I made a post the other day, which read, “Instead of getting mad at the world for the way it is, let’s accept it and do what we can to improve it.” Today was my would-be killer’s court date, and my feelings were all love. A perpetrator’s conviction does not give me healing; however, sharing my story of recovery carries strength to touch lives beyond my own. For example, sharing my journey as I publicly rebuild my life might inspire another individual fighting for their recovery, or, if I am lucky, inspire a perfectly healthy individual of the general population. Additionally, if I burdened my heart with hate towards an individual who attempted to murder me, I would hold myself as a prisoner in my past instead of becoming an architect of my future. With that being said, nobody is immune from the ups and downs in life, and I have learned that instead of getting mad at the way things are, find solutions to prevent tragic osmosis. Eldridge Cleaver said, “You’re either part of the solution, or you’re part of the problem.” If I do not spread a positive message in what could be a negative situation, then I am a passive participant in the prevalence of misfortune. Being a victim of a strong-armed robbery and having my brains blown out was tragic; however, that doesn’t define my life as a tragedy. With that said, instead of getting upset about the way things are, I will lead my life with the change I want to see in the world, and it all starts with forgiveness.
Forgive Others And Forgive Yourself
“When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.”
It is easier to live with love than it is to live in hate, and forgiveness is the most powerful perspective in adverse circumstances. It is frustrating to live through negative, unjust, or any circumstances that involve being trespassed against; however, failing to let go of resentment or letting go after it happens may be causing even further damage, including depression, low energy levels, motivation, and self-esteem. On the other hand, if you practice forgiveness, you will have improved health, peace of mind, and you will be a prisoner of the past. A life coach can help you overcome adversity, however, if you cannot practice both forgiveness and acceptance then you will never move on and negativity will become deep rooted in your consciousness. With that said, even the best life coaches cannot help you if you are not willing to let go of the past and accept the future. Forgiveness sets you free, even if that means forging yourself so you can move forward. Lewis B. Smedes once said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you.” He or she who holds onto the emotion is always the one who becomes most affected by it, and, thus, there is nothing gained, except you feel worse. You can be angry or upset with someone, but the only person who is more impacted by this response is YOU, not them. You are choosing to let yourself get upset over it, but you can choose otherwise. When you are only negative towards the situation, it is generally only you who is most negatively affected and not the subject of your anger. Remember this the next time you sense a rage emerging within. You can decide how the outcome will be. If you show empathy, you encourage a more positive resolution. With that said, if you suffer depression or resentment as a result of being trespassed against you should practice forgiveness not only towards others but remember to project forgiveness towards yourself as well.
To apply this principle in your life, consider each moment when you get angry. When you’re angry, think about who this is really affecting – others or yourself? If you let yourself become filled with hatred and anger, you become the cause of your own anger. The situation would be very different if you showed a new kind of reaction towards the circumstances. For example, if you are getting angry at someone for eating the last cookie in the jar, it’s not him/her who is most affected, but you. You can choose to say, “well, they must have really wanted that cookie like I did, and that’s why they ate it.” They aren’t going to think about who else wants it. The world can’t revolve around you like that, because not everything is going to go exactly the way you planned. Things happen that are 100% out of your control, and you need to accept that. Instead of getting frustrated or angry with them, put a new concept of thinking forward, such as “this just gives me the chance to go buy more fresh cookies.” There’s no benefit to anyone when you’re angry about it. Forgiveness goes a long way, whether you forgive yourself or others, and new opportunities will reveal themselves when you decide to move forward in life.
Opportunities Reveal Themselves When You Forgive Yourself and Others
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”
The world becomes a much bigger place, and new opportunities for personal development reveal themselves once you employ empathy. More importantly, though, is that you are making the world that you live in a peaceful place by finding understanding within yourself by understanding others. For example, I have had substance abuse problems, so when the kids shot me while on a meth and cocaine-fueled car-jacking spree, I can kind of understand because I have made some pretty stupid moves of my own. Moreover, the acceptance that comes with empathy removes a mental burden and opens your heart to unlimited possibilities.
The moral here is simple – show more understanding in your life. Before reacting to a situation, consider it carefully, and don’t jump to any conclusions. This will help you to better understand why it happened, and, thus, will help you to accept it more effectively. Once you show acceptance and understanding, you free yourself from your attachment to anger, stress, and sadness that hold you back from living your life. Always remember that it is impossible for peace to occur when forcing one’s will on another. You can’t force someone to do anything, and sometimes you have no other choice but to accept the things you cannot change. In some circumstances this means practicing forgiveness towards people who have trespassed against you, sometimes you have to forgive yourself, whatever the case may be, forgiveness is the key for moving forward with mental freedom. Even the best wellness coaches, and life coaches, cannot help you if you are not willing to move forward. At the end of the day, are your own person, as are they and you cannot expect peace if someone or something is using fear, control, or both to enforce it. It doesn’t work like that – peace must come when there is a mutual understanding, and this is the case with ANY situation.
Forgive Yourself and Move On
“You can fix problems, that’s easy, fixing people, that’s no joke.”
No matter what you do, what you believe, or how good your intentions are, there will always be demographic who will be offended by you, especially if their attitudes, values, and beliefs are either challenged or threatened. For example, I have a website where I share all of my TBI treatments, latest research developments, and despite my best intentions, I get a surprising amount of hate mail from political extremists, envious TBI survivors, and irate non-profits for communicating my journey on a much larger scale than they are. Oliver Markus Malloy said, “Some people love to feel offended because it makes them feel important. When your only tool is a hammer, suddenly, every problem starts to look like a nail. And when the only time you feel relevant is when you claim to be offended, suddenly everything looks offensive.” Some people love to be offended because the attention that they get when others come to the rescue or the egotistical satisfaction you get after you prove someone wrong can be addicting for others.
Remember that you can’t please everyone. There is always going to be someone who is offended by your actions or is against your goals or vision. There could be many reasons why they feel this way – jealousy, different beliefs, and more. However, as I mentioned previously, you can’t control everything, and that includes people. Everyone has their own way. While some think football is the greatest sport of all time, you might think otherwise, for example. No matter what, you won’t be able to please the whole world as you hoped – and going through life, it becomes crucial to accept this fact. Feeling upset or aggravated over the fact that someone is offended by what you did won’t make anything change. Let these people feel the way they want – they aren’t your concern. Focus on you, your wants, needs, and goals instead of the wants and needs of others. Put yourself first for a change and forget about the concerns of others. Who knows – once they see how much you’ve accomplished, they might just change their initial perspective of you.
Additionally, what I learned from being robbed at gunpoint and being shot in the head, is that you are either part of the solution or part of the problem and if you choose to put any focus on the sources of trouble, instead of becoming proactive to overcome more meaningful and substantial challenges, then you are choosing to be part of the problem. We obviously have the freedom of speech; however, many people forget that every person is entitled to the power of choice, and this includes letting go of the past and moving into the future. Roy T Bennett once mentioned, “Time doesn’t heal emotional pain, you need to learn how to let go.” When I was robbed at gunpoint and shot in the head, anger was not going to provide me with peace of mind, however, forgiveness, not only towards the five individuals involved in the shooting, but being able to forgive and express empathy towards the parents who raises the kids, and many other factors, allowed me to leave their problems with them and begin the healing process.
Forgiveness as a Coping Mechanism
We can’t expect time to make our pains disappear. We can’t rely on time as means to cope, especially when, for most people, it’s impossible to fully heal from a loss or a negative life event. Instead, you need to learn to let go so you can move on with your life with nothing holding you back or sitting at the back of your mind. At the minimum, you can at least have a better understanding of why things happen if you allow yourself to. Once you have a sense of understanding then you should begin inching towards forgiveness. Accept that it is what it is, and you can’t change what happened. You can only change how your future will turn out to be by focusing on the now and letting go of the past. Don’t live a hateful life, and don’t let yourself get attached to resentment. Learn to let go of the things that are currently preventing you from being happy and whole – you will feel so much freer once you practice this new approach to life. You should always be kind to yourself and forgiveness is the highest level of kindness.
Change Only Happens With Action
Applying this practice in life is much more simple than people think. Everyone thinks that time “heals,” when, in reality, as time goes on, things happen over time that help you to let go. In fact, saying “time heals everything” is possibly the worst thing to say to someone who is suffering a great loss or going through a difficult time. Why? Because if they don’t face these suffering thoughts, they won’t ever escape them, no matter how much time passes. Distress remains because they never overcame their adversity. If one assumes that “time heals,” they will never make the real effort to get better. Furthermore, anyone else assuming that their friend is getting better simply because “time is passing” is a mistake. The same goes for people not wanting to reveal their anguish to trusted friends or family because they don’t want to burden them or feel judged. However, the worst option of all is waiting for time to pass, because this doesn’t change anything. Change only happens with action, not waiting.
George Orwell said, “Happiness can only happen in acceptance.” Accepting the things that I cannot change opens doors of happiness, freedom, and unbelievable peace of mind. For example, earlier this week, the judge refused to send my would-be killer to adult court. Also, I need to go back in for another surgery in two weeks. In addition to that, I was told, again, that I will need to wear leg braces for the rest of my life. What life taught me this week is, you cannot cry over spilled milk, life will move on without you if you do not embrace it. With that being said, instead of getting mad at the world for the way it is, do your part to change it.
Let Go And Move On
You can live life dwelling on things you cannot change or things you have no power over, or you can accept them and move forward. But if you don’t learn to let go, you will live a life dominated by misery and despair. YOU can choose to live a purposeful, meaningful life with the options you have. Or, you can choose to live a life always feeling angry and sad. No matter what life continues to keep throwing at you, you can determine the outcome of your emotions. You can take each challenge as part of life, move along with life, or let it go on without you. The latter will have you feeling stuck and miserable forever if you don’t accept that it is what it is.
To apply this perspective in your life, and even the best life coaches and wellness coaches will tell you this, think about everything you are currently holding onto that is making you angry, sad, stressed, or upset in some way. If you accept it, how would your life look instead? At the moment, this part of your life is dragging you down, holding you back, and preventing you from feeling happy or content with life. The sooner you accept it, the quicker you can focus on yourself and your goals more clearly. It’s not always easy to accept, but when you finally do, you will feel tremendously different, as if a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Holding onto something is a burden that should not be carried for a lifetime. Remember to practice forgiveness by forgiving others and forgiving yourself. Practicing forgiveness is not something a life coach or wellness coach can do for you, this is an inside job, especially when you have to forgive yourself.
Forgive Yourself and Forgive Others
The moral of this entire story is forgiveness and acceptance. Applying these two concepts to your life – regardless of your circumstances, whether you’ve been in a terrible accident or you have all the luxury in the world – will drastically change the way you perceive life and situations. Instead of creating more problems for yourself by not accepting who you are and what you are, learn to forgive and accept, and embrace the happiness that comes with these actions. Free yourself to live in the present. To move into the future, you must let go of your past. Progress is impossible without change.
Coach Nolan is a life coach of motivation, not by regurgitating motivational quotes, abstract theories of motivation, or by dropping an ostentatious motivational phrases on you. Instead, Coach Nolan takes the stance of putting in work and let your results speak volumes. While it is wonderful that life coaches, wellness coaches, and anybody else who spews out motivational quotes, these motivational phrases are not enough to make a permanent positive impact on other people’s lives. If you seek motivational quotes, theories of motivation, and motivational phrases, that is great. However, if you are seeking motivational quotes, theory’s of motivation, and an inspirational life coach who is dedicated to delivering you real results is optimal. With that said, Coach Nolan delivers beyond what the typical life or wellness coach provides by yielding results that exceed your expectations. Motivation is crucial for any success in life and sometimes you need motivation to make that first step. With that said, I strongly urge you achieve motivation of a life time my taking a taking a course on motivation.