About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“One must pray to God not only with theologically precise formulas, but also in a beautiful and dignified way. The Christian community must make an examination of conscience so that the beauty of music and song will return increasingly to the liturgy.”
— Pope Saint John Paul II (26 February 2003)

   Send an E-mail to Dr. Ronda Chervin, Ph.D.
Overcoming Denial with Insight, Grace and ?????
published 2 June 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

Some of you may have read a previous blog about this topic. I am now at a new stage. What I feel called to do is to test out a method on myself, one friend, and any of you who want to try at any level. Here is the plan:

New Way

1. Pick out one negative trait you would like to improve on such as talking less, being less upset about trivial annoyances, smiling more at family, friends and people at work and Church. If you think you are perfect, ask those closest to you what little thing they wish you would do differently.

2. Collect general and personal insights about the negative and positive of this trait such as

      a. talking too much vs. listening better;

      b. upset about trivia vs. overlooking it or working around it;

      c. grouchy or withdrawn vs. smiling and friendly.

3. Consider what is the pain from past and present that you compensate for through your negative trait. For example,

      a. About talking too much the pain from the past could be feeling inferior when others dominated conversations in the past, so I want to be the speaker even when it is inappropriate. The present pain would be feeling that if I don’t make the conversation interesting to me I will be slightly bored or feel that everything is meaningless unless discussions of important things take place.

      b. On upset about trivial annoyances – a past pain would be feeling out of control as a child when parents or siblings did annoying and hurtful things to me. A present pain would be not being able to coerce others to act better concerning daily trivial matters.

      c. On grouchy or withdrawn vs. smiling, friendly – the past pain would be parental role models of these negative traits. The present pain would be wanting to withdraw after a hard day or before the day gets harder – being grouchy or withdrawn usually keeps others away.

4. Make a promise such as this: God, I truly want to change, not just to please others, but to get closer to you by becoming a more loving person. I realize that Your grace cannot penetrate my denial mechanisms if I justify every negative trait by excuses. (In my, Ronda’s case, well, if I don’t dominate the conversation no one will learn my God-given wisdom!) I accept the sufferings, small and large, that I will have endure in order let your grace operate more in my life with respect to this trait.

5. Write a personal prayer to Jesus to say whenever you are tempted to exercise the specific negative trait you are working on now such as:

      a. Jesus, please pour your love into my heart so that feeling happy about myself I can listen to others instead of trying to dominate all conversations.

      b. Father God, thank you for all the blessings of this day. Help me laugh at this trivial annoyance and get on with the rest of my day without over-reacting .

      c. Holy Spirit, spouse of the Virgin Mary, show me how to be friendly so that everyone I meet today feel better because they met me, just as I believe people must have felt who met Mary in Nazareth.

6. (Optional but best) Choose a person who sees you often or whom you can call at a set time each day or evening to share victories of grace. One victory a day is a lot if you multiply by 365 days a year! This call should not be analytic, but rather prayerful as in:

      “Heh, pal, guess what? Today I had lunch with friends and I let someone else dominate the conversation, by asking friendly questions instead of delivering long speeches myself. “

      “Gee, Ronda, praise the Lord. Today I smiled at the kids as they went out the door to school instead of muttering – stay out of trouble kids.”

      “Have a blessed day tomorrow being not Grouchy Dad but Friendly Dad. I’ll be praying for you.”

It may seem tiny but could it be worse than being stuck with traits everyone finds difficult but puts up with because they have given up hope we will ever change, grace or not????? If you decide to do and feel like posting comments about your progress go ahead, or e-mail me at rondaview@ccwatershed.org

Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.