Growing up, I was very shy and backward. A middle child out of 9, I spent most of my childhood hiding. Family stories always had me hiding behind the couch or in my room when parties and activities were in full swing. In adolescence and young adulthood, these traits did not serve me well in developing relationships or being in the world.
As much as I tried to be engaged in life, I often retreated, and never let those who cared for me get too close. My ingrained defense mechanism was holding me back from living to the fullest. Intuitively, I knew there was more to me, and I had a greater purpose. I wanted more. I wanted success, happiness, meaningful relationships, and I wanted to make a difference.
So I chose to change.
I knew what served me as a child was no longer serving me as an adult. I hired counselors, read a library of self-help books, and went to self-improvement classes in an effort to fix what was wrong. That all gave me a great acknowledgment of what I needed to do to, but I continued to struggle–looking for THE ANSWER that would help me let go of the past.
Ah, letting go of the past.
That is the key, the answer; it leads to nirvana, right? Easily said; not so easy to do. My first professional coach helped me realize the power of self-acceptance and forgiveness. In my young adult mind, questions were brewing:
- “Who do I forgive?”
- “Why should I forgive?”
- “What am I forgiving?”
- “Will there be a confrontation?” (avoid at all costs)
These questions made me want to retreat back to childhood and put a lock on the door! At the same time, I knew internally this process would take me to a new level, and I was determined to continue. Still today, I honor that fearful child within–who helped me break the binds of the past to a new way of being, which is more productive and fun.
Along the way, my questions have been answered. Here is what I have learned, and continue to learn, about changing the relationship with myself (my most important relationship) and others:
- Forgiveness is the first step toward change.
- The first person who you need to forgive is yourself–for all the mistakes you made and all the hurt and disappointment you caused. Forgive yourself for judging yourself. How often do we judge ourselves from the rearview mirror? Understand the actions you took then were based on the information and knowledge you had at the time. To judge yourself by what you know today is not fair or reasonable.
- Have compassion for yourself. See yourself as that small child who was simply trying to figure out the world and how you fit in. Reimagine the story you may have told yourself about yourself, from the perspective of a three-year-old.
- Forgive and have compassion for those who hurt you. Consider they were possibly doing their very best, based on what they knew at the time, just as you were.
Growth and Awakening
Being human is a journey of growth and awakening. The more I learn to forgive myself and others, the more I appreciate everyone. I am more compassionate, and honor our journeys more. One of my favorite wise women, Mia Angelou, said it best:
“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes; it is inevitable.
But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better, I’d have done better,’ that’s all. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that, we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell, we should never teach.”
Today, I have the honor of helping others rise to their full potential in life. It’s a process that unfolds naturally and creatively. A process of change that leads to growth and forgiveness, one step at a time.
If you would like to learn how we might work together to achieve your business or personal goals, please reach out.