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The Four Rs of Forgiveness

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche

In the #BGT method of living and growth, focussing on the present and all of its majesty and brilliance is a key. But there are times when our past creeps up behind us, nagging at our coat tails or infecting our minds with doubt or stinkin’ thinkin’. We are all wired this way. As Nietzsche clearly observed, when we feel tired, or other similar negative feelings like down, glum, or exhausted, past circumstances can assail our consciousness. This can be a huge distraction to our quest to Be Great Today. Here are my first two tips for helping stave off these past intrusions using what I call the 4R’s:

R1: Reconciliation

You can’t beat yourself up about it. You cannot live in it again. Bill and Ted’s time machine won’t do the trick for you and unlike them, our goals are actually to leave the past in the past and not bring “Bob” Genghis Khan and So-crates back to the present!

Reconciliation is a powerful word. It is essentially the idea that you may take the past, all of the good and the bad, and accept it for what it was at the time. Your childhood for instance! When you were a child you thought like a child, you acted like a child and you were in that phase of life just a kid. The phrase “if I could go back and do it again” is often used to describe how we learned so much since the time we made a mistake in the past. Graduates write “Dear 18 year old me” letters to address this issue. As if the advice they have today could help the person they were in the past.

It cannot.

Reconcile your past today. What we learned from all of our past experiences serves us in the moment we are in right now. So why let it bother you? Take what the past has taught you, all of the highs and the lows, and write yourself a note like this “Dear Me of Today: Focus on Today because it makes all of the past heartbreaks and accomplishments worth it!” 

R2: Release

In college I had a coach who was very hard on me. No coach had ever spoken to me in such harsh, or derogatory terms. Needless to say I did not like his approach. After my junior season he was fired by the school administration. Too many like-minded people had gone to them and complained. While I was not one of them, the school VP called a meeting with leaders of the team, I believe there were 12 of us out of the team of 80. He asked us if certain incidents took place. None of us authored up anything outside of the scope of his questions. We had no clue as to why he was calling the meeting. The next day the coach was fired.

The coach lived on campus just a few hundred feet from the dorms. Teammates of mine thoughtlessly posted for sale signs on his lawn. It was pretty heartless. Members who were called into the meeting with the school VP had their names leaked and the coach blamed us for ‘getting him fired’. We had nothing to do with it. 

A decade later while I was coaching the Jacksonville Jaguars special teams I was called into a meeting with the head coach, Jack Del Rio. He told me that someone was posting on the team message board calling me a “team cancer” who needed to be fired. They traced the IP address to a specific person and it happened to be coming from the new town where my former coach was now living. There were 0 Jags fans around that address and it happened to be in the town of his new school…from his school office. He had really trolled me!

I did my best to explain what had happened to Jack, but it was an uncomfortable chat trying to explain what had happened to this coach and how he had reacted and blamed us, his players, for what had happened.

Multiple Releases

The story illustrates two examples of why it’s important for us to release people (or experiences) who did us harm in our past in order to move forward with a more promising future and present today! My former coach had never released those whom he believed responsible for his firing ten years prior. While he had moved on to a few subsequent jobs, including another head coaching job, he was not present with them because he was holding hate within his heart and that hate spilled over onto the Jaguars.com message boards (remember those?). While it was a temporary inconvenience for me and had a slightly annoying effect on me and Jack Del Rio, it must have zapped his attention from what was truly important. For my old coach, it was impossible to move on and be truly present as he went from job to job.

Showing Compassion for Others Actually Helps You Too

The second piece of the story was my ability to also move forward and release the initial pain caused by an abusive coach when I was a young man, and the subsequent public trolling attack. Past life experiences separated by ten years of my life! In order for me to move on after the Jaguars to what was next in my life I had to leave the trolling in the past as well. I felt compassion for him because I know it must have been painful to be let go and have the humiliation of the signs posted on the family lawn on campus. He and his family would be so upset so I released that and forgave his trolling. It was important in my life to move on from his actions in my life. To release people, let compassion be your dearest friend of the present!

Next week we will finish with our final 2 R’s for the 4R’s of forgiveness! Thanks for reading and if you would like to work with our group of Coaches CLICK HERE. And thanks for noticing the Be Great Today Blog! It’s been ranked in the Top 100 by Feedspot! Check it out by clicking and checking it out! https://blog.feedspot.com/life_coach_blogs/! Until next week, #BGT!

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