Refusing to acknowledge feelings of dissatisfaction may cause us to miss critical messages about where we truly want to be. Without an awareness of where changes are needed, we can't take the necessary steps forward to ensure that we fulfill our soul's purpose. Allow yourself to face it. Allow yourself to feel it again--even if that really hurts--and then acknowledge that this has taken way too much space in your life for way too long and that it's time to see it as an unfortunate part of your past that will no longer have an influence on your future. If you're someone who prays, this is a great thing to pray about. I've found prayer to be extremely helpful to me, and it's often the last step I need to take to get past an old hurt. Another way to achieve forgiveness is to share everything that happened with a good friend or family member. Sometimes, explaining your feelings to another person changes the power of those feelings. Maybe the person you're sharing this with knows this part of your story already. Or maybe she's never heard any of it before. Either way, speaking about these feelings out loud often blunts their effect, and talking about the situation with someone else can often give you new perspective--even if the person you're telling it to does nothing more than listen. Often, things sound different to you when you say them out loud and you really hear them for the first time. No one else is here. Why am I doing this? And they leave, never to return. That's why the extra mile is such a lonely place. That's also why the extra mile is a place filled with opportunities. Hard work is a definite differentiator, but there are other ways to be different. You don't have to come to work early. You don't have to stay late.
You can make the extra phone call. You can send the extra e-mail. You've also got to be prepared. This can be harder outside the courtroom, as you don't always know when a trial is heading your way. When you know one is coming, get your facts and your questions ready. But when you don't, you can still know yourself. Prepare by knowing where you can bend and where you will break. Prepare for your weaknesses, and work to conquer them ahead of time, so they don't conquer you in battle. Finally, you need perspective. You have no authority with people you don't understand. When you work to understand your audience, you become a much stronger advocate. This is a hard one to prove, and that in itself is telling. How do we find a balance between our gratitude for what we already have and our discontent with the status quo? When gratitude feels elusive, start by asking yourself why you aren't satisfied with what you already have. Is it because you are comparing yourself to others? Are you stagnating in your current circumstances because making a change feels like an insurmountable endeavor? Is it because you have devoted your time to meeting the needs of others, without remembering to honor your own soul? Or, is it because something stirring inside of you is telling you that you were meant for more than this? That you would choose a different path if you allowed yourself to consider the possibility? What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
How would you live if it was your last day on earth? What would you choose for your life if your priorities flowed from your heart, instead of from your to-do list? And when you finally finish telling your story and you get to the point where you can honestly say, I'm ready to forgive him for that, this is going to feel like a real breakthrough for you, and you're that much more likely to believe it yourself because you've committed it to another person. Then there's another option. Remember when I said that forgiveness doesn't require you to ever let the other person know that you've forgiven her? That's absolutely true. However, if you're up for it, confronting the person who hurt you directly can be the most liberating form of forgiveness. First of all, it gives you a real sense of closure to go up to someone, remind her what she did to you, and then say, I forgive you. You can't really walk that back once you do it, and that's a good thing, because it's critical that you believe that forgiveness is a permanent thing if you're going to get all the benefits from it that you deserve. When you confront the person directly, you also forever change the dynamic of what happened between you. Yes, earlier I said that there was a good chance that the person who hurt you no longer thinks about you at all. But maybe she does, and she's taking a tiny bit of pleasure from having screwed with your life. You can do the extra research. You can help customers before they even think to ask. You can go beyond just telling your employees what to do; Every time you do something, think of one extra thing you can do--especially if other people aren't doing that one thing. Sure, it's hard. But that's what will make you different. And over time that's what will make you incredibly successful. For example, you could take the Jerry Seinfeld approach.
You could do a lot worse than to emulate the most successful comedian of all time. In an interview with Scott Feinberg for the Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast, Seinfeld describes his keys to success--which, not coincidentally, are three keys to success in any field. While numerous studies show the benefit of learning to advocate for ourselves when we are young, they often focus on students with disabilities. But we all need these skills--when fighting for ourselves, and when consenting to others. Given that people are hiring patient advocates for medical situations, and teaching no means no on school campuses, advocating for ourselves is clearly an issue. We should look to trial lawyers for guidance. Trials are the place where advocacy skills have been on display for hundreds of years. If you're willing to go to battle for others, you should be willing to go to battle for yourself. Asking questions may be the strongest way to advocate to win. It is hard to fight the damages. In my cases, the patient has to prove duty, breach, causation, and damages. A doctor has a duty to his patient, a breach would be a mistake, and that mistake has to have caused damages (in other words, no harm, no foul). I am thankful that I have the ability and the opportunity to help people in crisis, giving them tools and options that may keep them afloat or provide peace of mind. I'm grateful that I feel valuable and needed when clients call to ask for my guidance. At the same time, I am all too aware that I have consistently sacrificed my physical and mental health while putting the needs of others above. I have inadvertently neglected my husband and children while I answered one more email, even though I would list them as my top priorities in life without a moment's hesitation. I can't even remember what I like to do in my free time because I leave myself no free time to fill with activities that make my heart sing. My frustration with the manner in which I have allowed my work to take over my life is an important red flag that must not be brushed aside in the pursuit of gratitude. It tells me that I won't be truly satisfied until I find a way to bring some balance to my life. It teaches me that devoting all of my time and attention to my work prevents me from devoting my energy and love to my family, which is where I want to be.
It warns me that continuously setting aside my needs will lead to burnout and compromise my health. It reminds me that I need to find a way to serve my clients while also ensuring that I am finding ways to fill my soul. If you let this person know that it's all behind you, you're probably going to ruin her day, and you can get a little extra satisfaction from that. And on the more productive side, if she does realize what she's done to you and actually feels kind of guilty about it, telling her that you forgive her may actually inspire her to do the extra work necessary to be a better person in the future. Forgiveness can be a life changer for you, and it might even be one for the person you forgive. It's a huge part of the three-stage process for getting the negative influences out of your life that began with burning bridges and continued with digging up your bad seeds. If you can get yourself to the point where you let go of the anger and resentment you've been carrying around with you, you will be so much closer to becoming the best version of yourself. Before moving on, take a little time to think about these questions to make sure that you've dealt with the key concepts of this article: By getting this far, you've done a ton of work to set the stage for your future. The next articles are going to be about doing things that actively make your life better. Let's get started on that right away. It was in 2015 when I realized that I was on all of the time. To Seinfeld, success is based on work and thought and preparation. Those are givens. You have an idea. You come up with something new, something original, or even just a different take or perspective on a product or service. That's kind of the easiest step if you're a creative person, Seinfeld says. You get ideas. They just come to you. You can't create them.