From a very early age, my belief about what it means to forgive had been taught to me based on the religious dogma I was raised with.
I can only speak for myself when I say I was taught that forgiveness means thinking about another person who has wronged you and finding a way to be OK with what they did.
I now have a more enlightened understanding of what forgiveness means; an expanded knowledge of what it means to forgive.
Forgiveness isn't about finding a way to make it OK for whatever the person chose to inflict on you, forgiveness is about allowing yourself to let go of the negative feelings and emotions that are keeping you mired in the negativity as well as continually being triggered by the feelings and emotions each time you think about the experience.
I recently posted on social media about the death of my father. Here is that post:
My Father Died Today
I have no tears, no sadness, no feelings of loss but neither do I feel relief. As I sit here and ask myself what I’m feeling, the only answer that feels genuine is “completion”.
Every ending creates a new beginning, so what happens next?
If I were to stand up and talk about who my father was and how I will remember him, what would I say to explain my feelings of completion?
The man who was my father was known for many things; son, brother, uncle, father, husband, ex-husband, stepfather and grandfather.
Our family knew him as angry, unapologetic, violent, tormentor, sadistic, abusive, sexual predator, pedophile, sex addict, sadist.
His unapologetic lifestyle choices has left hidden scars that each of us has dealt with in our own way.
Scars that have torn a family apart out of anger, shame, denial, self-doubt, self-loathing, revulsion, choosing sides, blame and judgment; towards each other as well as ourselves.
My younger self tried, I tried to be the protector, but I was too young, too small, too weak, and too afraid.
And then I got older, and I stopped being afraid. I stopped being afraid of the threats, the fear of retribution and what others would say when they found out. I stopped putting the wants and needs of others before my own.
I started to speak up, I started to share my story, and I realized by sharing my story I was gradually shifting from victim to victor.
I quickly learned that sharing my story meant there are going to be people who are empowered by my story, enraged by my story, and even disbelieve my story.
The disbelievers became angry and judgmental which left me with two choices; I could once more choose to remain silent or I could choose to stand in my power.
But how does a person stand in their power against the disbelievers, or the angry and judgmental people?
How do you stand in your power and stand up for yourself when those around you are telling you you’re wrong to be talking about something they don’t want to hear about?
In my experience, the best way to stand in your power is to understand that the people who are judging you, the people who are angry with you, and the people who disbelieve your story are the people who realize your story makes them uncomfortable because it hits too close to home for them to hear.
To accept what I’m saying would mean they would have to take a look at their own choices. They would have to ask themselves if there were signs that they saw but ignored either out of social diplomacy or ignorance.
There is nothing left unsaid, there is nothing left undone, and that is why what I am feeling today, more than anything, is completion.
Being treated better started with me. I had to learn to stop the self-loathing and self-judging and learn to be self-loving. Forgiveness started with me forgiving myself for not seeing my value.
For me, forgiveness of "self" led to completion.
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Sensei
It's been two years but I remember it like it was yesterday; I met a woman named Debbie at a virtual networking event. I live in southern California and she lives in the UK so we made arrangements to meet for "virtual tea" to get to know each other.
During our conversation, I shared about my work and my books and happened to mention that my great-granddaughter's nursery was decorated with elephants and I was looking for information to create a plaque for her room.
I saw Debbie's eyes light up when she told me she is originally Africa and proceeded to educate me about elephants and gave me exactly what I was looking for to give my great-granddaughter the perfect gift.
Of course, neither Debbie nor could have foreseen what the Universe was putting into motion with that conversation over "virtual tea" and elephants!
I learned about her company and her passion for supporting entrepreneurs as a virtual assistant and website builder. Debbie purchased one of my books and booked many more video sessions with me to discuss mindset work and what she was learning from my my work.
Not long after Debbie began applying the mindset work I teach, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
I followed Debbie's cancer journey and when she was on the other side of her journey, Debbie scheduled a time to talk with me on a video call. I can't begin to tell you how much I cried during that call when Debbie told me that she credits being able to hold a positive outcome to her cancer because of my work and how it supported her through every step of her cancer journey. She told me that before she met me, she hadn't known how her mindset can work miracles!
I'm happy to report that Debbie is now cancer-free and returned to work exactly when I was ready to have my website updated. I ask you, who could be better to represent my work through my website than someone who practices what I teach!
We never know the reason someone is being placed in our path but when you have complete faith that what you need will be there when you need it most, it will happen. Embracing my work supported Debbie on her cancer journey and when she returned to work, Debbie's work supported me and the message I share.
When Debbie unveiled my new website to me, I cried for twenty minutes straight because the depth of her understanding for who I am and what I teach shows in every page. I could never have asked for a more perfect person to help me share my message and I am so grateful for her passion and commitment to her work.
And that's how elephants helped drive traffic to my website because during the course of our conversation, what started out as two women getting to know each other over a conversation about elephants was just the beginning.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear!
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Sensei
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Sensei