By Dr. Mike Brooks
My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 69. He was a smoker and had been for years. For some unexpected reason he just up and quit one day. We still don’t know the reason why he did. I wonder if it was a doctor who told him to, or maybe he did it on his own. Anyway, the cancer doctors suggested a few options for dealing with the cancer. The first option was getting part of the lung removed and following up with chemotherapy; the second was leaving the lung and doing chemotherapy alone; and his third option was radiation therapy. When dad and I talked he said he wanted the surgery. The doctors agreed and told our family that this was the best option and would give my dad a few more years to live. I remember one particular doctor assuring us that we would have him around for many, many years. I was ecstatic and so were my siblings and mother. His surgery was successful, and soon after, he started physical therapy at the hospital. Everything was going great until five days later when he started having difficulty breathing. Not long after, I received the phone call that he had passed away.
I remember thinking about the doctors who said he would have a long life and that he would be home soon and enjoy it. My brothers and I wanted to sue the doctors and the hospital for causing his death. We called some lawyers and found a few who were interested in pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. My life was upside down and I realized it was consuming me. My anger and bitterness was out of control. My heart told me to forgive, yet my attitude told me to continue the fight. I remember how I would tell anyone I met about my father’s death and how it was the fault of the doctors. I’m sure when they saw me coming they avoided me and didn’t want to hear my story again!
If you will recall from one of my previous columns, I talked about my friend whose sister was killed by an inattentive driver while she was on the back of a motorcycle with her husband, and the ensuing anger he experienced when he couldn’t get the information he needed regarding her senseless death. In my attempts to help him with his anger and bitterness, I shared with him how my father’s wrongful death impacted me and how my friends, family members, and acquaintances began to avoid me. I asked him if he thought his sister’s death was an accident, in which he replied, “Yes.” There was no alcohol or drugs involved. It was simply an unfortunate accident that caused pain and hardship on the entire family. However, it was time to let go of the unforgiveness and move on with the good memories of his sister. He did that and began feeling the pressure of anger and resentment fading away. He told me he was letting it go one day at a time. You see, when we forgive someone it is a process done in stages. Next week I will share my thoughts on how unforgiveness hurts us in all of our relationships both inside our home, and outside the home in our sphere of influence with friends and acquaintances.
Here are a few thoughts and musings on unforgiveness:
–Look back at the times you have wronged someone and how they forgave you.
–Ask yourself these questions, “What is the point of holding on to unforgiveness? Where does it get me?”
–Sometimes people say and do stupid things without knowing it, we all do.
–Look at how unforgiveness has affected your family, friends and even your coworkers.
–Do you feel depression coming on when you think about the person who has wronged you?
–Do you lose sleep thinking about that person who hurt you?
–Are you obsessed and wanting to seek revenge? Will seeking revenge get you possible jail time or banned being with friends and family?
“Forgiveness is the one gift you don’t give to others. Rather, it is the gift you give yourself so you can finally be free.” – Shannon L. Alder
“Learn to forgive others so that you can release yourself from being held captive by the very negative thoughts around you.” – Stephen Richards
If you’re struggling with unforgiveness then talk with a counselor/coach who can guide you through the process of letting go. Are you ready to rid yourself of the heaviness it causes you? Do you have someone you need to forgive and just can’t let it go? Do you need to seek forgiveness and need to know how and when? Do you want to mend a relationship with a friend or family member and have hard feelings that you’ve been carrying for some time? If you answered yes to any of these questions, give me a call.
Applicable Life Coaching & Counseling Services
Dr. Michael Brooks is the founder of Applicable Life Coaching and Counseling Services. His services are affordable, accessible, anonymous and available by appointment from the privacy of your own home. To avoid travel time and from the comfort of home, many clients prefer to meet with Dr. Mike over the phone or via Skype. The convenience of this type of coaching is the most effective means of Life Coaching and counseling for those who live out of the Denver-metro area. Give Dr. Mike a call! You’ll be glad you did!
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