When was the last time you felt a deep sense of happiness, joy, freedom, or gratitude? If you can’t remember, you may be holding on to resentments. Resentments act like debris in the river of life. They clog the flow and keep you stuck professionally and personally. Every resentment you are holding, whether you are aware of it or not, is holding you back from finding the right career and living the life you love.
How do you get the river flowing once again, so that you can move forward in your career and your life? May Tanya’s story (not her real name) inspire you to let the clear water of forgiveness wash through the river of your life and wash away the debris that’s clogging up the flow.
As long as she can remember, Tanya has always loved dancing. She began taking ballet classes very early in life and when she was 8 years old, she had made up her mind that she wanted to go to dance school and become a professional dancer. For several weeks, Tanya practised for the entrance exam of a local dance school. When the special day arrived for Tanya to perform, her mother went with her to the dance school. Tanya did very well and received the offer to enter the school. However, her mother decided that it was better for Tanya to get a “real” education and didn’t let her go to dance school. I am sure you can imagine how devastated Tanya felt. She cried for an entire day and felt as if her life had ended. Her dream of becoming a dancer was crushed.
Tanya attended the school her mother had chosen for her. After finishing high school, she studied economics and became an accountant. While she enjoyed certain aspects about her career, she mostly dreaded going to work and often wondered what her life would have been like, if she had been allowed to pursue her career as a dancer. Then her mother fell ill suddenly. It soon became apparent that her mother’s days were numbered. Tanya realized how much resentment she was still holding against her mother for not letting her go to dance school. Yet, she longed to be at peace with her mother.
For the first time in her life Tanya felt a desire to forgive her mother. She didn’t know how. She didn’t know if she was able to forgive, but she felt a yearning for a harmonious relationship with her mother. This was a true turning point in Tanya’s life.
Once Tanya was willing to forgive her mother, she was able to understand her mother’s decision. Her mother wanted Tanya to be independent and successful. When Tanya realized that her mother’s decision was made with the best of intentions, a wave of love and compassion washed over her. She recognized how hard it must have been for her mother. In that moment of forgiveness she let go of her unfulfilled childhood dream. In doing so, she opened her mind to explore what career was right for her at this stage of her life. While she was mired in resentment, she could only see two career options, the one she wasn’t allowed to have, her dancing career, and the one she was stuck in, accounting. Can you see how intricately forgiveness is connected to finding the right career? If you are feeling stuck in a career that doesn’t fit, forgiveness may open your mind and heart to finding the right career for you.
1st Step Towards Genuine Forgiveness: Become Aware of the Resentment You Are Holding
Here are a few typical thought patterns that reveal feelings of resentment:
- “If only she hadn’t done this to me, I would not be stuck where I am.”
- “He shouldn’t have said that. It totally undermined my confidence.”
- “When she did that a door closed for me and I wasn’t able to pursue my dreams.”
- “If it wasn’t for him, I would be doing what I love.”
What kinds of thoughts are you noticing in your mind? Jot them down.
2nd Step Towards Genuine Forgiveness: Be Willing to Let Go of Your Resentment
Once you become aware of the resentment that you are carrying around with you, you may notice how it is blocking you from moving forward in your life and career. Do you feel a readiness within you to let it go? Just like Tanya, you may not know how to or you may not even think you can. Are you nevertheless willing to let go of the resentment you are holding?
Even if you are not looking to re-establish a positive relationship, any kind of resentment still blocks the flow of your river. It holds you back from finding the right career for you and living the life you truly desire. As Malachy McCourt put it so well: “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Do you really want to continue hampering your own success, career and life fulfillment by continuing to hold onto your resentment?
3rd Step Towards Genuine Forgiveness: Feel Compassion.
Once you open yourself to the possibility of forgiveness, you may be surprised to find yourself feeling compassion for the person you’ve been holding resentment toward. You may feel the pain and fears that led them to doing or saying what they did. As you do, you naturally feel compassion for their humanity and their suffering. A profound shift occurs and you can’t help but let go of your resentment. In the wise words of Matthieu Ricard, “Forgiveness is intimately linked to the possibility of human transformation.”
What Happened to Tanya?
Shortly after her mother passed away, Tanya left her accounting job. She sold her house and car and took a year off to explore what she wanted to do with the next chapter of her life. Free from resentment and financial obligations and with the support of her career clarity coach, finding the right career was easier and faster than she had anticipated. Within months she discovered a deep passion for holistic health. Tanya is now an occupational therapist and works with seniors at a private care facility. She is inspired by her new career and grateful to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
Just like Tanya, you too can find career clarity. As you allow the clear waters of forgiveness to wash away the resentment debris in your river of life, you naturally open yourself to finding the right career for you.