Do you know who the most important person many of us need to forgive? It’s YOU. All too often we play the blame game and continuously bombard our minds and spirit with the regrets, mistakes, and disappointments in our lives.
Our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are too important to ignore and must be carefully monitored in order to help navigate and direct our path to wellness, success, and happiness. Never was this lesson explained to me more clearly than from a teenager.
The student and I connected when she interviewed as part of my responsibility chairing the Chicago Minority Business Development Council Scholarship Committee.
She was a 17-year-old Asian immigrant who was one of the highest ranking students in a large inner-city school in Chicago. Kim, (not her name) had come to the United States around the age of six or seven and spoke only Chinese. As an only child, her parents emphasized the importance of achieving an American education and she spent many hours studying.
The hard work and dedication paid off and she was named Valedictorian her senior year. At the same time, the student’s family learned that her maternal grandfather was dying in China. They made the commitment to travel home for two weeks to see him in his final days.
When Kim informed the school’s principal of her upcoming absence, she learned that due to the small point difference between herself and the other top ranked students, it would be next to impossible for her to maintain the coveted Number One spot. Looking at the young girl across the table from me, I could still sense the deep hurt of this experience.
She told of having spoken with Grandfather about this injustice and he asked her a critical question, “If you were given a choice between a large stick of gold and a vessel that contained time, which would you choose? Kim said, “Of course, I would take the gold.” He told her the vessel of time is much important because that you can never replace.”
After the funeral service, Kim returned to school and hid the deep hurt inside over losing the top spot, by overeating in her home alone each day. After gaining almost 30 pounds in a few months Kim’s self-esteem plummeted even more. Her parents spent long hours working in low wage jobs and didn’t notice their daughter’s despair.
Later, taking a college-level Psychology class, Kim continued her practice of reading the entire textbook in the first week. She then met with the teacher and told her of her own diagnosis of having an eating disorder. Kim said, “My parents cannot afford to put me in therapy. I must work to change myself.” The two devised a strategy in which Kim would get a job after school doing something that she really loved: working in the library. And she was to commit to asking one person to do something with her each week.
When I asked her what she learned from this experience, Kim explained, “I had to make up with myself and stop being angry about everything I thought I had done wrong.” My eyes filled with tears as I listened to this life lesson coming from this young teenage girl seated across from me.
How many of us don’t understand the vital significance of practicing self-forgiveness? We often talk to ourselves much worse than we would allow anyone else to. Only through truly listening to our inner dialogue can we become aware of what we are saying to ourselves.
Kim was on route to graduating in the top ten of her class. When she left the room, everyone agreed we found our scholarship award winner.
©2008 Sheree Franklin. Sheree is a life coach and entrepreneur who specializes in intuitive coaching. Sign up for Sheree’s bi-monthly tips on intuition and relationships at