Do you understand how much power you have to effect change and create what you want for your life?
Own your power:
Owning this power to choose your response requires mind mastery and emotional resilience, so that, even in the face of strong adversity, and where you may feel helpless or powerless to effect change, you can begin to claim your power.
Your power develops when you make the decision to be brave, have faith, maintain positivity and let go of fear, doubt and worry. It is about choosing the qualities of love above all else.
Be realistic about expectations:
This is not easy, it is possible.
When feeling anxious, nervous, worried, scared, pressured, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, powerless, lost, helpless, exhausted and your mind wanders into negative thoughts, harnessing the mental strength to stop this, and to be able to pull yourself back into present, take a few deep breaths and respond to what is happening within you (because it is always about what is within you), in response to your reality, with are, compassion and kindness takes strength.
To then decide, with firm discipline, to speak to yourself with kindness, encouragement, words of faith, hope and possibility, is also hard; its hard, because you have to decide that you mean it.
This is what strong love looks like. And you do it again and again; respond with love every time you are pulled back into a feeling or emotion that triggers negative thinking.
Take action where it matters:
Once you manage to succeed with your mind, you are ready to act on your words of encouragement, love, positivity and possibility.
Decide what action matters most right now, hold the vision, keep the focus, maintain positive mantras and do not stop until you arrive at your destination, for as long as it keeps being important to you, a top priority, and a true heart value.
You have to want it enough and it has to matter enough to brave uncertainty and nurture with love and faith.
You can do this, you can do anything you decide you can do.
"To forgive is to set you free",
"You forgive for your own peace"
"To choose forgiveness, is an act of love"
"When you forgive, you let go of holding on to the anger inside that is hurting you"
And yet, forgiveness feels like giving up and allowing the person who hurt you to be set free; to get away with what happened.
One thing I know for sure is that you can only really understand forgiveness, when you go through the process yourself, fully.
Intention to forgive is the first act of love, but this is not forgiveness
Saying "I forgive" is the cognitive process in forgiveness, but this is not forgiveness
To truly forgive, is an emotional process.
I know in my soul that I had to forgive the doctors involved in monitoring my baby girl. After a healthy pregnancy, and learning that all was well at the 36 week ultra sound scan, at 37 weeks, she suddenly stopped moving. My doctor asked a nurse to conduct foetal monitoring for two minutes where the nurse told me she was fine, and sent me home.
Over the next two days, I continued to raise concern about her not moving, after moving many times through the days of our third trimester, and my doctor continued to tell me that the foetal monitor confirmed she was fine, and to stop worrying. I was a new mother, I assumed they knew what they were doing, and that I was just worrying.
Three days later, they agreed to monitor her again and this time it was a midwife who carried out foetal monitoring. She told me that it needed to be 20 minutes to gain an accurate insight into what was happening. Following this, an ultra sound was carried out to further assess my baby. The ultra sound confirmed that there was no heart rate; my baby girl had died.
When I asked why they had carried out the ultra sound on this fourth day, they told me that sometimes the foetal monitor only picks up the mothers arteries, and not the baby in the womb. I asked them why they did not carry out 20 minutes of foetal monitoring and an ultra sound when I first raised concern, because perhaps they would have carried out an emergency c-section and given her a chance. They did not answer me.
By general care standards, I believe that they failed to carry out what most doctors would have done to adequately assess what was happening, because I asked a lot of midwives and gynaecologists how they would have responded to my concern.
Overwhelming grief followed, and then steps towards legal action. Nothing would bring back my baby girl, but perhaps by demanding accountability, I believed that something, in the name of justice, and towards prevention might be done.
Through this time, I continued to grieve, and anger continued to flair; at them for their lack of care, and at myself for trusting them.
Choose love, I reminded myself, over and over. And I did. I responded to my sadness and pain with love; with words of strength and support to get myself through the tidal waves of pain and loss.
But anger remained. It felt that I had to fight for justice, to turn my anger into a passionate and positive cause; that legal action was an act of love because I would be fighting for the life of my baby girl and for the lives of other babies that might face distress and require adequate monitoring.
I initiated a process of legal action
As time has passed, and while the tidal waves of overwhelming emotional pain continued to rise, but thankfully less frequently, I realised that whatever the legal outcome might be, nothing would bring back my baby back. Even if I won my case and were able publish the case and the names of those involved in the press, and share my story, to help others feel more empowered in trusting themselves, in questioning doctors; because some are great and some are really not, nothing would stop my pain or change my loss.
And what of anger; what really needed to happen to ease anger? Would winning really be a win for what most needs to be won?
This was the question that let me back to forgiveness: 'What really needs to happen to ease anger?'
I felt certain that if I were to win the legal case, it would feel victorious, but the fact that those involved would not acknowledge their failure, or apologise, but instead believe their practice to be adequate enough, left me more certain that nothing would change, not where it mattered: nothing would bring my baby back and nothing would stop them from continuing to respond to foetal distress in this way again. This realisation did nothing to dispel anger.
One of my priority heart-centred values is peace; Peace within me and peace within my community and my world.
'What path moves me closer to peace?' I asked myself.
To be in peace, I need to be free of anger and any negative emotion.
To be in peace, I need to recognise and accept what is within my control and what is not.
To be in peace, I need to lift my heart into lighter and brighter realms, to move into my present and leave the past in 'her story': my truth.
To be in peace, I need to embrace gratitude; to see something to be thankful for, in what happened. I have done this though a deeply personal process of making meaning from what happened; from her loss.
To be in peace, finally I understood that I needed to forgive deeply and fully.
To forgive is to choose love first. True love is not found in the 'justice system', that is just a game to play; you may win, you may loose, but it is not game of justice, it is a game of intelligence, luck, money, power emotion, and politics.
Love is a greater power. To choose love, in all of this, is to choose to forgive him, them and myself; it sets the heart free. This is peace, and peace is my priority.
To forgive is really really hard. It is a mental battle between the feelings and emotions of grief that tell you one thing, and the voice of love that inspires another. It is a process that requires a lot of work. A process I have been in for over three years.
To deeply forgive feels like feeling the anger, feeling powerless, feeling loss, feeling pain, feeling, angry and responding to these feelings by guiding them to move on with the in and out breath, and sending them on their way, with a kiss in the wind, holding on to gratitude, taking the meaningful lesson, and walking on, with my scars, to live my life free of anger and with more grace.
Forgiveness is not giving up, it is claiming your power to love.
Copyright Antonia Behan 2023
Coaching Psychologist BSc MSc MBPsS MICF PCC
Living and leading with love
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