I grew up in a family always feeling like the outcast. I always felt unwanted and never really valued, let alone loved. I had a number of spiritual experiences and heard about the power of forgiveness. I wrestled with it strongly. I had grown a lot and really redeemed my image of what family was, but on the other side of that healing was a newfound anger at how I wasn’t treated according to how I believe a son should be treated. I felt so justified to feel anger against my parents. And I was justified. But that justification would have forced me to keep my anger. I would have lived by the debt I felt my parents emotionally owed me.They owed me an apology, they owed me love, and they owed me safety as a child that I never felt. But forgiveness seemed so right and I knew real power was on the other side of it. So, despite everything I felt, I chose to forgive them of that very tangible debt I was holding onto in my heart. It was terrifying because I thought that if I let go of that debt that I was holding on to then I would never have what my heart desired. The anger was my connection to the hope of that debt being satisfied. But instead forgiveness was one of the most freeing experiences of my life. Sure, it wasn’t overnight, but a lot sure did happen in that very moment. I’m not bound by pain or disappointment in life, and I hope to never be steered by such parasitic emotions ever again.
One piece of advice I would share with a group of people is to learn how to understand and navigate your emotions and what you’re feeling at any cost. It’s not easy, but the effects of having that ability changes you’re whole damn life so fast. We all know and have seen people who are polarized in one way or another by their emotions. We know what it’s like to see people who have suppressed what they feel for one of a million reasons. They become numb, unable to really experience the beauty that life has to offer because they’ve lost themselves. On the other side, people can be swayed so easily by every emotion they feel thinking that it carries so much truth. The reality is that emotions are dashboard lights, not engines. They help us discover what’s happening inside us, but that doesn’t mean they control where we go or how we get there. It’s a skill that’s never actually mastered as life will always throw things at us that we’re not ready for. Once you begin the process of learning how to navigate yourself, I think you can truly learn how to navigate the world around you. That’s real empowerment.