TE curates content for effective and efficient skills development and personal performance improvement. The aim is to provide actionable strategies that make you thrive at work and in life. However, today, my guest blogger narrates her story, for your reflection. If you read carefully, she will be able to teach you a lot about life, positivity and about forgiveness – a term we rarely understand. We are too fast to judge, even faster to react, complain and get muddled up in our internal or external conflict. However, we can get our power back and our positive attitude to life back, once we start forgiving, understanding that we need to embrace change as an inside job. Forgiveness is important and has the power to make you lead a happy and fulfilling life.
Madeleine Black is a strong and courageous woman, who, despite her circumstances, has been a force for positivity and self-improvement. She is a survivor, her life journey has been nothing less than path of thorns but she has bloomed, embraced life and ensured that she makes each day count. Madeleine is a psychotherapist by profession, a public speaker and a lover of life. She has not only learned the art of forgiveness but aims to make a difference by speaking about violence and how can victims turn their life around to be a force for good. Her memoir –
#44Bows – will be published by J Blake Books this spring, 2017. She has also contributed towards the award winning forgiveness project.
Read her story…
“I never intended to forgive the 2 young men who gang raped me when I was 13 years old. I wanted to hate them forever. As far as I was concerned they were evil, sadistic animals and I wanted someone to kidnap them, tie them up, beat them up, rape and torture them just like they had done to me for hours on end.
But in 2003 there was a combination of events, which I believe released memories that I had locked deep within. My eldest daughter was turning 13, I was attending workshops run by a teacher of life and was studying for a psychotherapy course. The memories of that night started to come back and haunt me again in a way that they hadn’t before and I was unable to block them out anymore.
So I decided that I needed some help to get rid of them. I quickly discovered that I couldn’t get rid of them but that I had to face them and learn to accept what was done to me in order to recover and heal from that night. It was during this therapy that my therapist suggested to me in a session that maybe they weren’t born rapists. I could not believe what I was hearing and was completely outraged by what he was saying.
But he planted a seed within my mind and that seed started to grow.
They weren’t much older than I was, perhaps 17 or 18 and I wanted to understand what went so wrong for them? How did they know how to be so violent to another human being? What had they heard; witnessed or experienced that changed them so much?
I do believe that we all come into this world the same way as an innocent baby like a blank sheet. And once I really understood that, I felt for them. In their dehumanizing act towards me, I realized that they had dehumanized themselves and were cut off to their own source of aliveness.
And the more I thought about being gang raped and the 2 young men, I couldn’t help but take them into my heart and I started to feel compassion and forgiveness towards them.
Forgiveness for me initially was an act of self-love as I had so much blame and shame for what had happened to me. And then it became an act of understanding towards them. I chose to let go of pain, hate and resentment, which has been totally freeing for me and a lot more peaceful way to live my life.”
There were multiple reasons to have Madeleine on board for my 30 Days of Awesome Learning. With whomever, I discussed Madeleine’s story for my blog series, told me, that it “doesn’t fit the realm of learning and development or training or coaching” and that I shouldn’t publish it. However, Madeleine’s story is important, because we need to realize, how important it is to actually understand our society, based on which, we’ve created our cultures, organizations, learning and more. We need to fix things at the grass-root levels as much as in other places.
Think about this, if there is something bothering you today – whether related to work, life in general – measure it and weigh it against the tragedies of life. When you do so, not only will be you view things with a positive outlook but also ensure to be a force for good.
Go on and share the Madeleine’s inspiring story, she deserves it.
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