop....You come to the decision to let it go, you forgive and move on. My thoughts go to how many 'it can't matters' and dismissive forgiveness do you use to mask your true feelings? The bible teaches us in Matthew 18:22 That we are to 'forgive seventy times seven' . Using dismissive forgiveness, one runs the risk of 'allowing transgressions' to go unresolved. It becomes easy to let go and move on, which in turn could become a habit. Many parents use this type of forgiveness, minus the moving away or ending the relationship. A further issue with this type of forgiveness lays in the blurred lines between forgiveness and allowing the ill treatment or bad behaviour to go by with little or no acknowledgement of the offence as it is dismissed. It is important to acknowledge that a 'bad' event or incident has occurred. Some people forgive and forget...Others just forget, the ill-treatment and or bad behaviour, which is not forgiving at all. It is important that when forgiving another, you hold the offender responsible for their actions. This has to be processed and then one works towards forgiveness. Like my 'It can't matter'.....Time has to pass before it is put in the forgiveness box. Time should be spent acknowledging what you have learnt though the ordeal, event or incident, time has to be spent healing, time spent deciding your way forward, which may mean as Fiffer suggests putting in place 'boundaries, distance, or both, to ensure [the incident] never happens again [and perhaps making a decision that ensures] the offender no longer has the power to hurt you or the privilege of being a meaningful part of your life'.

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The Ultimate Forgiver – Fiffers' third type of forgiveness is Grace.

Grace he says is not ours to give, but Gods'. As God is the ultimate forgiver Fiffer believes as do I, that it is God who we are accountable to. Grace, he states is not something we ask for but is something we must reach for. Grace is extended to us. If you live your life with the knowledge of treating others the way you would like to be treated, forgiveness would come easy. 

If you lived your life, trying to put your feet in another persons' shoe or using empathy you would forgive quicker. Realising that we are not perfect and it is by the Grace of God that some of us are not in prison or worse. We wouldn't judge, but forgive unconditionally, letting go of all grudges or allowing ourselves to be free and releasing that person and their bad deed from our thoughts and heart.

I would like to pose another type of forgiveness, that of forgiving yourself. No amount of Gods grace is going to lessen feelings of guilt, shame and loathing of ones' act upon another if you do not forgive yourself. We are not perfect, we are flawsome, fallible and human - Seeing yourself this way will help you to understand that sometimes you do things that can be silly, hurtful and maybe downright wicked. Margie Warrell in her article titled 'The Importance of Self-Forgiveness' tells us to 'get off your own back, practice more self-compassion and stop spending so much of your energy crushing your spirit each time the pettier, prideful and more primitive forces of your nature try to get the better of you'. Once you embrace the fact that you are capable of upsetting, ill treating, or hurting another person, you will not beat yourself up (too much) about your transgressions. Why do we fight with ourselves the way we do? I believe, we hang on to our wrongs because we feel that, to not punish ourselves with worry, replaying the deed over and over will trivialise the transgression. Warrell states that 'choosing to suffer in self-recrimination doesn’t serve anyone. It may never restore what was lost or undo damage done'. Warrell goes on to say that 'while we wallow in guilt we waste time that could be spent learning from the experience and making things right'. Here's how you go about righting your wrong and moving forward.Image result for forgiveness yourself

1) Acknowledge what you have done. This does not mean beating yourself up about what happened, it means acknowledging the hurt, the ill feelings, the pain or damage you have caused. For example understanding that what you said to Jemma was hurtful, consider how you would feel if someone you cared for said the same thing to you. This you do without judging Jemma, there should be no.....'Well she said or did this to me, so she deserved the reaction I gave her'. Acknowledging the pain you caused has to be with no strings attached, you was shitty...own it. Feel the pain. This shouldn't take a month or a week....Feel the pain then move on to the next step.

2) Ask for forgiveness. If you believe in God, a Higher Source or the Universe. Ask for forgiveness. Ask your higher power for forgiveness. Now asking your higher power for forgiveness can be in a letter, in a prayer, in silence or out loud. To the person or persons you hurt, ask for forgiveness(easier said than done) you have to find away to make this possible. Perhaps you could send a letter, make a phone call, ideally you should ask for forgiveness face to face taking someone with you, that will give you the courage to do what you need to do and say. Your intuition will help find the most appropriate way to do this. Make sure you feel as comfortable as you can in the process of asking for forgiveness and remember, you can ask for forgiveness of the person or persons you have hurt in a prayer, remembering to send them love at the end of the prayer.

3) The Past is the Past- Consider what has happened had happened, it is in the past. As it is in the past we have the ability to look back and seek the answers to  'What have I learnt from the whole experience' Step Three is to help you learn from the past. It is where you rethink your actions and ask yourself, 'what could I have done differently?' Step Three is not for wallowing in self pity or trying to re-live the experience, it is here for you to re-think. At this stage many of you who believe that one should forget after forgiving, may need to re-think their take on forgiveness. Every situation one finds themselves in should be taken as an opportunity to learn something. Acknowledging that, what had happened was back then, back then when you was naïve, back then when you was immature, back then when you was reckless, hurting, drunk or just didn't know any better. Dr. Mayo Angelou states 'when you know better, you do better'. This step is about the past, putting the incident in the past and learning what you can from it. No one is saying that you should shut the incident away, what has happened has happened. But you are to realise that the deed is in the past, today is another day, a brand new day, my lessons have been learnt. If the same situation was to occur again you may respond differently - you have owned what has happened and you have completed Step One and Step Two, now it is time to move on.

4) Step Four is Self Care - Looking after me.You have asked for forgiveness for what you have done – Now it is time to forgive you. You used empathy when trying to feel the pain you caused – Now put your arms around you and say 'I forgive me' Try this...Write down five things that you would like to forgive yourself for. Here's mine: I forgive myself for taking on too much work. I forgive myself for pushing my body far too hard. I forgive myself for not taking time out for me. I forgive myself for not asking for help. I forgive myself for not taking help when it was offered. Perhaps your five things could relate to the incident in which you had to request forgiveness. For example.

I forgive myself for saying those horrid things to Jemma

I forgive myself for spreading gossip that hurt Sharon

I forgive myself for …..........................

I forgive myself for …...........................

I forgive myself for …...........................

I forgive myself for …...........................

This exercise is to get you in the habit of forgiving yourself.

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Imagine yourself coming to you for forgiveness, would you hug you? Would you tell you, that you are forgiven? Would you say 'Never mind, it's done now, it's gone, we'll move on from that' What would you tell you? My Aunty Daphne would say 'Let bygones be bygones' It is at this stage that you remind yourself again that you are human, remind yourself that we all make mistakes. Remind yourself that you are moving forward with your life, trusting that you will never intentionally do the same thing twice. This is where you let go of your misdemeanour (It's not forgotten) but you stop re-living or replaying the pain caused.

At this stage you stop punishing yourself in the hope of subconsciously paying a penance. Once you have done what you can, to right the wrong, let it go and take care of you. Give yourself permission to let go. Give yourself permission to move on. Give yourself permission to heal. I understand that you have hurt another person, but do you realise that you must have been hurting in-order to hurt another? You now need to heal, to feel better, to be a better person. Again use empathy and consider how you would treat a person you care about, a person who is getting over an illness. You would ensure that they are warm, you would ensure that they are still taking their medication, maybe taking enough fluids, eating right etc.... Do that for yourself. Realise you have just experienced a trauma, you have acted in a way that is in-congruent to being a 'nice person'. Whatever you have done has been a painful experience for you too! believe it or not. You have reached stage 4 in your desire for forgiveness and it is your turn to forgive yourself. At this stage you are emotionally fragile, treat yourself with kid gloves, feed yourself with daily inspiration DrScott@loveliveholistically.com 

Only after you have forgiven yourself will you be able to move on and become a better you. Should you feel that you don't deserve forgiveness: You will remain living in the past. You will be unable to move forward and achieve all your goals as something will always be pulling you back. You will not be practising Self Care. By not forgiving yourself, you will be hampering your chances of learning from what you did, letting go and moving forward.

In conclusion to this part of the Upper torso which included the neck, stomach and back. This blog asked you if you stand for something and whether you was willing to stick your neck out for what you believed in. Many of us, have families to cater to and unable to march in the streets for what we believe in. I propose that you take the time to stand up for something, ensuring that your home is kept clean was suggested. I asked you to spend sometime thinking about yourself, as too many of us have our lives dictated to us by others, and spend no time at all on ourselves. Sick your neck out and make a stand for yourself. I went on to ask you if you 'Bigged up' your chest, and stood tall...I pushed you to stand tall and to be proud of yourself, to be proud of whatever you do, as many are unable to do what you may take for granted. By showing the Universe that you are happy for what you have, I reminded you that that generates more for you to be happy/grateful for. Perhaps you 'mek yuhself small' 'Dim your light' In the hope of not being noticed. Who in your life is making you, like 'baby' sit in the corner, not being heard or seen? Is it time, I asked, that you cared enough about yourself, and took a stood against anything that made you felt less than. You can be forgiven for putting up with maltreatment, until you realise that you are being ill treated. Then it is imperative that you do something about it.

Forgiveness is a good step forward. The blog went on to discuss forgiveness siting  Fiffers' four types of forgiveness, that of Unconditional, Conditional, Dismissive forgiveness and Grace.  Unconditional forgiveness leaves you free to get on with your life much quicker than any other type of forgiveness. Conditional forgiveness as the title suggests, is forgiveness with strings attached. The thing with this type of forgiveness is that the strings are also attached to you. There is no freedom here. You keep yourself attached to the perpetrator. Fiffer stated that a power imbalance is created,  'the hurt party holds all the cards'. I propose that they also hold on to the hurt caused by the transgression, because they refuse to let it go until a definite act of repentance has been preformed. Like the woman I knew, who stunted her growth and stopped herself allowing anyone new into her life or even the thought that anyone else could have the ability to bring love and joy with them.

Dismissive forgiveness allows you to let go and get on with your life, but I feel one runs the risk of dismissing or 'allowing the transgressions' to go unresolved. It would appear that  this type of forgiveness is easy, as you can let go and move on quickly. It was at this point I introduced you to a phrase I coined called 'It can't matter' where I deal with the transgression, the transgressor and forgiveness later, as the misdeed had immediate consequences requiring immediate action so....'It can't matter, right now'. However, there is a real possibility, when using these types of forgiveness, that the lines between forgiveness and allowing the ill treatment or bad behaviour to go by with little or no acknowledgement. I propose that acknowledging the transgression gives the victim time to discover what lesson or lessons are to be learnt through the ordeal, event or incident and time to heal.

Fiffer looked at the Grace of God and I agreed that God is the ultimate forgiver and to whom we are accountable. I suggested that if we treated each other as we would be treated, we would forgive unconditionally, letting go of all grudges allowing ourselves to be free, which in turn would release that person from our thoughts and heart. In an ideal world the above would be true. However we find it difficult to forgive ourselves, let alone others. Forgiving ourselves takes effort, time and letting go is not an easy tasks, but essential for getting past a misdeed and moving forward. I offered four steps to help you do this. 1) Acknowledge the pain   2) Ask for forgiveness  3) The past is the past  4)Self Care - Looking after me.

This part of the Upper Torso concerned itself with the neck and chest. It considered sticking your neck out, shining too brightly which could cause another discomfort, to actually hurting someone, then forgiving. In part two of this blog, we will continue to look at the Upper Torso where we will view some of the things we digest and drop in on Lena,to find out what she turned her back on!

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