If you haven't read last week's blog, it may help you gain a deeper understanding of today's post. Go here to read last week's blog: CLICK HERE.
Two weeks ago, I shared a personal story of how I lost a mentor. I received tremendous feedback from several people and I want to thank you for your support (you know who you are).
Today, my emotions have shifted a bit from several weeks ago. Whereas last week I was feeling some anger at having been lied to, today, I feel no anger. The reason I feel no anger is because this person isn't important enough to deserve anger. I still feel pity for this person and I am not sure that will ever go away. I just can't help thinking about how great a life this person could have had if they had bothered to be honest and caring.
If you have gone through a similar situation with a mentor and you still feel angry, I just want to ask you a simple question: Why do you still feel that way?
Holding a grudge is a way you let the bad person win. You may have banished them from your life but if you are still angry (holding a grudge) they are actually winning. Author and violence expert, Rory Miller once told me that "The measure of any man is self-control." If you cannot control your mind and thoughts enough to stop holding a grudge, you are the one that is at fault. Let it go.
I prayed and realized this for myself in my situation - initially, I felt some anger as is natural to feel. But once I became aware of it, if I continued to feel that way, it was my choice. I decided to not spend too long in that emotional zone. Anger clouds judgement and clouded judgement leads to poor decisions which lead to hazardous outcomes in your life. The fallen mentor is not worth making bad decisions over. Let go and move on.
One thing I am shocked by is the overall lack of curiosity from other people who continue to associate with this former mentor. Some people have asked why I am no longer associated but few have. Of those who have, few have actually gotten into real conversations with me. While I am surprised at them I am not angry or bitter towards them. For I once was in their position. I sympathize with the tough decision they have to make.
One feeling or emotion that I cannot describe how good it feels is FREEDOM. The psychological and spiritual burden that has been lifted from me has felt amazing. My soul is lighter, more peaceful, and calmer. I have decreased anxiety, and improved my options for the future. That is rewarding and fulfilling.
If you have lost a mentor but are still holding on emotionally and mentally, let go. That is where true freedom lies. It is perfectly possible to be a free man in the world but a slave in your soul. Freedom of soul and mind is the true freedom.
Viktor Frankl was a POW in Nazi Germany and wrote an excellent book, "Man's Search for Meaning." He talked about how the Nazi's could never take away his ability to choose his attitude and how he chose to feel about something. Despite being a prisoner, he was free. Though my situation is nowhere close to the hardships that Frankl suffered, it is similar in the sense that I control my attitude and how I choose to feel about what happened. I choose freedom.
Lastly, I want to emphasize one more emotion that I am experiencing. I have prayed and continue to pray to be able to forgive my former mentor. I interviewed Capt. Charlie Plumb recently (a Vietnam POW for 6 years) and he told me that he had to forgive his torturers or else his hate would have destroyed him. Wow. What a powerful lesson. I forgive my former mentor. That doesn't mean I will associate with him ever again, but I do forgive him. Just as I doubt Capt. Plumb would voluntarily put himself back in a POW camp, but he did forgive his captors. I have chosen to do the same. Why? Because God demands it. Because my well-being is predicated on letting go and forgiving. Because the former mentor is not important enough to my life to hold a grudge against. It feels amazing to be free.
If you are holding a grudge against anyone, do yourself a favor, and forgive them. Only through forgiveness are you set free. Only through forgiveness do you really have the power to move on.
Lastly, forgive yourself too. For a while, I blamed myself for being fooled. "How could you have not seen it?" I said to myself. What a lesson in humility that was - it was that easy to fool me. Talk about smacking your pride down a few notches. But you must forgive yourself too, not just others.
Forgive and let go my fellow warrior - that is the true path of peace which all warriors strive to live by.
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National Speaker, author, blogger, and life-long student of warrior arts and science.