Success coach, Emotional Resilience expert, and guest writer Suzanne Dudley-Schon is back, sharing her brilliance on the power of forgiveness in this week’s Upside Thought. 

Several years ago, when my business was growing, I prayed for the right person to show up to enhance my team. I envisioned hiring someone who would complement my work and coach clients giving them (and me) added depth as a leader. 

A friend posted one of her colleagues was looking to be part of a growing team. I immediately reached out and a partnership with Suzanne Dudley-Schon was born. Over the past several years we’ve worked together, we’ve each grown our own growth edges – and had a ton of fun along the way. 

Suzanne understands that the beingness of leadership matters more than the doingness of leadership. You can take all of the tactical leadership actions that generate success – and not be a leader worth following. 

This week, I’ve asked her to  write about the power of forgiveness, a topic near and dear to my heart.   

Happy Reading!

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How can you tell if you need forgiveness in your life?
If you have your guard up, and it keeps other people out of your life, not just the person you would love to have an apology from.

If you hold up a shield, and tend to use it as a battering ram when dealing with challenging people.

If you wear armor and disappear inside of it.

If you see yourself in some of these statements, don’t feel guilty or like you are being singled out as the “only one” living this way. These scenarios are common.

As with many things, what we did to protect ourselves as children we discover later in life to be habits that are more destructive than constructive. These things can end up by “owning us” in a strange way.

When we need an apology to heal or move forward unencumbered, it’s much the same. If we haven’t received an apology or processed a painful experience fully, we may adopt ways of dealing with a hurt that ultimately keep us wounded, stuck, or harboring resentments any of which shackle us and negatively affect our relationships. Again, these are problems not exclusive to “the one” who wronged us.

These unprocessed hurts can show up in the form of building internal walls, being defensive to the point where it’s almost aggressive behavior, and being locked away emotionally because we’re afraid of getting hurt again.

Even in daily life we can stumble into moments requiring forgiveness in order to move forward with an unencumbered relationship.

I am sure we can all identify a moment when we realize a resentment we are holding keeps us from being our best selves.

Picture this scenario that’s happened in my house: say you’ve been snapped at because you left the refrigerator door open too long on a hot day. Then, forever after, you find yourself muttering under your breath about how you pay the bills. You have the urge to hold the door open longer just to spite them. Or you avoid being in the kitchen with that other person, a little afraid you’ll get “caught.”

Minor moments like these can snowball. The little blip of resentment about bill-paying can gather more evidence and energy every time something similar happens. It gets tacked on to that first refrigerator moment. Pretty soon you have a boulder of ice between you and the other person.

One of the best ways to prevent deeper and wider relationship chasms can be to take care of them sooner than later. You probably don’t want to tackle the sensitive scenario in the heat of the moment when you are still inflamed and emotional.

Instead, get a little space and find a calm moment to talk through the situation. Play it through in slow-motion with the other person.

~Share how you felt (using “I “ statements) and what you thought at each step of it.

~Listen to the other person’s experience of it without interrupting

~As you listen to each other, try to open your heart and mind to allow for that other experience beyond your own.

~Ask for what you would love to hear.

~Offer them a chance to apologize, and the chance for you to forgive them.

Even if it’s uncomfortable, you can trust that there is peace on the other side. You will have done good effort to process the incident so it doesn’t keep affecting you the same way as if you hadn’t.

Don’t let an unmanaged moment coat you in armor and put a shield in your hand that you’ll have to lug around forever after. You can lighten your load through forgiveness.

If that other person won’t apologize and you’re still hurting?

Reach out to Project Forgive for tools. You can’t change the past, but with forgiveness, you can change the future. 

The world needs you and your brilliance.
Suzanne Dudley Schon, Coach, Speaker, and Author, is a catalyst who is passionate about helping people to see differently, think differently, and act differently so that they experience freedom, joy, and true success – as they define it — in every area of their lives.  

She graduated with a Degree in Psychology from Duke University, and beyond her academic studies, Coach Training, Reiki Training, and years of experience coaching clients, Suzanne considers her own life experience an invaluable source of her education. 

Her newly published book, Out Of The Box, A Journey In and Out of Emotional Captivity, has received rave reviews. And, Suzanne is also a trustee and board member of several non-profits, is a poet, actress, and the mother of two children, three step-children, and four geriatric dogs. 

Although she appears to be one of the WASPiest looking people in any given room, Suzanne is actually fluent in Spanish. The daughter of a Dominican woman and a New England born attorney, she credits the roulette wheel of DNA to her unusual combination of creative flare and pragmatism.

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