Forgive not Forget

Forgive but do not forget, or you will be hurt again. Forgiving changes the perspectives. Forgetting loses the lesson.

Forgiving and forgetting is great in theory, but in reality it’s difficult. Below are four reasons why it’s important to forgive but not forget.

  1. Forgiving is critical to our emotional health. By refusing to forgive someone, we’re choosing to hold on to all the anger and bitterness that their actions have created. When we choose to hold onto this anger and let it eat us up, it can make us irritable, impatient, distracted, and even physically ill.Forgiveness is all about us, and not about the other person. We don’t forgive other people because they deserve it. If that were the litmus test for when to forgive, it would rarely ever happen. Instead we choose to forgive those who have hurt us because we cannot fully let go of the destructive emotions inside of us until we do. Forgiveness is not a justice issue; it’s a heart issue.
  2. We can learn from past experiences. We need to take what we can learn, be mindful of the lesson, and move on. This may mean moving on with or without the person who hurt us. Even in the middle of the situation, we can learn something about ourselves — what pushes our buttons, where we might have sensitivities, and how we handle getting hurt by someone we care about. With this new knowledge, we’re better equipped for future relationships and the inevitable conflicts that will come with them.
  3. Forgiving can strengthen our relationships. All relationships can be restored, and even deepen and thrive, not in spite of what happened in the past but because of it. The act of forgiving strengthens people’s commitment to a healthy relationship. And they become more committed to not allowing divisive and hurtful conflicts to occur in the future.
  4. We safeguard ourselves from being a victim of the same offense again. It’s not OK to dwell on what happened and rehash it regularly. Instead, we need to remember what happened to us in order to avoid letting it happen again. Just because we have forgiven someone doesn’t mean that we’ll choose to keep them in our lives. Sometimes the healthiest thing we can do is forgive them and then move on without them. It’s important that we don’t allow ourselves repeatedly to be the target of the same mistreatment. Therefore, it’s absolutely essential that we learn from what happened so we set ourselves up for a better result in the future.

There is great value in mastering the skill of forgiving but not forgetting. Taking good care of ourselves requires regular forgiveness of others. Remember, we do it for us, not for them. And we don’t obsess, but we don’t forget, either, so we can take the valuable life lessons with us.

Something not everyone knows how to love

“For Women Who Are Difficult to Love” – written and performed by Warsan Shire

You are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
prettier
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.

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Lost Splendor 

On a snowy night in February, two graffiti writers used the cloak of winter to gain access into the Loew’s Canal Theatre — not to bomb it with aerosol — but to restore its former glory. Rather than desecrating the monument, they paid respects to it.

“The project was just a random idea that came to life immediately after seeing yet another beautiful NYC landmark and architectural masterpiece being neglected and left for dead,” said 2ESAE of collective UR New York. “Hence why we decided to create a homage to the space.”

Together, he and SKI created Art Deco-inspired custom posters that featured 20s-era figures appreciating the theater in its heyday. They wheat-pasted the site-specific work in giant frames that used to display old movie advertisements. “That’s like me breaking into your house, bro,” joked 2ESAE, “and then like painting you and your family on the wall.” All the art referenced the Loew’s Canal Theatre.

The posters recaptured the original dreams of the theater, once destined for great things. It was founded in 1927, the same year that the Yankees swept the Pittsburgh Pirates and aviator Charles Lindbergh made the first solo cross-Atlantic flight. Loew’s Inc. hired Thomas W. Lamb — a noted architect responsible for building some of the city’ s most striking venues — to design the magnificent 2,314-seat auditorium located on Canal between Ludlow and Essex Streets. Although the neighborhood was bustling with movie houses catering to the rise of motion picture and the neighborhood’s dense immigrant population, this theater was particularly grandiose. The building’s ornate four-story, terra cotta facade was festooned with mythical creatures and eagles. Its palatial interior was highlighted by lavish chandeliers, flamboyant carvings and decked out in Baroque style. Lamb had set out to create a lasting masterpiece.

Sadly, that didn’t happen. Almost a century later, it sits abandoned and forgotten, save for the occasional urban explorers, many of whom are shocked by the well-preserved elegance and charm. 

Although the theater survived the Great Depression and a rapidly changing demographic in decades to follow, it was shuttered in the 1950s and sold in the 1960s. It is in this era that the demise of the theater became official. It eventually was transformed into a appliance store/repair shop, but that reportedly closed in the late 2000s. Remarkably, despite all the years of neglect and misuse, the theater decayed rather beautifully. Although it would need a full renovation, the space was still in relatively good condition; the architectural embellishments that made it so unique were still very apparent. 

In 2010, the lobby portion of the theatre was designated a landmark by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and a study was done by a local group to try and restore the location into a performing arts center. That never happened, and, like so many abandoned buildings, it seemed fated to turn into condos. But the NYC Department of Buildings blocked that move, and since then, the auditorium space has been used a warehouse. The lobby remains empty.

“It would be wonderful if it were converted back into a theatre or a community outreach or youth center which gives back to the community rather than lay dormant,” said the writers. “Keep the arts alive. Save Old New York!”

GRAFFITI ARTISTS RESTORE THE LOST SPLENDOR OF ONE OF NYC’S OLDEST ABANDONED THEATERS

Art gives value to survival.

C.S. Lewis memorably wrote that art and philosophy — in other words, the substance of what we call human culture — have no survival value but, rather, give value to survival. The kind of value he had in mind, of course, was spiritual. And yet half a century later, we’ve stifled our way into a system that assesses art and philosophy and human culture for their economic value as market commodities — they’ve been reduced to that depressingly derogatory term for cultural material: content.

As a consequence of the Internet, it is assumed that traditional gatekeepers will crumble and middlemen will wither. The new orthodoxy envisions the Web as a kind of Robin Hood, stealing audience and influence away from the big and giving to the small. Networked technologies will put professionals and amateurs on an even playing field, or even give the latter an advantage. Artists and writers will thrive without institutional backing, able to reach their audiences directly. A golden age of sharing and collaboration will be ushered in, modeled on Wikipedia and open source software.

In many wonderful ways this is the world we have been waiting for. [But] in some crucial respects the standard assumptions about the Internet’s inevitable effects have misled us.

Many of the problems that plagued our media system before the Internet was widely adopted have carried over into the digital domain — consolidation, centralization, and commercialism — and will continue to shape it. Networked technologies do not resolve the contradictions between art and commerce, but rather make commercialism less visible and more pervasive…

The pressure to be quick, to appeal to the broadest possible public, to be sensational, to seek easy celebrity, to be attractive to corporate sponsors—these forces multiply online where every click can be measured, every piece of data mined, every view marketed against. Originality and depth eat away at profits online, where faster fortunes are made by aggregating work done by others, attracting eyeballs and ad revenue as a result.

The truth is subtler: technology alone cannot deliver the cultural transformation we have been waiting for; instead, we need to first understand and then address the underlying social and economic forces that shape it. Only then can we make good on the unprecedented opportunity the Internet offers and begin to make the ideal of a more inclusive and equitable culture a reality. If we want the Internet to truly be a people’s platform, we will have to work to make it so.

How Your Attachment Style Impacts Your Relationship

How Your Attachment Style Impacts Your Relationship

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Our style of attachment affects everything from our partner selection to how well our relationships progress to, sadly, how they end. That is why recognizing our attachmentpattern can help us understand our strengths and vulnerabilities in a relationship. An attachment pattern is established in early childhood attachments and continues to function as a working model for relationships in adulthood.

This model of attachment influences how each of us reacts to our needs and how we go about getting them met. When there is a secure attachment pattern, a person is confident and self-possessed and is able to easily interact with others, meeting both their own and another’s needs. However, when there is an anxious or avoidant attachment pattern, and a person picks a partner who fits with that maladaptive pattern, he or she will most likely be choosing someone who isn’t the ideal choice to make him or her happy.

For example, the person with a working model of anxious/preoccupied attachment feels that, in order to get close to someone and have your needs met, you need to be with your partner all the time and get reassurance. To support this perception of reality, they choose someone who is isolated and hard to connect with. The person with a working model of dismissive/avoidant attachment has the tendency to be distant, because their model is that the way to get your needs met is to act like you don’t have any. He or she then chooses someone who is more possessive or overly demanding of attention.

In a sense, we set ourselves up by finding partners that confirm our models. If we grew up with an insecure attachment pattern, we may project or seek to duplicate similar patterns of relating as adults, even when these patterns hurt us and are not in our own self-interest.

In their research(link is external), Dr. Phillip Shaver and Dr. Cindy Hazan found that about 60 percent of people have a secure attachment, while 20 percent have an avoidant attachment, and 20 percent have an anxious attachment. So what does this mean? There are questions you can ask yourself to help you determine your style of attachment(link is external) and how it is affecting your relationships. On August 13, I will be hosting a CE Webinar with Dr. Phillip Shaver on “Secure and Insecure Love: An Attachment Perspective(link is external).”You can start to identify your own attachment style by getting to know the four patterns of attachment in adults and learning how they commonly affect couples in their relating.

Secure Attachment – Securely attached adults tend to be more satisfied in their relationships. Children with a secure attachment see their parent as a secure base from which they can venture out and independently explore the world. A secure adult has a similar relationship with their romantic partner, feeling secure and connected, while allowing themselves and their partner to move freely.

Secure adults offer support when their partner feels distressed. They also go to their partner for comfort when they themselves feel troubled. Their relationship tends to be honest, open and equal, with both people feeling independent, yet loving toward each other. Securely attached couples don’t tend to engage in what my father, psychologist Robert Firestone(link is external), describes as a “Fantasy Bond(link is external),” an illusion of connection that provides a false sense of safety. In a fantasy bond, a couple foregoes real acts of love for a more routine, emotionally cut-off form of relating.

Anxious Preoccupied Attachment – Unlike securely attached couples, people with an anxious attachment tend to be desperate to form a fantasy bond. Instead of feeling real love or trust toward their partner, they often feel emotional hunger(link is external). They’re frequently looking to their partner to rescue or complete them. Although they’re seeking a sense of safety and security by clinging to their partner, they take actions that push their partner away.

Even though anxiously attached individuals act desperate or insecure, more often than not, their behavior exacerbates their own fears. When they feel unsure of their partner’s feelings and unsafe in their relationship, they often become clingy, demanding or possessive toward their partner. They may also interpret independent actions by their partner as affirmation of their fears. For example, if their partner starts socializing more with friends, they may think, “See? He doesn’t really love me. This means he is going to leave me. I was right not to trust him.”

Dismissive Avoidant Attachment – People with a dismissive avoidant attachment have the tendency to emotionally distance themselves from their partner. They may seek isolation and feel “pseudo-independent,” taking on the role of parenting themselves. They often come off as focused on themselves and may be overly attending to their creature comforts.

Pseudo-independence is an illusion, as every human being needs connection. Nevertheless, people with a dismissive avoidant attachment tend to lead more inward lives, both denying the importance of loved ones and detaching easily from them. They are often psychologically defended(link is external) and have the ability to shut down emotionally. Even in heated or emotional situations, they are able to turn off their feelings and not react. For example, if their partner is distressed and threatens to leave them, they would respond by saying, “I don’t care.”

Fearful Avoidant Attachment – A person with a fearful avoidant attachment lives in an ambivalent state, in which they are afraid of being both too close to or too distant from others. They attempt to keep their feelings at bay but are unable to. They can’t just avoid their anxiety or run away from their feelings. Instead, they are overwhelmed by their reactions and often experience emotional storms. They tend to be mixed up or unpredictable in their moods. They see their relationships from the working model that you need to go toward others to get your needs met, but if you get close to others, they will hurt you. In other words, the person they want to go to for safety is the same person they are frightened to be close to. As a result, they have no organized strategy for getting their needs met by others.

As adults, these individuals tend to find themselves in rocky or dramatic relationships, with many highs and lows. They often have fears of being abandoned but also struggle with being intimate. They may cling to their partner when they feel rejected, then feel trapped when they are close. Oftentimes, the timing seems to be off between them and their partner. A person with fearful avoidant attachment may even wind up in an abusive relationship.

The attachment style you developed as a child based on your relationship with a parent or early caretaker doesn’t have to define your ways of relating to those you love in your adult life. If you come to know your attachment style, you can uncover ways you are defending yourself from getting close and being emotionally connected and work toward forming an “earned secure attachment.”

You can challenge your defences  by choosing a partner with a secure attachment style, and work on developing yourself in that relationship. Therapy can also be helpful for changing maladaptive attachment patterns. By becoming aware of your attachment style, both you and your partner can challenge the insecurities and fears supported by your age-old working models and develop new styles of attachment for sustaining a satisfying, loving relationship.

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